Sleepless nights

A religious guru in Malaysia is warning women not to wear tight clothes. Apparently it gives men in that part of the world sleepless nights, making them thrash about in their beds like spawning salmon, cruelly abusing their pillows. This, he contends, is a form of emotional abuse. Looking at the guru's picture, I think he should put his own house in order before telling women what to do. That wispy beard of his would drive female orang-utans insane with lust if he showed his face in the jungle.

When a female ape gets the hots for a man she will lie on top of him and poke her fingers into every crevice in his body. It’s obviously not pleasant for the man, but the psychological damage done to the ape is immense. Instead of concentrating on the noble pursuits that Nature intended for her – rearing infants, foraging for food, reciting prayers, etc – she is corrupted by thoughts of naked primate booty and how she can get some. “Beware of man and the seduction of his charm that leadeth unto sin” is the proverb quoted to female gorillas from the moment they’ve eaten their first banana.

As a former circus ape, I find it difficult to entertain complaints about women who wear skin-tight clothes. That sort of attire is very much de rigeur in the ring, and concealing the contours of those pert little bodies would be cheating the customers. It isn’t necessarily advisable for ladies of a less athletic build, though. The gorilla perspective on the human female is that while her top half is improved by compression, her bottom half must be packaged with care. Frankly, it can give the appearance of trying to squeeze the groceries into a carrier bag that’s not quite big enough.

“Are women who dress seductively asking for it?” is the question posed by every talk-show host seeking to boost his ratings. Scantily-clad ladies tend to respond defensively when this suggestion is put to them by other humans. This is where being a gorilla helps. Human females can speak to me candidly, aware that my motive is anthropological rather than judgemental. Having interviewed a number of saucily-dressed damsels, the answer appears to be ‘No’. Rather than “asking for it”, they are “asking to be asked for it”, by the right man, in the right manner. And if the man or the manner of asking does not meet with their approval, they reserve the right to decline.

In the animal kingdom, these matters are resolved by the male giving the female a good sniff to find out whether she’s in heat. Hampered by their poor sense of smell, humans have to rely on cues and signals instead. Yet I’m not convinced that the women of today have got it quite right. The mini skirt and skimpy top often make her appear closer to spreading her legs for Mr Knobpants than she actually is. My feeling is that corseting the cleavage inside an 18th century bodice is closer to the message that the temptress is seeking to convey. The goodies are there for the taking, but getting them out is likely to be hard work.

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