More on fat, as the Economist catches my eye with an interesting little piece re weight gain among “pregnant fathers”.
Close observation of expectant marmosets and the cottontop tamarins demonstrated beyond doubt the existence of the long-suspected “couvade syndrome”, whereby the partners of pregnant females put on weight before birth, Significantly, it was also shown that the pattern of weight-gain among the males was different from that of their mates, occuring on average earlier in the pregnancy than for the females, ruling out the possibility of overeating in sympathy with the mother-to-be as the cause.
This is a topic close to my heart at the moment, as I fight an inevitably losing battle with my waistline while Terriblet #4 swells that of my wife. I raise my stepper time to an hour a day, add extra resistance to the abs machines, do an extra set of reps on the weights, but to no avail. I have finally gone north of 200lbs, never I fear to see the right side of it again. I scan the article for clues as to how to beat my body’s ghastly treachery, but no suggestions are offered. Rather, couvade is treated as a light-hearted inconvenience, if not a natural and even positive thing. Weight gain prepares the father-to-be for the rigours of parenthood, the Economist smugly declares.
Well, that may work well for marmosets and cottontop tamarins, but they don’t have to replace an entire wardrobe of very expensive suits. Maybe if I felt slightly less attached to my wife, and not quite so bound up in the mystical connection that is the mutual anticipation of a new baby? Alas, it is all too late for me. Not even that blonde from accounts can do anything to break this ruinous reproductive spell. And God knows we’ve tried hard enough.
Again, as with policing policy, the men in white coats pick on monkeys to prove a point about humans. It’s not clear however whether the results have been normalised to take account of simian-specific causes of variation such as a high-banana diet or having a bright blue bottom. These features are admittedly difficult to recreate in human subjects, but that didn’t stop them when it came to offences against Nature like sharks with laser beams on their heads, or Chris Evans. They really ought to think twice before publishing this sort of shoddy substitute for scientific research.
A proud father and his excuse, yesterday.