Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Five fat men and a pole
A correspondent cheekily suggests that I audition for a new show in London. It features five pot-bellied men who cavort on stage while embracing a vertical pole. Rather than shaving and oiling their skin, they proudly display their body hair, a gimmick which inspired them to name their act “Bearlesque”. It has attracted a large following of middle-aged women, thrilled at the spectacle of these human potatoes pawing the pole like bears searching for honey. The performers never remove their underpants – there are some sights which even the raunchiest matrons would prefer to forgo.
As one who has flexed his own limbs expansively in the circus, I am not without empathy for these podgy pole-dancers and wish them every success. I need hardly point out, however, that they are a long way from being bears, let alone gorillas. As any wild creature knows, all the hair in the world is useless if you lack mobility. These fellows would clearly be out of breath if you even mentioned the idea of climbing a tree or chasing marauding baboons. Not that they’d be capable of doing much if they actually caught up with the baboons. In all probability, the baboons would make mincemeat of them.
It’s a far cry from the feats I performed in the circus. I don’t deny that my most enthusiastic fans were women, but I earned their adulation in a manner worthy of a jungle ape. After years in the ring, I found that what the human female admires most about gorillas is our long, strong, hairy arms. All I had to do to induce excited gasps from heaving bosoms was grasp a fleeing dwarf by his ankle and swing him around my head like a shepherd’s sling. It was stunts like this that motivated the ladies to queue for my autograph and other mementoes. There was no need for me to straddle a shiny pole or mince about in a sexually ambiguous fashion.
Yet I’m not the sort of ape who fails to give credit where it is due. Let no one belittle the fact that Bearlesque has put bums on seats, albeit rather large ones. The reason for the show’s success seems to be that its female fans enjoy ogling men who look like their husbands. It’s really a very clever piece of psychology on their part. Men who see their wives hooting at fellows no better than them will naturally feel more confident about their own sexual allure. And this restored confidence will lead to a general rising of the sap, prompting them to give the missus a thorough seeing to when she gets back home. Anything an honest wife can do to enhance her husband’s self-esteem will be re-paid with interest when her furrow needs ploughing.
The importance of flattery in human fornication reminds me of the finale of a film called Carnal Knowledge, which starred the redoubtable Jack Nicholson. By the end of the movie, Jack is a middle-aged man with a string of failed relationships behind him. He is contemptuous of women and utterly cynical of the idea that male and female can co-exist in healthy symbiosis. Yet he is not celibate. In the final scene of the movie, he enters the abode of an attractive lady who stimulates his waning sexual appetite by sweet-talking him in the most exaggerated manner. But then she fluffs a line, and we discover that she is actually a prostitute speaking from a script that Jack had written for her! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I leave you to draw your own conclusions from that sorry denouement – there are surely profound lessons there for humans of all classes, genders and persuasions.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The German question
An overweight English tourist recently claimed that Boris Becker and Steffi Graf were once an item. Can you remember that? I have no recollection of any such liaison. I suspect the man imagined they must have got it on because they were both German. It reminds me of that episode of Star Trek where a Vulcan chick boards the Enterprise and everyone assumes that Spock’s ears will start quivering with lust. They never did, of course, and those who reason in this fashion are guilty of an exceedingly crass type of generalisation.
I’ve actually got a lot of respect for Becker. As well as being a great Wimbledon champion, he had the most pickable nose of any player who graced the centre court. I reckon he could have scooped it out with a teaspoon rather than soiling his fingers. A lot of people can’t get past the fact that he impregnated a woman in a restaurant. The important thing, surely, is that he acknowledged the child as his own rather than denying everything and hiding in New Zealand. By all accounts, he has participated in the girl’s upbringing as well as coughing up the required cash. You have to respect a fellow who manfully accepts the consequences of giving a woman the most thrilling two minutes of her life.
I should mention here that human babies have been conceived in far stranger circumstances. In the circus I worked for there was a husband-and-wife team who performed on the trampoline. In their last season together, they resolved to make a baby while bouncing up and down together on the apparatus of their trade. Obviously not during a show – we gave them an hour alone inside the big tent before it was dismantled for the next venue. I agreed to stand at the entrance to discourage peeping toms. Although it took them a while to get into position, the deed was somehow done, and the pregnancy was confirmed a few weeks later. I believe they named their son Zebedee.
