Yesterday, CBS's "This Morning" finally found two suitably inconsequential people to debate the merits of a two-week-old article in the New York Times by Dominique Browning, who claimed, based on the small sample of unaffiliated yet functional ladies living in her Amazonian apartment complex, that women are more suited to independence than their emotionally parasitic male counterparts.
Naturally, the show's producers thought it'd be a real gas to have a woman (Cooper Lawrence, author of the book about yoga you'll never read) and a man (Vulcan-eyebrowed sex therapist Ian Kerner) to have a War of the Roses-style debate about which humans have the most independent genitals.
Lawrence fired the first salvo by explaining that women "tend to have more friends" and are better able to "find resources," probably because they've always got their noses up in some catalogue. Kerner, however, seemed unfazed by such generalizations and returned with some broadsides of his own, revealing that men only feign utter domestic helplessness in a clever ruse to cajole their lucky ladies into cooking, cleaning, and folding underwear that's been worn so many times its waistband has lost all elasticity. The two then had a furious exchange in which Kerner said that, while his wife is out of town, he and his boys are doing "just fine," and Lawrence parried with the fact that Kerner's mother was watching his sons in the greenroom while their father moved his below-average sized hands in rapid, emphatic circles on national television.
Co-host Rebecca Jarvis actually made the best point during the four-minute segment when she said that her pre-engagement New York apartment afforded her a valuable opportunity to cultivate a life totally independent from her parents, that belonged entirely to her, and suggested that Browning's article is really about how satisfying self-sufficiency can be, especially for women who might have been previously stuck in an emotionally-taxing marriage. The whole conversation degenerated pretty rapidly after that, especially towards then end when Kerner came storming out of left field like a little leaguer who doesn't know the rules of baseball with a strange fact about how "cougars are the exception, not the rule" and men are more likely to remarry than woman, thus offending a whole demographic of women while simultaneously torpedoing his own argument. Lawrence, though, in a supreme effort to show that both genders can be equally tactless, countered by saying that women are more likely to go on a journey of self-discovery, like an "Eat, Pray, Love journey."
No mention of Aristophanes, though, who probably had it about right when he explained in Plato's Symposium that people are just trying to sew themselves back into the perfect whole they were cleaved from:
Thus they were being destroyed, when Zeus in pity invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the front, for this had not been always their position, and they sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another; and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed, and the race might continue; or if man came to man they might be satisfied, and rest, and go their ways to the business of life. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, seeking to make one of two, and to heal the state of man.
Oh, and gay stuff is cool too because Zeus doesn't give a fuck about who puts what in whom or who rubs what on whom or who licks what area just as long as people are trying to mash themselves together. But even if they aren't, that's probably fine too.
Alone Again, Naturally [NY Times]
Do men need women more than women need men? [CBS News]