A Fundamental Difference

by An Ordinary Man (the novel)

From what he could see of it, Heather’s bra was intriguingly insubstantial and lightly trimmed with lace. Quite possibly, it was part of a matched set and Richard allowed his eyes to move down her body to her hips to contemplate the bottoms. The fabric of her pants, a perceptible weave of some kind – herringbone? – revealed no intimate details of what lay beneath so Richard began to seriously consider the matter. Of course, contemplation of the underwear leads to contemplation of what is within the underwear and before long Richard was shamelessly imagining the most intimate details of his colleague’s anatomy.

Richard, the frustrated college professor and the ordinary man of the novel of the same name, would understand an article in today’s NY Daily News perfectly.  There, a woman blogged about her decision not to wear yoga pants because of the thoughts such revealing attire can create in us poor males.

At least two of her readers suggested that by that logic, men would need to stop wearing suits because some women find them sexy. Exactly, Richard would tell his class; at a very basic level, men are programmed to respond to physical attractiveness and/or the apparent mindset of the woman, while women are programmed to respond to the ability of the male to provide – a woman showing her stuff is almost automatically sexy to a guy, just as a guy wearing a suit presumably has a good job and is therefore sexy to the essential female.

And it was to what he attributed his own dissatisfaction to in his marriage counseling session:

    “What about what you said was your worst fear; that you are not a good enough provider?”

    “Well, to understand that, you have to understand that I teach evolutionary biology for a living. My day is filled with the survival of the fittest, to the victor go the spoils, who is the best mate. Et cetera. It’s very obvious that she could have done better.”

    “You think her sexuality is dependent upon the size of your paycheck?”

    “Let’s say that I’m not sure it’s not. There is very heavy selection pressure to mate with the winners. Has been for eons.  I’m virtually certain that has worked its way into the human genome.”