For the past ten million years Nature has been busily inventing ways to make the male attractive to the female, but the whole business of courtship, from the marine annelids up to man, still lumbers heavily along, like a complicated musical comedy. I have been reading the sad and absorbing story in Volume 6 Cole to Dama of the Encyclopedia Britannica. In this volume you can learn about cricket, cotton, costume designing, crocodiles, crown jewels, and Coleridge, but none of this subject is so interesting as the Courtship of animals, which recounts the sorrowful lengths to which all males must go to arouse the interest of a lady. We all know that, far from attracting her, whiskers and mustaches only made her nervous and gloomy, so that man had to go in for somersaults, tilting with lances, and performing feats of parlor magic to win her attention; he also had to bring her candy, flowers, and the furs of animals. It is common knowledge that in spite of all these "love displays" the male is constantly being turned down, insulted, or thrown out of the house.
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For the past ten million years Nature has been busily inventing ways to make the male attractive to the female, but the whole business of courtship, from the marine annelids up to man, still lumbers heavily along, like a complicated musical comedy.
I have been reading the sad and absorbing story in Volume 6 Cole to Dama of the Encyclopedia Britannica. In this volume you can learn about cricket, cotton, costume designing, crocodiles, crown jewels, and Coleridge, but none of this subject is so interesting as the Courtship of animals, which recounts the sorrowful lengths to which all males must go to arouse the interest of a lady.
We all know that, far from attracting her, whiskers and mustaches only made her nervous and gloomy, so that man had to go in for somersaults, tilting with lances, and performing feats of parlor magic to win her attention; he also had to bring her candy, flowers, and the furs of animals.
It is common knowledge that in spite of all these "love displays" the male is constantly being turned down, insulted, or thrown out of the house.
It is rather comforting, then, to discover that the peacock, for all his gorgeous plumage, does not have a particularly easy time in courtship; none of the males in the world do.
She would often go quietly to sleep while he was whisking it around. The Britannica tells us that the peacock actually had to learn a certain little trick to wake her up and revive her interest: he had to learn to vibrate his quills so as to make a rustling sound. He had to go in for something else; so, among other things, he went in for gifts.
It is not unlikely that he got this idea from certain flies and birds who were making no headway at all with rustling sounds. He contrived to make a glistening transparent balloon which was even larger than himself. Into this he would put sweetmeats and tidbits and he would carry the whole elaborate envelope through the air to the lady of his choice.
This amused her for a time, but she finally got bored with it. So the male Empis had to go around gathering flower petals and pieces of bright paper to put into his balloon.
On a courtship flight a male Empis cuts quite a figure now, but he can hardly be said to be happy. He never knows how soon the female will demand heavier presents, such as Roman coins and gold collar buttons. If all the male bowerbirds became nervous wrecks within the next ten or fifteen years, it would not surprise me.
The female bowerbird insists that a playground be built for her with a specially constructed bower at the entrance. This bower is much more elaborate than an ordinary nest and is harder to build; it costs a lot more, too. The female will not come to the playground until the male has filled it up with a great many gifts: silvery leaves, red leaves, rose petals, shells, beads, berries, bones, dice, buttons, cigar bands, Christmas seals, and the Lord knows what else.
When the female finally condescends to visit the playground, she is in a coy and silly mood and has to be chased in and out of the bower and up and down the playground before she will quit giggling and stand still long enough even to shake hands. The male bird is, of course, pretty well done in before the chase starts, because he has worn himself out hunting for eyeglass lenses and begonia blossoms.
I imagine that many a bowerbird, after chasing a female for two or three hours, says the hell with it and goes home to bed. Next day, of course, he telephones someone else and the same trying ritual is gone through with again. A male bowerbird is as exhausted as a night-club habitue before he is out of his twenties.
He has one enormously large and powerful claw, usually brilliantly colored, and you might suppose that all he had to do was reach out and grab some passing cutie. The very earliest fiddler crab may have tried this, but, if so, they got slapped for their pains.
To attract a female, a fiddler crab has to stand on tiptoe and brandish his claw in the air. As many as a hundred females may pass the time of day with him and go on about their business. By nightfall of an average courting day, a fiddler crab who has been standing on tiptoe for eight or ten hours waving a heavy claw in the air is in pretty sad shape. As in the case of the male of all species, however, he gets out of bed next morning, dashes some water on his face, and tries again.
