Batten down the hatches.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. It’s the day candy stores get rid of all their stale chocolates, florists bundle together everything with petals and charge a fortune
for them, postmen bend double under their load of cards, ecard sites get busy, and local newspapers personal columns fill up with really personal items like: "I Love You Mary – from Your Own Hotsy Totsy Oochie Coochie Man."
Do I sound cynical?
Ho. Envious, more like. Because there really is nothing as charming as a heartfelt Valentine’s Card. A funny one, or one with frills, and especially ones that are homemade, with crayons. And because we Romance Writer’s just love True Romance.
But I must tell you that I’ve found human romances to be sometime things. Even the best of them. I was married for many many years and would still be if Fate had been kinder, but there were nevertheless
times, even so, and sometimes even on Valentine’s Day, when the mood was NOT loveable. That’s only human. If you’re looking for real romance, you have to observe the animal kingdom.
Dogs are loyal masters of love, for other animals and humans. Cats too, if you’re not watching. Male and female. Maybe they’ve learned that from having lived so closely with us for so long.
But as for wild symbols of virility?
The mighty stag is a true Alpha male, more interested in fighting with other males than cuddling with females, except when hormones are upon them.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my?
Lions are polygamists. Tigers are loners. And bears are seldom seen smooching.
When it comes to loving relationships, Reptiles aren’t even in the running. Leave us not talk about insects.
And fish, (except for the seahorse, where the males incubate the young. Still,I don’t know how affectionate they are with seamares) are interested in spawling, which means only needing to have a female in the general vicinity. Whales and porpoises do neck, I’ve seen it. But they are, after all, mammals.
Geese are monogamists, and show true affection, as do swans.
In fact, birds are the truest symbols of love. They put us mammals to shame.
Legend says that wild birds choose their mates by Valentine’s Day. Around here, they do! I feed them, and I’ve seen it. The Cardinals were drab until last week. Then the males grew red as flames, and the females bloomed with lipstick red beaks, and they did, indeed, pair off. Ten of them: two by two, times five. The goldfinches no longer looked like sparrows, the males grew bright yellow tummies. All the birds showed their genders and made their choices. I expect a lot of cheeping in the spring.
Bird love is nothing to scoff at. The males cooperate. They dress up and court females. They wear themselves to tatters building nests and bringing food for ther chicks. Even the dumbest: the lumbering Mourning Doves in their flimsy, silly nests, watch their nestlings by turns, as though timing themselves by a clock. Bird love is constant. I don’t know if they choose the same mates year after year, but once they’ve chosen, they are loyal, affectionate, and loving.
Which animal’s loving behavior would you rather have? A magnificent stallion’s? Or a cocker spaniel’s?
An MGM lion roaring at you? Or a pussycat purring?
And yet when we scorn men we call them "dogs" and "hounds" and "tomcats"
Why do we call handsome exciting males: "Regency Bucks," "Stallions" and "Tigers"?
What do you think?
Photo cred: Original bird cards by Pepperina Press.