Tuesday, 17 June 2008

From A to B, via C, is just so gay

According to some new research, although I feel I've read it all before, gay men and straight women can't navigate, while lesbian and straight men can. This is due to the relative proportions of the left and right hemispheres of their brains. I don't have time to get mine scanned, however tempting the prospect is, so I can't check, but I do know that I have an almost unerring sense of direction, which would make me a lesbian or a straight man, and no inclination at all to have sex with women, which wouldn't. My partner, on the other hand, bless his cotton socks, would get lost in a glass of water, as we say in Italy, which tends to confirm the research.

Is there something wrong with me? Will I wake up one morning and not know my left from my right, and need a map to find the local supermarket, and walk out of shops and turn back in the direction I came from and end up standing on a vaguely familiar corner wondering where the hell I am? Or will I just buy the latest Mara Carfagna calender and drool over those ministerial curves? Maybe some minor brain surgery can be performed, to slightly deflate my right hemisphere. Or maybe, just maybe, the research isn't quite as watertight as it would like to be. I wonder if Ben Goldacre's Bad Science will have anything to say about this... I wonder which way is up...

6 comments:

Kay Sexton said...

I just don't get this new research. As a bisexual woman with no sense of direction (or memory for jokes) but a perfect appreciation of the offside rule and the finer points of Ricky Hatton's uppercut, AND the ability to cry at advertisements for toilet paper that feature puppies, I think I must have a scrambled brain ...




... Actually, I do have a scrambled brain - I had a skull fracture as a child: perhaps I'm the exception that proves the rule?

Charles Lambert said...

Well, that makes two of us who don't fit (though I do share the puppy problem). How many exceptions does it take to disprove a rule?

Kay Sexton said...

Actually it's quite disturbing to realise how deeply the organic theory of tendency is becoming - it does sometimes seem to me that we've got some Lamarckian researchers out there - they believe there must be some discernable difference between 'this' group and 'that' group and then they set out to identify it. I have several friends who were actively same-sex-focused in youth and have become variously celibate, heterosexual and bisexual, as well as many who've stayed same-sex-focused. Are their brains expected to wax and wane with their 'proclivities'?

Labelling is never a good idea, and I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands like me, with a fluid sexual identity, who find the idea of an organic basis for sexual preference ugly in the extreme. Next we'll be given badges to wear ...

Whoops, that became a diatribe, sorry, rant over!

Charles Lambert said...

Rant on, Kay! Rant on!

Anonymous said...

I have always perceived that there was something so deep in myself that it could just come from something which was somewhat predisposed (even if I prefer to talk about soul, but somebody won't be able to follow me in this). Yes, i may seem against the common opinion here but i cannot see myself exactly the same as an heterosexual man. Indeed everyone is different and male and female are merely discernible because each one of us has the female and male essence inside ourselves, that is why homosexual people themselves are so varying in behaviour, reaction and exterior features. I don't feel myself labelled if I say i am different from an heterosexual man because as you say change is always possible. As the majority of researches has found out in recent years predispositon, biology and experience are all together influencing who we are. So one factor doesn't exclude the other.

Francesco

Charles Lambert said...

It's absolutely true that one factor doesn't exclude another, Francesco, to such an extent that this type of piecemeal research is always going to be inadequate and, ultimately, irrelevant.