I wasn’t much of a birdwatcher until I moved to the country from New York City. There, the bird that seems to get all of the attention…mostly negative… is the pigeon. To New Yorkers, they are scavengers…swooping down like flying sanitation workers…picking up the garbage that the two-footed evolved creatures have left behind…and leaving their calling cards all over the sidewalk.
Here in Tennessee, I would have to say the country equivalent is the wild turkey. When I first moved here I was told they were elusive and I would never see them, but they seem to be everywhere. I used to think they weren’t very smart because if I drive up on a flock of them they run into each other and can’t figure out how to get out of the way even though THEY CAN FLY.
But I’m thinking I underestimated them. What they lack in common sense, they make up for in instinct. The day turkey hunting season starts they are nowhere to be found. Some mysterious inner calendar kicks in and they disappear back into the woods before the first turkey call sounds. You won’t see them again until the day after season closes. When you really get down to it…calling someone a “turkey” might not be such an insult after all.
I’ve been watching two pairings of birds for the last couple of years. I don’t know for sure if they’re the same ones…but I’m thinking so. One is a brilliant red cardinal and his mousy brown cardinal girlfriend. The two of them land on my porch rail and sit in the sun. She hangs back and makes herself as small as possible and he stands puffed up and gorgeous…all perfect red color.
Another bright red handsome cardinal started showing up and sitting in the tree next to the porch. He has a girlfriend too. They are a mixed race couple…she is a tiny brown sparrow. Apparently birds of a feather don’t necessarily flock together.
Every once in a while the two Red Boys fly at each other, squawking and carrying on. They head off in the same direction…diving at one another until they disappear into the trees. The two females just sit where they are. If birds can have a disgusted expression, then these two do. After a while the men return and take their places on the porch rail and the tree branch, grumbling about each other to their respective mates. Come on…those girls know better… their men barely flew out of sight before they started patting each other on the back and flying off to look for wherever other guy birds hang out.
The male cardinals are bright red to up their mating potential. A flashier feather will get you the girl of your dreams. In the case of my mixed race cardinal couple…obviously the mousy brown cardinal girls just weren’t cutting it for him…so he chose a saucy little sparrow. He seems dedicated. This is the second year I’ve seen them together and in bird relationship years…that’s probably their silver anniversary.
The females of the species homo sapien…or human beings…are historically the pretty ones, though the species is continually evolving and there seems to be as many pretty men now as there are women.
Homo sapien is a Latin word for wise man. That’s a real knee-slapper. Those Latins were such cut-ups. Homo sapiens are bipedal animals meaning we walk upright on two legs…and yet since we’ve taken our first steps we’ve wanted to fly and swim and ride things…whether they have legs or wheels.
Humans like to identify with animals. We smell a rat…something’s fishy…he’s a beast…she’s an old crow…he’s an animal…she’s as gentle as a lamb…we’re as hungry as a horse…she’s a cougar…he’s an old goat.
I don’t think the rest of the animal kingdom feels the same way about humans. Putting a monkey in a tutu or a cowboy hat on a bull is only funny to us.
There is one comparison that I take umbrage with. Yes, umbrage…a funny noun which can mean offense, displeasure or annoyance…or…leaves that afford shade in a tree….those crazy Latins….
Saying men are “dogs” and women are “cats” seems wrong to me. It really should be the other way around and I can make a case for it. Just hear me out.
Anyone who has ever owned a dog will tell you that they are the most loyal, intelligent, loving and forgiving creatures on the face of the earth. What other animal can you leave alone for an entire day only to find them waiting eagerly by the door, tail wagging, happy to see you?
It’s true, some dogs do lash out and chew on things or pee where they shouldn’t. You can yell at them, hit them, tie them up and ignore them and the next day when you come home they will still be excited to see you.
It takes very little to guarantee the devotion of a dog…a head pat, a “good dog”…a walk and a biscuit now and then…ten seconds of attention is the same as ten minutes in a dog’s mind.
