Friday, June 27, 2008

Pg. 69: Faye Flam's "The Score"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Score: How The Quest For Sex Has Shaped The Modern Man.

About the book, from the publisher:
A smart, witty, and fresh look at the male side of the male-female relationship from a science writer and sex columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Beginning with a “boot camp” for wannabe pickup artists—where men pay thousands of dollars for three days of classroom seminars on how to get women into bed—Faye Flam’s quest for a deeper understanding of men takes her back through the evolutionary history of the human male.

Sweeping from the birth of the first male and female organisms to the sexual foibles of twenty-first-century humans, Flam shows how a small difference in the size of the first sperm and eggs set off a war between the sexes that we’re still fighting today. Since this primordial split, a consistent pattern of behavior has emerged: males use a stunning variety of strategies to make themselves attractive to females, and females put them through the wringer.

By placing the human male in the context of the natural world, Flam highlights some intriguing resemblances among males of all species, but also the unique challenges that men face when courting women—whether for a lifelong partnership or a one-night stand. Flam ultimately reveals that millions of years of evolution have left the love lives of humans suspended somewhere between monogamy and promiscuity, and that it is this eons-old tension between males and females that has created the modern man.
Among the acclaim for The Score:
"To explain why guys will basically do (and spend) anything to have sex, Flam takes us back 3.5 billion years to the proverbial primordial swamp we crawled out of—a stew of asexual bacteria. It was here, a mere 600 million years ago, that two organisms accidentally banged into each other, sex was born, and life on earth (and in the City) really got interesting.... Flam wrestles billions of years of science into an understandable and engrossing narrative, peppered with plenty of anecdotal animal-world examples that will leave you awed and amazed. She answers the burning questions you may or may not have had stewing in the back of your mind since eighth grade like: Why do humans come in (give or take) two sexes, instead of 30,000+ like mushrooms? and Are there gay animals? Plus those that come up regularly at the dinner table like: If we can have babies without sex, do we really need males? and Why, oh why, do men like porn so much more than women like porn?"
--Playgirl blog

"Faye Flam knows exactly how to make sex scientific and how to make science sexy. She penetrates the mysteries of human and animal passion with great style".
--Matt Ridley, author of Genome and The Red Queen

"Faye Flam provides a fascinating tour of how the quest for sex has shaped the evolution of human and nature in all of its staggeringly delightful forms. Written with a deft touch and humorous hand, The Score is anchored in solid science of sexuality. It takes readers on a journey of insights that ranges from the tactics of pick-up artists to some surprising benefits of testosterone. Faye Flam has a genius for spanning different scientific disciplines, and bringing out the hidden gems contained in each. I couldn't put the book down."
--David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire

"Offering a fascinating look at everything from transsexual snakes and the long corkscrew penises of ducks to club pickup techniques and the connection between male scum and scum that is male, Faye Flam ranges broadly over many disciplines to show how sexual strivings and strategies have shaped not only us, but virtually the whole animal kingdom. Whether you're interested in cads or cod, The Score will provide you with scores of compelling, often counterintuitive insights."
--John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University, and author of Innumeracy and Irreligion

"Faye Flam's fabulous new book reads like Sex in the City but pulls together the best scientific studies on human sexuality, explaining on so many levels just how driven we all are by these baser instincts, and how that makes an evolutionary explanation for sex so compelling. The Score is one sexy book written by one sexy woman. Read it and score yourself."
--Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of Why Darwin Matters and The Mind of the Market

"Faye Flam is a very clever writer, smart and witty. She wears her scholarship lightly, stylishly, and with a wink. Men picking up this book hoping for tips on bedding women might at first be disappointed, but if they stick around they might learn the most important pick-up skill of all: To listen. After all, chances are she’s smarter than you, and more entertaining. There’s no better proof of that than this book."
--Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
Read an excerpt from The Score, and learn more about the book and author at Faye Flam's website.

Faye Flam has been covering science for The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1995. In June 2005, she started writing “Carnal Knowledge,” a weekly column about the science of sex. She has also written for New Scientist, Science, and The Economist. A graduate of California Institute of Technology, Flam was recently a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan.

The Page 69 Test: The Score.

--Marshal Zeringue