Dateland: Monkey See, Monkey Do


It’s late at night and my spouse is on the phone screaming at her brother about politics while I’m watching a video of a monkey getting a haircut. Because that’s what this country has come to, people! Forget red states and blue states. This country is now divided among people who yell about politics and those who giggle over animal videos.

In the video I’m watching, a monkey is sitting in a traditional barber chair with a smock around his neck, getting a trim. The monkey’s expression of bored compliance looks completely human.

On the surface, it may seem like I’m dithering my life away while my spouse engages in meaningful debate on an important topic. However, just the opposite is true.

I think yelling at people about politics is a complete waste of time. Has anyone in U.S. history ever changed their political opinion after being screamed at for their poor judgment at the ballot box?

I’d much rather talk about monkeys.

The political hysteria in recent months has completely overshadowed some really important animal news that has serious implications on your romantic and political lives. But, this reporter has remained on the beat, curating the most essential news about animal wooing habits.

Here’s what you may have missed while you’ve been wringing your hands over the state of the nation:

  • Male spiders will try to mate with any female, regardless of species or breast size. This lack of discretion can cost them their lives! A study found that male spiders are so bent on mating with anything with eight legs, they often pick the wrong gal. And instead of making beautiful spider love with him, she eats him. The male spider behavior has brought up many fond memories of my lack of discretion in my 20s and 30s, when I narrowly escaped getting cannibalized on a number of occasions.
  • Petra, a black swan, has been reunited with her true love: a swan-shaped boat. The swan and the boat first became an item in 2006, when Petra became so besotted he refused to leave the swan boat’s side at a lake in Germany. Eventually, Petra’s eyes wandered (that cad!) and he took up with a real white swan. After a brief affair, Petra’s new love dumped him and he returned to the swan boat. Petra and the pleasure craft were resettled to a permanent home in a German zoo, and seem to have worked out all their issues. My only editorial note is, why do these situations always seem to happen in Germany?
  • Why do seals have sex with penguins? When I see a headline like this I drop everything (including a baby if I happen to be holding one) to investigate the story. Young male seals have been caught attempting to coerce penguins of unknown gender into coitus. Cases of seal/penguin sexual harassment are on the rise. Researchers think it’s learned behavior, meaning that adolescent seals witnessed an alpha seal getting away with this shocking behavior and decided to try it themselves. 
  • And, finally, let’s get back to monkeys. In some populations of Japanese macaques, lesbianism is the norm. What shocked researchers was that female macaques stare into each other’s eyes while mating, which non-human mammals hardly ever do during sex. When they’re not mating, the females stay close together to sleep, groom, and defend each other from interlopers. 

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