July 6, 2006

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Sperm are From Men, Eggs are From Women: The Real Reason Men and Women are Different, by Joe Quirk (Running Press Book Publishers, 2006, page 272

Why do boys and girls act as they do? Because of their pee-pees and hoo-hahs — tee-hee!

The mock-daring talk about the size of a man’s privates or the promiscuity of most women fills this book which is essentially a longer, jokier version of the human sexuality and evolution chapter your teacher probably skipped over in high school biology. I recently saw the book in the relationship section of a bookstore which made me giggle a bit — the joke’s on whoever was looking here for relationship advice. Only if you have a few million years to evolve your species does this book offer practical how-tos.

If you are looking to excuse a boyfriend’s wandering eye or a girlfriend’s social climbing, however, Sperm …Eggs offers some useful information. Many of the socially accepted attractive attributes in both men and women have been formed for some reason relating to the creation of successful progeny (successful as in healthy and strong and liable to live long enough to produce progeny of their own). Many of the family units we’ve constructed (husband, wife, in-laws) are for this same purpose. One particularly interesting way of looking at human babies is that unlike, say, antelope babies, our babies are woefully underdeveloped. They can’t even support the weight of their own giant heads, much less run from predators or find their own food. Our babies are practically fetuses and require (compared to most other creatures) extended post-birth period of care. How do you continue essentially to gestate a new person outside the womb? By making its parents feel responsible for it and make them work together to protect and feed it. Parental love, therefore, becomes a genetic protection for the baby against the cruel world, just as erotic love helped the baby come into that world in the first place.

Not quite He’s Just Not That In to You, is it?

Joe Quirk’s book does offer a fascinating nerd’s-eye-view into men, women and coupling. Much like Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation (which looked at mating in all species), this book offers the biological reason the sexes act as they do (and be sure to stay tuned for the chapter where he explains that there are very likely more than two genders or, more correctly, no genders at all). But Quirk also brings it home, giving us the real world human connection between the ape-like way we act and our primate programming. B

— Amy Diaz


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