Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Guppy Love"

There is a very interesting article over at titled "Guppy Love" that's both entertaining and thought-provoking. It begins with the unscientific observation that some women tend to prefer men who are already "spoken for" (a tendency also known as the wedding ring effect), and goes on to compare this human trait to "mate choice copying" in - of all things - guppies.

I blogged about this general topic some time back when I was set off by a post at Numeric Life about women's thought processes in choosing men for long-term mates (dads) or short-term recreational relationships (cads). The new article puts a somewhat different spin on this aspect of our behavior, though...why would a woman pursue a man who is already married or in a committed relationship?

Well, duh, you say - it's the thrill of the hunt, the idea that I'm better than she is and I can prove it by going after her partner. There may also be a certain element of I can flirt with him and it's safe because he's married and things can't go too far.

And the same is true, of course, of men - some men of low character seem to find a certain thrill in illicit liaisons that makes them that much more exciting, not to mention the chest-thumping potential of out-testosteroning the competition: I'm the man - she prefers me to him! Or hey, look at me - I've still got it!

For the record, I think people who try to steal other people's spouses are despicable. But I think I understand some of the psychological issues that could drive people to it. Friendships are perfectly fine - as it happens, most of my close friends are women, although I'm completely and utterly committed to Agnes. I'm also a shameless flirter, which is not a bad thing when you're married to a dance teacher and do duty at the dance parties as the staff gigolo, dancing with all the ladies who don't have partners.

Well, this post has turned into a bit of a ramble, but my brain isn't totally warmed up yet this morning. I'm also facing the prospect of a dull, day-long meeting which isn't conducive to getting me up and hitting on all cylinders.


Be careful with your mate choice selections. It's not a good idea to go after one that's already spoken for.

Unless you're a guppy.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - I'm really looking forward to attending the Enterprise Christmas Party over at Captain Picard's Journal. Hope to see you all there!



noisms said...

I personally think that guppies have a lot to offer in the area of relationship advice, and in fact much of what I've learned about life, I've learned from guppies.

NathanRyder said...

noisms - I can well believe that everything you know about life you've learned from guppies...

Bilbo - recently a friend of mine suggested I take a look through a classifieds page (a UK clone of Craigslist) and I couldn't believe the number of women who were looking for a relationship with a married man. I can't quite get my head around it (although maybe I don't quite have the guppy mindset).

(to be fair, I never looked at the "men seeking women" page, so it's possible there was a huge number of guys looking for affairs with married women too)

Amanda said...

Some women are so paranoid that their husbands are going to be stolen that I think it plants a little seed in the husband's minds that there are women out there who want him and so he becomes even more 'available' to them.

Reverse, upside down psychology maybe...I've seen it happen to a couple of my mom's friends. But, I'm sure there was much more going on than I was privy to.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I only go after people that will never ever like me. That way I don't have to worry about the whole relationship thing.


Sue said...

I've personally never felt attracted to another woman's husband. But would I have a doozy of a story to tell if you were to put it as a man wanting me (while being married to Josh).

It's a long story.

John A Hill said...

Guppy love was an interesting post but I fully expected a rant about British Airways and their empty jets flying all over the world! I know how much you love the airlines!!!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Thanks for the mention, Bilbo. Looking forward to your entry!

Serina Hope said...

If you can steal them from their spouse, someone else can steal them from you.
Great post.