Marital problems


An impotent man has been arrested in Malaysia for attempting to deceive his wife with cucumbers and aubergines. The woman wasn’t fooled and endured six years of vegetable abuse before complaining to the police. It’s a depressing story which confirms what shrinks say about poor communication leading to marital break-ups. He should have come clean about his impotence, and she should have told him to get those damned vegetables out of the bed.

I’ve often thought I’d be good at counselling human couples with marital problems. When humans see other humans bickering they instinctively want to take sides, but we gorillas are more objective. In studying the dynamics of a human relationship, we have the emotional detachment of Davy Attenborough watching a pair of feuding ferrets. This makes us utterly impervious to the antagonisms that poison human gender relations. Feminism, male chauvinism, phallocentrism, pussy-magnetism – they are all irrelevant concepts to a gorilla.


Gorillas could counsel humans, but it would never work the other way around. When I have a tiff with my females, things progress fairly quickly from curses and pinches to frenzied violence. Any human who tried to mediate would be trembling like a leaf. Giving honest advice is impossible if you’re fearful that saying the wrong thing will lead to your arms getting ripped off.


That’s why we gorillas never intervene in disputes between animals heftier than ourselves. The matriarch of an elephant herd once asked me to have a quiet word with a rogue bull that was attempting to mount everything with a trunk.


“No can do, ma’am!” I said. “The job is outside of my size range. You’d better ask King Kong or Godzilla.”


The bull elephant was finally put out of his misery when he gate-crashed a training exercise of the Congolese Armed Forces and tried to have sex with a T-72.


Not all differences can be reconciled, of course. I doubt Mr Cucumber will ever patch things up with his missus however much remorse he shows. He ought to apologise to the vegetables as well as his wife. No nutritious plant should ever be made to act as a sexual surrogate against its will. After an experience like that, I would describe its condition as inedible. I certainly wouldn’t eat it, no matter how many times it was rinsed in cold water.


For some women adultery is an unforgivable offence, while others seem able to live with it. My theory is that the tolerant wives are the ones who intend to retaliate by having affairs of their own. Princess Diana didn’t leave Charles when he was carrying on with Camilla because she knew she’d soon be cheating like a trollop herself. By the end of his first marriage, Old Jug Ears must have been the most cuckolded heir to the throne in English history.


Charles and Diana were a hopeless case and I wouldn’t have wasted my energy on trying to keep them together. When famous humans divorce, my reaction is usually “What took you so long?”. The one celebrity marriage I would go out on a hairy limb to save is the union between Mr Becks and Victoria Spice. They are now more famous for being married to each other than anything else, and I’d hate to see them trade insults in the gutter press. Maybe I’ll invite them to the Congo for a second honeymoon and help them brush up on their non-verbal communication skills.


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