Winter and the handicap principle

It’s the first day of Winter, and although it doesn’t really look like it out there, I probably got sick. Last time I slept for 15 hours in a raw was when I started this blog and wrote the first articles in a feverish precipitation. Hope this post won’t be as bad the first ones…


Winter storm in the desert

– first warm world country problem alert! – The problem with countries that are not used to the cold is that they know nothing about insulation and as a result, temperature drops as low as 12-15 degrees Celsius inside. I have the hardest time going out of my bed and walk on the frozen floor to take a frozen shower because I didn’t turn on the water heater early enough. What makes us enable to go through this hard time is that we know that in three months, the summer will be back. I know you hate me, you who lives in Europe or North America, but think how hard it is to have your hands frozen and not being able to warm them up against the soft cup of pumpkin spice latte! -end of the alert –

Speaking about latte, what I miss right now from Europe is the atmosphere before Christmas. I use to love walking in the cold streets heavily decorated with lights, breathing the smell of warm chestnuts, rushing in a cafe to drink a nice cup of tea or a delightful hot chocolate while talking with friends who just came back for holidays after ages abroad. I still remember sneaking out of a family reunion last year to meet a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time and drinking some vin chaud in the only café open on a 24th of December.

So, instead, we sit under the sun during the two or three warm hours of the day, talking about how it doesn’t feel like mid-December and how weird it is. Or we drive all the way to Eilat and spend a few days on the beaches of the Red Sea, trying to pet dolphins and being amazed by the closeness of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Well I didn’t go to Eilat for pleasure only but to attend a conference. Beside squatting a dinner, reading on the shore and presenting my poster that no one was interested in (not surprising at all) I learned about ‘the handicap principle’ or as I’d like to call it ‘the Louboutin principle’. This theory has been developed to explain why some animals – including humans – show features that are more of a handicap than a benefit. One famous example is the peacock tail that is costly to maintain and makes the animal heavier so less able to fly. But having this additional handicap, if it still succeeds in being alive and having a shining tail means that it’s better than its peers. And that’s this principle that brings a rational explanation to why women wear high heels and men drive big cars. I look at my shoes with a different perspective since then…

Finding by chance a song I didn’t hear in fifteen years and still knowing all the lyrics by heart without being aware of it gives me a ridiculous smile.

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