... or mebbe not, since all I have is a re-run and a bit of a teaser. The re-run:
There was an article in Saturday's WSJ that caught my eye... and brain... and that article is available to the general public, not just WSJ subscribers (thank The Deity At Hand, coz that makes what follows much easier). The opening grafs:It's no secret that hundreds of millions of people around the world now routinely use the Internet to indulge their sexual curiosity. Today you can ogle more naked bodies in a single minute online than the most promiscuous Victorian could have seen in a lifetime. Because this online activity leaves behind a trail of digital crumbs, for the first time we can gather reliable data on the erotic interests of a broad swath of humanity.
My colleague Sai Gaddam and I have analyzed a billion of these web searches, using data sets that firms like AOL and Excite make publicly available, obtaining other data from adult web sites, and using web-analysis techniques to gather additional data.One of our most interesting findings was that women are very different from men in how they use these online services. All across the planet, what most women seek out, in growing numbers, are not explicit scenes of sexual activity but character-driven stories of romantic relationships.Well, how's that for an opening? OK... it should come as no surprise that women are different than male chauvinist piggies when it comes to online erotica but let's dive deeper.The female cortex contains a highly developed system for finding and scrutinizing a prospective partner—a system that might be dubbed the Miss Marple Detective Agency. Agatha Christie's fictional sleuth is often dismissed as scatterbrained, but she is actually a shrewd judge of character and harbors deep knowledge of the dark side of human nature. She uses her surprising analytical acumen to solve mysteries that have stumped the police.
Using similar investigative skills, the female brain evaluates all available evidence regarding a potential mate's social, emotional and physical qualities to make an all-important decision: Is he Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong? Only if Miss Marple gives her stamp of approval do physical arousal and psychological arousal harmoniously unite in the female brain.Do tell! Really? Who'd a thunk it? Taking my tongue out of my cheek, this comes as no great surprise to YrHmblScrb, Gentle Reader. But going on...Female erotica demonstrates how the detective agency operates—and how it differs from the much simpler male brain. Whereas two-minute video clips are the most popular form of contemporary erotica for men, the most popular form for women remains the romance novel, an artifact that takes many hours to digest. Like pornography, the romance novel has established a strong presence in the digital domain. It is the primary engine behind the electronic book boom. Currently, three of the top 10 books on Kindle are e-romances.Ah, now we get to the crux of the story, which goes on to give statistical, demographic, and anecdotal evidence as to how profoundly different women are than men when it comes to erotica, which leads us... that would be me, actually... into real-life situations and experiences. Herewith an observation, if you will.
I've often wondered how I came to have my modest success in love (and its close relative, the brief fling and/or affair). I've mentioned that I was never any good at the Meat Market game, what with being able to count the "your place or mine?" one-night stands I've had in my life on the fingers of one hand. Nope... that was never me. I always wound up in relationships with friends, better defined as women I'd known for some period of time... varying from at least a couple o' few days to weeks and even months... mostly coz I don't have a flashing smile, good looks, a hunky bod, or any other outstanding physical characteristic. Ya want proof? OK, then, here's an icon from my past:
See? That's me in my prime... at 30 years... and The Second Mrs. Pennington, who was really in her prime, at 19. What splendid physical specimens, eh? Well, at least one of us was, but we digress...
That framed picture sat on the dresser in The Second Mrs. Pennington's and my bedroom for the 20-year duration of our marriage... and on her maiden's dresser, prior to our marriage; it's a picture of she and I on the day we met (back story), accompanied by free verse (?) I wrote on a whim and a napkin whilst waiting for a train in Nagoya towards the end of our New Years trip in 1975. (A narrative about that trip (in two parts) begins here if'n you're interested.) So there's the physical evidence of my (ahem) hunkiness... but that napkin, and the fact she saved it for so long, demonstrates a larger point: our relationship was based less on the physical than the mental (on her part, not mine, in the beginning.). I think that poem was part of the evidence collected and filed away by the Miss Marple Detective Agency, TSMP Division.
That last point brings me around full-circle. I never really saw a description of the "Miss Marple" effect in print until yesterday but I intuitively understood it, even as a callow youth. TSMP and I were "an item" on that cold night in Nagoya, but we were not yet betrothed. That would come later, after she completed her Miss Marple analysis... part of which was a demand that I give her a detailed, written accounting of my philosophy of life (yet more evidence for the MMDA), which I did, written in a very long letter to her while I was off TDY in Thailand. That account survives to this day and I may print it at some time in the future, provided I retrieve it from the archives, currently resting at SN2's house in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.Life can sometimes be distilled down to the essence of a romance novel... coz that's how wimmen roll. And we DO know this to be true, seein' as how we encountered the Miss Marple Detective Agency a few times and passed the investigations more often than not. That's pretty strange when ya think about it, innit?
The teaser is in the highlighted bits, above. I have it on fairly good authority that I MIGHT come into possession of that highlighted document sometime in the future, provided someone (who shall remain unnamed) makes it to the post office
this year this week. Stay tuned.