On a recent trek to Walgreens, my roommate and I came upon two terrycloth towel animal heads — the sort used to swaddle toddlers post-bubble bath. She and I proceeded to chase each other through the store disguised as a toad and a giraffe, respectively. I was defeated in aisle three — humped into the corner, till the manager has to ask us to leave. The giraffe head watching me while I sleep reminds me of my defeat. It is the terrycloth manifestation of the Animal Planet episode New Haven becomes in winter.
This place is a frozen wasteland, people. Join me on this grand adventure as sexually frustrated students are pushed to the brinks of sluttiness and forced to scour the darkest corners of the city looking for a winter mate.
Voice of the Ambiguously European Narrator:
“It is now January on the frigid planes of New Haven. Temperatures continue to plummet and the limited hours of sunlight leave the creatures of this desolate landscape little time to seek out shelter and food. Observe their winter rituals as they vie for positions of status and resources. The coming months will be brutal — not everyone will survive to see the spring.”
1. Preemptive Moves for Protection: The Marking of Territory
“Those who have effectively prepared for these dark months by securing themselves a mate earlier in the season cannot rest easy. Desperate poachers stalk the streets searching for stragglers. The marking of one’s territory through aggressive offensive posturing is a key if one intends to keep their mate.”
It doesn’t matter if it is three degrees below zero, hailing chunks of ice the size of golf balls, with wind gusts strong enough to uproot a 90-lb. French Comp. Lit. TA — you will see couples bundled up, blazing a trail to Gourmet Heaven, mitten in mitten. This is not love. The basic fact is that they are incapable of having any more sex, starving and willing to sacrifice comfort and warmth to protect what is rightfully theirs — their partner. Should you send your lover out there alone, there is a high probability you will never seen your beloved again. Maybe you’ll find threads of their ravaged argyle sweater at the bottom of a melting snow bank.
I know lonely people who hide in snow drifts and pounce on unsuspecting singles.
Survival Tip: Steer clear of snowy side streets and solo trips out for rations and be sure to indulge in over the top P.D.A. It is a common misconception that making out in the snow is fun.
It’s not, it’s cold.
People only run the risk of frostbitten faces for one reason: to send the message to those passing by and hiding in the bushes, “Stay away, this one is mine.”
2. The Strut of the Sensational Single: A Mating Dance
“Take note of the elaborate lengths these animals will go to in order to attract the attention of a potential mate. Rigorous preening sessions are followed by a circling maneuver that could last for weeks. Researchers believe this circling technique may have a hypnotic affect on the quarry — leaving the animal disoriented and vulnerable to attack.”
An anonymous companion of mine was out the other evening when he sent me the following text message to summarize the state of affairs: “Passive flashing of sex. Like a peacock.”
And I feel that. Out of nowhere, fun times with friends turn into knowing glances, coy smiles and knee grazing. You have to respect this determined, albeit compulsive, circling. The uniform of tight shirts, coiffed hair and heels takes a kind of resolve I stand in wary awe of. Personally, I just cannot say “no” to a man stomping through the snow in stilettos. But that’s just me.
Survival Tip: Keep your wits about you. Know when you are being circled and avert your eyes! Sooner of later they will move in for the kill — that’s when you’d better be ready to make moves and run. Otherwise it’s not a chase; it’s a sad situation of slaughter.
3. A Game of Predator and Prey: Exploiting Winter Weakness
“The hunted animal can only stave off defeat for so long. The creature’s body and spirit are rendered cold and broken from ineffective attempts at escape. Its predator will follow the scent of blood and track the ailing animal till sunrise. Nights are the most dangerous time for those separated from the herd. We witness a battle of wills. An age old tale of pursuit and resistance.”
What the hungry hunters among us are banking on is that they will only have to work half as hard on the chase. The cold inhibits mobility and judgment. If nature’s elements can do half the work to wear down your resistance, it is only a short time before you can run no further. Weakened and resigned you submit to defeat. The room is warm, at least the lights are off and no one will ever find you there anyhow. “Fine, I’ll hook up with,” you seem to say. “Fine. Fine. Let me just lie here. You win. I consent … but I’m out of here come Spring.”
A final thought: I am a fan of being pursued. I am not a fan of being hunted. And I do not like to admit defeat. If you are seriously searching for a winter playmate, then by all means crawl out into the open and surrender. If not, lay low in the tall grass. Remain under the covers. Help will arrive. And you may be surprised by who comes to your rescue.
Jana Sikdar was asked to leave the zoo for loitering in the Bonobo monkey cage. Though its ceaseless masturbation made her uncomfortable, she was certainly flattered.