When it comes to love, everyone wants to make ridiculous comparisons to the animal world. Someone’s always pointing out that any old wolf is a better husband than Donald Trump, that gorillas raise their young with more loving attention than the average lawyer, that the sex life of a hermaphroditic slug is really something incredibly hot.
True, the glimpses I’ve gotten of animal id invite more. My sister-in-law had a parakeet that masturbated tirelessly on a stick in its cage. Equine congress, while brief (seven thrusts and a stallion is done, something to remember the next time someone calls you one), at least has the fillip of violence — mares will kick the crap out of suitors, who pay the ladies back by biting their necks when finally “in the saddle,” so to speak.
Just the other day, I came across the charming springtime ritual of goose love. At first I thought an unfortunate bird was snared on some fishing line at the lake’s edge, but no, as I drew closer on my bike, I saw that all the wing-beating was between two birds, not one, and had the unmistakable flavor of a boudoir encounter. What was interesting was the related action: As the gander finally had his way with the goose, he climbed atop her back, nearly drowning her in the process. Her head was just above water, and he held her neck in his bill — yes, just like Yeats described. (And yes, Yeats was writing about a swan, not a goose, but that seems a minor taxonomic quibble, all things considered.)
But! The hot goose-on-goose action drew an audience! Two others glided up to watch, honking excitedly at the peep show. When the male released the female, they continued to honk, and then the male started honking at the female. She swam off, him at her side, not cooing at her tenderly or smoothing her ruffled feathers, but honk-honk-honking in crude triumph: “You’re mine now!”
It was so disturbing I had to consult Stokes when I got home. According to “A Guide to Bird Behavior, Vol. 1,” they both should have been doing the postcoital Head-Up display. On the other hand, those geese are now mated for life. Which is more than you can say about Donald Trump, certainly.
By the way, the encounter didn’t last long, another seven-stroker, I’d say. Sex is pretty perfunctory when you’re a prey animal; did you know that? Copulation = vulnerability. All the good sex — or at least the longer-lasting sex — happens between predators, despite what those rabbits say. Ask any cat.
In action that had absolutely nothing to do with the aforementioned activity, Alan and I had a rare and unexpected bit of free babysitting Saturday, which came too late to do anything requiring planning but early enough to get the hell out of the house. I wanted ethnic food, and I wanted it someplace other than the east side, which meant we went, rather impulsively, to Greektown, the D’s tourist trap. Yes, I had the saganaki; when in Greektown, do as the tourists do, and there’s always the chance for some real fun when flaming brandy is involved. Ours flared up with nothing more remarkable than the usual “Opa!” It was good, though.
Of course you can’t go to Greektown without a casino stop. I was feeling lucky enough to play some blackjack, but the place was crowded and smoky and loud as hell with all those hideous slot machines. The only tables with any open spaces were the $25 minimums, and no thanks. Craps tempted me, but only until I looked at the table and realized, I have no idea how to play this. I mean, not a clue, other than to step up and say, “Eight the hard way,” the way Philip Baker Hall does. And I would probably lose.
Is there a greater disconnect between the movies and reality than in its depiction of gambling? I go into a casino, I’m expecting James Bond or, at the very least, George Clooney. Reality is some old lady with extra-long cigarettes or maybe an oxygen tank, grimly pouring the month’s Social Security check, quarter by quarter, into the slots. You don’t even have to pull the handle anymore. That’s just wrong.
That said, I always had a hankering to be a blackjack dealer. I love that thing they do with their hands when they go on break. The world is short of stylish gestures, and that’s one of them.
Sunday bloggage? Lots of possibilities, but I’m too lazy to look for them now. Read your own papers once in a while.