Today’s New York Times gives us the lowdown on girl crushes. A girl crush, if you’re too lazy to read the article, is what happens when a straight woman has feelings of infatuation, completely nonsexual feelings, mind you, for another woman, and you shouldn’t think that she’s a lesbian for having these feelings. One of the women quoted in the article used the word “sexy” twice to describe her admiration for a colleague, but she must be regarding her co-worker as sexy in a strictly Platonic sense.
What struck me about the article—aside from the author’s apparent hangups—was this line: “Social scientists suspect such emotions are part of women’s nature, feelings that evolution may have favored because they helped women bond with one another and work cooperatively.”
Scene: Somewhere in Africa, 100,000 years ago. Two women are digging for yams.
Uggah: Hey, umm, Squeak, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while.
Uggah: I just want you to know how much I really like you. When you were picking berries a few days ago, I was really impressed by how confident you were about which ones were ready to pick and which ones weren’t ripe, and I looked at how your fingers were holding the berries and—you know—like—I think you’re a really cool person and I want to be your friend.
Squeak: Uggah, that’s really sweet of you.
Uggah: I mean I want to be your friend in a totally non-sexual kind of way. I don’t want you to think I’m a dyke or anything.
Squeak: No, I don’t think that at all. I want to be your friend, too.
Uggah smiles shyly and returns to her digging. Squeak looks out to the horizon and sees a band of mightily thewed single male hunters, dragging a carcass behind them.
Squeak: Hey, Ug? Can you do me a favor?
Uggah: Sure. What?
Squeak: It’s starting to get cold here. Can you run back to my hut and get a couple of blankets?
Uggah: I’d be glad to.
Squeak: I’d do it myself, but we’re so far from camp, and I have such a sore back from all this—
Uggah: It’s no problem. Really.
Squeak watches Uggah until the other woman is a few hundred yards away. Then Squeak brushes back her hair, faces the approaching hunters, and watches them as she digs, leaning forward to show them her cleavage.
Pop quiz for aspiring evolutionary psychologists: which character in this drama is going to leave more copies of her genome behind?