So, the stories of Zeus have been on the heavy-handed side for a while. It’s time we do one that’s actually kind of fun, especially one that is so bizarre. Today we examine the story of Teiresias.
One day, Zeus and Hera had an argument (shocker). The argument was about who gets more pleasure from sex. Zeus says it’s women, and Hera says it’s men. How do you solve such a disagreement? You consult an expert who has been both. They go to talk to Teiresias.
So, Teiresias was on a journey when he came across two snakes joined together in, um, okay, they were having sex. I will not deny that Teiresias is something of a voyeur and perv for watching the snakes go at it, and he’s a real jerk because he took his staff and smacked the snakes. Instead of breaking them up, well, some kind of weird magic took place and Teiresias suddenly became a woman.
He was that way for seven years until he came across the same two snakes going at it again, and thought, “Hmm, if I hit them with my staff again, I will change back to a man.”
I have no idea what kind of messed up, stupid logic led him to this conclusion. I must stress this to everyone, if you come across a pair of snakes having sex, do not, DO NOT hit them with a stick. Just imagine how upset you would be if you were finally managing to get some and a weirdo smacks you with a stick. You would probably bite the guy, or break his skull open or something.
But Teiresias was right in his deduction, and he becomes a man again. Thus, armed with the proper experience to adjudicate Zeus and Hera’s argument, they pay him a visit. Now, having experienced the pettiness of the other gods, we know that it’s probably not a good idea to give a god an answer that he or she does not like. Adjudicating such an argument between gods is a recipe for disaster.
My advice, try not to have completely unique cosmic experiences. That way, disagreeing gods will not visit you and demand you choose between them. The more you know.
So, the two show up and put T to the question. His verdict: women get more pleasure from sex. Zeus wins the argument.
Now, one would think that if you’re going to piss of a god no matter what, you don’t want to piss off the king of the gods, so this was a wise move on T’s part. Can we trust his answer is truthful? He does have motive to lie, assuming he thinks he can get away with it. As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to lie to gods. Sure, they’re not omniscient, but they are very knowledgeable. Zeus, especially, would be good at sniffing out a bluff. He’s had some experience at politics.
Hera isn’t exactly a pushover, either. She’s knowledgeable in her own right, used to ferreting out Zeus’s illicit affairs and punishing his lovers and illicit offspring. I don’t think it’s in T’s best interest to try lying. The payoff just isn’t there.
If he lies, he risks pissing off both of them because the implication is that he thinks they’re stupid. If he tells the truth, he’ll only piss off one. So, we can be reasonably sure that his verdict is truth. So, ladies, you get more pleasure in bed than men. It’s a fact, now. We can cite the case with Teiresias as precedent.
Of course, because Zeus wins, that means Hera is mightily ticked off. She blinds Teiresias. Completely, totally blind. Which, as far as curses go, is actually pretty mild compared to the likes of what Demeter, Artemis, and Athena have done.
Now Zeus is here, but he doesn’t reverse the blindness. The reason is pretty interesting, and has important implications.