A nine-year study involving 125 male baboons revealed that “beta” males had almost as many mates and got just as much grooming as higher-status “alpha” males, but experienced less stress because they didn’t have to spend as much time fighting or following females around to keep other males away.
The Wall Street Journal, “Are Alpha Males Healthy?”
Hangin’ with the guys.
I was sitting with my friend Kruk on a sloping hill, watching the females go by.
“Nice ischial callosities,” I said about one babe’s seat pads surrounded by bodacious, brightly-colored naked skin.
“Forget it,” Kruk said. “H-M-C.”
“What’s that mean?” I asked.
“High maintenance chick,” he said, as if totally indifferent to her voluptuous beauty.
Sensitive beta male
“I can look, can’t I?”
“She’s already spoken for,” Kruk said as he moved some food from his cheek pouches to his mouth and swallowed. “She’s Thwok’s girl.”
“I thought he was getting it on with that red-furred babe?”
“She’s his entree–that one’s his side dish.”
As he spoke, Thwok appeared from the woods with a pawful of fresh berries, which the female turned up her nose at.
“See what I mean?” Kruk said. “She gets off by turning him down.”
Thwok turned to us in a threat posture and screamed at the top of his lungs.
“Ooo–I’m so scared!” Kruk said, with an expression of feigned fear on his face. “Looka me–I’m shaking!” he continued, channeling George Costanza.
Thwok was too stupid to understand baboon irony, so he snorted, pawed the ground and moved on in pursuit of the big-butt babe.
“Man, I wouldn’t want to live in his skin,” Kruk said, shaking his head.
“You’re probably right,” I said, “but doesn’t the amount of, uh, poontang he gets make it worthwhile?”
“Are you kidding?” Kruk said, and I could tell he wasn’t kidding. “Ol’ Thwok will die an early but glorious death. He’ll have plenty of offspring, but you and me–we’ll be sitting on this hill, feeling the breeze against our cheeks, sipping cool water from a stream, and getting it on with his widow(s).”
“Yeah, but I noticed the object of that sentence was plural,” I said. “So he comes out ahead, right?”
“Not necessarily,” Kruk said. We’d both developed higher-order language and analytical skills that our crude physical appearance served to mask.
“How much are you getting?” I asked in a moment of uncharacteristic bluntness.
Kruk gave me a sly smile. “I’m doin’ okay.”
Just then a troupe of three females approached. Kruk gave them a 100-watt smile and said, simply, “Hi,” the way he’d been taught by our fellow beta male Alanalda.
“Hey Kruk!” a beauteous babe with a distinctly dog-like nose–like something out of Picasso–said with a big smile. “Want me to pick the lice out of your fur?”
“Sure,” Kruk said as he laid back on the grass and rolled on his stomach. “Let’s put on some music.”
I had salvaged a Jackson Browne tape and a boom box from a dump in Nairobi a few weeks before and, after a few unsuccessful tries, I got the thing to work. “Jamaica say-ay-ay you will, help me find . . .” issued from the metallic speakers.
The female groomed Kruk carefully, and from the expression on his face he appeared to be enjoying every minute of it.
“You have such powerful hind limbs,” said the second one, as she began to give him a shiatsu massage.
“Um–that feels good,” Kruk said, and I could tell he could barely contain his ecstasy.
“Hi,” the third one said as she sat down next to me. “Do you like Rod McKuen?”
She had on a big floppy hat and a purple blouse, the kind of outfit I would have dismissed with a snort if my brain, and not my organ of generation, had been in charge of my thought processes just then.
“He a great poet!” she said. “I love it when I find somebody who hasn’t heard of him, so I can be the first to introduce his genius to them.”
Rod McKuen, right. More distinguished poet to the left.
I started to correct her grammar and syntax, but I figured, what the hell–Kruk had something going on here, I might as well ride the wave.
“Do you want to read some of his poetry . . . to me?” I asked, all barefoot baboon with cheeks of blue, playing the ingenue.
“Would I?” she exclaimed.
“Hit me!” I said.
“Okay,” she said, as she swung her arm down on my head.
“Ow!” I yelled, grimacing in pain.
“Sorry, that’s what you told me to do!”
“I intended it . . . figuratively.”
“What’s that mean?” she asked, her gaze as deep and soulful as those in the paintings of big-eyed children.
“It means,” I began, then stopped. She wouldn’t get it, no matter how hard I tried to explain it, so I might as well let her do her thing. “Never mind,” I said, “just read something to me.”
I do remember, she began,
The only fuzzy circumstance
is something where–and how.
Why, I know.
It happens just because we need
to want and to be wanted too,
when love is here or gone
to lie down in the darkness
and listen to the warm.
“God–that is so freaking beautiful!” I said, and extended my arms to hug her.
“I know,” she said as she embraced me.
“Say, as long as we both like crappy poetry–how about a roll in the hay?” I say.
She recoils, and looks hurt.
“I . . . I thought there was . . . something . . . more between us than just . . . physical attraction,” she says, and I think I detect a lump in her throat.
“Well, of course there is!” I say. I look over at Kruk; he’s manipulating the two other females simultaneously, and he grabs a boob from one of them and holds it up to his ear, while he takes a boob from the other and puts it up close to his mouth.
“Hello Rangoon!” he says as if talking over a two-way radio. “Can you hear me?”
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Let’s Get Primitive.”