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  • Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

    Posted by David Foster on September 12th, 2015 (All posts by )

    …special Love and Sex edition

    Why is it called falling in love?

    Half of Japanese people (ages 16-49) aren’t having sex.  Related: Tokyo’s abandoned homes

    How long does IVF allow a woman to delay having children?

    Stuart Schneiderman on what we can learn from arranged marriage. Also love lessons from India: the virtue of arranged marriage

    Stuart also writes about love, marriage, and bickering

    RS McCain: Bureaucratic academic feminism is destroying romance

    Women, here’s why you like Bad Boys

    Kevin Williamson agrees: Yes, chicks dig jerks

    A different view on jerk-chasing from Staffan’s personality blog

    Inside the brains of happily married couples

    Sacrificing a larger family to acquire a dream home

    There are no more Calvins.  (“Calvin” here referring to the partner of Hobbes, not the religious leader)

    Dr Helen:  Observations on relationships in a grocery store

    Do the toys given to little girls encourage too much focus on love and magic?

    A love song from medieval Germany and some thoughts on love songs in general

    Terry Teachout in Commentary:  Love Songs, RIP, and a response from an experienced songwriter:


    Having labored in the fields of country-music songwriting for three decades, I must agree with Terry Teachout[“Love Songs, RIP,” May] that the classic romantic love song is getting harder and harder to sell. The dominant genericclomid themes in today’s songs seem to be male statements along the lines of “let’s party and have sex / you look so hot” and female statements along the lines of “I am way too strong now to put up with your nonsense, but let’s party and have sex—on my terms.” Most gals aren’t about to sing about undying love, since that would undermine their stance of strength and independence, and most guys—dealing with this stronger female—compensate by upping their macho stance, pushing them into avoiding “true love” songs as well.

    The obvious catalyst for this change is the post-’60s birth-control-enabled overt female sexuality, and both sexes, at least for now, seem delighted with this unprecedented new normal. Alongside many of my fellow writers, I believe that “romance” is incapable of competing on the charts with the idea of casual, readily available sex. Those of us who are still trying to write old-fashioned kinds of love songs, even if we have made it to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, are like milliners still trying to sell boater hats.


    6 Responses to “Worthwhile Reading & Viewing”

    1. dearieme Says:

      But to see her was to love her;
      Love but her, and love forever.
      Had we never lov’d sae kindly,
      Had we never lov’d sae blindly,
      Never met—or never parted—
      We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

    2. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      In a study (I don’t have the link), women were asked about what attracted them to men in a bar. They valued confidence shading into arrogance. They hated a hesitant man, and they evaluated this as soon as men came into the room.

      In the study, men were asked to approach women in their usual way, and later were asked to approach in a way that was aggressive and intrusive, like leading men in a movie. The men reported that they felt uncomfortable about being so forward, and the women reported that they liked the more forward approach.

      This may explain some of the observation that girls like “bad boys”. Most don’t want criminals, but they are very attracted to the independence and confidence that the tough guys give off. Confidence with brains was a winner.


      New research suggests that women choose bad boys because of their hormones. Hormones during ovulation influence who they see as good potential fathers, and they specifically pick sexier men over obviously more dependable men.

    3. James the lesser Says:

      I did a cursory review of the top 20 pop and country lyrics. Love songs still show up.

    4. Christopher B Says:

      One thing that seems to crop up all the time in these sorts of studies (it’s been a while since I read his review but I think this was true of the book that Stefan posted on) is that they consistently conflate attraction triggers and relationship qualities. In essence, they wind up asking “what qualities would make you want to have a long-term relationship with a person you are already attracted to?” and then present the data gathered as if those qualities provided the initial spark of attraction for the relationship when they haven’t obtained data related to that event at all.

    5. David Foster Says:

      Christopher B….it strikes me that there may be an analogy with communications systems. The signal has to be strong enough to be received (the basic attraction factor) but then the modulation, the specific information transmitted, has to do with compatibility & mutual interest factors.

    6. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Why is it called falling in love?
      Because it induces a sort of vertigo, a loss of control maybe. It seems to be easiest to fall in love when you’re very young.

      On attraction, I have a threshold of attractiveness, beyond which I find someone attractive. After that, once I find someone attractive, it’s all about whether I like them, enjoy spending time with them, and can trust them and depend on them.