For most of our evolutionary history we lived short precarious lives. It was essential, therefore, for us to be hardwired to mate and reproduce as quickly as possible and to select for traits that back on the African savannah or the primordial forests of Eurasia were strongly associated with survival. Hence young women look for tall handsome males. It’s not because we’re all desperately shallow or lacking in self-confidence when we’re in our teens and early 20s; it’s because we’re responding to deep hardwired instincts.

But as we no longer die in our late 20s or early 30s because we got eaten by a predator or fell from a cliff face or succumbed to a bacterial infection, we slowly adjust to conditions in the modern world. A world in which height and chiseled good looks are nice but in which intelligence and humor and patience are increasingly more important. By the time we reach our 40s we’re past being slaves to evolved hardwiring and slightly more able to make choices consonant with the world we live in and the preferences we’ve developed due to the ways our life has so far unfolded.

Let’s hope more and more of us can learn to make better choices!

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.