THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES

Not too long ago, I was listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on the way to the grocery store. The question up for answering had to do with dragonflies and their mating habits. What does a female dragonfly do to avoid an amorous male? It sounds like a joke right? Like you're sitting there waiting for a punchline and the answer does kind of sound like a punchline. The female dragonfly will play dead in order to avoid unwanted attention from a male dragonfly. She will literally drop out of the air and crash into the ground, arms and legs curled in and body stiff with false rigor mortis. All of this effort is to avoid unwanted attention. Now, here is where the language differences between men and women become so blatantly obvious. When the men participating on the show heard the answer to this question, they all said something like "Man! She'd rather die than have sex with you!" and all the women said something about "knowing exactly how it feels to be that desperate to just be left alone."

Men saw it as the ultimate insult. Women nodded their heads in complete understanding. This particular female male dynamic transverses species. 

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy sex. Regular readers here know that I enjoy sex. I don't see any point in being coy about enjoying sex or pretending that I would rather be eating chocolate cake. The feminists before me paved the way for women to own their sexuality, be proud of it even. I also like to feel desired. Genuine compliments from that special someone just makes a person feel good about themselves. Those are moments of wanted attention, a behavior that also transverses species. There's a species of South African frogs that when the female has eggs ready for fertilization, she doesn't wait for a throaty call from a male. She starts making her own noises to call the boy to her. She lets it be known that she wants attention. As it should be.

It is amazing to me that we have made so many advances in equality and yet a woman still can not go out alone without the worry of being accosted in some way. If you are sitting by yourself in a cafe, you are probably just waiting for someone, got stood up for a date, or you are a sad lonely lady who probably has a bunch of cats living with you in a one bedroom apartment. There is something wrong with a woman sitting alone. It is for some reason, wired into the male brain that this woman doesn't want to be sitting alone. She is most likely just pretending to be working on that laptop. The fact that she is completely ignoring your idea of a smoldering stare and your random attempts at small talk doesn't clue you in that you are providing unwanted attention. Every time a woman steps outside to walk down the street, she is taking the chance that someone is going to yell something at her regarding the way she walks, what she is wearing or something about how she needs to smile more.

This type of guy is the male dragonfly you don't want anything to do with. He's constantly buzzing up, getting in your way, when all you want to do is get to that lili pad on the other side of the pond and maybe catch something to eat. It's really that simple. You are not interested and you are just tired of finding some way of conveying that you are not interested without encouraging more attention. It would be easier to drop to the ground and play dead. The female dragonfly just might be onto something here. I used to think that the praying mantis had it right with sexual cannibalism. Then I read that the female mantis only bites the male's head off while mating if she's malnourished. Also, if it is mildly unacceptable for a guy to cat call a woman, it has got to be highly unacceptable to rip is head off and eat it. 

Sure, I have reached that age where this stuff doesn't really happen to me all that often. Occasionally when I'm stuck at a stop light while riding the scooter, I have to pretend not to notice the guy yelling at me from the bus stop or that dude with his arm laying on his rolled down window who is looking me up and down while picking at his tooth with a toothpick. That's the guy who usually asks me something about gas mileage and 'how much my tank holds'. For the most part, I've joined the invisible women club which is sad in it's own way, but this doesn't exclude me from having the same experience where you find yourself rolling your eyes at that guy who thinks his ridiculous cat calling is going to make you want to kiss him on the mouth. 

No it doesn't. It just makes me want to play dead.