I remember reading once that when a caveman had to chose which female he wanted to club over the head, drag to his cave and have his way with, he wouldn’t necessarily chose the prettiest or the smartest one, but rather, the healthiest.
He’d look to see how thin the cavewoman was, how much hair she had on her head and whether or not her skin and eyes were clear. A cavewoman who was was too skinny and balding meant that she wasn’t getting enough food or else past her prime and pock-marked skin and discolored eyes meant that she was too sick. The reasons for this were simple: A healthy cavewoman meant the possibility of healthy offspring.
This was all done subconsciously of course. The caveman didn’t stand there and weigh the pros and cons of each female like a judge at a Miss Universe pageant, it was built into his DNA. And it still is, today. Which is why although the definitions of beauty differ among cultures, any human of any age, race or gender, will always be more attracted to someone who’s healthy over someone who’s not.
As I looked in the mirror this morning, I wondered what the caveman would say if they were around to see me. They’d probably take one look at my red-rimmed eyes, thinning hair and the rash lining my hands and whisper amongst themselves:
“Don’t go near that one. She’s got one of ’em diseases.”
Well, not a disease exactly. But a bacteria infection in the lining of my stomach. For the last two weeks, I’ve been pretty sick and haven’t been able to keep anything I eat down for very long. The lack of nutrients has caused my hair to start to fall out and the rash is probably another side-effect of the bacteria. I think it started out as food poisoning (which I’ve had five times in the last three months by the way) and has since morphed into some evil little virus that I can’t seem to flush out, no matter how much water or fruit smoothies I drink.
Last night my mom called and asked me I thought it’d be a good idea to come home to California. And while the idea of lying on the couch, catching up on TV and eating my mom’s homemade soup sounds really good right now, I can’t afford to go back. Well, I could afford the plane ticket, but not the doctor’s visits or medication. I don’t have health insurance in the US, so it’s actually a lot cheaper to have the problem taken care of down here (even if ‘down here’ is what caused it).
Yesterday I went to the doctor, for example and the entire visit (including lab work) cost only six dollars. Which is why a lot of people from the States come to countries like Guatemala, because if you go to a privately-run hospital here, the quality of health care is just as good and about a third of the cost. One of my roommates in Antigua had flown down here for a week just to get some dental work done. He reasoned that even with the cost of a round-trip ticket and a week’s rent in an apartment, it was still cheaper to get his cavities filled here than it would have been back in New York. Crazy, huh?
Today I’m going to the doctor to pick up some antibiotics and hopefully that will help. Because although attracting a caveman isn’t among my concerns right now, not causing any long term stomach damage is. And I don’t want to, you know, die or anything either.