Thanks to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, author of the lurid sex book Why Him? Why Her? How to Find and Keep Lasting Love, the Oedipal complex has received a much-needed 21st-century update. It's not that all men want to kill their fathers so they can marry their mothers — what they really want to do is find a suitable proxy for their mothers and marry that unwitting lady so as to keep mother close forever and ever. It's way less creepy the way Fisher explains it, but CBS This Morning anthropomorphized seat cushion Anthony Mason does his level best to paint Fisher's segment (creepily titled "All in the Family" to really emphasize the incest angle) in the most lurid brushstrokes possible by posing the titillating question, "Should [men] date their mothers?" I don't know, Anthony, does the V.C. Andrews estate have a new book out that I'm not yet aware of?
Fisher talks about a study from the cold netherworld of Finland that suggests men are more likely to marry women who looked like mother. Researchers figured this out by surveying 70 married couples and comparing pictures of each spouse with pictures of each spouse's parents. Men were far more likely to marry women who resembled their own mothers than women were to marry men who looked like their fathers. This is not, Fisher cautions, after giving Freud a not-so-subtle eye roll, to say that women don't also listen for paternal echoes in a potential partner, but, since men are more visually oriented, their predilection for mother-clones is way more apparent. Women, being more mole-like when it comes to physical appearance, might, says Fisher, be looking for unseen fatherly qualities in their potential husbands, such as the ability to not be a layabout, as well as the strength to give good piggyback rides.
Why men marry their moms [CBS This Morning]