I know exactly what began my infatuation with science. I know the year, the subject, the speaker and the television channel. It was the summer before my junior year in high school. Up to this point, science had been an easy but not necessarily interesting subject for me. Then one night sitting at home, I caught a show called “Desmond Morris’s The Human Animal”. The show possessed many elements that would instantly grab any 16 year old males attention. From the BBC description of the show’s topics: “the stages of courtship, and the aesthetics of physical beauty are studied, along with the anatomical mechanics of sexual arousal and copulation”. This translates to: sex, nudity and more sex; which, coincidentally, were the only three topics my 16-year-old brain was capable of attending to.
However, because Morris was a zoologist with a strong evolutionary psychology slant, the show had a lot of exciting and useful information concerning the “whys” of human sexual behavior. Suddenly I was watching to see if a girl I was talking to would twirl her hair or if she leaned towards me as we talked. Are her eyes dilated when she talks to me? Does she laugh a lot around me? To many women and more experienced men, these are obvious tips, but to a 16 year old boy these bits of scientifically derived information are gold! I felt like the most important mystery of my short life, “how do I not screw up around a girl”, had been revealed to me by an old guy with a charming British accent on TLC. I remember telling my male friends what I had learned and when the show would be on next so they could catch the stuff I forgot. I remember looking for more information of sexual behavior and reading more and more about sex differences and the “whys” of girls and guys. Four years later and two years into college I found psychology had finally overcome my art and music biased mind and I switched majors. Thus, an infatuation with the science of sexual behavior led to a strong interest in evolutionary psychology, which led to a love of sex differences and their exploration, and that is the story of my love of science (and Desmond Morris).