Tag Archives: attraction

The Life of Birds: Finding Partners

David Attenborough reveals how male birds use both extraordinary displays and bizarre rituals in order to turn a females head, and how for many species its girl power that rules the dating game. Curassows and guans have bizarre calls that sound just like dropping bombs and electric drills. On the Galapagos Islands, frigate birds pump up their vivid red throat pouches. While the tiny fairy wren of southern Australia is revealed as the most promiscuous bird in the world.

A BBC documentary

Everything I Know about Sex, I Learned from Birds

How do we learn how to select our life partners? How do we learn what a loving relationship is? Most people would say there is some learned knowledge from our families and some ingrained impulse from our biology. I was born with baby fever, and an intense desire to further the species. This biological urge has dominated my search for a mate. I may have been overly focused on finding a good father for my future children that I have neglected to consider who would make a good partner for me, irregardless of children.

My informal sex education was a weird conglomeration of information, like that of most people. Before I ever had a personal interest in boys and sex, I knew I wanted kids. My own mother told me that I have wanted kids for as long as has known me. And I wasn’t very picky about where my babies came from either. In elementary school I had a strong conviction that I would find an abandoned baby in a basket on my way to school one day. Around that time, my favorite book was Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink in which two sisters (ages 12 and 10) and four babies they were carrying for end up in a life boat after their ship starts taking on water. If you had asked me then what five items I would take with me to a desert island, I would have said four babies and a crate of condensed milk! 

In fifth grade, I checked out The Miracle of Life from the library to watch at home, just for fun. The science of pregnancy fascinated me, and still does…part of me wants to be pregnant just to study the phenomenon first-hand. My class watched the film later that school year, and I felt so mature, and probably a little superior, that I had already seen it, and hadn’t been grossed about the ending…or maybe they didn’t even show that to us.

Discussing pregnancy and birth never made me uncomfortable until I started to associate them with sex. I must have known how someone got pregnant, but I cannot recall the specifics about when or how I learned what sex was. The topic of sex began to embarrass me and I became kind of prudish. What I think happened was I was implicitly raised to believe certain topics were meant to be private, not talked about openly, and this included sex. Consequently, once I knew how babies were made, I was always shocked when someone would announce enthusiastically that she was pregnant. What I heard was a loud admission that she and her husband had had sex! When my mother got pregnant through IVF, it was hard for me to say the word, “pregnant” out loud, even though in that case sex was not the direct cause. And to this day, I still immaturely think about sex every time I hear about a new pregnancy, I am just no longer embarrassed by the topic.

In high school, I stopped watching any television or contemporary movies as an experiment, preferring musicals with the likes of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Considering how PG these films are, and since sexuality was not really discussed in my home or with my friends, I had to get my misinformation about sex elsewhere. Spurred on by my budding sexuality, I developed a proclivity for nature documentaries about the mating behaviors of animals. I was especially fond of the ones on birds! See some prime examples below:




In the life of birds, it is the males who try to impress the females and the females who select their mate when they find the one with the most impressive voice, plumage, or nest. The males never seem to care who their partner is as long as they have one. As for infidelity, animal males may impregnate many females, but the females are not blameless either. Some female birds cuckold their mates into raising the children of another bird (named for the cuckoo bird). So, I think I got the impression that men are supposed to attract me and I get to keep the one I choose!

Unfortunately humans are not birds, and our mating rituals are much less straightforward. I have “chosen” many men who I was convinced would be good fathers to my future babies. But when these partners opted out of our relationship, I was very confused. I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was fulfilling all my responsibilities as a partner, so how could they choose to leave?!

If I am honest, I still do not understand why anyone decides to end a serious relationship, be it a friendship or a romantic partnership. I have always stood by my choices without question. The more I realize my choice is not all that matters, the trickier it is to trust myself to again attempt to choose a mate.

I had a good first date last night and so I plan to see the man again. But I am scared that I do not know what qualities might make him a good choice. All I know at this point, is that I was attracted to him physically, we had fun, and we agree about what kind of relationship we want as far as we could discuss it in one night. Although, I wish I was a female bird who could make a quick decision and be done, I am trying to remember that I am a female human and there are more factors to consider than voice, plumage and nests.

