It’s a jungle out there, says just about everybody—male or female, gay or straight, old or young—of the dating world.
And the jungle comes populated with all kinds of creatures that are exotic and feral, wild and domesticated.
Take the cougar, for instance, a sleek feline who preys on the young. The Urban Dictionary describes the cougar as an “older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man. The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim”—Jocelyn Wildenstein is that you?—“to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister, to a real hottie or MILF.”
While the cougar has become a popular trope in contemporary culture, there are, if you want to be pedantic about it, apparently various categories of big cats prowling the alcohol-doused wilds in search of prey, many of them willing.
Again the Urban Dictionary provides the indispensable guide to the hierarchical nature of cats when it comes to man-stalking: “In the lexicon of older women seeking younger men, a jaguar is 50 and over, where the cougar is in their 40s, and the puma under 40. Jaguars tend to be financially stable and are only looking for sex from their 20-something prey.”
Cats being an adaptive species, Silicon Valley, according to a story that appeared in Vanity Fair in May 2013, has evolved into the preferred habitat for cougars and their cousins the pumas and jaguars alike, with the Rosewood Hotel luring the predators in on Thursday nights, which have become known as “Cougar Night.”
It’s Thursday night at the Rosewood and huddles of women wrapped in dresses tight as sausage casings circulate about the lobby. A steady flow of sky-high stilettos and colorful mini dresses come through the front door. All head to the dark barroom to the left of the entrance. By 8 p.m. many are paired up with younger men. After a drink or two, couples move away from the bar, getting cozy on benches by the fireplaces or under blankets near heat lamps on the deck.
It’s important to note the element of stalking, whether blatant or subtle, that accompanies these pairings, which would after all be consistent with cat-like behavior. I say this a tad defensively, I suppose, as friends have sometimes branded me a cougar for having dated younger men. Much younger men, in fact, on occasion. However, I point out that I don’t hunt, and am instead the hunted, so the cougar tag doesn’t apply.
The cheetah, another big cat found in the wild, is the male equivalent of the cougar. The cheetah is known for its ability to chase after its prey with blinding speed, but only across limited distances, as it lacks stamina and endurance. Typically, the cheetah prefers them young.
A variation of the cheetah is “the married man who cheats on his wife, with one or more women of questionable repute.” Don’t we know a few of them skulking around Manila, waiting to pounce…
Speaking of Manila, our own steamy native jungles, I have been told, teem with exotic wildlife. The tarsier, the pint-sized primate, rare and endangered in Bohol, is plentiful and ubiquitous in the metropolitan areas, adapting itself cannily to the concrete jungle carved out by the areas defined by P. Burgos and Café Havana in Makati. This particular species of tarsier, it would seem, clings not to trees but to the long arms of a white man, who acts as lover and often benefactor. Tarsiers tend to be uniform in appearance: pint-sized, dark-skinned, long-maned, sometimes accented with cheap highlights, clad in cut-off denim shorts, and with a wide-eyed expression.
While food may be abundant, all species are advised to pay special attention to certain plants. Consuming low-hanging fruit, i.e., “an easy sexual conquest, requiring little effort or commitment,” which tend to appear more attractive towards the end of the evening when choice produce has disappeared, can lead to strong feelings of revulsion and shame the next morning.
Driftwood can look appetizing, but beware, it can also miraculously morph into low-hanging fruit with the help of alcohol and desperation. A piece of driftwood is easy to spot—it’s the “solitary individual who aimlessly bounces between others on a crowded dance-floor engaging in obnoxious behaviour and unwanted advances.” In other words, a loser.
While the sea may brim with possibility, dangers lurk in unexpected quarters. Catfish love to mark their targets on Tinder and Facebook. Shrimp (hipon) are high in protein, but be ready to discard the head because that creature is only hot from the neck down. Remember, a sexy body does not always equal a beautiful face. Then again, you may find the lobster you could end up linking claws with and mating for the rest of your lives, to quote Phoebe from Friends.
As we all know, many animals are endowed with a keen sense of smell or sight, and can sense danger from far away. Some even have Marvel-like superpowers, able to hybridize and change species. Tarsiers, for instance, can morph into giraffes once they open their mouths to take in a dick deep down their throats.
Admirable for its adaptability, yet frightening to a certain degree, is the animal that can morph into a spastic eagle. Look it up.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published earlier this year by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online.When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
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Art by Dorothy Guya