No Boyfriend? It's Not You--It's Your Genes

Old sports:

The last few days, I've had an article out of an Australian newspaper open in my Internet browser. The headline? Lack of boyfriends? Study show it might be all your parents' fault.

The story is about a new study that shows--once again--how much the laws of attraction are influenced by genetics and biochemistry. The Aussie researchers found that the more varied a woman's immune system is, the more sexual partners she will have.

Some of you may remember that I've touched on the subject of immune systems and attraction before, brieflymentioned before: The philosophy of science professor whom I went out with a few times had been telling me that we're turned on by people whose immune systems complement our own; the idea is that when we mate with such complementary people, our babies will have a better chance of surviving, because they'll have all sorts of immune powers. Whereas if two people with similar immune systems mated, their kids wouldn't have as much of a mix.

Given all this, it makes sense that a woman with a complex immune system would match with more mates. Why? Let's make a food analogy. Let's say Anne has two things in her fridge: Milk and spinach. Let's say Zsa Zsa has four things in her fridge: not only milk and O.J. but eggs and spinach. Let's say Michael has one item of food: cheese he just picked up from the farmer's market. Now, if Michael wants to play iron chef--bam chicka wow wow--where's he gonna go? To Zsa Zsa's. She has more stuff--which increased her chances of being able to work with what he has. When they get together, they're going to make a nice omelette baby.

But my little analogy indicates that women with complex immune systems are more appealing to men--which isn't necessarily true. It's possible that it's the women with the complex immune systems are capable of being attracted to a wider range of men. The scientists aren't sure which is chicken, and which is egg. (And which is omelette.)

If it's that the women themselves are irresistable ... then it's possible that their great immune systems are signaled by fine variations in the smell of their sweat. (Similar studies have shown that we are most attracted to people whose sweat is most unlike our own. Which I find really interesting because I generally get hit on a lot more at the gym ... maybe because I'm so sweaty there? Speaking of the gym, I gave someone a ride home from there last night!)

The other psosibility is that a good immune system is signaled through a woman's looks.

Anyway, do you guys find all this stuff as interesting as I do?

Single women--and men: Is it comforting to think that maybe you're not "doing something wrong" in the dating world but that the reason you're not having any luck (if you will) is because of your DNA? Is it nice to think that there's some element--possibly a large element--of the whole thing that is just completely out of your hands?

Or is it frustrating to think that your immune system is just as out of your control--more so, really--than your looks?

Although that really begs another question, which is this--and since you readers are so smart I wouldn't be surprised if some of you can answer this: Can we change our immune systems--with more exercise, better diet, etc.--in ways that will make us more appealing to members of the opposite sex? I wonder if anyone has looked into this.




i'm glad i asked about mara-ju-wana yesterday! it was interesting to me that so many people consider it a deal-breaker.

also: I AM MOVING! today! or at least. i'm supposed to. it is DUMPING snow--i mean, it is coming down so fast, you'd think there was some kind of enormous monster up in the heavens, and that the snowflakes were fleeing him. as if moving weren't nerve-wracking enough; it seems especially worrisome in weather like this. the movers are coming at 2pm--so i have a little time to postpone. should i postpone till sunday? i have my old apartment for another couple weeks. ... also, guys, if i'm a little hare-brained (and unresponsive) tomorrow or next week, it's just because i'm discombobulated with the move. i also may have some troubles with my internet connection ...and therefore won't be on the interweb ALL THE TIME.

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