Human Mate Selection Is a Many-Splendored Thing

David Buss has a grand unified theory about the evolution of desire. His research has identified 115 love acts, 147 things you can do to upset or annoy the opposite sex, and 237 reasons to copulate. But can that help me find romance?

Love will be the death of us, I can see that now. The signs have been there for a long time. Right in our midst—and glorified to boot—is a substantial threat to the continuation of our species, as much of a menace as global warming, nuclear weapons, hantaviruses, or trans fats. Please hear me out. This isn’t just bitterness or griping. Precisely how I arrived at this conclusion will take some explaining, but it all began when I went to see David Buss, the mating expert.

I’d learned of the presence in Austin of a mating expert some years earlier, long enough ago that I don’t remember what tipped me off, and I’d thought for a while of making journalistic inquiries, but it was only this year that I at last paid a visit. The impulse can’t have been purely professional, as I was reminded more than once by my psychotherapist, the ever-prescient Dr. Norwaald. For when it comes to matters of the heart, I’ve not been what you’d call a high achiever. Conjectures as to why this is so—as to whatever combination of icy wings, electrical malfunctions, crew member strikes, and/or snafus in the control tower might account for my years of sitting on the long, dark runway of love—are

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