William Blake

Blake’s theory of unnatural selection

Our unpredictable choices of mate

What is it that makes Man’s choice of mate so utterly unpredictable? There are so many theories, with so few certainties. I speak not of the array of ‘hard-wired’ preferences in humans that seem to define us into groups; categories such as heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, trisexuals (those who’ll try anything!) even those who describe themselves as having ‘diverse sexualities’. What I am more fascinated by are the many and varied ‘soft preferences’, those traits that make a person feel not just attracted to obvious physical beauty, but to some not-so-obvious variations of it. What is it about the little idiosyncrasies that turns us on, gets our motor running, floats our boat, puts lead in our pencil, and generally gives us butterflies in the tummy?

I have often wondered this when seeing beauty pageants on television. The parade of uniformly perfect women in boringly conservative outfits designed for PG-13 rated TV viewing hours leaves me yawning. Whereas the image of my local Korean bbq waitress with the bob-cut hair and black eyed half-shy-half-naughty smile, in a waaaay too tight t-shirt and jeans, showing off every Buddha-given curve on her voluptuous (by Thai standards) body, has me tingling as I write this. To others she is just another Isaan girl, a typically cute Lao face and pleasingly Rubenesque body, destined to never speak a word of English and possibly marry a tuk-tuk driver…

Movie stars, for me, are same-same. Uma Thurman? Probably pretty cool in person, but leaves me cold. Diaz, Roberts, Pfeiffer, et al? Not a twinge. Even so-called ‘super-models’ bristling with health and vitality and undeniable charisma, still look and seem like Barbie dolls to me: False, unappealing, and somewhat lifeless.

Give me the girl in braids, or cornrows, or secretary glasses, or a tight military uniform. (Panting now…) Give me the girl with a cool personalised tattoo that suggests a spark of originality, or the girl who’s so confident about some part of her body that she’ll deliberately dress to show it off, such as my good friends the Tiger girls in their little dresses doing that walk they do. (Sighs.)
I’ve met men who prefer white skin, dark skin, tattoos, no tattoos, short hair, long hair, a goofy gap-toothed smile, teeth with braces, snake-hips, curvy hips and big bottoms, slim pins, strong defined calves, (a personal favourite of yours truly) the list is as varied as human desire itself. Indeed, look at the so-called ‘sex-tourism’ market: Western men traveling to Asia for exotic-eyed, slim hipped excitement, and Western women seeking comfort in the lithe, sinewy arms of Kenyan Casanovas.
Is this an evolutionary tool? Are we, without even being aware of it, breeding a genetically varied population, fuelled by the desire to mate with those whose appearance most closely resembles our personal and slightly off-beat predilections? If so, I guess you shouldn’t be too shocked to see WB at Loy Kratong sometime in the future, floating a kratong with a black-eyed, braided-haired, buxom Isaan girl with truly great calf muscles…perhaps wearing a Tiger dress!
Ahhh, we live in hope…


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