Leader of the pack

I hear that Dian Fossey’s old flame Titus has recently appeared on British TV. This silverbacked rascal rose to fame in Rwanda, his every move watched by a succession of female naturalists who fell hopelessly in love with him. Titus, you see, is one of those gorillas who can charm the knickers off a woman. He just gazes deeply into their eyes and they think he is noble and wise and a lot of other things he most certainly isn’t. Not bad for an ape who mates with his hands clasped behind his head. The profusion of words that these ladies have written about him can be summed up in the lyrics of a famous song:

They said he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That’s why I fell for the leader of the pack
(Vroom! Vroom!)

For my own part, I always take pains not to arouse the amorous feelings of female zoologists. Whenever one of these women appears with notebook in hand, I slip on a pair of dark glasses to avoid seductive eye contact. After formally introducing myself, I offer to check her notes for accuracy. One thing leads to another and I usually end up counselling her on personal matters, which puts our relationship on a professional basis. It seems that these ladies often develop an interest in gorillas after becoming disenchanted with men. Having been led down the garden path by deceitful hairless ones, they dream of being led up a tree by an honest hairy one. Or so they imagine. I make it my mission to put them straight on a few home truths about male gorillas, so they leave the jungle a little less starry-eyed than they entered it.

In some ways, of course, we are more reliable than men. One thing we would never do is secretly film our trysts with a lady in order to blackmail her. The latest woman to fall victim to this contemptible scam is Frau Susanne Klatten, Germany’s wealthiest woman (and a right little raver between the sheets, so they say). I greatly admire her for refusing to pay her extortionist a penny and instructing the local constabulary to frogmarch the miserable cur to the nearest gaol. May he be tarred and feathered until he resembles Mother Goose.

After an experience like that, I wouldn’t blame Frau Klatten for going off men completely. There is only so much chicanery that a lady can take before losing interest in suitors of her own species. It must be difficult for a well-to-do woman to have healthy physical relations with men who’d rather be loosening her purse string than her g-string. Alas, these despicable adventurers swarm around rich ladies like flies near a honey pot.

It goes without saying that Susanne would receive a warm welcome if she visited my band in the Congo. I’d extend her every courtesy and show her the glories of the African landscape from a suitable vantage point in one of our sturdiest trees. I don’t speak German, but when ape meets woman in the glow of a tropical sunset a few grunts are all that’s required to capture the mood of the moment. If she later insisted on writing a fat cheque to fund our worthy conservation efforts, I might find it difficult to refuse her generosity – these successful career women are used to having their way. Gorilla Bananas is no gigolo, but he knows when to bend with the breeze.

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