A British teenager is desperately seeking an ugly girlfriend. Apparently he developed this peculiar yearning while watching a TV show called Ugly Betty. This gave him the idea that bespectacled girls with big teeth are good-hearted, faithful, intelligent and not that bad in the sack with the lights turned out. Unable to find a sufficiently plain Jane in the UK, he is now searching America for a facially-challenged female who will capture his heart and scare off the gophers. Amazingly enough, thousands of girls are applying for the position. I bet they all have wonderful personalities.
The boy seems amiable enough (in a goofy sort of way) and I wish him well in his quest. His behaviour is only newsworthy, of course, because it is so atypical - teenage boys generally prefer pretty girlfriends if they are in a position to choose. The importance of looks in human mate selection is quite puzzling to a gorilla, and prompts me to ask a question about the theory of evolution. If certain facial features make women more appealing, why haven’t they spread throughout the population? In search of an answer, I fired off the following e-mail to my friend Professor Dawkins:
How’s tricks, you old pontificator! I’ve got another conundrum for you. Everyone knows that women with attractive faces get to mate with the alpha males. Look at your own wife, Lalla – being an absolute cracker enabled her to snare the most famous egghead in England. (I bet you weren’t thinking about her foraging skills when you asked her out, you sly dog!) So the question is: If being a babe is such an advantage in obtaining a good mate, why hasn’t natural selection made all girls pretty?
Your hairy jungle buddy
P. S. God sucks!!
The reply from Dicky was almost instantaneous:
Before I answer your question, I have one for you. Must you always be so outrageously cheeky when corresponding with me? I will always be grateful to you for saving my life in the Congo, but to presume on my gratitude by making disrespectful comments about my private life is not the behaviour of a friend. I assure you that Lalla and I have many common interests. Had I treated her as the trophy wife you imply she is, we would not still be together.
Turning to your query, which is an interesting one, I would make the following observation. Being fought over by powerful men may appeal to a woman’s vanity, but it does not necessarily translate into a successful breeding strategy. Perhaps we might discuss this further the next time you visit England?
With very best wishes
I was about to send Dicky a reply telling him to get off his high horse and stop behaving like a sourpuss, when something in his message caught my eye. The phrase “being fought over by powerful men” was entirely of his own making – I never mentioned any such thing in my own missive. Reading between the lines, I deduced that Dicky must have jousted with a rival for Lalla’s fair hand. This “powerful man” was surely none other than Tom “Crazy Eyes” Baker, who co-starred with Lalla in a British science-fiction drama. I bet that lumbering beanpole got in a few low blows, which would explain why Lalla and Dicky haven’t had any children. His remark about “not translating into a successful breeding strategy” is another obvious clue.
I think the right thing to do, in the circumstances, is not to press Dicky for further elucidation. Better to draw a veil over these painful memories and send him a gift instead. I’ll ask the local witch doctor to prepare an invigorating balm for his reproductive organs. An injury to a man’s gonads often has a lingering psychological effect after the physical scars have healed. Let us pray that Dicky will be restored to full potency once his nuts and bolts have been properly oiled.
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