Whether we know it or not, this is what women’s hearts desire. Drawn by D.W. Kellogg, sometime around 1833-42, he attributed it to “A Lady” and warned of the dangers to those who travelled in the land of a woman’s heart. I think “Tenting Ground of Uncertainty”, “City of Moi-Meme”, “River of Drain the Purse” and the mole traps in the “Province of Deception” are my favourites.
You know it’s been a while when you have to search out your passport for the date of entry stamp to see what year it was when you flew across the ocean to see the last man you had sex with. It wasn’t quite long enough for my virginity to have grown back, but certainly long enough to show that I was making no effort whatsoever to find a man to bed down with. I thought I ought to do something about it and looked to the most immediate of resources for those on the look-out for a mate – dating sites.
Handily, there was a statistical study in a weekend supplement. From a slightly cobbled together newspaper report, I discovered that, in dating site shots, women with cats get 24% fewer hits and women showing cleavage get 43% more. Possibly, you can offset the crazy cat (or rat, in my case) lady image by getting your breasts out.
For men, get a dog and you’ll meet 50% more women. Show your muscles and you’ll meet 45% more. Don’t know if the numbers combine, but maybe sitting a dog on your rock-hard abs will get you 95% more hits than a skinny dogless guy could ever dream of.
It says that women doing something ‘interesting’ are 48% more likely to have an online conversation with a man who contacts them. If you really want your cat in shot, possibly, being pictured trying to wrangle him down your cleavage would count as interesting. I think so, but then I’m not a man so I don’t know how they’d interpret it.
Roughly half the men I know are frightened of rats, but I don’t know whether, if I joined a dating site and had Georgia and Minnie in my picture, I’d get 50% less hits. (From the picture above, you can see they’re adorable and not at all terrifying or carriers of a bubonic plague.) Possibly the way in which I described the part they play in my life would influence the statistics. While they are of intelligent and appealing companionship to me, the only time they’ve ever been involved in an encounter with a man was when I set Georgia on a friend after he’d told me, if I weren’t ‘such a slut and a doormat’, I’d be with The Texan I’d lusted after forever and ever (wrong on all counts, but gin does give you the clarity to pronounce yourself judge, jury, and executioner on all matters of other people’s relationships, don’t you know). Anyway, Georgia zipped along the sofa and onto his lap; he shrieked and hid in the bathroom until I assured him she was safely back in her cage. He now calls in advance of any visits to make sure she’s not on the prowl, with nothing better to do but launch herself at his throat, draw and quarter him.
‘Online flirting’ (whatever the hell that is) gets you 7% more hits so maybe a bit of cleavage, fluttering my eyelashes and making Georgia and Minnie look especially fluffy would make me a less terrifying proposition.
If I test it, I’ll let you know. Any tips on persuading rats to nestle snuggly in a Wonderbra while not obscuring my breasts would be gratefully received.
Mythical tales of love are many – countless, perhaps – and have a tendency towards the melodramatic at best and the tragic at worst. A few weeks ago, in an attempt to remain in keeping with the celebration of love that is St Valentine’s Day, I searched the scores of mythological lovers for a happy tale. The best I could come up with is one that bore a golden age, Ovid’s tale of Halcyone.
Daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx, when her husband perished in a shipwreck, Halcyone threw herself into the sea and drowned. Out of pity, the gods changed them both into halcyon birds (later to be known as kingfishers), then forbade the winds from blowing for seven days before and after the winter solstice so Halcyone could lay her eggs in peace without the threat of storms. In a further act of perilous spousal support, the female halcyon bird is said to support her mate when he tires flying over the sea by carrying him on her wings.
Though her tale is tragic, the birds named for her are beautiful and the days of rest the gods gave her, too, are halcyon.
Now, halcyon days are golden. They tend to be associated with times of peace, prosperity, and tranquillity; family picnics at the seaside from which familial bickering is absent; and days in which joy is abundant and strife forgotten. Depending on your disposition, this is either a nauseating prospect best dispatched to the same spot in hell as Hallmark’s wonderful mothers, true friends, devoted fathers, and forever-mine lovers; or remembrance of such days fills you with the glow of repose, idle nostalgia, and hope. It really depends who you ask.
In the search for golden moments, fiction is as good a place to start as any. Writers tend to have something to say about it. To name a few: Lucy Maud Montgomery, sent Anne of Green Gables off to spend many a halcyon day in “the golden prime of August” in the lodges and harbours of Prince Edward Island. Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared them to be “frightfully dull” leading to such desperate boredom that it “sets one sticking golden pins into people”. Jack London only found them with a drink in hand. Arthur Conan Doyle brought a certain flamboyance to his idea of bliss with the “strange tales of fortunes made and fortunes lost” and “stirring adventures” of the pioneers. W. Somerset Maugham sided with Dostoyevsky after being charmed by a woman into married misery. And Charlotte Bronte’s Professor mistook female subjugation and repugnance for a “halcyon mien”.
So, tragic little Halcyone, leaping from the rocks, knew nothing about the dastardly, plundering writers who would either venerate or take her name in vain. All she wanted was to see her man. Preferably in human form, but feathered and with the promise of immortality was the only deal the gods were offering that day.