Sing Me a Little Song (Matings Part 3)

[[…continuing what was started in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1) and Sex on the Beach (Matings Part 2)]]

I wrote about the importance of sound in the mating game in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1). That post dealt with how women could determine if a potential partner was going to work out based on the sound of their voice.

It turns out the same is true for men, although it takes a slightly different turn. It’s not so much the sound of their voice, it’s whether or not they sing. Or hum. I think laughter qualifies, too.

It turns out that part of the male’s mental wiring is to determine life-partner value and worth by sound. This happens all the time in the animal world. Everything from mosquitoes to elephants hum, sing or otherwise make sounds that attract each other. TV documentaries tend to focus on the mating calls of the males and it also true that males are drawn to the mating sounds of females.

How do humans do it?

Men like to hear their partners laugh, sing, hum…forgive the possible stereotype, but anything but talk. Talking involves different parts of the brain and we use our voices differently when we talk than when we vocalize in any other way.

Although there’s no evidence for this at present and what I write here is my personal opinion, I wonder if the reason males are attracted to the sounds of laughter, singing and humming has to do with when they were babes in their mothers’ arms. Most mothers (and this is cross-cultural) make very distinct laughing, singing and humming sounds with their children, not talking (as in “conversation”) with them until the child is ambulatory (meaning “they can get around on their own. You don’t need to carry them everywhere”).

So much for my opinion.

So guys, does your potential partner sing or hum or laugh (and not just at your jokes). And do you like it? Even better, does his or her voice sound like music to your ears? Congrats, you’ve got a keeper.


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Sex on the Beach (Matings Part 2)

[[…continuing what was started in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1)]]

Anybody remember those first school dances you went to? The boys lined up on one wall, the girls on the other? And remember that the boys gathered in groups of maybe 2-3 and the girls in groups of 5 or more?

What you’re observing is a proto-typical gender behavior bias. That’s a 25¢ way of saying men and women behave differently. Kind of like noticing that wolves go after the most vulnerable member of a herd or that the bull elk challenges all competitors to his harem. It’s all obvious when you know what you’re looking at.

For example, somewhere up around the 4m45s mark in my iMedia presentation on Gender Specific Marketing Discoveries, I comment on the fact that men sat singularly or in groups of 1-3 on one side of the room and the women clustered in noticeably larger groups on the other side of the room. A solitary male is the usual case with males over 30 yo (they tend to have more confidence whether they should or not).

[[you can hear the podcast here. They screw up my name. That’s why I now tell people my last name is pronounced Smith]]

What it all comes down to sex on the beach.

Male Demonstrations of SuperiorityHumans, despite what some might like to think, carry in their genes all the behaviors that helped us climb from the primordial muck to where we are today. Everything that worked is in there. One of the things that worked for males was separating themselves from other males so that females could individualize them, get a better look at them, could evaluate them better, get a good fix on their potentials as mates and providers.

In short, males establish territories. Those nature documentaries about seals on the beach have it correct. It’s amusing to watch several million years of evolutionary wiring go into conflict with a few thousand years of human civilization, especially when you recognize that much of what we call “civilization” is designed to deal with all that nasty evolutionary wiring.

Anthropologists recognize ceremonies and rituals. The ceremonies rarely change because they define us as a species. The rituals constantly change because they define us as a group, a tribe, a family, a religion, a sect, a nationality, a people.

You’ve probably heard the term “mating ritual”. That first, awkward school dance is a mating ritual. It’s purpose is for kids to have fun, yes, and also to have them learn how to evaluate members of the opposite sex, also known as partner selection and is a mating ritual in disguise. That school dance is an example of socially acceptable behavior meeting evolutionary wiring big time. Another example of the difference between ceremony and ritual is marriage. The ritual of marriage varies from culture to culture but the ceremony of marriage — the “this-person-that-person” thing — is pretty well established in our species.

What’s more interesting is observing the individuals who’ve made accommodations so that their evolutionary wiring and social training work hand in hand, or don’t.

