Sunday, September 30, 2012
what i put before you today—which, it turns out, is not actually today but the day i started scribbling hungry women in my head on the way to the grocery store and then finished up at home later—are some thoughts about eating (always a good thing, right? if the food is decent and satisfying, or you're hungry, or both?) and the silent, not-so-silent, always lurking, subject-of-many-jokes "battle" between men and women (i'll let you decide if that's a good thing or not).
a praying mantis, specifically that one up there on a window in new jersey, got me thinking about food and battlefronts (of sorts). ed and i were having a peaceful breakfast at an inn overlooking a marina on the navesink river when he noticed the large beastie. she was not in her usual "praying" position, but stretched out and taking what i will call a rest (do bugs rest or are they always working, patient opportunists keeping an eye out for their next meal?) halfway down the floor-to-ceiling window. because she was interesting and good looking—i do so love a good looking insect—i took her picture and then promptly forgot about her.
later that night at a wedding reception we attended, they were toasting the bride and groom and the matron-of-honor asked the groom to put his hand on top of the bride's hand. then, as part of her toast, she announced with unwavering conviction—rather too seriously, i might add, as if it was not meant as a joke at all—that this was the last time he would ever have the upper hand in their marriage. her remark got a lot of laughs. personally i thought it was an immensely tired and worn out load of......syllables. but maybe i was just nit-picking; my expectation for originality was too high and my sense of humor too low. i quickly forgot about the toast and the joke and, as it was late and my stomach was growling, enjoyed the delicious wedding feast.
the always hungry—imagine a sixteen-crickets-a-day kind of voracious—pious lady mantis who never, it seems, can get enough to eat, will participate in a lovely and tender courting ritual with a potential mate which includes dancing in circles and serious antennae stroking. occasionally (meaning not as often as the australian redback spider), if her mate doesn't get away fast enough after the act of mating is complete, the praying mantis will ambush him. it will happen so quickly he'll never see it coming. the female will turn around and snap off the male's head and proceed to devour him.
it would seem that sordid tales of sex and violence and who has dominion over whom in this world—a sorting out of who actually "wears the pants" and has the power in a family or a society or whatever—started in the vicinity of the insect kingdom and rapidly moved up the food chain into our neighborhood at the very top. (i am reminded of this fact by some of the movies ed and i watch—yes, the truth is we have game of thrones at the top of our netflix queue.)
i will take some small comfort at this point. i am positive—maybe 95% positive?—that humans, for once, are not to blame. men and women who thrive on sex and violence in reality or who watch it on HBO are not to blame for how low we can sink. humans didn't start the power struggle. no they didn't. it's the fault of the big green one—and others like her—as she sits on a fat, juicy leaf and lures her man with provocative flicks of her antennae, smug in the certainty that she will snag him and he will taste sublime.