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Monday, July 13, 2009

Why women use makeup, maybe?

Tropical biologist Dr. Daniel Janzen offers a provocative theory that I find irresistible. Humans, he suggests, descend from a long line of primate ancestors that relished fruit. The pigments and essential oils that plants employ in their flowers also cue the ripening of berries. In particular, the esters and alcohols in the aromas of soft fruits are often identical to floral scents. Janzen argues that flower appreciation is just a happy by-product of evolution, a refinement of the senses we need to find and select a ripe banana.
. . . Janzen sees tremendous irony in some of the fads in human fashion and courtship. The woman who wears perfume and brightens her face with cosmetics, he suggests, is not emulating a blooming rose bursting with sexual allure. She is mimicking a plump, juicy rose hip bursting with vitamin C. From The Rose's Kiss: A Natural History of Flowers by Peter Bernhardt (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999, pp. 120-121)

Well, that's one theory.

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