Most men are highly likely to agree with what one of my friends recently said to me. “Men are built to be polygamous; women are built to be monogamous.” He was convinced, and at the time I really could not be asked to argue. (It was one of those days and it was getting late.)
Admittedly there are still some areas in the world where polygamy is a male prerogative and legally permitted. And of course in the past it would happen when there was a shortage of men because many died in warfare or got lost in the jungle during the hunt (even then they weren’t very good at asking directions) - survival of the species and all that. (Even though technically, as a female tiger python in Artis Zoo has been proving for years, a male is not always a necessity for reproduction. Without ever meeting a male, she managed to produce exact replicas of herself for many years without fail.)
Anyway, I digress. Late 2009, Nadine Al-Bedair wrote an article querying why men can have multiple wives, but women can’t have multiple husbands, which started with the following sentence: “Allow me to choose four, five or even nine men, just as my wildest imagination shall choose”.
Personally I’m not sure if I could stomach it, one at a time is more than enough, and I really don’t think you can love them equally. To be fair to Nadine Al-Bedair, her point was not that she wanted multiple husbands - even though many men rushed to call her a loose woman - it was all about fairness and equality.
Are men built to be polygamous? Maybe. Sowing the seeds and building the population are all very important. And are women built to be monogamous? No more than men. Women look for the genes that give them the best offspring, and those are not necessarily the same as the ones that they want to put food on the table and provide the best upbringing for the kids. Which is why all one-year-olds have to look like their Dads; men need to have some proof that the kid is theirs. But if women were as monogamous as men would like to believe, there would be no need for that peculiarity. Let’s also not forget that there have been civilisations in which it was generally accepted that women were the ones with multiple partners and men were monogamous.
So why are men so sure that women are monogamous? Simple. Women are better at keeping secrets. Although recent research shows that both sexes are equally promiscuous, 1 in 10 men get caught, but only 1 in 20 women.
I can still see the face of one particular guy who was bragging about his affairs while his unsuspectingly wife was sitting at home. When one of my friends, in her sweetest voice and looking very innocent, asked him if they had a gardener, or perhaps a male window cleaner, or builders doing work on the house, his jaw literally dropped. It started to dawn on him.
Let’s face it boys: if you want to run somewhere else out of boredom or frustration, there's a fair chance she’s feeling the same way.
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