Thursday, January 28, 2010

Power and Beauty

Ever wondered why high heels exist? Why the most common lipstick colour is red? Why women prefer (guys with) cars to (guys with) motorbikes? Most of all, does size REALLY matter? The answers are all simple. Explained in this article (courtesy Mint Lounge)...

Pretty interesting, I thought! Though at the end of it all, I had just one question - what is a pudenda??

I have a game I have been trying out at parties for a decade. I ask women to give it a thought, and then choose the order in which they would be attracted to the following types of men as their partner: a) Good-looking b) Powerful c) Stable.

No other quality in these three men is defined, and they are what those words mean. Almost invariably, women choose the powerful man as the one they are most attracted to. This is followed by the stable man and last, the good-looking one. I cannot remember more than a couple of women, and I have polled dozens, who did not choose power as the thing they were drawn to most.
I ask men to choose from the following:
a) Beautiful
b) Rich
c) Homely
Men always choose beautiful first; most pick homely second and rich last.
We are uncomfortable with accepting the extent to which our instinct, formed over tens of thousands of years as hunters-gatherers, dominates our intellect. But it is true that our sexual instinct is not entirely in our control, and women are drawn towards the powerful male.

A wealthy man, no matter how ugly—Aristotle Onassis—will bed the most desirable women in the world: Jacqueline Kennedy, Maria Callas. Given that fact, powerful men often practise what is called serial monogamy, monopolizing a beautiful woman for the best years of her beauty and then moving on to the next woman. That’s why rich men often have many divorces—Larry King is on his eighth wife, Johnny Carson had four, Mickey Rooney eight.
Other powerful men have a different model, a stable family life but constant sexual relationships on the side: Tiger Woods, David Beckham and Bill Clinton.
Evolutionary psychologists attribute this behaviour not to sex addiction but the instinct to spread genes. Man has an unlimited number of potential offsprings because of his ability to generate sperm. And so the most important aspect of whether or not he will mate with a woman is not love or even attraction, but opportunity. Most males will accept this if asked, and any number of studies show it to be true.
One study, a few years ago, had a beautiful woman on a college campus approaching strangers to have sex with her. Every single man she approached agreed. When an attractive man did the same with the campus women, not one agreed. Again, the reason for this is thought to be primal, and it is this. A woman will have three or four and a maximum of perhaps a dozen or so children (Mumtaz Mahal was rewarded with the Taj Mahal for producing 14). So, in a species where man is provider, she must be more careful in selecting her mate because she has to ensure he is capable of protecting her limited offspring. This explains the female attraction to power.
Gujarati women find Narendra Modi very attractive sexually and, even more than the man, it is the urban Gujarati woman who has made Modi a heroic figure in that state. An ageing woman does not have appeal in society because man is instinctively trained to see that her utility is low. This is why women hide their age more than men. It is because of her declining fecundity that age is unattractive on a woman though it’s irrelevant in the rich man. This is not to preclude that a man might find a beautiful woman of older age sexually attractive: He will (remember the opportunity rule). But this will be a relationship of casual sex, because man is first drawn to the nubile woman. Exactly how nubile? The male preference for shaved pudenda offers an indication.
The idea that women are drawn to power opens up doors that many men would rather be left shut. The myth in health literature that penis size does not matter is subscribed to primarily by men. Women would actually have been attracted genetically to the large organ before the use of clothing, which is quite recent. This is because a larger organ is more efficient at depositing sperm, thus ensuring fertilization.
We know that organ size matters because it conditions the unusual behaviour of males in the toilet. In the men’s room, when a urinal is open between two standing men, a third man entering will avoid the spot in the middle and head for the fifth urinal so as to keep one open space between him and the next man. This is because he is conscious of his neighbour sizing him up.
Indian men are particularly insecure and toilets here have a wall—often as high as a standing man’s head—between each urinal.
Incidentally, this competition among men for women is a clear indicator that the anti-homosexual sentiment of Christians and Muslims is Old Testament prejudice. Instinctively, all heterosexual men should like homosexuals because they are not a threat. Often we send out sexual signals that we think are effective, but are actually meaningless. The man who colours his hair black does so without understanding that his youth isn’t what women primarily find attractive in him. It is important, however, for a woman to colour her hair, and the defiant woman who doesn’t, finds it difficult to get men to view her in a sexually attractive light.
Despite the male obsession with large motorcycles, and the advertising that suggests that women find them alluring, an expensive car, say a Mercedes-Benz, is much more effective at communicating a man’s quality. Money power being the key here, and not mechanical power. Similarly, the female predilection for handbags is unfathomable to men, though wearing stilettos is a good idea. Women should wear high-heeled shoes. They make a woman physically vulnerable, teetering, and that makes her attractive to a man, because he likes to think of domination. The heels reform her posture forwards, and that also has its appeals.
Nail polish and lipstick are most appealing to men when red, because it indicates health and vitality, and that was the original purpose of cosmetics. Brown, blue and black and such other colours are quite useless in attracting men.
So can we escape our instinct? Yes, but only episodically. It keeps coming back and it’s always lurking in our head if we observe it. Our prejudice is quite marked and women who are both gorgeous and intelligent are remembered for their beauty. A man who is striking-looking and intelligent is noted for his brains, even by women.
It’s banal but true: To improve their odds in the love market, men need to focus on making more money and women on looking more beautiful.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Unadulterated BS

