William James, the father of American psychology, famously summed up a key difference between men and women with a bit of doggerel:
Women are monogamous;
Men are polygamous.
These days, the subject tends to evoke more than just knowing chuckles. Anyone with a Y chromosome can potentially find himself on the receiving end of a considerable amount of vitriol. Why, the critics of our gender want to know, do men seem to have so much trouble showing the kind of moderation and fidelity that comes so naturally and effortlessly to women?
I suppose I could point out, by way of defense, that there are many among us (myself included) who actually haven't cheated on anybody. I could even claim that this shows greater strength of character on our part, precisely because it requires greater effort, greater love, or some combination of the two.
But unfortunately, this tends to come across like claiming special morality for resisting an ongoing temptation to dismember frogs or commit axe murders. Keen analysis might also reveal that our fidelity was helped along by a lack of appealing opportunities at the times when we were feeling, uh, slightly less virtuous and/or devoted.
Into this unpromising landscape has come a timely and welcome surprise. I've recently realized that, assuming I’m roughly typical of my gender, meaningful long-term, exclusive commitment actually can come every bit as naturally to us as it does to females. There’s really only one small thing that’s different: the instinct seems to apply more typically to football.
In my heart of hearts, I’m a one-team kind of guy. Not only that, it has to be truly my team.