Cavemen, Loneliness, and 'Attracting a Mate'

by Sidra M.S. Vitale

Yeah. Right.

Loneliness could be in your genes

The researchers suggest that loneliness may stem from prehistoric times, where hunter-gatherers may have deliberately shut themselves away from others so they did not have to share food.
That would have meant they were better nourished and therefore better able to survive and have children.

Um. How? That is one of the most astonishingly simplistic explanations I've ever heard for anything as complex as the human psyche. How is someone who hides themselves away from other people going to survive better, much less attract a mate? Survival is more than the eating of food, you know.

I mean, honestly.

First, hunting and gathering - both - are communal activities. Human beings, you may have noticed, are soft, squishy, and don't have sharp teeth. We're such awful natural hunters that we have to make spears and knives and stuff, to compensate for our complete lack of claws or ability to run quickly on four legs, and we have to work together to kill one fricking gazelle.

How, pray tell, is refusing to share food ever going to get Thag invited on a hunt again?

And what about Ooga? Who gathers tubers and insects and plants in a squad of other women and youngsters - some watching for danger from outside, some watching over each other, and some grinding nuts into a tasty paste, even though there's no grape jelly, or come to mention it, bread, for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Back then, kids, we were all Communists. I know, I know, but we were.

Second, did I not just mention our complete lack of predatory characteristics? A lone human can't watch his or her back, even with one of those cool spear thingies.

In kindergarten we learn the most fundamental lesson of human society: share. For alone, you die.

Loneliness may be in my genes, but it's not to make me a reclusive lone hunter-gatherer.

But this isn't really about me, is it? Because I'm not male. This is about the idealized notion of the Lone Hunter. If he hoards food, it makes him healthy and more able to attract a mate, via some unclear mechanism wherein cavewomen are attracted to the selfish guy who is never around and doesn't share food.

So let me ask you two questions:

Copyright © 2005 by Sidra M.S. Vitale

02/08/07 at 21:43