I have nothing against Mr. Bejan Daruvala. The dude writes a weekly zodiac horoscope in the Sunday Times of India, which I'm sure a lot of people read and forget in a jiffy. However, these days Mr. Daruvala is beginning to bug me a bit - the guy has become a financial expert!!! He advises people on what to buy, sell or trade!! So much so, that he gets star billing on CNBC (dunno if he actually appears on the channel, but certainly on the website!)

I found this mildly amusing initially, but now the trend seems to be really propagating. I was stunned to find that a well educated (MBA, no less!!) acquaintance checked Mr. Daruvala's prophesies daily. Call it superstition or looking for divine guidance, but I call it sheer idiocy. Investing is tough enough as it is - but using these kind of 'astrological' guideposts is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Check out some specific examples of divine guidance:

05-02-2010 to 18-02-2010 Repeatedly make entries and exit. The time is not good. If you follow the above rule you will make money in atleast 7 out of 10 deals.
19-03-2010 to 01-04-2010 Sell off shares that you purchased at low pricesas they will fetch good prices. Wait for the prices to fall prior to purchasing.
02-05-2010 to 19-05-2010 Not a very good time. Don't trade unidirectionally. During bullish time trade bullishly and in bearish trends trade bearish. Stick to the trends and don't act reverse to avoid risk, advises Ganesha.

Wah!! This last one really is very useful :-) I just wish to offer the poor suckers who trade according to the wishes of this dude a bit of unwanted advice - if this guy could really predict the market, would he be wasting his time telling you how to trade?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Idiot? Certainly not...

I read this article and felt a bit confused - is this good or bad? Then I figured that this is really really bad - in fact a guaranteed fact that shows just how massively screwed up our education system is!

Nobel laureate Ramakrishnan failed IIT, medical entrance tests
5 Jan 2010, 2138 hrs IST, PTI

BANGALORE: Venkataraman Ramakrishnan won the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2009 but decades ago he failed to clear entrance tests for both the IITs
and a reputed medical college.

At a public lecture at the Indian Institute of Science campus here, he recalled his journey from Baroda where he went to school and college before moving to Ohio University for his Ph.D. He shifted to Baroda from Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu when he was three.

He noted that he appeared for the IIT entrance test but "did not get a single seat in IIT".

"My parents were somewhat old-fashioned; they did not believe in coaching classes (in preparation for entrance test)," Ramakrishnan told a packed J N Tata Auditorium, where many could not even enter because it was crowded. They (his parents) thought coaching classes were "nonsense".

He also appeared in the entrance test for a seat in the reputed Christian Medical College in Vellore in Tamil Nadu but was unsuccessful. Giving an explanation, he said that those days, there were only a small number of seats for men.

The (really sad) takeaways I have after reading this stupendous article is
  1. Getting into IIT (and other prestigious institutes of higher education) is a function of what kind of coaching class you have been to
  2. There are no avenues within the country for potentially brilliant scientists or other skilled professionals if they do not conform to the rat race (IIT / SRCC / AIIMS / NLS etc etc)
  3. Now that I try to think hard, I cannot recall any Nobel prize winner who is from IIT. I can think of many people in finance though (self included!). To me, this is a travesty of IIT's purpose

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Thoughts in a New Year

A New Year, and a new day, week, month, and if you so believe, even new decade. A time to sit back, relax and count the innumerable pleasures of life. A time to feel the privilege, bask in joy and burst with happiness :-)

Worries on the horizon? I can not recall a single day when I was not worried about something or the other. One year out, I don't even remember 95% of the things I was worried about - feels funny that such trivial inanities should fill 95% of my waking thoughts. When I count my joys, my reasons to be happy, I find I discount them very quickly. Life moves on instantaneously towards the next goal, the next struggle, the next trivial pursuit. How much of this do I really care about? How much of this do I desire? How much can I do without? Mostly all.

The fundamental bedrock of needs - health, safety, family, friends, freedom - are all present in abundance and for free. It is up to me to savour these or take them for granted. I hope I can make the right choice!

Happy new year :-)