On Being Lesbian

Nicholas Kristof in the NYT muses on the findings from a recent study showing that many lesbians – like most men – will have a ring finger that is longer than their index finger whilst women generally, have an index and ring finger roughly the same in length. A quick, albeit unscientific, check reveals that I’ve got lesbian fingers and were it not for the fact that I’m also a bloke – which could explain it – I’d be off shopping for comfortable shoes without delay!

Kristof’s topic is the nature or nurture debate in respect of the origins of homosexuality. He reports that informed scientific opinion is increasingly leaning towards nature as the significant causative factor, though he doesn’t allude to whether nature might also explain television horrors like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – or is that “Buy?” – but, inevitably… I digress.

He covers an interesting range of findings including one that relates to how we blink. When males and females are exposed to a loud noise, they blink in somewhat different ways ¢â¬â except that lesbians appear to blink like men, not like women. Other findings include the fact that identical twins are much more likely to both be homosexual than are fraternal twins and what about this fascinating detail? Compared with straight men, gay men appear to have a larger suprachiasmatic nucleus, a part of the brain that affects behavior, and some studies show most gay men have a larger isthmus of the corpus callosum ¢â¬â which may also be true of left-handed people. And that’s intriguing because gays are 39 percent more likely to be left-handed than straight people.

I’m not left-handed nor am I aware of the size of my corpus callosum isthmus – and I don’t think that checking it out at home is recommended. I don’t have any older brothers either, though Kristof covers a finding that suggests that a male is more likely to be gay if he has older brothers. It doesn’t matter if he has older sisters, but for each older brother he is about 33 percent more likely to be gay.

This is getting worrying: apart from the finger thingo, I’m clearly failing Fag 101. I wonder what Ellen de Generes is up to these days……?

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wen
wen
2022 years ago

My ring finger is way longer than my index finger & I only have comfy shoes. & when I first met my spouse he had very long hair & was dressed in a nun’s habit. & I’ve checked my corpus isthmus thingy & I have to say it seems pretty large.

Could you tell me what the blinking pattern actually is? I think I might have made a dreadful mistake …

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

The ring finger thing is a myth that originated in Holland, as in “put the finger in the dyke”.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

So Geoff, are you going to tell us what the hell an isthmus of the corpus callosum is?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Chris – I’ve no idea. But it sounds impressive. Wendy may be able to shed some light.

Wendy – A spouse who presents with long hair, in a nun’s habit, is about as a powerful an Australian validation of heterosexual persuasion as I could imagine.

Dave – I should, of course, have thought of you when I put dykes and fingers in such tantalisingly
close proximity.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Darwin until fairly recently had a gay political/theatrical group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They also dressed in nuns’ habits, although none of them had long hair and they were anything but a “validation of heterosexual persuasion”.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

The long(er)ring finger thing is an indicator of a large amount of testosterone present at a certain stage of the development of foetus. I think science is fairly clear on this.

Alledgedly, studies have shown that a long ring finger in relation to the index finger is a strong sign of high relative athletic prowess which seems to follow from the above. I have seen this on the news and in a magazine article (a few weeks ago). I don’t think they referred to any connection to this and sexual persuasion – in fact I think they said no such connection had been found.

I suspect that the sexual persuasion thing is an extrapolation (true or not true) from this item.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Ken – You’re right. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an incontrovertibly gay pisstake on Catholic iconography. Indeed, the Pope famously blessed members of the Sydney order as he Popemobiled through Taylor Square enroute to celebrate Mass at Randwick during his visit to Oz. My advice to Wendy was based on my perception that blokes dressing up in feminine attire is an entirely normal – though puzzling – statement of Australian male heterosexuality.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

James – Here’s what Kristof had to say on the finger association:

“Studies suggest that ring-finger length has to do with the level of androgens in the womb, and that may help explain another puzzle of homosexuality: a male is more likely to be gay if he has older brothers. It doesn’t matter if he has older sisters, but for each older brother he is about 33 percent more likely to be gay. Some scientists speculate that a woman’s body adjusts the androgen level in her womb as she has more sons, and that the androgens interact with genes to produce homosexuality.”

TJW
TJW
2022 years ago

You mean to tell me you can’t catch gay? So I’ve been wearing this tin-foil hat for nothing?

Last time I listen to a mormon.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

the isthmus thing sounds like that little strip of hair that’s left on top when some men go bald.
I’m sure it’s not.
I’ll go google up some definitions. (no doubt completely incomprehensible)

wen
wen
2022 years ago

corpus callosum:

The arched bridge of nervous tissue that connects the two cerebral hemispheres, allowing communication between the right and left sides of the brain.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“So I’ve been wearing this tin-foil hat for nothing?’

I’m afraid so. Tin-foil is tres passe.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

I think there is something in the same vein about accomplished athletes/sportspersons having 2nd toes longer than their big toes. Perhaps a case of desirable athletes foot.

Also if you want to know how tall you are you can measure your height from finger tip to finger tip with your arms outstretched.(Actually did it and height is 1900mm with span 1985mm so seems a bit rough and ready- any others for a quick poll?)

Don’t the Muthers & Bubs Health mob check infants height at age 2(?) as this is when they have reached half their expected adult height? The boys will, with almost 100% certainty, end up at least as tall and probably taller than their mothers, to explain why males are staistically taller than females.

The only other gauge I can recall coming from a family of over 6 footers was my old man’s observation- ‘Big man big cock, little man is all cock!’ but I think he was getting beyond the realms of science.

Jason Soon
2022 years ago

the corpus calloseum is the bundle of nerve fibres that connect the left and right hemisphere of the brain. I know this because being left-handed I’ve read about the correlation between having a large corpus calloseum and being left handed. Apparently the corpus colloseum is bigger in females than males and in some males the corpus colloseum even withers away and dies after a certain age. thus women and left handers have ‘better connected’ brains.

Gareth
2022 years ago

Dunno about the arm span thing, but if you go on the “double the two year old height” test I was supposed to be 6’6″. As it is I’m just a bit under 6’3″.

Paul Watson
2022 years ago

Breaking News:

“Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres has agreed to undergo a makeover – after pleas from her fans to dress more feminine.”

http://www.teenhollywood.com/d.asp?r=51244&cat=1027

I guess this means than Ellen will be using her extended ring finger to all the better display some brand new Tiffanys frou-frou.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

It’s about time someone started an adult discussion of lesbianism. Anyone know where to get a strap-on isthmus of the corpus callosum?

James Russell
2022 years ago

You mean to tell me you can’t catch gay?

Apparently you can, but perhaps not how you expect…

Yobbo
Yobbo
2022 years ago

This simply confirms my long held suspicion that I’m a lesbian.

Norman
Norman
2022 years ago

It takes longer [but it’s less dangerous — and for me at least — more interesting] than going around asking people if you may measure their fingers; but for anyone interested in a simple summary of the evidence for why men and women are different intellectually/emotionally PLUS an explanation of homosexuality, read “Brainse”.
And while you’re reading it, keep in mind the warning given to Anne Moir, one of the co-authors, by a friend when she was writing it:
“Ohhh! You’ll need to be careful what you say!”
I may not have the precise wording of the warning, but the spirit of the message is accurate.