For example, an adult male who always seeks the company of his male peers probably won’t be a good choice for mate or provider. An adult male who is comfortable by himself and will spend time with male peers is better. An adult male who can be by himself in a social setting (a bar, a dance, a beach), who intentionally catches your eye without intruding on what you’re doing and quickly (but graciously) acknowledges your interest or lack thereof? Learn his name. He’s probably worth it.

Men, what about women who traverse social training and evolutionary wiring? Interestingly enough the same rules apply. If they’re comfortable with themselves, recognize social signals as they are intended and don’t dispute them, ask for their name. Talk and do remember to listen. They probably have a lot to tell you.


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I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1)

[[Spring must be in the air…at least in the northern hemisphere…because we received eleven (11!) requests for mating advice (selection, attraction, attachment, recognition, adornment, …) in the past few days. That’s a bit of a record for us. I think it’s due to the longevity of our (Susan and my) relationship (and it took lots of work).

Anyway, I sent people copies of blog posts I wrote a while ago when this blog was on another platform. We’re resurrecting them here – there’s seven total – one per day over the next week or so and just in case there’s other folks out there looking for love in all sorts of places.

Enjoy!]]

Ladies, do you enjoy hearing your partner talk? Sing? Hum?

There’s something to be said for whether you do or don’t. You do: chances are you’ve found your life long mate. You don’t: chances are your relationship won’t last much more than…well…than a few matings if that long.

It seems that females are more sensitive to their “family” sounds than males are (generally speaking, of course). The best example of this is the mother who can hear and isolate her child’s cry of distress amongst all the sounds of all the activity of a public playground.

Well, this auditory sensitivity extends to life-partners and would-be life-partners, too. Women tend to bond more closely with males whose voices are a natural harmonic of their own.

Natural harmonic?

Can you imitate your partner’s voice really well? Not just the way they talk or the words they use, but the actual tone of their voice? Can they do the same with yours? Congratulations, your voices are probably natural harmonics of each other. You may not be exactly an octave apart (musically speaking) and chances are you’re either close or a multiple of it or some musical interval of it (a third, a fifth, a seventh, no diminished chords, no augmented chords, et cetera).

There are lots of reasons this sensitivity leads to long term relationships; hearing our own “voice” makes us comfortable and puts us at ease, it demonstrates acceptance by the group, things like that. The cognitive and sociologic factors are numerous, really, and seem to play across cultures.

So the next time you’re in a meeting and you find yourself mildly interested or a little attracted to someone speaking, listen carefully…you probably are, anyway.


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Intention


[[this was posted originally on 11 May 2012 to the old ThatThinkYouDo blog. I’m resurrecting it here for some friends.]]

I’ve been studying people who are “living with intention” for about twenty-five years now. Originally I found them due to my cultural anthropology studies. Now I’m finding a few of them in the modern world.

“Living with intention?” you ask. “What does that mean, exactly?”

Hmm…the simple answer is “Living with Intention means paying attention to everything you do” and that’s so weak, so minimal, that only a western trained mind would offer it, so I apologize.

It means being in the moment…while appreciating (not quite, not exactly. English is limited in its ability to express this concept. Or I am limited in my ability to express this concept)…feeling?…every moment that came before you and will come after you.

It means doing whatever you’re doing as if it the fate of the universe hung in the balance…while being able to laugh at yourself regardless of the outcome.

It means focusing all your attention on each individual task…while being aware of everything else that’s going on around you (and recognizing that “around you” can be very, very big).

It means taking complete and ultimate joy in everything you do…while understanding it may be the last thing that you do.

It means being aware of everything going on around, in and through you each and every moment…and being at peace with it — not necessarily enjoying it or hating it, just being at peace with it, accepting it (because there’s a difference between liking something and accepting something).

And this list gets longer and longer and longer the more I attempt to put into words what can only happen deep inside the individual (because part of intention is being able to keep two completely opposite thoughts in your mind simultaneously, penecontemporaneously).

As one of my teachers said to me, “I can help you find your door. Only you can open your door and walk through. But walking through, there’s no walking back.”

Brushing your teeth. Pay attention to what you’re doing. To how you’re doing it. Be aware of the feel of the brush in your hand and the bristles on your teeth and the taste of the toothpaste and the brush’s movement on your gums and … and be so aware of the fact that you’re doing all this that it becomes a game to you, something to delight in, something to rejoice in, something to be thankful for, to be prayerful about.

