It is the male peacock that wears the fancy dress and struts his finery to attract the less flashy lady peahens. In the animal world it generally appears to be the male that gets all dolled up to catch the female, so why in our species are the females the disciples of Vogue? With animal courtship the males do all kinds of crazy things to show off because it’s the females who get to make the final decision. Human females also get to make our final decisions on mating, but it also appears they get to do all the gaudy displaying too? Or is that true?
Males of our species do show off by making money, showing strength, doing dashing deeds, while only using a modest amount of flashy color and huge tail feathers. Hell, suits are in by the young men again. You can’t get less flashy than a suit. Last night I saw a rock band all wearing black coats, white shirts and dark ties. Their looks were dull but they were making a big noise to attract women.
In our species it appears that the males are still the ones that show off, but somehow the role of preening was giving to our ladies. From fashion runways to Vegas shows to Miss America pageants you can see the extremes of female plumage.
I think this biological programming has had a tremendous impact on female behavior and psychology, making women very different from men. Okay, I can hear all the protests now. Yes, I know some men love to show off their costuming and some women don’t. But I think this programming subroutine goes far deeper than outfits. Women are a thousand times more concerned about their looks then men. Why is that?
Let me give an example. Among my lady friends, and I’m mostly talking about women in their fifties, I’m starting to hear the same story repeated independently from all of them that makes me worry. They all hate to see themselves naked. One friend said she holds her hand in front of her eyes when she gets out of the shower to shield her vision from the image of her naked body in the mirror. When she says this I’m thinking I’d loved to see her step out of the shower and towel off, so it’s not that she’s bad looking. But why has she become so hideous to herself that she won’t look at a mirror until she’s dressed and ready to hide her face in makeup?
If this was an isolated comment I wouldn’t have much evidence for my case, but I hear stories like this over and over again. We’ve reached an age where my women friends are horrified by their bodies but I’m not, not by mine or theirs. I still want to look up their dresses and down their blouses to catch whatever glimpses I can. And another common thing I hear from these women are gripes about men wanting younger “firmer” women.
They seemed obsessed with the word “firmer” too, because they say it with such resentment. And no matter how much I tell them I’m still physically attracted to women my age and even a bit older they don’t believe it. They say I’m an oddball and 99% of normal men only want to look at twenty-something women. Sure we like looking at younger women, but I’ve talked to my fellow boomers, and the consensus is older women can be just as hot.
Women may blame their resentment on men, but I’m starting to wonder if the problem isn’t theirs. Sure there are men obsessed with sweet young things, but none of my pals are like that. I think a lot of men have to chase younger women because as they get older the females of their generation stop wanting to be caught, forcing those guys to go further afield to hunt. But this isn’t the point of my story. I want to focus on the psychology of being the peacock.
I think both sexes are cursed by their biological programming. Personally and culturally we’re possessed by the drive to reproduce. This is understandable from a biological point of view, but why doesn’t the sex drive shut off when the baby making years are over? When women go through menopause, why don’t they suddenly wake up and think, “Gee, I feel great. I don’t have to preen anymore for those goddamn males always chasing after me.” And then relax into a new lifestyle. Why should women hate their bodies just because the sign “Great Babies Made Here!” gets turned off?
From the male side of things I wished my thoughts weren’t constantly befuddled by my cells urging me to go make babies. Obviously, the reason why I still want to see fiftyish women get out of the shower is from residual programming to reproduce. I’m already hearing all those people thinking, “Well men can make babies until they die.” Just because we can, and just because we have the drive, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Evolution designed us to live long enough to reproduce and then die. Our brains helped us beat those plans and we live much longer than evolution planned. At a certain point in both the lives of men and women we get to an age where babies aren’t wanted. But the damn baby making programming inside of us doesn’t shut off.
Woman feel angst about losing their younger bodies and men feel angst about not getting laid as often. It appears that the women who looked the best in youth hate themselves the most while aging. Of course this is well illustrated by Hollywood starlets pursing plastic surgery till they have faces that look like rigor mortis of death. The nature of women playing the peacock was well illustrated in an old movie I saw the other night, Mr. Skeffington, with Bette Davis as a beauty obsessed woman constantly courting marriage proposals even after she was married.
I feel sorry for my women friends. Why can’t they accept wrinkles and sags? Firm tits and ass are only signs that say, “I Make Babies.” Why can’t old guys understand that the urge to chase young women is your cells tricking you into fatherhood? In the end, I think the burden of the peacock syndrome on women is far harder than left-over horniness in men. I don’t hate my body because I can’t get laid. Being a peacock when the feathers fall out must be painful and pathetic.
I have a long running argument with one of my lady friends. She says who we’re attracted to is mental, and I say it’s biological. Well honey, I think if it’s mental you would be able to rationalize yourself out of the peacock syndrome.
4 thoughts on “Being the Peacock”
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I’ve seen many, many women in their 50’s and 60’s who are every bit as stimulating to the eye as younger women…and I’m not talking about ‘perfect’, plastic surgery women either.
It is sad that no matter how ‘enlightened’ we get there is still a lot of emphasis on the way someone looks.
I loved this post. Thank you.
Recently I was at the counter of our little country post office. It was just before closing time and I was the only customer. The clerk (male) told me he hadn’t told anyone else & was at the end of a 14 hour shift, but it was his birthday. “How old?” I asked. “47,” he said dolefully. “Hey, you’re just a kid. I’m 57!” I said. “Yeah,” he grinned crookedly, “but you’re still hot!”
Of course, I was pleased as punch and went directly home to relate this little exchange to my husband.
We’re all just kids inside, but it would be nice if we could be more kind and generous with ourselves.
The writer of this blog asks why women over 50 don’t like the looks of their unclothed bodies. He says he likes to look at women’s naked bodies no matter their age. First, I wonder how many actual female naked bodies over age 50 he’s actually seen. (Do you think it’s possible he believes that all women look like Sharon Stone does at age 50?!) Secondly, I think that if he doesn’t see the negative effects of aging on a woman’s body, it’s because the mere thought of sex excites him so much that he is temporarily rendered blind! I think maybe he spends too much time inside his own head!
This same blogger says he is not ashamed of his male, 50 something, naked body. Maybe not, but I wonder how he feels when his much revered body part doesn’t snap to attention as quickly as it did when he was 25 – and worse when it can’t hold it’s position long enough to live out that fantasy inside his head. Does he never wish that he still had a full head of hair that he could wear pulled back in a pony tail in a macho Steven Segall sort of way? Does he expect us to believe he doesn’t occasionally mourn the loss of his firm abs and strong back? Does he expect us to believe he actually lusts after women in their 50’s?
Oh well …. at least this line of thinking keeps him from stalking young 20 somethings!
I’m working on several goals. One is to be here now. I don’t want to give into our youth oriental culture – because there are decades of life after youth. Many of my friends of my age want to retire from life because they are no longer young.
I’m also working on the principles set forth by Stephen Stills in his song, “Love the One You’re With” and that old movie “The Enchanted Cottage” which advocates a relativity of beauty.
Most of all, I want see reality for what it is, and not for what I want it to be, and especially not live forever looking backwards regretting what’s gone by.
My lessons in reality includes learning that women do not think like I do.