News arrives of an unusual incident in New Zealand. Annoyed at being repeatedly whistled at by road workers, a comely Israeli woman strips naked on her way to an ATM. After being arrested and taken to a police station, she explains that she was making a defiant gesture in response to a vulgar provocation. She is informed that this is not an approved method of rebuking whistlers in the antipodes.
Cultural differences between humans are fascinating to a gorilla. Those beer-bellied navvies must have thought it was their lucky day, having their boorish antics rewarded with a striptease. They might have wondered, with some justification, whether the woman’s response to having her bottom pinched would have been to place the pincher’s hands on her breasts. Yet speaking as one familiar with the conduct of female gorillas, I think I can see where she was coming from. As well as showing that her proud spirit could not be quelled by a few dog-whistles, I sense that she was contemptuously taunting the labourers with forbidden fruit. It’s as if she was saying:
“Hey losers! Think of what you’re not getting the next time the mare who shares your bed lets you paw her!”
Events like this raise the question of whether there’s an acceptable way for a stranger to compliment a woman. Back in my circus days, Doris the knife-thrower’s assistant often used to complain about the leers and whistles she received from men in the street. Although far from modest in her dress sense, and possessing a figure of outstanding qualities, her temperament was that of a heroine in a Victorian novel. There was one occasion, however, when she did appreciate the attention she got from a strange man. The circus was touring Ireland when he approached her as she sat on a park bench.
“Top of de mornin’ ter yer young lady!” he exclaimed, doffing his cap. “May I say what a picture yer are for sore eyes dis fine and luvverly mornin’!”
Doris was kind enough to swallow her embarrassment and chat with the fellow. It should be noted, however, that he was at least 70 years old and posed little threat to her virtue. It seems that lavishing praise on young women is one of the few activities that becomes easier for men as they age.
I suspect you’re wondering whether I’ve ever complimented a human female on her appearance. Being a gorilla, it’s certainly not something I make a habit of doing. However an event of this nature did occur recently at the safari guesthouse, whose visitors included a striking young minx with jet black hair and olive skin. It was actually her eyes that caught my attention. If I said they were emerald green, I’d be doing her a disservice – aquamarine would be closer to the truth. She glided up to me to order a drink when I was tending bar.
“Miss,” I said, “your eyes are bewitchingly beautiful, even to a gorilla.”
“Thank you,” she replied with a coy smile. “If you gaze into them closely you might lose your soul.”
She moved nearer as if tempting me to test the validity of her claim. I pondered her statement silently as I poured her drink.
“In that case,” I said, handing her the glass, “I shall admire them from afar.”
She giggled and walked off to socialise with the other guests. I could have sworn she wiggled her bottom as she sauntered away, but that may have been a trick of the light.
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