animal and human editorials

Relationship lessons we can all learn from animals


animal and human editorials

As the intelligent species there is supposedly some differentiation between us and animals. However, it seems to me that when it comes to relationships we are the only species that has got it completely wrong. We blame so much on ‘human nature’, but it seems that nature goes with its instinct. Maybe human nature isn’t working, and we should learn to follow our instincts.

Let’s start with Emperor Penguins. My feminist alter ego takes great delight in the habitual patterns of this creature as they crush sexist conformities to their absolute destruction and turn gender roles entirely on their head.  Emperor penguins are a serially monogamous species, being faithful to their mate for the entire year, only finding a new partner to mate with the following year if they are unable to find their previous mate. Sensible. After the female lays the egg, she leaves to feed for two months, during which time the male is solely responsible for looking after the egg until it hatches. Now I may be speaking with a lack of developed maternal instincts but it seems to me that it is only fair that after the mother carries and gives birth to the baby that the father should be on nappy duty for at least the first two months!

Next we look at the bowerbird. The bowerbird is an animal that knows the importance of time and effort, something lost on the male counterparts of our species. It builds a structure called a ‘bower’, made of twigs and other objects and fills it with flowers, pebbles, stones and feathers as gifts to impress females and to attract a mate. And it’s not just finding a mate where animals seem to realise the importance of satisfying a woman. A Barnacle is a type of sea creature that sticks to something and then stays in that position for its entire life. Its mating pattern works by one simple and genius feature- an inflatable penis. Need I say any more?

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘at it like rabbits’, and we’ve all wished for a bit of bunny loving at one point or another. Male rabbits will hop around the female between mounting her, and they will mate continuously for the entire time they are together. Now, as rabbits don’t have jobs to go to, this may be quite dandy for them, however as humans with various boring responsibilities it’s not quite realistic. But what they seem to have cleverly established is a relationship of a) serious commitment, not to mention stamina and b) being all over each other all the time that they are together, something that somehow us humans can only keep alive for so long.

As humans we look at animals quite objectively, we don’t really wonder why they do what they do, it’s just ‘their nature’. But perhaps all this time they’ve been watching our dysfunctional relationships and wondering what the hell we’re wasting our time with. I’ve always believed animals have an ability to sense mood and emotion, have you ever noticed your pet dog or cat sit next to you if you are ill, tired or upset? But maybe all this time, when my cuter than cute JackShit (Jack Russell/Shih Tzu for all you dog novices) looks at me when I’m crying and I think she’s providing silent sympathy, she’s actually saying, “Pull yourself together woman! You don’t see me moping because of the arsehole who played with me in the park for 5 minutes and then moved onto the stuck up Poodle that walked in!”

It seems animals know exactly what we humans have not evolved to realise. They have learnt how to accept the behaviour of the one they are with, or leave them if they don’t like it. Just like that. Neither male nor female apologises for the way they are, they accept their qualities whether they be, in an outside opinion, completely terrible or not. If a lioness can accept a lion who enters the pride and kills all the cubs she has had with previous mating partners before mating with her himself, then why oh why can I not accept that he just may never, ever, put the toilet seat down.

Written By Rachel Hadley. You can read more from Rachel on her blog Shortlisted at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2013 & 2014.

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