The Musical Banks

Geoffrey Miller’s idea that the motor of human evolution is sexual selection for charm and wit has its limitations. For there is no pick-up line so corny that it will not be effective in the mouth of a tall, handsome, well-dressed man, and there is no conversation so intelligent that it will not sound pathetic in the mouth of a rumpled little bald guy with glasses. Qualities like intelligence, conversation and humour are therefore like the coinage of the Musical Banks in Erewhon; they are treated with enormous outward respect, even reverence, but are not actually a medium of exchange on the real market. They may, of course, be highly relevant to the survival of a relationship, but have much less to do with its beginning than people like to pretend.

Women are forever trying to reassure unattractive men-friends that some other woman is bound to want them for their intelligence and wit. The key question is whether these reassurers will go to a plumber’s for their perm, or call their hairdresser when they need their drains unblocked. Were I to be informed that men perpetrate the same infuriating false comfort on unattractive women-friends, I should not be so very surprised.

One of the hardest things to bear about being unattractive is the sheer quantity of the mendacious reassurance along the lines of “You would make someone such a lovely husband/wife/partner!” on the lips of someone who has no intention whatever of actually undergoing the experience. Similarly, “I’m sure you’ll be just perfect for someone else” and “Anyone with any sense would want you, it’s just that I…….” are fine the first time you hear them, but get old after twenty years of repetition. Why do people not realise that “Anyone would want you – except me!” is inherently just a teensie-weensie bit depressing?

Life would be a lot easier for the unattractive if these people would just shut the fuck up and let the uglies reconcile themselves to the reality of life on earth.

Posted on October 12, 2010 at 11:25 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Love Among The Uglies

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