If you believe, as evolutionary biologists do, that most everything we do, feel or have dangling from our bodies must have served some evolutionary purpose, you may have wondered what the deal is with tickling.
Me, I have never wondered such a thing. I don’t have time to pee most days (I do understand the evolutionary purpose of a large-capacity bladder) let alone ponder the purpose tickling might have served in our development into the big-brained bipeds we are today. I have, however, wondered, as Milton Berle once quipped, why, if evolution really worked, do moms only have two hands? Good question, right?
Apparently some people, like my friend PT, who sent me this link, and this blogger at Popular Science, do have time to think about tickling. So you don’t need to take the time to read it (go pee instead), it has to do with social bonding.
The last line did catch my eye, though:
In adulthood, tickling trails off around the age of 40. At that point, the fun stops; for reasons unknown, tickling seems to be mainly for the young.
I know this is a bit reductionist, but perhaps we become Formerlies because we don’t get enough tickling!
As for the reasons being unknown, they’re not: Past 40, we’re too busy tickling our kids, if we have them, to get tickled. What’s more, it’s unlikely our partners (who may not get that many opportunities to touch our bodies these days) are going to let the window for sex close while they’re going for big tickle. Tickle time is also limited if you fall asleep during Modern Family, even though it’s so, so good.
Hey, I’m game! Retin-A, human growth hormone, Acai berries and Botox (and everything else they claim will keep us young if we slather it, take it, eat it, pay for it and inject it, respectively) might be fine, but I, for one, am going to try tickling. Laughter, a stress reliever, might just keep my cells from pumping out the grays (I noticed at least 10 new ones this week!) I’ll let you know what effect it has on my smile lines.