Monday, November 07, 2005

A barbershop tale

I get my head shaved two times a month. Well since the harsh dry, hot, drier and cold Aussie outback climate accelarated the loss of my crowning glory, I decided to take it all off. This is a bow to male biology and an adaptation to the environment. I have shown how testosterone’s effects show itself.

Oh yes, testosterone! This is the hormone that causes the descent of my orchis when I was in my Mum’s womb. For a few weeks, I was sexless until the hormones kicked in. And from then on I was, I am and I will be a man.

Now testosterone in popular psychology and in some undergrad textbooks is linked with aggression. The aggression may be sexual or just plain competitive. And if we look into this competitiveness under the corollary of Darwin’s theory, it all boils down to sex once more to be more accurate, sexual selection.

There is evidence true. Testosterone binds to many receptors in muscles to the larynx, to the brain. The muscles bulge and enlarges, the laryngeal cells enlarge and thus operatic basses and baritones are made.  Males have their highest testosterone levels just after puberty. Well we know how pubescent boys feel and behave.

Nonetheless, the evidence is strong if we view it in terms of populations. The male population has on average higher levels of testosterone than the female population. Are all males sexual? Of course! Are all males sexually astute? Of course not. Are all males rapists? Definitely not!

This is where this were I come in as my head is shaved. My barber, a testosterone driven man he is (just like the man being shaved), and the woman cashier in the shop were discussing the rape case involving a 22 year old Filipino woman and five American soldiers on shore leave. The woman cashier believed that this was a henious crime that must be punished under our laws. The barber on the other hand does not accept that rape is inevitable but still believed women may “induce” a man to do “silly things”. Thus we see the classic divide between the sexes when it comes to sexual harassment and crimes.

Now, I have to butt in in this discussion. Of course my barber and I know what makes a man horny. But I had to say that even if I am horny this does not lead me to rape. There are many ways to get what is desired and in all instances this is consensual. Rape is a crime and the rapist deserves the punishment the law provides.

So what is rape all about? A man may be turned on by a woman but the woman to him will be another person. Perhaps that is more erotic than anything else my male mind can think about. But has our society still believed that women are commodities to be used?  Commodities are objects. Is making love to objects completely satsifying?

Yes, testosterone has something to do with this. I am testosterone driven still. But  I realise  that our sexual biology is usually meaningless outside the cultural, historical, environmental and social factors in which it is expressed. Sex cannot be reduced to hormones, contraception, conception or marriage alone as some institutions in society want us to believe.

Now I have a shaved head. I am sexy nonetheless.

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