I have a grouse: God has been discriminatory. He (look, even I subconsciously call Him, him) has made this a man’s world, but not so in the animal kingdom. So, if one is a woman, it’s better to be an animal. No, no, I think I have put this wrong: men are better as animals. There I go again — I can almost hear the women think: What are you fretting about men being animals. Trust me, ladies, men are not animals. In the heat of passion, angst and betrayal, do not call that infidel creep an animal. The male animal is "wow". Well and truly, "wow".
Let’s begin with the physical. Now, don’t get intellectual, and new age, and tell me the physical doesn’t matter. I mean, wouldn’t you choose a Ranbir Kapoor over a Rajpal Yadav (no offence, no offence), or a Brad Pitt over a Jay Leno...(no offence again)? Look at the male of the species across the animal kingdom, Homo sapiens excluded: It is the men who glitter and dazzle, minus all the pain and the paint the female human must go through.
It’s the lion’s regal countenance that is framed by a glorious mane, it is the tusker bestowed with gleaming white tusks, and it is the stag among the deer who dons a magnificent crown of antlers.
I baulk at mentioning the avian society, so telling is the contrast between the X and Y factors. The cock of the pheasant world is a grand being, blessed with vivid colours, and the hen is a dowdy, dreary thing. But for all that, she rules the roost. Do I even need to mention the peacock, with his sapphire blue neck and a brilliantly hued tail that he spreads wide, swaggering impressively before the drabbest creature you ever saw. He impresses me, yes, he does, but his lady barely glances at him, preferring, instead, to peck for worms and other such delicacies. Legend says that she doesn’t give him the time of the day, and the magnificent male sheds copious tears from which spring the young. This is, admittedly, not backed by science, but well, it suits the story to a T.
My heart bleeds when I think of the times I have had to drag the man of my life kicking, or rather shuffling and screaming to the dance floor. Yours would too, if you had seen the male Sarus crane (or any other crane species) courting. He pursues the female ardently, dancing with rhythm and grace around its mate. He bows, circles his wings, throws his crimson head back — his bugling call filling the air as he cajoles her to set up nest with him. Eat your heart out, women, this one pairs for life... pining away, not jumping on the next available bed err, bird, were he to lose her...
The sunbird is an ardent lover too, thrusting its tiny little body into the air in all manner of acrobatics, darting from flower from flower and tree to tree, wooing its mate with passion, singing sweet little ditties. There are risks in this game, for his brilliant display may or may not charm his prospective bride, but it may attract the attention of a predator on the lookout for prey. No matter. He is a fool in love.
It is the weaver bird which takes the cake, though. He looks suitably handsome dressed in a yellow coat with black tie, and I could write paeans about his work of art — weaving and shaping from leaf, twig and grass a beautiful nest that look not unlike an inverted wine glass. He is quite the perfect gentleman, true to his love, toiling incessantly over his hearth, and building another, and yet another nest, till it meets with his lady’s approval. In case he fails to satisfy "Her Majesty", she simply moves on, to the next suitor.
My final word on the superiority of the beastly babe is the giant wood spider, or most spiders for that matter. She is the proverbial "Black Widow", or the ultimate femme fatale; and those who are sucked in her web of desire must pay with their life. You can see her, the "Queen Bee" at the centre while a diminutive male hovers around, towards her, towards death. They meet, they mate and then she devours him. The male, a mere disposable sperm. Think about it, mate.