Dan Savage’s Wild Kingdom.
BY IAN CAREY
CALLER: Hi Dan, I’m a four-month old female mantis, straight, totally GGG, and I have this problem with my boyfriend. We’ve messed around some, but haven’t gone all the way—we both really want to, but he’s got some issues. I don’t know if he was abused or something, but he’s got this paranoia that I’m going to bite his head off. I mean, I totally am, but I keep telling him, it’s not that big a deal, and it’s not like we’d have to stop—his headless body would continue mating with me for several seconds on reflex, duh! We’ve talked about it a lot, and he keeps asking if we can do it WITHOUT me biting his head off—but Dan, that just doesn’t do it for me. I mean, I love him and I’m always up for whatever, but he just doesn’t seem willing to be do this for me, and it’s giving me serious doubts about the relationship. What should I do, Dan?
SAVAGE: Dump the muthamantis already. I don’t know what era this guy is from, but in 2010, head-biting comes STANDARD. I mean, if you really want to make it work, I suppose you could work out some kind of negotiation where you get to bite his head off, he gets a week off from doing the dishes or something—but I have to tell you there are PLENTY of guys on Prayslist who would beat down your door for the chance to get their rocks off, and their heads off, with you, so do yourself a favor and tell this loser to go spawn himself.
CALLER: Hi Dan, long time absorber/first time excretor. I’m a 2-hour-old asexual amoeba, and I have kind of a weird problem… like most single-cell folks, I went through a phase in my teens where I was binary-fissionizing myself so often I thought my psuedopods would fall off. (It didn’t make me go blind, though! Take that, MomDad!) But not too long ago I ran into one of my own cytokinetic copies at a party, and we really hit it off. So even though I still think non-asexual contact is disgusting and an abomination against Amoeba God, I find myself fantasizing about the two of me settling down in a drop of fetid water so we can live out our days osmosizing algae and causing the occasional bout of dysentery together. Is it wrong to be attracted to one of your own identical genetic copies?
SAVAGE: I’m happy you’ve met somebody you want to get serious with—I really am—but the sad truth is that society just doesn’t generally approve of people dating their clones, no matter how well you get along. What’s even sadder is that when I tried to call you back, I was told you had already been dead for many amoeba lifetimes—so I hope it worked out for you and your other you. But on the off-chance your great-grandchildren are wrestling with the same problem, I’m going to suggest they make things easier on themselves by not dating anyone who sprang from their own nuclei.
CALLER: Dan, I am just at my wits’ end, and I hope you can help. I’m a 35-day old male in a polyamorous dom/sub relationship… my problem is that I have to share my partner with approximately 40,000 others, and I just don’t know if I’m cut out for this arrangement. I mean, I love Her—she’s my queen, and I live to serve her, whether it’s feeding the young, carrying waste products to the surface, digging tunnels, or defending the colony from threats like The Giant Beak or Fat-Man-in-Speedo-with-Can-of-Raid. But sometimes I think she doesn’t even know I exist—and to make things worse I don’t even have sex organs. What can I do to save this relationship, Dan?
SAVAGE: Well, I know I’m going to get a BUNCH of e-mails from the ants on this one, but I think you should get the hell out. Polyamorous relationships have to work for all partners, and I think she’s taking advantage of your role as a sub to get everything she wants while you get nothing. Sex organs or no, a guy like you, still in the prime of his life, who can lift 20 times his body weight—I know lots of girls who would love to have you relocate their pupae for them (if you know what I mean!). So grow a pair (literally if possible—I’m not sure about the science on that one) and go for it. Just be sure to coat yourself in the correct pheromones before you meet them, or drones will tear you apart and feed you to the larvae. Still better than being a chump, though.
CALLER: Dan, I have a question for you. Why is it that when a female bluehead wrasse fish sleeps around, she’s a slut, but if she becomes a male through simultaneous hermaphroditism and sleeps around, he’s a stud? Double standard much?
SAVAGE: Let’s face it, people are hypocrites—especially fish. That’s why I think we should each EMBRACE our inner slut, whether we’re straight, gay, asexual, or reproduce by the production of motile zoospores. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander (which you’ll remember I told that goose and gander on last week’s podcast). Just don’t get me started on the whole female-bluehead-wrasse-until-graduation thing—there are some questions even I don’t want to touch.
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