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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The race to the bottom

For reasons to dull to expand on here, a young friend is visiting from the continent. For further reasons to dull to expand on here, a similarly-aged (early 20s) acquaintance was off to a night club in a nice Surrey town and offered to take her along. She had a good time, but when I asked her how the night had been she explained that the was shocked by what a bunch of drunken fat slags English women were (I'm paraphrasing: she speaks much more politely). I explained that it was the result of widespread state education and left it at that. But she quizzed me further, and asked why, in particular, the English women wore such short skirts because (and I'm not making this up) when they were drunk in the nightclub they were climbing on tables and chairs to dance and because they were wearing only thongs they were (as my continental friend said, in a slightly embarrassed way) "showing everything". I was at a loss to explain this particular phenomenon, having not been in a nightclub for some years. In fact (and I'm not making this up either) the last one I attempted to go to was in Bracknell and I fled after only a few minutes inside. The pounding music, unfamiliar and disorienting surroundings, the flashing flights and blank faces caused temporary madness and I became convinced that I was in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.

Anyway, scratching my head for a satisfactory explanation, and working from first principles, I told my friend that because there are some few eligible men in Britain (ie, men who can provide a better standard of living than the welfare state) there is intense competition to attract them. But since the men are not interested in the women's personalities, skills, potential or other attributes (since they will not be sticking around even if they father children) they are only concerned with mating signals indicating the women's availability for sex, and this is the function of the short skirts. Once again, evolution by natural selection is inescapable: the competition means the skirts get shorter, just as it makes peacocks' tails bigger.

My friend also wondered why everyone got do drunk that there were almost insensible. Here I was able to offer more informed opinion. It's in our nature, unfortunately, going back to Anglo-Saxon times.

Tea and coffee did not exist in Anglo-Saxon Britian and water was not always very clean so most Anglo-Saxons drunk beer. Even children would drink beer.

[From Ashmolean Museum: Anglo-Saxon Discovery - Eating and Drinking]

I have a memory of once reading that the Pope's first emissary to England, back in the Dark Ages, said that the English couldn't be converted to Christianity because they were too drunk all the time. Perhaps there is a new Dark Age dawning.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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