Sex and the Single Panda

It’s spring, so our thoughts naturally turn to sex. It’s true this time of year also makes us think about cook-outs, the beach, and trading our winter clothes for shorts and tank tops which have mysteriously shrunk over the winter, but face it, right now they all make you think of one thing: sex.

This is a natural occurrence, since spring is the time of renewal, rising sap, warmer days, and lots of exposed fish-belly white flesh. It’s not just us, this also happens to animals. Not the cook-outs, thoughts of the beach, and exposed flesh--after all, they walk around exposed all the time--but rather the quest for sex. As the song says, birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Of course what that song doesn’t tell you is that pandas like to do it rough.

It’s true. This spring Tian Tian, a 265-pound male panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., decided that after 15 months of playing silly little panda games with Mei Xiang--the only panda in the world without a redundant name--it was time to get down to business. So he did what any self-respecting panda would do: he jumped her, bit her, pinned her down, and asked her repeatedly, "Who’s your daddy?" Naturally she ran up a tree and stayed there for 36 hours, only coming down to eat, then quickly scamper back up.

You could easily chalk this up to adolescent sexual behavior, except pandas don’t go through adolescence, only humans do that. Even our ancestors didn’t have an adolescent phase, or at least that’s what scientists tell us. They say we’ve only been going through adolescence for the past 1.5 million years, which is about how long it feels like a teenage boy goes through it, especially if you’re his parents. This means that the less highly developed members of our family tree, such as Homo erectus, Australopithecus, and Carrot Top, didn’t have to spend their formative years dealing with acne, turn-on-a-dime temper tantrums, and hiding Mad Magazine from their parents because it was supposed to be bad for them. Okay, actually Carrot Top did. And still does. And always will. But the others didn’t.

What were the officials at the National Zoo expecting, anyway? They got the pandas from China hoping they would mate because nothing attracts visitors to a zoo like the chance to see hot, nasty panda love. Except maybe Jennifer Lopez and Tonya Harding mud wrestling, but that’s out of the question because they’re under contract to do it on Fox’s upcoming special, When Bad TV Shows Go Worse Than You Could Ever Imagine. It certainly didn’t help that someone at the zoo went and named the pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, which mean "beautiful fragrance" and "more and more." If this doesn’t sound like they were trying to set them up, I don’t know what does.

Most men don’t see that there’s a problem with panda sex. After all, they think jumping on a woman, biting her, pinning her down, and asking her repeatedly, "Who’s your daddy?" is standard behavior. It’s called foreplay. If they were to do this and the woman decided to climb a tree and stay there for 36 hours they’d just make good use of the time by reveling in having the remote to themselves, not feeling pressured to change their T-shirt even though it’s covered in Chee-tos finger smears, and discovering that 3-day-old Krispy Kremes taste just fine after 2 minutes in the microwave at full power. Though they probably wouldn’t admit that they ruined four doughnuts before they figured out it’s better to wait until afterwards to top it with chocolate fudge swirl chunk ice cream.

Thanks to years of hard work, guilt, coercion, and bribery, women have finally gotten most men to realize that foreplay is important. And the men actually believe it. That’s because they figured out that without foreplay there will be no sex, and without sex they won’t get to fall asleep quickly. Some men, in their eternal quest to do things the quick and easy way, have managed to bypass the foreplay and even have a doctor’s note excusing them from it. That’s because they suffer from a recently identified medical disorder called "sleep sex." This is a lot like sleep walking and talking in your sleep except it’s a lot more fun. And like walking and talking in your sleep, you don’t remember it the next day, you don’t have to feel accountable for your actions, and it’s perfectly okay to fall asleep immediately afterwards because, after all, you never really woke up. It’s a man’s dream disorder.

But all this may be moot soon, because thanks to modern farming, women may be able to make sure men don’t ever bother them again. In laboratory experiments conducted at the University of California at Berkeley, scientists found that male African clawed frogs which were exposed to a common farm weed killer ended up with lowered testosterone levels, smaller than normal voice boxes, and multiple or mixed sets of male and female sex organs. In other words, a little atrazine sprinkled in a man’s beer could result in his not caring much about sex, not being able to ask "Who’s your daddy?" in a voice low enough to sound manly, and should he actually desire sex, being able to do it by himself.

But don’t worry, even if this happens spring still arrive. And with it the thoughts of cook-outs, the beach, and pulling out the T-shirts and shorts. And if without sex it all seems a little dull, there are always the pandas at the zoo. They’ll still know how to have a good time.

More Mad Dog can be found online at: www.maddogproductions.com. His compilation of humorous travel columns, "If It’s Such a Small World Then Why Have I Been Sitting on This Airplane For Twelve Hours?" is available from Xlibris Corporation. Email: md@maddogproductions.com

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