Male web-spinning spiders have a tougher life than any other males in the animal kingdom. This is because the female web-spinning spiders have very poor eyesight. Before the species figured out what to do about this, millions of males were murdered by ladies they called on. It is the nature of spiders to perform a little dance in front of the female, but before a male spinner could get near enough for the female to see who he was and what he was up to, she would lash out at him with a flat-iron or a pair of garden shears.
One night, nobody knows when, a very bright male spinner lay awake worrying about calling on a lady who had been killing suitors right and left. He decided to go in for web- twitching, or strand-vibrating. The next day he tried it on one of the nearsighted girls. Instead of dropping in on her suddenly, he stayed outside the web and began monkeying with one of its strands. He twitched it up and down and in and out with such a lilting rhythm that the female was charmed.
The serenade worked beautifully; the female let him live. Once in a while, even now, a female will fire three bullets into a suitor or run him through with a kitchen knife. She keeps threatening him from the moment he strikes the first low notes on the outside strings, but usually by the time he has got up to the high notes played around the center of the web, he is going to town and she spares his life.
Hepialus carries a powder puff in a perfumed pouch. He throws perfume at the ladies when they pass. The male tree cricket, Oecanthus, goes Hepialus one better by carrying a tiny bottle of wine with him and giving drinks to such doxies as he has designs on.
One of the male snails throws darts to entertain the girls. So it goes, through the long list of animals, from the bristle worm and his rudimentary dance steps to man and his gift of diamonds and sapphires. The golden-eye drake raises a jet of water with his feet as he flies over a lakes Hepialus has his power puff, Oecanthus his wine bottle, man his etchings.
It is a bright and melancholy story, the age-old desire of the male for the female, the age-old desire of the female to be amused and entertained. Of all the creatures on earth, the only males who could be figured as putting any irony into their courtship are the grebes and certain other diving birds.
Every now and then, with a mighty "Whoosh! She seems to be persuaded that this is a purely loving display, but I like to think that the grebe always has a faint hope of drowning her or scaring her to death. It appears that the Argus displays himself in front of a female who stands perfectly still without moving a feather The male Argus the Britannica tells about was confined in a cage with a female of another species, a female who kept moving around, emptying ashtrays and fussing with lampshades all the time the male was showing off his talents.
Finally, in disgust, he stalked away and began displaying in front of his water trough. He reminds me of a certain male Homo sapiens of my acquaintance who one night after dinner asked his wife to put down her detective magazine so that he could read a poem of which he was very fond.
She sat quietly enough until he was well into the middle of the thing, intoning with great ardor and intensity. Then suddenly there came a sharp, disconcerting slap! I am sure they all told bitter stories of their own about how their displays had been interrupted by females.
Courtship Through The Ages
By: Kevarius A little essay on the funny things mole rats do during courtship and what this writer makes of it. This means that while I am able to grudgingly accept rules of equality so fervently spouted by feminists, I absolutely cannot tolerate a female lording over a male. Hence one can imagine my great indignation when the teacher read to the class an essay about mole rats, where masculine pride is ignored, battered and left for the dead. Written by a female student of course formerly of RGS, the male mole rat evidently subjects himself to considerable physical trauma in his fervent courtship for the benefit of the female. More specifically, he competes against rocks for the Hard-head Cup and if he is unlucky, another male who is considerably more dangerous than an immobile piece of rock.
"Courtship Through The Ages"by James Thurber , Female Dominance or Male Failure?
Thurber discusses how the male half of the species must take great pains to interest the female half and he commiserates with animals and insects of all kinds using a lighthearted humor. He concludes that man is not the highest form of animal on earth and that the reverse of Darwinism is true: Man has actually descended from animals because he possesses negative characteristics and stoops to lows that animals would not. The difference in tone of both essays can be accounted for in the purpose of each. Twain intends to disparage the cruelties of the human race, but Thurber intends to laugh at them. Thurber explains that he has used the encyclopedia to glean information about the courtship habits of animals ranging from spiders to peacocks. He explains, "I have been reading the sad and absorbing story in Volume 6 Cole to Dama of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In this volume you can learn all about cricket, cotton, costume designing, crocodiles, crown jewels, and Coleridge, but none of these subjects is so interesting as the Courtship of Animals, which recounts the sorrowful lengths to which all males must go to arouse the interest of a lady" 9.
Fe anthropoid Dominance or Male Failure? He emphasizes the lack of success manfuls acquire through with predicate lawsuit rituals and the unbroken rejection we endure. Our determination of courting the womanish with solely our love displays whitethorn be pointless as it is homely in the insistent failures of courtship by all a potent creatures. Thurber shares his problems with courtship and the fibre which men portray, he explores the alliance amidst spirit and culture, and the demands culture places on men.