Oh goody, more sex scandals.
We all know how this monkey business works.
Powerful silver-haired man has a relationship with younger, less powerful woman. They break up, she spills the beans to the media, and we all shake our heads wondering why a guy who seems so smart would risk everything for a meaningless fling.
Am I the only person getting tired of this?
The media's abuzz about the affairs of David Letterman and ESPN's Steve Phillips.
To be fair, Letterman wasn't married at the time, and the woman he was involved with says it was a consensual relationship. Full disclosure: I find Dave hilarious, and since he didn't cheat on me, I'm not inclined to quit watching him just because his personal life is less than perfect.
Letterman and Phillips are hardly the first powerful men to have this problem. Is there something about being on TV or making a stratospheric income prompts men to cheat?
Evolutionary psychologists say yes
Evolutionary psychology is the study of human nature. It's based on the premise that human behavior is largely the result of evolved psychological adaptations, and we're primarily driven by natural selection and sexual selection.
Said another way, we may gussy ourselves up. But we're basically just a bunch of primates trying to survive and reproduce before we die.
Evolutionary psychologist Sarashi Kanazawa writes, "The underlying motive of all human behavior is reproductive; reproductive success is the purpose of all biological existence, including humans."
The challenge is, "reproductive success" is different for men than it is women. For men it's quantity; for women it's quality. A man can produce lots of children in his lifetime, whereas a woman is limited by how many her body can carry.
So from a purely evolutionary perspective, reproductive success for a man would be populating a small country. Yet for a woman, it means producing a small number of high quality offspring that will lead a country.
If you buy into the premise that we're basically instinct driven animals, the biological impulse for men is to seek out lots of healthy young women so they can produce lots of offspring. For women, the biological drive is to seek out a high resources man who can help them care for their limited number of young.
In a chapter entitled, "Life's Not Fair, or Politically Correct," Kanazwa says that from an evolutionary perspective, the purpose of gaining power (or anything else men do) is to have a large number of women to mate with.
When viewed through the lens of evolutionary psychology the question, "Why on earth would a powerful man risk it all for an affair with a young woman?" is a silly question.
The answer would be: Why not?
Am I the only one who finds this line of thinking totally depressing?
Are we really just slaves to our biology?
I don't think so. My primitive instincts may be telling me to make a play for silver-suited CEO so that I'll have access to his vast resources in order to raise my two future leaders. But that doesn't mean I have to follow that impulse. Nor does a male have to act upon the urge in his head grunting, "Young woman, new opportunity, take, take."
Just as you don't have to hit the buffet table every time you feel hungry, you can cultivate a moral compass.
Come on people, we may be primates, but that's no reason for us to act like apes.
Snellville resident Lisa McLeod the author of "Forget Perfect." Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.