Tuesday, January 8, 2013
The Mating Habits of the Southwestern Middle Aged North American Divorced Male
Due to drastic changes in habitat, diet, tribal customs and migratory habits; the mating rituals of the Western Middle-aged, Upper-Middle Class Divorced Male have changed dramatically in recent decades.
Quick to adapt to abrupt shifts in their environment, the American male has been challenged by a sudden, confusing epidemic of role reversal among its sexually mature breeding population. When the female mysteriously decided to begin making trips out into the world to bring home grubs of her own, she also began to expect him to spend an equal amount of time in the nest taking care of their young
"Since when did this become my job?" he thinks, as he listens to the incessant, high pitched chirping day and night day and night, knowing his father would have been down at the pub watching the game after a long day of digging for worms.
Instead of waiting meekly at home for the male to return, the female demands to be an equal partner, pecking him with merciless violence until he agrees to stay in the nest every Friday night so she can go to her Book Club. She is fearless now, she can fly off at any moment and still survive. It terrifies him.
Still, behind its tough, emotionless exterior-the American male is one of the most sensitive, loyal, and idealistic of Mother Natures creatures. He cheerfully adapts to whatever circumstances his environment throws at him. When he is laid off from from the anthill due to cutbacks in larvae production, he swallows his pride and stays home with the young while the female goes out to happy hour with her boss.
The male accepts his new, diminished role; allowing the female to direct how the nest is built, his manner of dress, his schedule, and the correct way to fold all of the tiny, useless matching purple towels in the guest bathroom. In exchange-he receives sporadic sexual access and experiences a deeper bond with his offspring, since he is now required to spend more time and resources ensuring their survival than before. Therefore, when the female comes home, announces she is leaving him for her boss, kicks him out of the nest and limits his access to the kids-he is just that more bitter when he has to bring half of the worms he scavenged to the nest every two weeks and give them to his former mate.
"Oh hey Roger" he says awkwardly. "Is Joanna here?" and waits at the door as his wifes old boss turns around to look for her in the back of the nest. She hops out wrapped in a little towel and cocks her head at him, feathers still wet from her bath.
"For God's sake Joanna" he chirps in a low tone of voice "The kids are right over there watching that chrysalis open. Put some clothes on."
And she raises all of her feathers and screeches and flaps her wings in his face so he takes off, You get to deal with that now, he mentally tells Roger. Good Luck, buddy!
And when he finally gets back to his tiny, barely furnished nest on the edge of the forest-the only place he can afford to live now-he thinks "I am never making that mistake again. From now on I'm a free bird."
Which is why we are now seeing an explosion in population numbers of Permanently Single Upper Middle Class, Middle Aged North American Males- which has led to an equally large number of Cynical, Lonely Middle-Aged North American Females. The balance has been disrupted, the old rules don't apply anymore and the creatures have become confused-unsure of what they want and afraid-sending pictures of their genitals to the opposite sex via text message.
Presented with an ever increasing number of options for mates online, both male and female become highly critical and easily dissatisfied. They pair bond within weeks and lose interest in each other just as quickly. Their selection of available partners is suddenly not constrained by proximity. There is no scarcity of females to compete over. Without even leaving their nests they can carry on three different virtual courtship rituals at once via text while the chicks watch The Butterfly Channel in the other room.
Courtship feeding, a universal behavior observed in populations in every habitat since the divorced male was discovered by Joanna Kramer in 1979, have also been disrupted by the change in habitat. Instead of currying favor with his potential mate by presenting her with offerings of food, sweets or long pieces of glittering string to feather her nest-he will sit passively when she reaches into her purse at the end of the meal-a universal gesture the female developed to communicate that she is capable of obtaining her own delicious meal of insects and grubs. Instead of pushing her credit card away and insisting that she accept his gesture -"Here, let me take care of this. I am capable of providing you with extra nourishment during the winter- if you will allow me to fertilize your egg later after a few glasses wine."-he allows her to split the bill- which confuses her.
"What is this all about?" she wonders "These motherfuckers used to swoop in from all over the forest and fight over which one got to hand me a cutworm. What happened?"
The male, reluctant to invest any resources into a female again, is emboldened by the sudden realization that-even though they are still capable of producing offspring-the North American female enjoys less power than her younger counterparts after she has already hatched a few chicks from a previous mate. It requires just a fraction of the effort he was required to spend before to get invited back to her nest.
He doesn't even have to go out to the telephone wire every night and risk being rejected. He doesn't have to work at receiving his prize at all, in fact.
Although it's not readily apparent to the untrained observer, the male is also suffering from the sudden disruption of the rules. Mating without challenge, initiating contact without risk and receiving sexual access without exerting any effort further atrophies his already diminished masculinity. What we obtain through risk and struggle is valued ten times over that which is handed to us casually.
Because there is no scarcity of mates, they all begin to seem alike. They are easy to meet and easier to discard in search for the next one- a process that becomes more similar to commerce than romance as both males and females sip tiny glasses of wine while they check their phones surreptitiously at dinner, always looking for a better deal.