Love on the Wild Side–Mating in the Bar Kingdom

Scientists tell us that the biological purpose of any species is procreation.  Maybe that is why we Homo Sapiens try so hard to find a mate.  Watching humans try to mate is one of the most entertaining aspects of being a bartender.  Oh, things would be so much simpler if only we were animals……just mammals with all the right hormones and none of the intellect and alcohol to screw it all up.  Unlike our animal counterparts who can just sniff each other’s rear ends and ostracize the substandard members of the gene pool from the herd, we humans have to play the dating game, often in the wild blue yonder called “the bars.”   Homo Sapiens may not have cycles and mating seasons, but some have moves and techniques, as well as annals of bad advice to move things along.  But mostly they just wing it to varying degrees of success involving varying degrees of alcohol and tact.

At the Miami Zoo they are trying to mate two of the very last black rhinos on the planet.  The situation is dicey because if the female isn’t into the male, not only will the species fall even closer to extinction, but the female may violently or even fatally flip him with her tusks.  Whether it’s rhinos or winos, most creatures need a little chemistry to fly.  In other words, if a male waltzes up to a female at any given bar, gives her a 100-Watt grin and says, “Well, Hello,” and she looks at him like a lady rhino about to charge, he’d do best to leave her alone.  Fortunately humans are not on the endangered list.

In the bug world, love really is a battlefield where the females of a beetle-like creature called a water strider have evolved spines to dislodge unwelcome lovers.  While the male water striders want to mate with as many females as possible, the girls don’t want to waste their time on superfluous mating.  In the human world of the bar kingdom, males will often send drinks to prospective mates.  Bartenders will sometimes attempt to temper the sad process by telling the male Homo Sapiens that the particular female is already spoken for, or that she is holding out for a more genetically sound male, or even that she is equipped with sharp verbal spines.  The males will often waste their money in these worthless mating attempts.

Male lions claim a territory of 15 to 150 square miles.  They will patrol their territory vigilantly to discourage any other male lions from messing with their female population.   Recently while enjoying libations with one of my friends at a local bar, a drunken idiot wandered in from off the street, dragged his fingers across our backs and stood slobbering only inches away from us.  Two male lions, (the bartenders,) swiftly arose from the den and chased the intruder far from our watering hole.

Certain species of butterflies engage in a fluttering dance before they began the real mating process which takes anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours.  I’ve seen entire human relationships form and then dissipate in less time.  You people know who you are.  A little too much alcohol is all it takes for you to introduce yourselves, play tonsil hockey at the bar and stroll out hooked-up, all within the confines of a happy hour.  Butterflies only live a few days to a few weeks but you two will run into each other for the rest of your lives here in this little town.

There are many species of birds in which the males go to great lengths to impress chicks.   Male peacocks display their brilliant tale feathers in effort to be the best-looking peacock guy.  Likewise, many Homo sapiens spend a lot of money on their appearance buying buying expensive clothes and moving through the urban jungle in Hummers and on Harleys.  The screaming pehah, the loudest bird in South America, will spend 75 percent of his life searching for a mate.  This plain, little brown bird has to compete with a bunch of beautiful hummingbirds, macaws and parrots in his jungle and screaming is his only talent at proving his superiority.  Perhaps the screaming pehah helps explain why Karaoke is so damn popular.

The male ostrich is another showoff bird who lures the ladies with his unusual brand of  dancing.  He stretches his neck up and down, back and forth, mixing it all up with his signature jerky turns.  I’ve seen similar displays performed by American males at Sloppy Joe’s and Schooner Wharf, though I don’t know that it increases the likelihood of his procreation.

But who could blame the males of any species for wanting so badly to procreate, especially when the females can be so tantalizing.  Female cats go into “heat” when their bodies are ripe for mating.  Often they make guttural noises as love calls to Toms, stretch their torsos into strange configurations and emit a “love” scent for potential suitors.  Female bar flies put on mini skirts and heels, douse themselves with perfume and go dancing at a singles bars

Let’s not forget the lady kangaroo.  Often called the “Slut of the Animal Kingdom,” she boasts three vaginas!  If she showed up at your bar, there’d be a line out the door to buy her a drink.

If over-sexed kangaroos aren’t enough, check out some penguins.  Paired, female Adelie penguins have been witnessed soliciting sex with unpaired males.  Immediately after getting it on, the female picks up one of the nest stones and carries it back to her own nest.  Sometimes the females go through the courtship ritual, then takes off with a stone in beak before the male has a chance to mount her.  Back at the Bar Kingdom, I have often witnessed a similar kind of tease.  A woman patron drinking a Bud Light becomes the recipient of a purchased drink from a would-be suitor.  The female will upgrade that freebie to a Grand Marnier, shoot it, and slide out the door without so much as a thank you to the male.

Dolphins and humans are the only species proven in the animal kingdom to have sex for fun.  For most species, the mating ritual isn’t terribly pleasant.  It can be painful,  often dangerous, making the maters vulnerable to predators.  There are species who mate only once during their lives, many of which actually loose their life as part of the mating process.  Remember that next time you think the dating world sucks.

Happy Valentines Day!

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