Courtney's Reviews > The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

The Red Queen by Matt Ridley
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it was amazing
Recommended for: anyone who has no idea why they fall in love with the wrong person

Things I learned from this book: (human) women like tall men, (human) men like beautiful women, (barn swallow) women like men with long, symmetrical tails, gentlemen prefer blondes, sperm are small because they made a dastardly deal with nature, gender exists (and there are two of them) essentially as an accidental by-product of a primordial genetic arms race, why (we think) that we (or anything else) has sex (as opposed to splitting in half or excanging packets of DNA), why roosters have wattles and how nucleic cells probably developed.

None of these things help me get laid...so far.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 7, 2007 – Shelved

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin Gentlemen prefer blondes? I just read somewhere that in a survey 3/4 men preffered brunettes. And what is a "beautiful" woman? The standards of beauty are cultural, it isn't something someone is or is not. I don't think your review makes too great a case for this book....


Courtney The book is actually fantastic.

"Beauty" in this particular case is very carefully described as being a particular set of physical qualities: facial symmetry, hip/bust/waist ratios, neotany (that's qualities of youth...including blondness) etc. that indicate genetic stability and reproductive receptivity on a biological level for humans.

(Male chimps, for example do not value youth in their sexual partners. They tend to be more drawn to older females, in fact...as older females are more attentive parents. Youth in female humans, however is somewhat tied to the successful conception and, more particularly, delivery of offspring.)

This specific set (and there may be more, it's been awhile since I've read the book) of physical characteristics is interesting in that it seems to CROSS cultural boundaries. Certainly, there are culturally-defined notions of both male and female beauty. The point of the book is, however, to look at humans as a species with species-specific sexual behaviors...something we generally like to think we are somewhat beyond. It's basically saying that all animals' sexual behaviors can be clearly tied to the production of "successful" (biologically robust) offspring...humans being no exception.

It's a really good read too.





message 3: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Bwahaha! One of the first reviews I've read that really did make me laugh out loud. I think I'll just direct people to your review instead of writing one myself. Hard to top it.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I also read Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and it did say that some cultures prefer blondes but there were lots of jokes in that book too. (a few laughs)


message 5: by Nazmul (new)

Nazmul Hasan but did you read this book for that purpose? ... if so that's odd.


message 6: by Tye (new)

Tye Rogerson I come to Goodreads for dates.


message 7: by Raia (new) - added it

Raia And when we refer to preference in relation to "blondes vs brunettes" we are limited to the standard of norm being Europeans...Smfh


message 8: by Raia (new) - added it

Raia And when we refer to preference in relation to "blondes vs brunettes" we are limited to the standard of norm being Europeans...Smfh


message 9: by আবু (new) - added it

আবু নাসিম This comment might :v


message 10: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin Burke Heteronormative and uninspired. Meh.


Charlie Boling That's enough for me to click "want to read", or should I say you had me at "no idea why they fall in love with the wrong person"...haha


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