Friday, April 25, 2008

OF MICE & MEN (And Rats & Sex & Cheese) by Jenny Gardiner

I heard an interview recently in which an author was promoting her new book about sex. Sorry, I totally forget the name of the book. But I do recall what she said about a few studies in which they tested rats (or was it mice?) while they were getting it on.

Now first off, there is something particularly unseemly about being a voyeur to rat fornication. On so many levels. Not the least of which is because rodents having sex = more rodents on the horizon. And those rodents will then have sex, and so on and so on. Having fended off my share of mouse infestations in my day, I do believe that anything involving rodent procreation should be vigorously avoided at all costs.

But also, ick! Little teeny rats (or worse yet, large fat black ones like from the movie Ben), doing the nasty in a laboratory simply evokes a sense of repulsion in me. Especially when I learned that one of the tests they performed involved the rats donning polyester pants---miniature rodent disco-wear!---so that researchers could determine the effect of polyester on sperm count.

I wonder who drew the short straw to have to count the rat sperm? And probably worse yet, who had to ensure there was rat sperm to count? I know I'd have volunteered immediately to whip up a few dozen pair of the tiny pants on my sewing machine at home---far, far away from the lab---thus assiduously avoiding the rat-wanking job.

In case you were wondering, polyester did decrease sperm count. So there you go, Tony Manero Rat. Disco must be dead for a reason.

But the test that most amused me involved rats in the midst of doing it---in the heat of passion, if there is such thing as rodent ardor---only to have the scientists introduce a diversion.

So there the mice/rats/whatever were, in lock-and-load mode, when the researchers dropped in some yummy cheese to see what would happen. While the boy rats just kept on doing the nasty, the girl rats? Well, consider it the "filing-your-nails-while-in-the-missionary-position" tactic. Yes, they were far more girls interested in chomping cheese than getting some lovin' from their man. They walked away in flagranto delicto! Talk about coitus interruptus! All for a little Velveeta.

I suspect we human females have something in common with our rodent cousins. And it's not whiskers (as long as there's electrolysis at our disposal), nor twitching pink noses, nor a long icky tail. None of that. And we don't particularly crave cheese. You see, women don't want a wham-bam-thank-you-rat experience. They want to be wooed. Wined and dined, made to feel wanted, to feel as if they are the most important thing in the world to their man. Sure, any old creature can get it on. But copulation without representation is not the goal. Well, you know what I mean. Sex without passion, without amore, without a modicum of emotion, (dare I say) adoration, and certainly respect. I'd say most of us would take the cheese over that. Most days, at any rate.

Any old rodent can have a quickie on the petrie dish (that would be the rat version of doing it on the kitchen table). But when it comes to making love, perhaps a lot of men can learn from this rat survey, and figure out how to appeal to the cheese-lover in us gals.


Margaret McDonagh said...

Oh, Jenny! I read this blog every day while eating my breakfast and I have just inhaled my bran flakes. While awaiting the paramedics to come and resuscitate me, thanks so much for getting my day off to such a hilarious start!!! I don't think I shall ever be able to approach writing love scenes in quite the same way again! I just hope all my heroes would pass the cheese test!!!


Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Thanks Margaret! Glad you didn't choke too much on those bran flakes! And probably a good thing you weren't eating cheese ;-)

Karen H in NC said...

Glad I wasn't eating (or drinking) anything when I started to read this blog today. So, so funny...I'm still giggling. The art of a talented author is the vivid pictues painted with words!

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Thanks Karen! That was so nice of you to say ;-)

Pat Cochran said...


Thank goodness I had finished my raisin bran before I got to this
blog! I truly think I would still
be unconscious on the floor from
choking on the cereal! I laughed
so hard, I was practically falling out of my chair! Wherever, no, no,
I'm not going to ask!

Pat Cochran

Cheri2628 said...

Well, it said my first comment didn't go through, so hopefully that is correct and this won't post twice!
Anyway, what I said was how much I enjoyed your blog, Jenny. I am astounded by what people get paid for. I mean if someone asks them what they do for a living, do they actually tell them they study the sex lives of rats?! You are so right about women preferring love and romance, and not just sex. I guess that is why we read so many romance novels. I can't wait to read "Sleeping with Ward Cleaver." I have been married for 30 years, so I can relate to the subject. My husband doesn't always meet the "cheese test" but he tries! ;)You know, I think you have just added a new phrase to my vocabulary! From now on, my husband and the romantic heroes in books are going to have to meet the "cheese test." LOL :)

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Cheri--thank you! And we have to be sure not to call it the 'cut the cheese' test LOL
with men, you never know ;-)

Kim Stagliano said...

Copulation without representation? LOLOLOL!!!!

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Kim you and i definitely are on the same twisted sense of humor channel ;-)

Gigi said...

Hi Jenny,
First off I want to know if our tax dollars are paying for this kind of research. lol

Well it is good to know that we human females feel the same about sex as our animal friends.

Bring on the wooing and romancing.

Estella said...

I love this post. Glad I wasn't taking a drink of my Diet Pepsi when I read it!

limecello said...

Great post, Jennifer! Haha, it really amused me on so many levels. I have a friend studying neuroscience, and he has to work with a lot of lab rats... luckily he does different types of experiments.
And... women definitely do not want the "wham bam" - I recently heard a very interesting story from the city prosecutor where a woman went a little nuts after such an incident...

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Oh, do tell more about the woman going nuts! It didn't involve a, um, CLEAVER did it?! ;-) LOL

limecello said...

Jennifer - no, it didn't. Although... I have had a somewhat cleaver experience... [roommate pulling a chef's knife out on (ex)boyfriend...] no, this one involved legal action that backfired.

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

yikes--chef's knives are awfully sharp ;-) . That would have been quite the mess to clean up!

Kit Frazier said...

Jenny, that was great! And I forgot to tell you how much I love your cover....

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Jenni,

What a totally fun way to get across the idea that sex needs to MEAN SOMETHING. Thanks for sharing your clever viewpoint with us.

Will I see you in San Francisco for RWA National?

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Thanks Kit! And thanks for coming by! And Emily as well--and I do plan on being in San Fran--one of my favorite cities so very excited for it!