What do females want?
There is a tale by Chaucer in which somebody is sent on a quest to find out what women want.  Unlike a modern writer, who is likely to use a MacGuffin, which is a plot device that motivates the action but is unimportant in itself, Chaucer comes up with an interesting answer: Power over men.  I recently had occasion, however, to watch two women in a power struggle.  The issue could easily have been resolved with a remark or a two minute errand, but the battle royal went on for two good hours, with brains, cunning, tenacity, audacity, intimidation, nerves, confrontation, psychological domination and attention span on both sides vying for ascendancy.  But to an observer only permitted to see any five minute segment it was simply a matter of setting a trivial matter straight, all perfectly simple, soft spoken and reasonable.  It would appear that women want power over other women, too.  Lads, you haven’t a chance.

Ah, but what do female fruit flies want?  Their brains are pretty well understood.  A number of relevant genes are known.  So the question is what determines whether a female will be receptive to copulation.  This has recently been studied.  (Leslie C. Griffith What Do Females Really Want NATURE vol. 512 no. 7513 August 14, 2014 page 138) Relevant factors were found to be visual clues, olfactory clues, his mating song and her own age, nutrition and whether she had copulated recently.  Do any of those sound familiar?

I recall my mother once saying with impish relish that she told my father that she fell in love with him because he smelled good.  They were both towering intellects and possessed of amazing erudition and moral force.  Apparently he was at a loss for words.  Did I mention that you don’t stand a chance, lads?

Of course at this point the survival of the human species, at least that fraction able to take an interest in this site, depends on female mating choice.  If we don’t marry kin enough we all take the long walk.  Just hope the girls take the hint, because they haven’t been doing it right for a long time and there is little time left. 

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