Female ingenuity

The manager of the safari camp has been telling me about a woman who avoided going to her high-school reunion by sending an impostor in her stead.

“Pretty clever eh, GB!” he said. “I bet your females wouldn’t have thought of a trick like that!”

“You’d be surprised,” I remarked. “Female gorillas can be incredibly devious in pursuit of their aims. Not that they’d worry about skipping a high-school reunion, of course. Anyone who tried to pressure them into attending such an event would simply be told to piss off.”

On reviewing the
news report, I am forced to admit that this woman, Andrea Wachner, is a cunning wench. The impersonator she hired was a professional stripper well-versed in performing before strangers. Her looks were also carefully chosen – essentially a cuter version Miss Wachner with a smaller nose and a bigger bust. After getting her stooges to install webcams at the venue, Miss Wachner equipped the impostor with an earpiece to receive her instructions. The deception worked perfectly until one of her former classmates sidled up to the stripper near the end of the party.

“You’re not Andrea, your eyes are different!” he said staring intently at her breasts.

The hoax almost succeeded, though, and the idea of using a double to fob people off was brilliant. It’s a concept that might lead to a social revolution comparable to that of the birth-control pill. The busy career woman, juggling work and family responsibilities, could hire multiple look-alikes for different tasks – one to attend office parties, one to drive the kids to school, one to give her husband a treat on his birthday, and so on. A rich femme fatale could lead the life of a Bond villain, lying on a couch in her boudoir while watching her doppelgangers carry out her nefarious plans. The ones that make a hash of it would be invited back to HQ for a paddle with the sharks in the aquarium.

Yet contrasting such womanly wiles with the behaviour of female apes is obviously comparing apples with pears. The apettes may not hire strippers to impersonate them, but they possess jungle instincts that the modern woman lacks. Take the
recent case of Miss Karta, a sharp-witted orang-utan who escaped from her zoo enclosure by building a ladder and short-circuiting an electric fence. When surrounded by a posse of her captors, she jumped back into her enclosure before they could fire their tranquiliser darts. Are there women who can make ladders and short-circuit electric fences without being unnaturally butch? Not that I’ve seen.

I think it’s fair to say that women and female apes have much to learn from each other. Women may have guile and subtlety, but their hairy sisters could teach them a range of practical skills that would serve them well in life, such as tree-climbing. A woman who knows how to straddle up and down a tree trunk has an exciting feral quality that complements her softer virtues. Perhaps I should hold a jungle symposium for female primates of all species to exchange ideas.

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