But those last words imply something religious and nothing about being intentful is religious. Sufis live with intent but sufism isn’t religious in philosophy, only as it is practiced by some.

Some will read this and think, “Oh, Zen,” and while lots of zen practitioners live with intent the former doesn’t imply the latter. Some will think “Oh, Yin Yang” and to think that demonstrates not knowing, a lack of understanding.

Some of the people I’ve studied have been Catholic, some Baptist, some Lutheran, some Evangelical, some Jewish, some agnostic, some pagan, some aboriginal, some Sufi, some shamanic, some Hindi, some Muslim, some native american, some Buddhist, some …

I have noticed commonalities. Regardless of anything else, they’re all remarkable listeners. They’re all remarkably patient, kind and giving. They all have incredible boundaries. They’re self-aware in ways most people can’t imagine.

Imagine kissing someone simultaneously passionately and casually, kind of like kissing your partner when you see each other, a gentle “hello I missed you today” kiss, yet having all your feelings about that person, all your desires and hopes for them, all your wanting of them, delivered in that little, possibly public kiss.

I’m writing this and recognizing that I could be writing this with intention, too.

Everything slows down. I focus on each word, each phrase, each expression. I recognize what’s important before I type the words themselves.

I focus on what I’m doing so I can also focus on what you’re doing. Will you slow down? Will you read with intent?

When you wake up tomorrow, will your first thoughts be that the day is yours, completely yours, to do with what you will, truly Carpe Diem and that your first thoughts dictate whether you seize the day or the day seizes you?

I have been practicing living with intent. It’s not easy for me. I screw up quite a bit and blame it on this modern world. Yet I know others who are living intentionally and are in this same modern world I am in; they’re not living in communities where everyone is devoted to intentional living and each person helps each other person live intentionally.

For myself, the moments when I do it are like the best physical exercise — a definite sense of exertion along with a sense of fulfillment, of well being, of peace. An endorphin rush for the mind, emotions and spirit.

Living with intention takes commitment. And acceptance. I accept that my mistakes are merely part of appreciating my commitment to living with intention. From those I study I know that the recognizable commitment fades because the commitment becomes part of the intent.

Where does a wise person hide a pebble? On a beach. Where does a wise person hide a leaf? In a forest.


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Truth Be Told

[[Another resurrected post referenced in Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation.]]

A friend and I recently got into a conversation on the nature of truth. I was taking notes and the conversation took an unexpected path. Reviewing my notes, I asked if I could share what was said and he consented.

Fair warning; what follows is not light reading.


I learned about the price of truth when I was a kid. A child, probably. Before I was ten, anyway.

My dad was in the bathroom, getting ready for bed, I think. He started yelling. He yelled a lot. If he wasn’t yelling, he was making fun of us or telling us we were stupid.

Anyway, he yelled for my sister and me to come. My sister is older than me by five years. She got there first. He was standing by the sink, pointing at a glob of toothpaste in the sink.

Truth be told, I don’t even remember what it was. I think it was some toothpaste.

I do remember he stood over us and pointed at whatever it was and asked who left that there.

My sister said she didn’t do it. “Who did?” I don’t know, she said.

He looked at me. “Did you do that?”

No, dad. I didn’t.

“Well, you’re the only two in the house. I didn’t do it and I know your mother didn’t do it, so who didn’t do it if neither of you did it?”

To fully get this you have to flashback to when I was about 1-2 years old. My room was on the top floor of our house, down a hall from my parents’ room. Halfway between was a staircase downstairs and downstairs was my sisters’ room. I have two sisters, both older than me.

So one night I woke up and wanted to go see my sisters. I don’t know why. Who knows what a kid does at 1-2 years old? So I got up, turned on the hall light and got to the top of the stairs.

Well, my father came rushing out of his room, my mother close behind, and he lifted my up by my right arm. He began hitting my behind. Not tapping, not even lightly slapping. This was a full grown man holding me up by my arm and smacking my backside so hard I was rocking back and forth like a pendulum in a bad clock.

