Crouching Tiger, hidden drag
I love how you write about the evolutionary psychology driving us, like your recent bit on how women across cultures prioritize money and mojo in men. So, what do you think about the Tiger Woods scandal? Was this just a man being true to his genes? Or, is there more to it than that, since most other men aren't running around to the extent he was? — Curious George
People are speculating that Tiger has a "sex addiction," when all the ordinary guy can usually be accused of is a porn addiction. What separates the sex addicts from the porn addicts? Being rich enough to get the girls in 3-D.
You'll hear people sneer that gay men are promiscuous. And they are. All men are. Unfortunately for straight guys, a woman's timeline for putting out is typically three dates, not three minutes or whenever the stall is free (whichever comes first). Men evolved to want sexual variety far more than women do. Evolutionary psychologists Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa write in Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters that a man who has sex with 1,000 women in a year can potentially produce 1,000 children. "In sharp contrast, if a woman has sex with 1,000 men in a year, she can have only one child (barring a multiple birth)." In other words, "there's little reproductive benefit for women in seeking lots of sex partners," while, as my blog commenter "sterling" put it, "Men like sex the same as women like shoes. No matter how many cool shoes you already have, you want different shoes."
So, Tiger's really no different from Henry the Eighth or Fred, the fifth guy on the left. Henry had to practice what could be called "rolling monogamy" — beheading one wife before marrying the next. Fred might cheat with the occasional cocktail waitress — if he gets really, really lucky. But, beyond being a bazillionaire, a golf virtuoso and boyishly handsome, Tiger's famous. Really, really famous. And even just being borderline famous seems to be a wildly potent aphrodisiac. (After all, women chase Gary Coleman.)
It isn't wrong for a guy to want his sex life to be all "I love a parade"; he just needs to figure that out before he marries the nice Swedish woman and makes babies with her. George Clooney, for one, sets a good example. If media reports are correct, he tells the ladies he isn't the committing kind, and when it's over with Francesca he moves on to Elisabetta — with no need for apologies before the international press and his mom.
Of course, Tiger had to publicly apologize for the bimbo malfunction because he isn't just Tiger the guy who plays golf, but a role model who has countless people depending on him for their livelihoods. If he weren't, he could either have said nothing or said what I suspect is the truth: "I'm not sorry for having sex with all those models, escorts and busty wafflehouse waitresses. I loved every minute of it. I'm sorry I got caught. But, I'd do it again. And, hope to in the future."
Is there a lesson in this? There is, for the ladies. Women who marry rich, powerful men should recognize that there's a strong temptation for those men to cheat — especially during the horndog 20s and early 30s. Women can ignore this if they want, or tell themselves their love will make the difference. Or, they can decide the homes, the cars, the yachts and annual trips to the cheating husband section of the diamond mine are compensation enough.
Aisle give it to you two years later
Since many marriages fail, what do you think of the idea that wedding gifts should only be given after the two-year mark, to celebrate a couple making it past the "honeymoon stage"? — The Realist
Don't stop there, Mr. Realist. Avoid giving Christmas presents to family members in high-risk occupations: "No iPod for you, electrical line worker!" Keep tabs on friends with unhealthy habits: "Oh, wait, you're smoking again? Gimme back that sweater."
Wedding invitations generally say something like "Come celebrate Don and Donna's happy day," not "Take the risk that your investment in their marriage will be a lasting one." Pragmatism is wise if you're getting a new transmission, but in certain areas of life, it's plain ugly. Could you maybe do the warm, generous thing, and extend your good wishes in the form of a toaster? Even if they end up hating each other, it may still come in handy. (Maybe one can throw it out the window at the other.) If you're just cheap, and prefer never to be invited to another wedding, give the happy couple a beautifully wrapped package with a note inside: "If you don't hate each other in two years, call me and I'll buy you a lead-crystal turtle."