Home > Aunt Pythia, Becky Jaffe, guest post, musing > Aunt Orthoptera: Advice from an Arthropod

Aunt Orthoptera: Advice from an Arthropod

March 23, 2013

Greetings from Aunt Orthoptera!

my new roommate

(Photo by Becky Jaffe)

This week I am guest blogging for Aunt Pythia, answering all of your queries from the perspective of a variety of insect species, naturally.

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Dear Aunt Orthoptera,

My friend just started an advice column. She says she only wants “real” questions. But the membrane between truth and falsity is, as we all know, much more porous and permeable than this reductive boolean schema. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Mergatroid

P.S. I have a friend who always shows up to dinner parties empty-handed. What should I do?

Dear Mergatroid,

As I grant your point entirely, I will address only your postscript. What should you do with a friend who shows up to dinner parties empty-handed?  Fill her hands with food.  As an ant, I have two stomachs: a “social stomach,” and a private stomach. When I pass one of my sisters on our path, we touch each other’s antennae and communicate our needs via pheromones. If she is hungry, we kiss, a process unimaginatively called “trophallaxis” by your scientists. I feed her from my social stomach, and I trust she will do the same for me later – or if not her, exactly, another sister in whom the twin hungers for self-interest and interdependence coexist.

Anatomy as metaphor,

Aunt Orthoptera aka Ms. Myrmecology

leafcutter ants

(Photo by Becky Jaffe)

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Dear Aunt Orthoptera,

I am struggling with emotional loneliness. Do you think it is possible to be happy – or even just productive – in life without a stable romantic relationship? If so, how? I have a couple close friends I can talk with, but they are in their own relationships and they are often too busy to have time to talk. I am in my early thirties and never had a girlfriend despite trying for nearly a decade. I have tried speed-dating, been on eharmony, match, ok cupid, asked friends to set me up, asked out a classmate in grad school, joined meetup groups. I am a nice guy but I have my flaws (nothing horrible) – I am kind of introverted, somewhat boring, and am consumed with my career (I’m untenured). It is so hard to meet people that I am compatible with – especially since I am a shy guy (perhaps it’s not surprising I am a math professor – I LOVE my job, by the way). I found ok cupid to be useful for identifying possibly compatible women but most women don’t respond to my messages. I was lucky to manage to get to go on first (and last) dates with two women I messaged on ok cupid last year, and was interested in going on more dates with both, but both of them declined, even though they both told me I seemed like a good person – “you seem like one of the nicest guys I met” is a direct quote, but that they didn’t feel there was any “chemistry”. This month I have been heartbroken over one of them. All this has been affecting my productivity.

Sincerely,

Singleton

Dear Singleton,

In my anthropological studies of humans, I have observed that you are yearning creatures. Your inexorable primateness destines you to a life of longing for social contact.  As a solitary insect, I both pity and admire this craving for connection with your kind. My advice to you is to have compassion for your fundamental humanness. Your yearning for pair bonding is normal; it’s in your nature to want to entangle yourself with another. As creatures born of DNA, pair bonding operates at both the molecular level (e.g. Cytosine pair-bonds with Guanine) and the organismal level (woman to man, man to man, woman to woman).

dna-molecule25203670268_864b214292_o

(Photo: Double Helix by Becky Jaffe)

I suspect there’s another lonely strand of DNA out there for you, worth waiting for.

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(Photo by Becky Jaffe)

I hope you find your mate!

Flirting with Sociobiology,

Aunt Orthoptera

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Dear Aunt Orthoptera,

Do you have any self-soothing advice for when self-doubt, lack of confidence, and depression begin to take over?

Sincerely,

Feeling Very Small

Dear FVS,

As a tiny butterfly, I can assure you that it is ok to feel small. Here is my advice to you when you feel this way: Don’t just stop and smell the flowers, nuzzle in them.

cascade

(Photo by Becky Jaffe)

Let your worries float away for a little while and drift toward the sweetest thing you can find. When viewed through a compound lens, the whole world can look like nectar.

Spring springs eternal,

Aunt Orthoptera aka Lady Lepidoptera

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Dear Aunt Orthoptera,

How will you enquire into that which you do not know?

Meno

Excellent question, Musing Meno.

The answer is: with great patience, dear Grasshopper.

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(Photo by Becky Jaffe)

Next week, the inimitable Aunt Pythia will return with human advice for you. You can use the form below to submit questions.

Wishing you harmony in your hive and honey to thrive,

Aunt Orthoptera

  1. Ruthi
    March 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Singleton, maybe you should spend some time thinking about what about you is awesome and worth dating. If you thinkof yourself as boring then this maybe comes through in the way you present yourself. I’d suggest spending some time thinking about why you are a good person to hang out with and or date.

    There’s also a lot of great advice at captain awkward and doctor nerdlove’s websites on dating as a geek. You might want to check those out.

    Like

    • singleton
      March 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a helpful comment, Ruthi. I hadn’t heard of those sites and will check them out. As for thinking of myself as boring, good point – I am working on developing more interests, and changing my mindset.

      Like

  1. March 30, 2013 at 9:02 am
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