I started screaming, my mother started screaming, I could hear my sisters screaming, and my father is still yelling at me “Where are you going? You get back in your bed! Where are you going? You get back in your bed!” with each tick of the clock.

And I started to pee. Maybe that’s why I got up, maybe I needed to pee and wanted my sisters to get the potty seat for me, I don’t know.

But I started to pee and I’m making a puddle on the floor and my father’s really bellowing now and he shouts at the top of his lungs “Did you do that?”

And I’m crying and I’m screaming and there’s more tears coming out of my eyes than there’s piss on the floor and I’m swinging by my arm and I’ve bitten my lip swinging back and forth and I can’t stop pissing and I’m screaming back at him, “No No No No NO” and looking back it was stupid, of course. I was pissing right there on the floor in front of him, so now he calls me a liar and if you thought he was having at me before, you didn’t know my dad. He use to beat me with a rubber hose he got when he installed a washer for my mother. That’s another one for you, a full grown man, strong to begin with, swinging a rubber hose at his baby kid because something didn’t go right in his god-damn day.

So I’d learned early on that no matter what happened, it would end up with me getting hit.

But this time, standing in front of the sink, our father getting louder and louder yelling at us, seeing my sister’s face get redder and redder, I basically decided fuck it. It didn’t matter.

Remember I said I had two sisters? For as long as I remember my oldest sister had this scar on her wrist, not like an attempted suicide scar, this was like a regular hospital scar and you could see where the stitches were and stuff. My parents and aunts and uncles always said my sister got bit by a goose and I always thought that was odd because we never lived anywhere near any geese. I found out years later my father had broken her arm. He’d thrown her down the stairs for some reason, before I was born, and they’d taken her to the emergency room to fix her up.

But back to the bathroom. I decided it didn’t matter. I looked at my dad and I said, “I did it.”

My sister let out her breathe.

“Why did you lie to me?”

Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I tell you the truth or if I lie. If you want to hit someone you’re going to hit someone, so it doesn’t matter and I might as well tell you the truth.

My mother was always telling people I was a deep thinker. I read a lot when I was a kid. Still do. So I’m not sure if I said it just like that, but that’s pretty much what I said.

Well, my father stared at me. I could tell he wanted to hit me but I’d told the truth and told him the other truth, that he was a bully and a bastard and it didn’t matter what the truth was, all that mattered was if he needed to hit somebody and that somebody was going to be me. I knew he wouldn’t hit my sister. She was getting older and for some reason he had real taboos about hitting a woman. I think because his father, my grandfather, use to beat the crap out of my grandmother when he was a kid. Hell, that’s probably where he learned it.

Anyway, he told me to go to my room but from then on he plotted. I think I scared him with what I said. I would catch him watching me, looking for excuses. One time I accidently emptied a box of dishwashing soap into the sink. My mother asked me to do the dishes, I said sure but I didn’t realize how loose the cover was on the box and I spilt most of it in the sink.

My dad was out in the garage working on something and not getting it fixed, so he was already frustrated all to hell and when I emptied the box, I don’t know, it was some kind of challenge to his manhood or something. I think I was ten or twelve when this happened and he backed me into a corner of the kitchen and was punching me in the stomach, in the face, he was boxing me, again a full grown, strong man punching the shit out of a kid, not holding back, punching me as if I was coming after him. I don’t know. After a few minutes he quit. I guess he was tired at that point. My eyes are black, my lips are swollen, my stomach’s aching because he’s hammered me to the point that I can’t breath.

He storms out of the kitchen, back to the garage and my mother’s patching me up. She didn’t try to stop him, oh no, but once he’s done she comes in to patch me up. She was always like that. Thank god it had already been established at school that I was a clumsy kid and always falling down stairs, over things, tripping over my own feet.

I wonder why it took so long to people become aware of child abuse sometimes. After I left home I asked my mother why she never nailed him on the back of the head with a frying pan. “He’s your father,” she said.

Oh, okay. He’s absolved.

But I’d already learned the price of truth was power, and you always get power when you tell the truth. I’m not talking about always telling the truth when you’re with friends or that kind of thing, I’m talking about telling the truth when it makes a difference.

That day in the bathroom I got power over my dad and he’s never forgiven me for it.


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