Talking of evolution

I realised the other night that some women have developed the particular capacity of dancing with their handbags tugged under the arm in a way that the handbag almost seems to be a part of them.

What am I trying to say by this? Considering that I have clearly not developed this capacity, there are two options: I’m not evolving. Or, I’m not evolving in the same direction. I bought my first handbag at the age of 27 and this only because I couldn’t possibly show up with my usual backpack at a work related gala dinner. Times I used this handbag since: 2; 1 of which was another work related dinner.

Maybe we are witnessing a split in human evolution: One part of the species evolves with a genetically integrated handbag, the other continues to have backpacks where everything can be dumped in and which are far less likely to cause strong shoulder pain.


12 responses to “Talking of evolution

  1. I have a strong suspicion you’ve chosen the right branch. In my humble, totally non-representative experience, having a handbag and being nice are inversely related. (To all handbag-owning readers of this – this is merely a probabilistic statement and doesn’t say anything about YOU.)

    Mind you, I think I have chosen a cul-de-sac in evolutionary development. I still do not own a mobile phone and I must soon be in a minority of one. But then again – I have never missed one, either.

  2. 😀 I know too many handbag-owning people that are nice to agree with you but this is nevertheless the best comment of the month!

    The question with the mobile phone is: Does it increase your chances of reproduction to have one or not?

  3. Given that the month is merely four days old, that’s not saying much 😀

    I must admit you’ve stumped me – I’ver never considered a mobile phone in reproductive terms before. I need to mull a little over this one…

  4. I have a good feeling about my prediction above.
    The question is if having a mobile phone has an evolutionary advantage. The answer probably depends very much on what you are actually doing with it 😉

  5. Having mulled it over, I have come to the conclusion that I was right. I HAVE manoeuvred myself into an evolutionary cul-de-sac. Not having a mobile phone is very likely to have an adverse effect on my chances of procreation.

    Way, way back (“damals in den Ardennen
”), there existed a concept that in German was knows as a “Verabredung”. Two or more individuals would agree to meet at a specific date and time in the future at a pre-determined location. Sounds archaic now, I know. When I tried to invoke this concept about ten years ago with a friend of mine, she told me that she was not able to enter into this kind of agreement. In her web of friends and acquaintances, meetings were arranged “just in time”. Someone desiring personal interaction would send a text message informing others, “I am in this cafĂ©/pub/bar, anyone (or probably “NE1″) want to join me?” This modus operandi does not lend itself to fixed future commitments. As I am excluded from this kind of impromptu social interaction, my opportunities to encounter a suitable partner for mating are considerably diminished. Thus, I will remain single into my old age. Tragic. And it’s all Nokia’s fault!

  6. Ahem… You do know that there is an easy way out, right? Unless you decided to make not having a mobile a statement against the current evolution of our species.

    Besides which there are still people like me who are in between the described the two species above: the homo mobiles and the sapiens. Meaning: Even though I own a mobile and use it a lot; the ‘good’ old ways still prevail.

    Ultimately, it is all Alexander Bells fault. More reading here:

  7. Not sure I would blame Alexander Bell. I do like phones. A lot. I just don’t like carrying them around with me.

    I skim-read the further reading. Interesting. But it’s not the whole story. I am not generally a refusenik when it comes to modern means of telecommunication. I was a very early adopter of e-mail (I still remember using lynx on PCs before Windows was around). I embraced the internet as soon as I became aware of it. But I never warmed to mobile phones. Mind you, I was once grateful that someone else had one on him. When we got stuck on a sandbank in the middle of the Ijsselmeer, I WAS grateful that we could phone for help.

    But it is amazing how dependent some people have become. I recently had to call the AA when my car had died. The friendly lady on the other end of the line was completely stumped when, following her question for my mobile number, I told her that I do not have one. “But how is the mechanic going to find you?”, she asked. “I tell you exactly where I am”, was my reply. And the mechanic found me immediately with no problems at all. But for her it was a first. People cannot be found without mobiles. Scary.

    On a more serious note, this reliance on mobile phones has real consequences. A number of my students are incapable of keeping appointments. Due to the “just in time” culture of text messaging, the do not keep a diary. Or any other means of recording a fixed appointment in the future. (Although I have a suspicion that some mobile phones have a “remind me” function. But how would I know?).

  8. Indeed, most mobile phones have a remind me function nowadays. Though I still think a lot of people don’t know this, don’t know how to use it or forget to use it which brings us back to square 1: They forget an appointment.

    But, I bet these people were never good at remembering whatever it was; I wouldn’t blame the mobile phone for it. The secret is to use whatever technology helps you to remember and that might be very different from one person to another. When I had a paper agenda, I would forget most birthdays; since I have inserted the birthdays of family and friends in my Google calendar and added an automatic reminder email; I’m the best person that ever was there 🙂

    I really appreciate having my mobile phone being able to give a short update when something unforeseen happens, I also understand your frustration with people constantly changing plans because ‘everything is sooo easy’. Though it does sound a bit like ‘good old times’ to me 😉

  9. The only bags I can do are the messenger bags with a long shoulder strap. It seems so archaic to lose the use of a hand just to carry a bag.

  10. I perfectly agree with you. I always want to have my hands free; especially with those slippery times 🙂

  11. Just as a little addendum. I found this in the Sunday Times:

    “At Cambridge all the party invitations go out on Facebook (…) So if you don’t have Facebook, you won’t get invited to any parties, so you won’t have any sex, so you won’t have any children, so your genes die out. So it’s an evolutionary necessity to be on Facebook.”

    Seems we have moved well beyond mobile phones… (unless, of course, we are talking iphones…)

  12. Cause and correlation; never easy to tell apart. Not even for the Sunday Times it seems.

    Mobile phones are only one part of that puzzle…

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