Monday, January 05, 2009

Something New Every Day

I learn some pretty wild things at ChaCha, in between questions about penis length and Twilight movie trivia. The other day someone asked me where it's legal to marry your first cousin. I was surprised by the answer. I grew up hearing jokes about West Virginians marrying their cousins, but as it turns out, it's illegal there...and legal in Virginia! First cousin marriage is legal in 21 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. (http://www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/cousins.htm)

I also learned that the US is virtually the only country in the western world to prohibit cousins from marrying - it's legal in all of Europe, Mexico and Canada. Apparently the chances of birth defects in the children of cousins have been grossly exaggerated in the past due to some spurious studies in the 1800s - the chances are almost as high when you marry someone of your own race. One source says that 20% of the world's current marriages are between first or second cousins, and nearly 80% of marriages in human history have been cousin marriages.

I also learned that Eric doesn't like to hear about cousins marrying each other. I started telling him about it and he told me to stop IMMEDIATELY. Like with so many other things, no matter how good the science is, it's hard to get past the "ick" factor.

13 comments:

  1. my sister and brother both kissed cousins at family ruenions...they were 2nd or 3rd, but still. i'll have to tease them that they could have married.

    kevin had a good time with eric--he can tell he's got a good sense of humor, and looks forward to many laughs with their class!

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  2. i know how to spell reunion

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  3. So anna and her cutest ever little cousin oliver have a chance??? (ick)

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  4. See, I was never really ick-ed out by the idea of cousins marrying each other. Maybe it's because I'm from Canada. I know at least two happily-married cousin-couples back home, actually.

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  5. So you're telling me I had a chance with my cousin if I just took her across state lines?

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  6. Gotta say I'm with Eric on this one. The ick factor is way too high. The things we learn from ChaCha!

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  7. I love all the things that I learn on ChaCha! I actually know someone who married a cousin that they met at a high school reunion. Gross and WRONG!

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  8. I just couldn't imagine it.

    BTW... I havn't done ChaCha for almost 2 months! ( better get on the ball! I havn't even gotten a paycheck yet. (stupid me) )

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  9. That is really interesting. 1) Because I am reading Persuasion at the moment and there is a lot of talk in it about certain cousins marrying each other, and I find myself baffled that there is zero ick factor in this book only 150 years ago, while now it has major ick factor for most people. I mean there isn't the slightest hesitation that it's normal in the book. 2) Because I had a major crush on one of my cousins that I met in my early teens. He on me as well. I guess you could say we had a lot of chemistry. And it wasn't until I was older that I realized that it might have been weird if we had hooked up or something. So I guess the cousin thing isn't as biological as the natural repulsion of sexual attration to a sibling or parent. So maybe I shouldn't have any ick factor when I think of cousins getting together!

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  10. Aaron keeps talking about cousin dating and it creeps me out like crazy because
    a. Reuben is going to have about a billion cousins so not dating them could actually be a challenge
    b. I come from SC and have seen it first hand

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  11. Jen said that you had to list your interests on ChaCha so you would get questions that you were interested in. Does that mean you put penis length and marrying cousins as interests of yours? :p

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  12. André, actually, yes! I have the penis answer on my Clippings list. :D It's one of the most frequently asked questions on ChaCha so I had to get in on the action! Cousin marriage isn't a specific interest of mine, but marriage is, so that's probably how I got that one.

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  13. Hi Chelsea, I saw on facebook that you have this blog. Fun! Love this post...my folks are from West Virginia and as it turns out, are cousins! (Quite a ways back, but still...) So this post made me laugh out loud!

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