"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

How Much Are Your Eggs Worth? - How A Beautiful, Smart Harvard Girl Made A Fortune

One does not automatically think of Harvard girls as beautiful.  Smart, ambitious, talented, by all means; but of the stunning beauty of Jennifer Blair, never.  Harvard was not Alabama. 

Jennifer Blair turned heads, earned quick and eager smiles, and her alluring looks alone were worth a few points on her GPA which she didn't need, for in a few months she would graduate Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa.  She was a science major, took half of her courses in computer engineering at MIT and planned to go there for a doctorate. She was already recognized by Google for her innovative paper on interactive algorithms, and the NSA had already made overtures because of her Turing-quality work on codes. 


She was on full academic scholarship, unusual for Harvard which as a matter of course reserved its largesse for students of color and alternate ethnicity, but a no-brainer for the admissions and grants committees.  This young woman would do Harvard proud. 

Being on a scholarship and coming from a home which could barely afford the nominal tuition at the local Junior College, Jennifer was very aware of money, her lack of it, and the need for it.  While other bursary students worked at the library or in the kitchen, she knew that there were better, easier, and more lucrative ways to make ends meet - genetic harvesting. 

Since these days many enterprising, intelligent women were putting off pregnancy until it was more convenient, given the pressures of law practice, medical residency, and investment banking; their fertility became compromised.  It was harder to get pregnant in one's late thirties than it was a decade before. Mirabile dictu the era of infertility was over.  New, advanced techniques of in vitro fertilization were here. 

Most women used their own eggs for the procedure and hoped for the best; but there were a sizeable number of women far past peak childbearing age whose few remaining eggs were a tired lot, and the only way to pregnancy and childbirth was through the use of healthy eggs from young women.  Which is where Jennifer comes in.  Since a choice was involved, why not pick the best?  And what better option was there than Jennifer, a gorgeous, drop-dead woman with brains to boot?

She tested the market and found that she was triple-A rated, la creme de la creme.  She, with her clutch of thousands of top-of-the-line eggs, would be a millionaire before she left Harvard.  Why not?  There would be plenty left for her and her future husband who, like her, would be attractive, smart, and talented. 

News of Jennifer's windfall spread like wildfire through Harvard Yard. Girls from Peoria to Park Avenue lined up, ready and willing.  Yet the women at Harvard were a scratchy lot, not one triple-A beauty among them other than Jennifer, and most in junk bond territory.  Untamable, frizzy hair, louche, prognathous chin, razor lips, pendulous ears all had nothing whatsoever to do with electrical engineering or biochemistry, but put them out of play when it came to genetic harvesting. 

The harvesting company, a bottom-line, all-business start up on Rt. 128, had never given a second thought to metaphysical issues, but because of the increased interest in genetic harvesting, they were forced to.  What was beauty, one had to ask before doing the vetting of potential donors?  You might know it when you saw it - in the case of Jennifer Blair there wasn't one in a million who didn't think that she was a beauty for the ages - but this unique individual aside, what exactly were the criteria that should be used for selection and of course remuneration?

It didn't take long for an algorithm to be developed.  With the help of AI and its big data resources and a millisecond review of Greek and Roman statuary, Renaissance painting, fashion magazines, Hollywood, Bollywood, and Istanbul starlets, the geeks came up with what has been known since the first human settlements.  

The standard for female beauty has been unchanged for millennia. Symmetrical features, luminescent eyes, full lips, and luxuriant hair all express health, wealth, and well-being as well as being pleasing to a natural sense of geometrical order, and sexual appeal.  There is little difference between the women painted by Leonardo and the most beautiful women of today.

It is no surprise that the women portrayed in art – the women of Botticelli, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Ingres, and the sculptors of ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome – have been beautiful.  The wives and courtesans of royalty, the aristocracy, and the socially prominent have been beautiful. 

Image result for images nefertiti

'We're missing something', said a senior engineer at the company, and here the roundtable became lively.  'Allure' said one. 'Grace, charm', said another, and before the meeting was adjourned the list of secondary attributes was endless. 'Let's keep it simple', said the Chief of Design. 'Think Greek'; but those who had met Jennifer Blair knew that as timeless as the old standards were, without that added oomph, that je ne sais quoi ineffable quality that got men panting and breathless, top dollar was not certain.  In any case, it was a moot point.  Jennifer was one in a million, so Harvard was out. 

Two problems presented themselves - where to look for that unique complement of brains and beauty; and who should do the vetting?

The obvious place for beauty and no brains was clear - the South,  One had only to look at the University of Alabama cheerleaders to see that there was plenty of beauty in Tuscaloosa, but one had only to look at the academic records to see that there were no brains there.  And for the recruiter?  This bunch of nerds at the genetics company who rarely got out would not do; but they all knew someone they had wanted to be since grade school - those blond, blue-eyed, chiseled chin, Adonises that girls flocked to - and many of them were for sale.  This job would be right up their alley. 

They didn't have to be smart.  Just point them in the right direction to find the most attractive, most appealing women in the herd, and the geeks would do the rest, the brains part, the hard part, but right up their alley. 

Nada, so at another roundtable the team decided to go all out big data - advertise on social media and let AI do the rest, do all the first vetting for beauty and brains, develop a short list, invite them to Boston and let their studs do the rest.  Take them out for drinks and dinner, suss out their appeal, take them to bed, and write them up.  The girls would be complaisant at worst, eager at best, for the financial rewards would be substantial. 

'We have to hurry', said the Chief of Design.  'Recombinant DNA is the yappy dog barking at our heels' and by that he meant that eggs in and of themselves would lose currency once the likes of the most beautiful women in the world sold their DNA to prospective parents.  A bit of this, a dollop of that, and Baby Jane would come out Hollywood ready. Babies by design were on the horizon, so better snap up all those prime eggs while the going was still good. 

So Jennifer made her millions before leaving Harvard and continued on until her genetic pull-by date; but by that time she had both a modelling and computer software engineering career going, so no regrets.  And her children were really something!

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