Regular readers of this blog know that I'm not too much of a fan of evolutionary psychology. Many of its claims, even in its more staid versions, sound like "just-so" stories, and the baggage of its even more wild-eyed sibling, Pop Evolutionary Psychology, adds to the problems of even more legitimate evolutionary psychology.
However, at times, something that sounds like a just-so story may not be.
And, one of the most exciting pronouncements is that evolutionary psychology seems to have documented shortened penises in many Texas males, and to have shown how specific types of Texas boastfulness are related to this, in what may be the most significant finding of sexual selection and evolutionary psychology since Charles Darwin himself postulated that peacock tail feathers were a sexual selection device to attract females. (NOT!)
(And, no this is no joke. Condom company research shows that one male thing is smaller indeed in the Lone Star State.)
Herr Dr. Paul von Schlippenschtupper, professor of evolutionary psychology at Lower East Texas State University in Vidor, explained how this fit in with psychological theories of compensation.
"First, we had to postulate what some common compensatory mechanisms might be," von Schlippenschtupper said. "Then we had to show a correlation between penis length, or lack thereof, and these compensatory mechanisms. Third, we had to in some way show that this correlation is causal and not just statistical."
Von Schlippenschtupper said that for the first item, Texas males were compared with non-Texas males to determine some common sociological and psychological differences.
A few immediately stood out. They included:
1. The phrase "everything's bigger in Texas."
2. The phrase "Don't mess with Texas."
3. Large belt buckles
4. Fake bull testicles on pickup back bumpers.
Von Schlippenschtupper said the first item seemed clear.
"Only someone who did not believe everything in his life was bigger would loudly shout that everything is bigger," he said.
The second item, he said, might also have a second component.
"If this were correlated with penis size, it might also have other sexual issues," he said. "This would include an element of overt homophobia, with the verb 'mess' often being used in the sense of 'touch' or 'fondle.' Then, this overt homophobia might reflect a repression of one's own homosexuality, and combined with penis shortening, actually have two compensatory issues fused together."
The third and fourth were obvious, he said.
"The belt buckle is a visual version of George Lakoff's 'framing,' von Schlippenschtupper said. "It attempts to frame a smaller penis in a way to make it look larger than it actually is. It also attempts to substitute a second sexual symbol for the first one, with the size of the belt buckle, and its theoretical skill in reframing a short penis, actually making the false claim that the wearer of a large buckle has a long penis."
"The fake bull testicles are more unconscious. And, of course, they're technically not compensation for a shorter human penis, but smaller human testicles," von Schlippenschtupper said. "However, it's a similar type of compensation for perceived sexual inadequacy, so we included it."
Von Schlippenschtupper said that he and his postgraduate research assistants would continue to research the issue. Other possible indicators of tiny-penis syndrome could include ornate, overwrought iron gates for fake ranches, double-cab pickup ownership by people who don't even need single-cab pickups and more.
As for the degree of correlation? Von Schlippenschtupper and his staff did the appropriate measurements. With a p-value not just of 0.05, but 0.001, they found a 98 percent correlation with average penis length of 0.91 inches shorter than that of the average American male in general.
Von Schlippenschtupper said proving there's a direct causal element will be more difficult. He noted that the typical tiny-penis Texan refused to admit he suffered from this, let alone saying when he first noticed he suffered from this. Therefore, it's impossible to tell if a sufferer went out and bought fake bull testicles as a direct result of knowing he had a tiny penis.
However, von Schlippenschtupper said he and his staff are looking for various ways to prove the causal angle.
Von Schlippenschtupper also said that tiny-penis syndrome appeared much more likely to be found in those of conservative political beliefs. He said that 42 percent of sufferers identified as being very conservative and 36 percent identified as being conservative. Again, he said he and his postdocs were working to nail down issues of causation.