Thursday 27 Oct 2016

Sjef Frenken

“If God had been smart,” said Jack, “He would have invented a third sex.”

I said “I agree that God maybe should not have quit after six days, but why three sexes?”

“For one thing,” said Jack, “it would have given ‘three-some’ a legitimate status, besides being more fun. For another, it would make decision-making in marriage a lot simpler.”

I said “It seems to me that having three people in a marriage would make arguments all the more problematic. The more people arguing, the more noise.”

“Ah,” said Jack, “but think of it. The man says he wants to sell the house and move to Toronto. The woman says I don’t want to sell, I want to stay here. The third party would cast the deciding vote. Simple.”

Au contraire,” I said. The third party is likely to say, let’s sell the house and move to Montreal. Then where would you be? As I said, the more people involved in an argument, the more dissension. Two people in a marriage is more than enough.”

“Actually,” said Jack, “I think that one person in a marriage is more than enough. Still, I think we should give my idea a try. Not for myself, obviously.”

I said “Unless you had a third sex, a threesome would still be problematic: if you had two men and one woman, the woman would in all likelihood favour one of the men, and then you’d have jealousy. Or the two men, being men, would stick together on many issues. Similar situations if there were two women and one man. I can’t see it working any better than the current one man, one woman arrangement. Or even a same-sex situation.”

“But you’re talking within the context of our Western concept of marriage. Polygamy and polyandry have been around for a long time elsewhere. In fact even in the Western world there’s been polygamy – take the Mormons,” said Jack.

“Yes,” I said, “but in virtually all polygamous situations, it’s the man who’s cast the deciding vote, regardless of the number of women on the other side of the equation. It’s never been a goose-and-gander proposition.”

“Well,” said Jack, “Since God hasn’t thought to provide us with a third sex, we’ll probably have to rely on science to develop one. Give evolution a helping hand.”

I said “Actually, Jack, there are organisms that have more than two sexes, but evolution has never seen fit to extend that benefice to the animal kingdom – just to bacteria. It would seem that evolution has already decided that two sexes to a species is enough. Complementarity at a very basic level.”

“Oh well,” said Jack with a sigh, “it was just a thought.”


















Sjef Frenken is a renaissance man: thinker, writer, translator and composer of much music. A main interest, he has many, is setting to music the poetry, written for children, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Nimble of mind, Sjef is a youthful retiree and a great-grandfather. Mostly he's a content man, which facilitates his relentless multi-media creativity.

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