“Is it possible to fart in your sleep?” asked a tourist the other day.
When humans ask me questions about farting, I expect them to make a joke about the gale-force blasts for which we gorillas are famed. But it turned out that this particular fellow was in earnest. He was going through a messy divorce, and breaking wind in bed was of one the many complaints levelled at him by his estranged wife. I told him that a forceful expulsion of flatulence was unlikely because sleep normally paralyses the muscles. Any gas building up in the bowels would probably leak out slowly, as if from a puncture. He thanked me for my opinion and jotted down a few notes in his diary. Much to my relief, he didn’t ask me to appear in court as an expert witness.
Is there such a thing as an amicable divorce? For gorillas, the answer is “yes”. If one of my females wants a change of scene, I find another alpha male willing to accept her and send her on her way with an affectionate pat on the rump. There is no question of divorcing a female without fixing her up with another mate – that sort of thing gets you blackballed from the local chest-thumping association. Human divorces would surely be less painful if the protagonists had to find new partners for their spouses before parting company.
This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. It’s more or less the plot being followed my Australian friend Fatman and his long-suffering girlfriend Kitty. They never actually married, but were in a cohabiting relationship involving sporadic sexual contact. Fatman then went on a long solo vacation in Russia, where he penetrated the Slavic soul from the inside of a vodka bottle. When he returned to Melbourne, Kitty and he agreed that they were no longer an item. But as he was both penniless and homeless, Kitty happily gave him lodgings in her abode.
Now comes the interesting part. Fatman introduces Kitty to his cousin Jesse and they hit it off rather well. No, they hit it off much better than that, if you see what I mean. Fatman feels pangs of jealousy, baring his anguish in his blog, but soon accepts that he has no real wish to stand in the way of Kitty’s happiness. Nor should he, indeed, for Kitty herself is making strenuous efforts to pair him off with one of her own circle of unattached females. As yet, Fatman has been reluctant to pursue these overtures for fear that Kitty and his new paramour would discuss him covertly, comparing notes and giggling at his peccadilloes.
This is where I can give Fatman some friendly ape-to-man advice. If females who have mated with you are on friendly terms, they will inevitably compare notes and laugh at your expense. You just have to get over it because it cannot be helped. It is a law of nature and a fait accompli.
I once had the misfortune to overhear two of my females discussing my sexual habits. One of them said: “You know when he’s finished because he grunts like a wart hog!” and they both hooted with glee. I crept through the undergrowth to surprise them and said loudly: “Do I indeed?”. They were not the least bit embarrassed and laughed all the harder.
But I had my revenge. The next time I mated with one of those apettes, I cried “Oink! Oink!” while climaxing and walked off abruptly without so much as a peck on the cheek. I knew she was annoyed because I felt a stone strike the back of my head, but I just wiggled my posterior scornfully without turning round. There’s nothing like a bit of sarcasm when you’re ejaculating to put a female in her place.
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