A very good, if obscure, joke

Do you occasionally wonder what JBS Haldane\’s reaction would be if he found out that his wife had slept with his brother? Would it be better or worse if she had slept with eight of his cousins?

And to take the question seriously….

In the only polyandric society I\’ve heard of (bits of the Himalayas basically and I seem to remember that Theo. Dalrymple started out as a writer by regaling us with tales from the area. Slightly Kipling….) it is brothers who marry one wife.

And a couple of the big cats, lions and cheetahs, have brothers chasing and multiple mating with the female.

So, erm, better.

Less messy certainly.

4 thoughts on “A very good, if obscure, joke”

  1. I believe polyandry is more common the colder the environment, and polygamy then it’s warmer – something to do with the ease with which a childbearing female can be kept alive. Eskimo/Inuit cultures have polyandry as numerous male hunters are required to support a non-hunting female.

  2. I seem to remember ancient Sparta was to a degree polyandric. Something to do with if one husband died heroically in battle the wife would have another one to fall back on.
    This was the reason Lysander could take no action against the Athenian exile Alcibiades when Alcibiades was getting his leg over with Lysanders wife – may even have had a child by her – even though the actual practice of polyandry was by then regarded as archaic.
    Lysander was later heavily implicated in the plot to trap and murder Alcibiades somewhere in Asia Minor. A dish best eaten cold, I fancy.

  3. Early Irish and early Indian myths have stories of heroes and 3 brothers who ran off with a girl. Modern retellings don’t involve the brothers getting any but I suspect that is modern (ie last 2000 years) bowdlerisation. My guess is that the original Snow White story involved 7 brothers of below average height.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Surely Haldane would only be conflicted if his wife was sleeping with two of his brothers?

    One is a no-brainer.

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