Some guys like chicks.
Other guys like foxes.
Still others like–nay, hunger for–something that is referred to in the vulgate by a colloquial term for the common housecat.
Not me. I’m a tapir man.
A tapir is a “browsing mammal, roughly pig-like in shape, with a prehensile nose,” according to Wikipedia. “Prehensile” means tapirs can pick stuff up with their snouts. For purposes of forming a mental picture, imagine a woman browsing through a book store: she picks up the Norton Critical Edition of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” with her nose, checks the secondary sources in the back, and replaces it on the shelf.
If you can do that, you’re the one for me.
The business of men reverse-anthropomorphizing women has been going on for centuries–Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and all that.
It got a boost in the ’60′s and ’70′s, when “foxes” and “foxy” came into widespread use to refer to attractive women.
Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd, playing Georg and Yortuk Festrunk on Saturday Night Live, lusted after “foxes”, and Jimi Hendrix sang about a “Foxy Lady” who made him “want to get up and scream.”
“Ghostbusters” fans will recall that when Sigourney Weaver takes the form of Gozer, a shape-shifting god of destruction, and does a flip over the Ghostbusters, Bill Murray says “Nimble little vixen.” A vixen is a female fox.
The closest relatives of the tapir are the odd-toed ungulates, which may sound bad to you, but not me. You haven’t met my in-laws.
Why tapirs? Well, they have that Aquiline “Roman” nose, which I love. I had a girlfriend in high school with a body like a greyhound and a tapir-like nose. She was something to look at, let me tell you. But she moved away.
In college I had a crush on a tapiresque woman–big brown eyes, that nose, bookish round shoulders–but I could never bring myself to tell her how I felt. If I wasn’t so preternaturally shy, we could have had a litter of little tapirs.
I know that women do the same thing to men. I have a high, wide forehead, and glasses that make my eyes look beady behind the lenses. A woman I dated said that when I gave her a sidewise glance I looked like a beached sperm whale. Looking like a whale is not a good thing, unless you want to attract barnacles.
Back in my single days, I would often nurse a beer in Boston’s Hampshire House, the setting for the hit TV series “Cheers,” and listen to the lame pickup lines other guys used on every female who passed by. Eventually, their one-size-fits-all-come-on would resonate with a woman, and off the two would go for an evening of laughter, good times and maybe more.
But not me. I’d stand there waiting for the woman of my dreams to come along, haunted by the knowledge that even if she did show up before last call, if I said what I really felt, I would only drive her away.
For reasons that have never been clear to me, women are not turned on by the words “Baby–you are such . . . a tapir!”