The other interesting thing about Becker’s reproductive activities is his preference for sultry mulatto women. For a ginger-haired Teuton, this shows excellent judgement. The last thing any child needs is a double-helping of the albino gene, resulting in skin that would melt in the sunlight. It also proves that Boris has no sympathy whatever for the abominable racial theories of his grandparents’ generation, in which we apes were offensively dragged into the argument. Speaking against evil is good, but showing you are against it in the way you live your life is even better.
The Germans have come a long way since the dark days of World War Two. They no longer hero-worship madmen and are much less boastful about their sausages. They do still retain the twin obsessions of outdoor exercise and nudity (a legacy of their resistance to the Roman Empire) but are now seeking to subject these pastimes to proper oversight. One who has fallen foul of the new regulations is a naked hiker who went to prison rather than pay a fine for indecent exposure. Although the man is clearly bonkers, I applaud his defiant stand against authority. If more Germans had done that in 1933, Herr Hitler might have had egg on his face a good deal sooner than he did.
Monday, September 15, 2008
When humans cry
My friend Smacker Ramrod, the circus vet, once walked into my trailer with a sheepish look on his face.
“What would you say if I told you I’ve just seen a movie that made me cry?” he asked.
I would say that you were a snivelling ass,” I replied, “unless, perchance, the title of the movie was Lassie Come Home.”
It wasn’t. The film that had moved him to tears was called Ghost. I expect most of you have seen it. Patrick Swayze plays a dead man who tries to warn his widow that she is about to be seduced and swindled by his murderer. The evil one is thwarted, with the help of Whoopi Golderg, and carted off to the underworld by demons. The film ends with Mr Swayze bidding an emotional farewell to his wife before going to a better place. I freely admit it’s the sort of experience that would make a gorilla cry like a baby if it ever happened to him – or possibly even to his best friend. But watching actors simulate the whole thing produced no more than a rueful sigh in my own hairy bosom. I suspect that what prompted so many humans to weep was a “happy ending” in which a young widow remains well and truly widowed. Such is life.
I do of course sympathise with people crying to unburden their aching hearts. I must have seen at least a dozen adult humans weep in my circus days – on nearly every occasion it was a woman. I was quite happy to comfort these ladies with a hairy embrace if they stumbled in my direction, but in doing so I always observed the following rules:
(a) never ask the woman why she is crying;
(b) if she volunteers the information, reply only with monosyllabic murmurs of sympathy;
(c) never refer to the incident if you later cross the woman’s path.
I remember one young lady who after blubbering into my chest for five minutes looked up at me in apparent curiosity.
“Don’t you want to know why I’m crying?” she sniffed.
“I already know why,” I replied. “You are crying because you are overcome with emotion at a misfortune you have suffered. It happens to the best of us.”
For some reason she found this amusing, which encouraged me to send her on her way with a gentle pat, delivered a good four inches above her bottom.
Yet I must admit to confused feelings when movie stars cry in public. As they are said to express their emotions on film by reliving events in their lives, it makes me wonder whether they’re recalling past movie roles when they do it for real. Do you remember how Gwyneth Paltrow wept uncontrollably on accepting her Oscar? Rather than feeling any sympathy, I found myself judging her performance – almost good enough for a second gold statuette, I thought. I should add that I have nothing against Gwynnie as an actress or a woman. In naming her daughter “Apple”, she showed remarkably good taste for a human. Had she chosen the name “Apollonia”, I would have lampooned her as a pretentious bimbo.
