Screw all this, I'm marrying a flatworm

Sexual promiscuity is rampant throughout nature, much as it is in our tabloids these days.

By Sarah Hepola
Published March 19, 2008 11:00PM (EDT)

The other day, for lack of a hairshirt to wear, I watched Larry King. "Why do men cheat?" he barked at the camera, shifting back and forth in his chair. (This was not the Larry King segment previously blogged about on Broadsheet, in which Dr. Laura blathered on about why Silda drove Eliot to sleep with prostitutes. This was another Larry King segment. Have you ever noticed that, at any given moment, there are approximately 100 percent more Larry King shows than there should be?)

Anyway, a caller buzzed in with an important question. "Yes, uh, I'd like to hear from your panel why women cheat."

Aggh. I'm sorry, what I mean is: Agggggggggggh. I'm tired of the "why do spouses cheat" stories. It's depressing. It's facile. I want to throw the remote at the television. I want to shred up the papers. And yet, I cannot stop watching. I sat there, and watched the damn thing, because the truth is that I am dying to know the reason why spouses cheat, and if I could somehow divine that wisdom from a Larry King show, that would be gangbusters.

I did not divine that wisdom. I wasted 10 minutes of my life, and then switched over to that John Adams HBO special I just could not get into. (Colonial drama = aggggh.)

Anyway, in light of our obsession regarding why spouses cheat, the Times offers us this corrective from the animal kingdom:

"Sexual promiscuity is rampant throughout nature," writes Natalie Angier, "and true faithfulness a fond fantasy."

Well, crap. In fact, monogamy is so rare that we get this tidbit: The only 100 percent monogamous species is a flatworm called the Diplozoon paradoxum. "Males and females meet each other as adolescents, and their bodies literally fuse together, whereupon they remain faithful until death."

So, pffft, monogamy. So, pffft, cheating spouses. These are the days I wish I were some sophisticated Galoise-smoking Frenchwomen who is SO OVER all these naive fantasies about men and women. I suspect, however, I would still mist up watching "March of the Penguins."

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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