Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day for the Dodo Bird

Have you ever seen a peacock spread his tail feathers? Poor peahen has no chance. You might not think of turkeys as quite so … appealing, off the platter. But the male – called a gobbler, or a Tom – must have something going for him. He’s polygamous. That’s a euphemism, like for Saudis, whose cloaked and covered women outnumber even the camels that were their price. Toms strut in pairs and they can change the colors of their heads. Plus their wattles can enlarge. You can see why they will score. Now how about the falcon? Every year, the assignation at his and his mate’s urban aerie. Same time next year. All that flapping, like Leda with her swan. Could they be celebrating that they’re not extinct? But hey, at least he helps her incubate the eggs. Not at night, though. Then he hunts. So what of men – are they not birds of prey? The rule imposed on the poor fellows, Western, anyhow, is monogamy, which of course goes contrary to their nature. Like turkeys, Americanus Commonus struts in pairs, only hoping for a harem (unless he’s Mormon). Most heads have just one color hair – that is, if they’ve got any. And he’s gotta have a wing man, who will take one for the flock. In the human species, the man’s wallet the label on his jacket the table he can get the Porsche or Audi and the way he knows the somalier are important. But it’s the Western woman’s job to let real finery burst forth. Oh, the plumped and glossy lips. The collagen, push-up silky bras, satin vaginal floss. The mani-pedis, hair foils, tweezing, waxing, micro-dermabrasion, white-meat implants. Oh, the fishnets that we cast. And the stilettos, from which we just as surely gracelessly will stumble as from our self-esteem. For what? A dozen roses once a year? And protestations Hallmark bought from two-bit writers trained by afternoon TV? Or worse, the ever-popular post-coital “I love you”? (Which we all know really means, ’cause Harry told us, “Oh shit, how long before I can get out of here?” Or worse, “I’m gonna chew my arm off now.”) Under all these inhuman behaviors hides the lonely human. Hungry to be seen, heard, held. Men and women both. I know this, because I have a son. Maybe it’s not the lack of feathers, but the beating of the human heart that distinguishes man from vulture, and all the rest of nature, too. Sex isn’t love, mate, unless the love precedes the mating. So look, guys, don’t send her flowers on V-Day. (Oh, any other time is fine.) And women, hope for this: That they clothe themselves in goatskins, light a bonfire, fan it, let it flame into the night sky, harness the winds, name a star for you. And if either of you writes a poem, please remember: It’s the content, not the form. Lisa E. Paige February 2009 Copyrighted material

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