518-10 (47bbc dist, 3.4 mean)
Selected-By: Greg Wohletz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Usenet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:
And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
> Oh Oracle most wise, whose knowledge of the secrets love and desire
> exceeds that of Aphrodite, Cupid, and Dr. Ruth put together, I humbly
> beg you, from the depths of despair, to please answer my question.
> I am a heterosexual person who is having some fairly nasty and
> prolonged trouble with members of the opposite sex. To wit, my
> attention is directed primarily toward three members of this group:
> - Person A is a very nice person, with whom I have had a fairly
> serious relationship over the past two or three months. However,
> I recently realized that, though I like Person A very much, I do not
> have the amount of emotional committment need to make both of us
> truly happy. I told this to Person A, who replied that it didn't
> really matter; the relationship could go on anyway. I said, No,
> that's not right, we have to break up. So we did. Then we slept
> together a few times, of course, so we're back in this nasty
> indeterminate state.
> - Person B is a good friend of mine, who has told me in no uncertain
> terms that we should go out. I am very, very, desperately attracted
> to Person B (probably more than I am to anyone else on this list) and
> would really like to get together with Person B. Furthermore, I
> like Person B quite a lot. There's a catch, of course: I know that
> any relationship I have with Person B would be fairly short (two
> months) and would end in my initiating a breakup. Since I am also
> friends with many of Person B's friends, this could be quite awkward.
> The trouble, of course, is that I wouldn't be able to stop thinking
> about Person C:
> - Person C is an extremely good friend of mine, whom I have also
> pursued in a romantic manner for more than a year. Though
> unresponsive to my immediate attentions, Person C has intimated
> (I think) that this position may change in the medium-term future.
> If this were to be the case, I would be very pleased. If this were
> not to be the case, I would be most bummed, as I would have thrown
> away near-perfect (and maybe growing to perfect) chances at
> relationships with Persons A and B, merely because I feel (for some
> idiotic reason) that Person C is much more likely to be the 'right'
> Person for me.
> Clearly, I face a great dilemma, and so I turn to you.
> So, oh Oracle most wise, here is my question: Am I male or female?
} The simple answer is "yes."
} But the simple answer is not always right! For I perceive that though
} you belong to a species sufficiently advanced to communicate via
} electronic mail (even if you use a Mac, that makes you at least equal
} to a gerbil, say, but with bigger hands), yet you describe as a
} "dilemma" a situation where you have at least three options in the
} worst case (or seven if your friends are reasonably obliging) - a
} scenario better described as a "trilemma" or other n-lemma, for n > 2.
} What species, I ask myself, therefore, has access to electronic
} communications, while still being unable to count reliably past one?
} And more specifically, what are the gender options presented thereto?
} Checking my files on innumeracy in technological species, the first
} candidate I find is highly advanced Bonsqueeni race of EpEpEpEpEpEpEp,
} a species intellectually dedicated to electronic communications,
} bartending and papacy, whose entire means of reproduction rests on an
} inability to cope with numbers in the approximate range of eleven to
} fifteen: for as it is written, when a dozen or so Bonsqueeni enter a
} dark room together, quite often a slightly larger number emerges.
} Population control is effected by the violent fights that typically
} erupt shortly thereafter, as the Bonsqueeni argue about which of them
} is new. The Bonsqueeni are calculated (on the basis of measured
} probabilities of group reproductive viability) to have on the order of
} 1.083 sexes, but no one knows what they are.
} Since in the best case your problem is with the number seven, I think
} we can eliminate the Bonsqueeni.
} But what about the qrkXXXnrk, the peanut-shaped beings from the
} asteroid Joe? Their sexes number, basically, six: red, squiggly,
} republican, bottom, mocha and sludge (I happen to know that there is
} actually a seventh sex, quadraphonic, but this is not recorded in my
} reference book, since they appear as sterile squigglies except in times
} of great political upheaval - and the qrkXXXnrk quite wisely abandoned
} politics several millennia ago). The qrkXXXnrk worship the number zero
} and admit the existence of no other quantity ("There is no other Number
} but Zero and Multiplication is its Operator") (Actually there is an
} earlier qrkXXXnrk sect that holds that Zero is actually the Identity of
} Addition, but this view finds little sympathy with the priesthood, who
} seem to feel that Addition is at best a minor operator. Some have gone
} so far as to deny its historical reality). For many centuries it was
} believed that the qrkXXXnrk were actually true telepaths, since they
} could exchange views with all of their orifices glued shut, but it has
} since been learned that in fact they "talk" by direct mind-to-mind
} electronic mail. Thus, this would seem to be a distinct option: you
} might be a mocha qrkXXXnrbpzzzt.
} In which case the answer would be an unequivocal "no".
} The only remaining candidate that leaps instantly to my mind-numbing
} mind is that you are in fact an <o>. But the <o> are hardly people, are
} Well, such are the probabilities. But what of the *possibilities*, you
} ask? Well, in an infinite universe, anything must happen. The best
} course must naturally be to let yourself be governed by, not facts
} (since we know that they are all true, somewhere!) but by feelings.
} Your own feelings. Why not find one of these people you find so
} attractive - any of them will do, but from your missive I would guess
} that person A is the most accessible - and give them a good feel. Down
} there, between the legs. Now just apply the handy gender determination
} chart I'm sending you by surface mail!
} [Here I've inserted three sample lines so you can get an feeling for
} the system. The whole chart is over fifteen million lines long. -ed.]
} GENDER DETERMINATION TABLE - HETEROSEXUAL
} Preferred Partner's Genital Conformation Indicated Gender of Self
} penis female
} vagina male
} cactus thing with magnets and an eye '''''p*!
} One warning: be very careful to use the table only as directed!
} Misapplication of this chart can be very, very confusing.
} And good luck with your current existence!