I expect you want to know when I last cried. It happened quite recently, as a matter of fact, when my females jumped on me without warning and pinned me against a prickly bush. I’m not certain I was technically crying, come to think of it – but my eyes certainly watered a fair bit.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
My females are oddly fascinated by the Republican Party’s candidate for vice-president. Not out of feminist solidarity, which is of no concern to lady gorillas. No, the reason is much stranger. They seem to think that Sarah Palin is the spitting image of the late Dian Fossey, a woman revered by gorillas throughout
Between you and me, gorillas aren’t very good at telling human faces apart – I only got the hang of it after years spent in the circus. I recently brought a copy of Hello! magazine to the jungle. One of my females snatched it from me and studied a picture of Sienna Miller intently.
“I’m so glad she’s back in the limelight!” she hooted. “I’ve always had a soft spot for Dolly Parton.”
Heh! I didn’t have the heart to tell the poor deluded apette that Miss Parton was then having her boobs deflated at the Betty Hoover Clinic.
With the election approaching, I am already getting irritating e-mails asking me who I’m endorsing and similar such nonsense. This is when I have to thump my chest and remind people that I’m a gorilla. Your problems are not our problems, and the only American dream in these parts is the one the manager of the safari camp had after watching a movie called Forrest Hump (available on DVD). Until the candidates announce their policies for ridding the jungle of snakes and crocodiles, who gets into the White House is none of our business.
I suppose if I were forced to choose I’d back the ticket with the most body hair. Unfortunately this is pure guesswork when one of the candidates is a woman. Senator McCain is probably a hairy old dog when he takes off his vest, but who knows what Mrs Palin does to her feminine tufts? As a mother of five, one would hope that she doesn’t over-prune, but you never know the state of a woman’s foliage until you’ve seen her in the sauna. That is not a favour I’d care to ask of her, given that her husband looks like the Neanderthal type who might make a fuss. He has nothing to scare me, of course, but one doesn’t want to come between a man and his wife merely to further one’s reputation as a political pundit.
The wildcard in this election is supposedly the “Hilldog factor”. Will supporters of Mrs Clinton be so bitter that that they’ll vote Republican in the hope that Old Pop McCain quickly pops it and they’ll get their madam president after all. Well I’ve got news for them. I know for a fact that Hillary could never have won if she’d been the Democratic nominee. The Republicans, you see, had infiltrated a super-hot velcro-vixen into her campaign team, with the sole mission of seducing the former first lady and telling the world’s press what her cha-cha tastes of. And you can bet the lying hussy would have claimed it had some horrible flavour like "pickled herring" or "essence of hermit crab". No presidential bid could have survived a political bombshell of that magnitude – the merest glimpse of Hillary’s jodhpurs would have made voters cry “Euw!” and pop a mint inside their mouths.
How do I know all this, I hear you ask? Because a fat American bloke in a baseball cap told me so while guzzling Budweisers at the safari guesthouse. Let no one say that Gorilla Bananas lacks credible sources for his scoops.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Dame shortage Down Under
An Australian mayor has received a fierce tongue-lashing for inviting “ugly Sheilas” to settle in his town. The tactless oaf has only himself to blame. Yet it appears that he acted from the best motives, believing that homely spinsters would find it relatively easy to bag a husband in his isolated mining community. Furious female residents have nevertheless demanded his resignation, calling him “a pig”, “a ruffian” and “a shit-eating wombat”. They seem to think he was implying that they had the sex appeal of the duck-billed platypus. The point he was actually making was that the men of the town, who currently outnumber the women fivefold, are in no position to be choosy. The same mathematical logic would apply whether the existing female population were beauty queens or warty-nosed crones.
A more valid criticism of the mayor is that his invitation is likely to be ignored. Women have their pride, and I can’t see many of them migrating to a place acclaimed as the Hagsville of the Australian mining belt. The fellow obviously hasn’t a clue about the advertising game. If you’re desperate to buy a breeding mare, you don’t tell the world that any fat-arsed nag with four hooves will do. Instead, you place an advertisement in the leading horsey periodicals asking for top-class fillies to mate with the finest thoroughbred stallions. Everyone knows that people exaggerate in these notices, and you’ll get plenty of enquiries from the owners of mares about to end up as cat food. As we say in the jungle, “if it’s fertile, it’s fuckable”.
