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Biology is not destiny.

Discussion going on elsejournal seeded off an article: Men are intimidated by strong active wit in a woman. (Well, hmf. Article text disappeared into pay-only archive. Suck. But the summary covers it nicely.)

The journal-based discussion went into laughter as a fear/startle/intimidation reaction, and the male handing out the jokes and the woman giggling is a classic "Hi! I am going to be the dominant partner in this relationship!" setup. (Aside: does this mean that my active quips in class, rather than my straight lines, were related to the urge I felt to take over the class when I felt the teacher wasn't teaching effectively? Because I tend to only hand out straight lines if the teacher had a certain level of control over the class.)

And evidently there's this socio-biological female response to male thing, where the female exposes the underside of her wrist to the male she fancies. For a while I was watching my body language around a certain bondmate, and noticing what the different bits meant. Crossing the wrists together with the undersides touching was a danger signal, self-protectiveness. Exposing same undersides to said bondmate meant submission, in the highly sexual way that a hen's crouch-and-wing-brace means submission.

And the distinct suite of memories from that era welled up. He would gently poke me with words every morning until I was startled into a giggle or a smile. It was a calculated attempt each time, a systematic search for the right combination. After I'm not quite sure how long, I noticed it. Then I began playing off it, withholding the smile or the snicker to see if he'd keep searching. And he would. Once I did smile, his grin flashed across his face big and brilliant: he had done it. He had gotten that smile out of me. And I'd smile wider: yes, he certainly had.

No wonder I was going so nuts back then over the communication disconnect. I was getting a lot of the right socio/biological responses. There was distinct chemistry. But ... things were not psychologically lining up.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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