Dogs can be trained to seek and fetch and will do it over and over again. They generally answer to their name when called, but will pretty much answer to anything. Dogs accept a leash and a collar and will even carry them to you to be put on if you teach them how to. This doesn’t sound like a lot of guys I know.
In all fairness…a lot of men have heard “get down” and “not now”. This does not seem to be a habit that is easily broken, as they will continue that behavior over and over again until they get the response that they are looking for.
And male dogs will exhibit aggressive behavior around a bitch in heat, so a comparison can be made there. However, once you neuter a dog, he tends to stop sniffing around and stays home.
Once again, that doesn’t translate to men. The vasectomy has become the ticket to ride. I should have known something was up when my ex-husband came home from working on a nine month movie and announced that he wanted to get snipped. Ironically, he was getting his vasectomy on September 11th, 2001 when the towers fell. I was sitting in the doctor’s waiting room while he was in having the procedure. They had a television on and everyone was glued to it. Talk about timing.
I’m not saying vasectomies are an indicator of infidelity…but it should have been a gigantic cardinal red flag for me. I was oblivious. I was also pretty much past child-bearing years. Duh.
To be honest, I think men exhibit more catlike behavior. They are elusive and non-responsive, only showing attention and rubbing against you when THEY feel like it.
Cats will run off for days, only coming home when they are hungry. When they make a mess, they cover it up. They allow you to touch them when they want to be petted and then they walk away when they are tired of it.
My daughter’s two cats have been “visiting” me way past their expiration date. I am not a cat person and don’t allow them in my bedroom. They retaliate by going on a rave every night. When I get up in the morning every cabinet door in my kitchen is open. They use the hall runner like a toboggan and slide their paws under my bedroom door tugging on it. I had to tie my Christmas tree to the window locks because they climbed up inside the branches and stuck their heads out like two furry ornaments and knocked it over. They didn’t do it to be cute. They did it to scare the living daylights out of me. As I wrote this, Buster tried to get on my lap…I already knew “get down” and “not now” was a waste of time. He then tried to wind himself around my left elbow and bite me.
I am also highly allergic to cats. If men are cats then my dating history all makes perfect sense now.
I only know that when I walk outside my dogs are thrilled to see me simply because I made an appearance.
Cats have nine lives…they get to have way more chances to rebound and recover.
One year is seven in dog years…so an eight year old dog is actually fifty-six years old. And we all know you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
If you asked most guys to draw a picture of a fifty-six year old woman she would be round and have short curly gray hair. She would be dressed in bad polyester and wear sweaters with three dimensional snowmen on them. She would be sitting in a rocking chair reading a book.
Ask the same guys to draw a picture of a fifty-six year old man…you wouldn’t be seeing a lot of pants belted under the armpits or fringe hair and bifocals. You would be seeing a lot of pecs and abs…motorcycles and sport cars…boats and bikinis.
While women are synonymous with catty behavior…even our genitalia has a feline moniker…we are often given canine descriptions…she’s a dog…she’s a bitch…she’s a hound…
I’m thinking women are more like dogs. We sit by the door…waiting… jumping around and wagging our tails for a scrap of attention as soon as the men walk through the door.
We love to go for walks by the lake and take rides in the car and sit by the fireplace. We adore treats and act all excited even if it really isn’t all that great. We want to be a part of everything you do and when you leave us out we’ll forgive you. We’ll keep chasing the ball when you throw it…and we’ll keep bringing it back…even when you throw it as far away as possible just to get rid of us. We will be your best friend when you need someone to be there and most of the time we won’t expect the same in return.
We will wait by the door because the one thing we never want to lose sight of is the belief that you are coming through it eventually…even if we want to kill you.
We can have a mean bark and a painful bite when provoked…but for the most part we are loyal and forgiving and loving and will accept the least amount of attention for total devotion.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule…just like my bright red cardinal and his little sparrow girlfriend.
When all is said and done…which must be another crazy joke on us coined by the Latins…because all never seems to be said and done…
The next time someone says “he’s a dog”…take a second look ladies. He just might be a keeper.
Day Three Hundred and Forty Seven…meow…