Now the root cause of all this hoo-hah is the human obsession with facial features. The funny thing is that my friend Smacker Ramrod, the circus vet, once told me that in his experience pretty women made disappointing girlfriends. He found them demanding in everyday life, passive in bed and not nearly as gorgeous as they had appeared from a distance of twenty-five feet. The women he had the fondest memories of were the ones he wasn’t initially sure that he fancied. They were the girls who worked hard on their all-round game – many were brilliant conversationalists; others were gymnastic in the sack; a few could play the ukulele. This led me to surmise that you can’t really separate personality from appearance in the human mating game. A women who is beautiful and shrewish will eventually be seen as unattractive by her lovers, just as a woman who is plain and sweet will find men warming to her appearance as well.
All this human angst about physical appearance makes me glad to belong to a species where looks don’t matter. Not the look of your face, at any rate. A firm rump with a generous covering of hair is a pre-requisite for most of the good things of gorilla life, including sex with mates of your choice, status in the higher echelons of society and ringside seats at the python-wrestling tournaments. Gorillas don’t fall in love at first sight, but if we did it would be a glimpse of a furry rump that triggered the emotion. A gorilla version of Mickey Dolenz (himself an honorary ape in many respects) would have sung:
Then I saw her tush, now I’m a believer
I don’t suppose many men will fall in love with a woman’s arse, but if Jennifer Lopez’s doesn’t do it for them I doubt anyone’s will.
Monday, September 01, 2008
The herd instinct
I recently heard some tourists speculating about the next celebrity-inspired fad. A futile endeavour in my view. You may as well try to predict where the next outbreak of genital cooties will occur (not necessarily in Paris Hilton’s briar patch, for those tempted to skewer a sitting duck). Remember when Britney Spears and Madonna kissed open-mouthed on stage? Who would have thought it would inspire girls to start smooching each other all over the place? There’s no telling what event will spark off copycat behaviour among the human masses.
Back in my circus days, I remember a clown over-balancing during a performance and falling out of the ring. In doing so, he accidentally massaged the enormous bosom of a middle-aged lady in a ringside seat – an honest mistake that could have happened to anyone. Most of the audience laughed like mad, but the woman was visibly shocked by the incident. Ashamed of his faux pas, the clown punished himself by bending over in the centre of the ring and slapping his buttocks with both hands. This deed provoked a tumultuous chorus of delighted shrieks from the kiddies in the crowd. They were bending over and spanking themselves throughout the rest of the show, and no doubt for many days afterwards at home. I suppose it saved their parents the bother of punishing them. Anyway, the moral of the story is that humans instinctively follow crazes from their infancy.
One activity I predict will not become the next big thing is nude barbecuing, a pastime promoted by madcap comedian Adam Sandler. There is something rather desperate about a celebrity self-consciously trying to get others to copy him. The human herd can sense it’s not the behaviour of a true pack leader and will assume the person doing it is a bit of a dick. Speaking of which, what sane man would allow his todger to dangle unprotected near the sizzling heat of an open-air stove? Risk-taking in pursuit of glory has its merits, but doing it in the cause of grilling a piece of meat is gratuitous bravado. Even Scott and Amundsen dressed to ensure that their willies would be the last bits to get frostbitten in the Antartic. I suspect that Mr Sandler has unresolved “penile issues” from childhood, which have resulted in a perverse desire to expose his member to the naked flame.
Of course, humans who follow the latest fashions and trends are often decidedly mediocre themselves. I avoided such types in the circus and sought out the society of misfits and eccentrics instead, much as Jesus did at the height of his own crowd-pulling fame. Whether you’re Portia de Rossi or a warthog, the important thing is to be comfortable in your own skin and develop a personal style that works for you. There was a tightrope walker with whom I was friendly who wore a beret when he wasn't performing – it made him something of a social pariah. When I decided to wear one myself it instantly became trendy and people started asking the high-wire man where they could buy one. At this point I went back to my sans chapeau condition.
Although few humans are lucky enough to have a gorilla to lend them moral support, I hope that the individualists among them will nevertheless persevere in the face of public derision. As Witch Hazel wisely said: “Different means heartache, different means pain, but I’d rather be different than be the same”.