So, dear Self, be picky like a bird, but take your time with your evaluations…be patient like a human, but have a clear idea of what you want…and please do not choose someone just to pass on your genes with…human love involves so much more! Keep going on dates, see who is out there. But love before offspring. Love someone for yourself, and see what comes from that. You have a human form in this incarnation, so love like one, and leave the birds to be birds!

Your Past Self

Compassionate Dating?

Dear Heart,

Let me first commend you for taking the bold step of starting to date again! Well done! I know you were very anxious about dating again, because you prefer being in a relationship to searching for one. Let Us take a moment, to remind Our Self that attitude matters so much when dating. If you can approach dating with an excitement, thinking, “I may meet a great love today!” you can transform your dating jitters into something far more enjoyable.

I am not sure what part of Us can take responsibility for Our dreams, but We had a nightmare last week about this blind date. So many factors in the dream led to greater and greater anxiety before even meeting the date, so Our dream self was in no fit for anything…and We woke up with our physical heart thumping and the rest of Us very unsettled. To avoid having the chance to get anxious We scheduled the date right after a discussion of the Tao Te Ching (and I was actually a bit late as a result).

I came to the date, fully present and engaged, practicing Buddhism’s lovingkindness for this other individual who was seeking love. We were both searching for happiness, both for the evening and for our future. I came without expectation, without desperation, without a need to find a body to touch, or a heart to love. My attention was open, come what may.

So, Heart, you were open, but i also sense you were guarded in some small way…but no, that cannot be true. What I can see as being guarded is just less desperate and eager to find love. You were calm! It is amazing to see how you have evolved.

Our Mind was quite entertained and engaged by our date, wouldn’t you agree? The conversation flowed well and was deep while still being quite playful. Mind was definitely intrigued, but thankfully, not the only part of Us that was engaged…

A truly important feature to the experience of human love is physical chemistry. And, Body was not feeling intrigued by this date. Basically, Body was enjoying the wine and not expecting to be called up to bat on a first date. I had made it clear that I was not someone what wanted physical intimacy on a first date. Well, our date decided to kiss me, and We let it happen, but Body was shocked by the absolute absence of any feeling in response!

How many times have we all heard that the first kiss can really help determine if there is chemistry? I only partially bought it…I never had fireworks explode on a first kiss, but I have had bad ones before…but mostly I knew already that I was not interested before those former kisses occurred. Mind thought We wanted to see this man again, Heart was waiting to be more appealed to, but Body vetoed this poor man absolutely! Our kiss was so bad, that my lips did not feel like they were mine, and neither his nor mine felt like living flesh! It was too long for a first-date first kiss and it was not executed well. Our overall opinion went from an optimistic “there is potential here!” to a confident “there will be no second date!” in seconds.

Unfortunately, our first kiss was not our last kiss. He kissed me goodbye in the same way, causing me to endure it out of lovingkindness, but then having to laugh it away after I was safely in the subway station alone.

When this gentleman texted me eagerly this morning to ask for a second date, I had to reflect on how my open,genuine enjoyment of our time together could be perceived by a date as confirmation of equal attraction. I knew I had to refuse his request, but could not anticipate the task with joy. The truth of the matter was, I did enjoy myself, and I was glad to have met him. I think we had lots of things in common, but it was just simply and truly not enough for us to have a romantic relationship. I employed lovingkindness again in my reply.

I am curious, Heart, what you feel is the best way to date with compassion. There is so much advice that recommends being yourself when on a date, but in this world where love is so hard to feel on a day to day basis from strangers around us, I worry that my attitude of lovingkindness is not truly kind to the people who are misinterpreting it to mean I am really interested in them. Mind, is whispering these worries in my ear, so I am going to just say one more thing on this subject…mainly to Mind…

By practicing lovingkindness last night both my date and I had a wonderful night. By practicing lovingkindness as I told my date I was not interested in pursuing our relationship further, I received a very lovely and respectful response that seemed to only express gratitude as well. So my dears, let Us continue to practice lovingkindness, since it seems to be working just fine!



%d bloggers like this: