Monday, April 19, 2010

Keeping up with The Times

I took this weekend "off" (i.e., a quick trip there-and-back for Beanie and Bubbie to visit their cousins) - I am paying for this now (i.e., prepping classes, writing an exam, offering extra help to students confused about material for said exam).

Never got around to reading last week’s magazine story, “Can Animals Be Gay?” Let me take a guess: Yes.

However. I understand how and why it might contribute to thinking about human sexual behavior to look at the range of behaviors among non-human animals, but I also question whether or not it helps us to talk in particular about animals as "gay." Human sexual behavior can include a range of activity. Homosociality (e.g., same sex / gender friendship) seems to be as much if not more the rule in history and across cultures and societies. Not to mention that “gay” and for that matter “straight” identity is constructed.

All of which is a long way of getting around to saying that I just started reading this week’s magazine story, “The Estrogen Dilemma.” Before I even realized it, I found myself at the bottom of page 2 of 7, about to click on Next Page. Then I remember about having to teach class.

The article is about the science and experience of being a woman of a Certain Age. For the record, I am not yet at that Certain Age. I believe that I am at an Uncertain Age. Not young, I guess, but not old enough even to be Middle Aged. So, I apologize to every person over the age of 35 to whom I ever referred, in my youthful ignorance, about a decade ago, as Middle Aged. (For more on this, see the George Clooney movie, “Up in the Air.”)

I liked this observation:

I managed a surprising level of public discretion about what was going on; competence at the cover act is a skill commonly acquired by midlife women, I think, especially those with children and work lives. If the years have taught us nothing else, they have taught us how to do a half dozen things at once, at least a couple of them decently well.

Ah, covering. I feel like that is a lot of what I do as a parent. Also as a scholar / teacher.

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