Growing up I found adolescence extremely disturbing. Now that I am full grown, mature even I find adolescents make me equally uncomfortable.
I cannot particularly recall but I’m sure I was no different to any other late-teenage boy in that I really did think that everything I said was either incredibly thought-provoking or irrationally funny. Far more puzzling was the fact that the girls with whom I tended to spend my time seemed on the surface equally convinced of both my genius and comic brilliance. They would giggle and laugh wholeheartedly at my slightest hint of a pun and stare with eyes glinting in amazement at the sudden miraculous depth of my utterances. I cannot believe that those apparent gloating females were any more taken in by my illusions then the girls that I now perceive on a daily basis accompanying their respective familial male peers. That this particular form of ritualized interaction has no apparent continental divide is both strangely reassuring and decidedly horrifying.
Perhaps I diagnose too deeply, rather maybe I should simply put such behaviors down to being basic practice mating rituals in the same way as I do watching a pair of preening geese, dancing hummingbirds or rutting deer.
As with most species once this habitual ritualization has fixated it flourishes at any given opportunity. In a bar, a restaurant, in the street, with no apparent reference to age creed or race, at work or play, from pre-tweenie through sexagenarian. Given the correct circumstances I am quite happy and embarrassed to admit to wholeheartedly indulging in this practice myself, I can only assume that once learned the behavior is hardwired for eternity. The male is of course purely polishing his egocentricity, the female happily grasping that male impediment and polishing till it responds ever predictably to her whiles.
Whilst for clarity and ease of grammatical expression I have encoded the practice in purely historical gender terminology the practice is completely neutral, applying equally as effectively to male/male, female/female, androgynous/ androgynous or any combination or multiplicity envisioned. Much to our disgust and eternal shame homo sapiens is quite as predictable in our ritualization and practices as any other species with the slight abnormality of procreation not being the all-powerful overriding drive. Humans have long replaced simple evolution with far more entertaining, divisive and undefinable alternatives.