April 13, 2005

How Bad Memes Remove Themselves from the Gene Pool

From a marriage announcement in the NYT:

Dr. Debbara Jean Dingman and Daniel John DeNoon were married last evening at the Commerce Club in Atlanta. The Rev. Grover E. Criswell, a Disciples of Christ minister, performed the nondenominational ceremony.

Dr. Dingman, 49, will keep her name. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice and also an adjunct assistant professor of psychology at Georgia State University and a faculty member at the Pine River Psychotherapy Training Institute, all in Atlanta.

The bride graduated from Florida State University and received both a master's degree and a doctorate in psychology from Georgia State University.

Mr. DeNoon, 53, is a senior writer in Atlanta for the news department of WebMD.com, a medical information Web site. He graduated from Emory University.

Dr. Dingman and Mr. DeNoon met at an Atlanta jazz club in 1978, where she was a hostess and he a bartender.

Dr. Dingman, in the spirit of feminism at that time, called herself Debbie "Dingperson," without cracking a smile, she said.

Their attraction to one another was immediate. As they got to know each other better, they found they also had other things in common - the love of "good food, travel, old hotels," and their political beliefs, Dr. Dingman recalled. But it was their different approaches to social activism and feminism that added conflict, or perhaps spice, to an already intense relationship.

"Everything had to be totally discussed and negotiated," Mr. DeNoon recalled. "What I considered courteous - pulling out her chair, opening a door - she would take as an insult."

Dr. Dingman added: "We had an ability to argue about everything. He would order wine, and I'd be upset that he did it without consulting me. And then we'd argue about the migrant workers who picked the grapes. There was a real push-pull to our relationship."

Still, after about a year, they - and their friends - recognized that they were indeed a couple. But Dr. Dingman and Mr. DeNoon were not interested in marrying. They wanted a relationship that was "more egalitarian," she said. "More feminist. More in line with what our gay and lesbian friends did." This arrangement, in effect, required that the two continually review their decision to stay together. "We would choose each other each day," Dr. Dingman said, adding, "it was inefficient but romantic."

Two years ago they began changing their minds about marriage, acknowledging that both they and society were evolving.

"Gloria Steinem was one of my heroes," Dr. Dingman said. "When she married several years ago, it was instructive to me that I should not reject the institution of marriage out of hand."

Mr. DeNoon said he became more interested in marrying when marriage became a legal option for same-sex couples. He and Dr. Dingman attended the commitment ceremony of lesbian friends, and were impressed with that couple's public celebration of their love.

"We realized that we can say in front of everybody we know that, yes, we do indeed love one another, and that's not going to change tomorrow morning," he said.

Fortunately, after 27 years of this, they are too old to reproduce and perpetuate their genes. May their memes be as infertile.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The woman wouldn't marry until she saw her leader marry, then she thought it was okay. With three degrees you would think that she could think for herself, or at least let her hormones think for her. The scariest part is that she has a degree in psychology. I'd feel sorry for the poor deranged fellow who ended up in her care.