Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Male guppies prefer to associate withÂ homelier counterparts whenÂ trying to attract females.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Article by Clelia Gasparini and others, published by The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge
"Whoa--is it you, or is it hot in here?"
Sunday night--a lot of guys might think this is a bad time to go cruising for babes, but they're wrong.Â On Sunday night you'll find the ones who were too picky all weekend--for a reason.Â They're the creme de la creme, the liquor from the top shelf.Â That's why me and my drab-colored counterpart--Poecilia or "Poe" for short--are checking out the action at The Castle, a popular watering hole.Â Actually, since it's surrounded by water, it's imprecise to call it a watering hole; let's just say it's the place to meet if you want to mate around here.
"See anything you like?" Poe asks me.
"What about her--over there?" I say.Â I can't point or nod my head, so I turn my body in the general direction of a comely piece of fish flesh.
"Nice," Poe says.Â His job--and this is why he's such a great friend--is to make me look good.Â He's not bad looking, just--monochromatic.Â He's what we aquatic horndogs call a "wing guppy."
"You think I should give her a shot?"
"Worst thing that could happen is she says 'no,'" Poe says.
"Actually, that's not true," I say.Â "I've had worse--much worse--things happen to me."
"Do you come here often?"
It takes a while to dredge the memory up I've buried it so deep.Â "I'd had my eye on this one girl for quite awhile," I begin.Â "Just my type; waif-like, Roman nose . . ."
"Like a tapir?" Poe volunteers.
Tapir: Yeah, baby!
"Right, really fine, you know what I'm saying?"
"What Lester Young used to callÂ a 'startled fawn'?"
"On the nosey."
"So what happened?"
I gulped, inhaled, then revealed my inner-most secret.Â Other than my collection of plus-size goldfish catalogs.Â "I went up to her and asked her to dance.Â She--I don't know if she was in the middle of a conversation with her friends or what--but she turned back to them . . . and they all started laughing!"
Poe is deeply affected by my tale.Â "Geez, I didn't know guys like you--known for your cocksmanly skills the length and breadth . . ."
"And height--don't forget the height."
" . . . of the aquarium--ever got turned down."
"It's a fact of life," I say without bitterness.Â "Babe Ruth hit a lot of home runs, but he struck out a lot, too."
"So--we gonna put the moves on that babe or not?" Poe asks, trying to buck me up a bit.
"If you're up for it."
"Ready when you are."
We make a bee-line--actually, it's more of a fish-line--in her general direction and circle a bit.Â Some plastic diver toy is trying to impress her with his cool outfit.Â I feel like biting his air hose but I decide to play it cool.Â Those guys don't have the gift of gab you need to make it with chicks.
When she sees us out of the corner of her eye Poe seizes the moment with one of his patented ice-breakers.Â "Hey, hey, hey!" he says, sounding for all the world as if he's found a long-lost cousin.Â "Now the party's started!"
I have to say, he's good at what he does.Â He creates--out of airy nothing as Shakespeare said--a convivial atmosphere.Â All it takes is a smile and a friendly word--just like Alan Alda used to do!
"Hi!" she says with a smile, or as much of a smile as aÂ Girardinus gupii can muster with our grim little mouths.
"Why don't you dump this plastic toy and come with us!" Poe says.
She gives me a look, and I give it right back.
"Well--he wasn't very . . . talkative."
"Those guys--they never are.Â They think because they come with a 30-day warranty and a mail-in rebate that chicks--excuse my French--young ladies like yourself will fall for them like a ton of bricks."
"Well--okay," she said.Â The diver just stood there, as if it was no big deal to him, he'd make it with the next set of fins and gills to come along.
We made quite a threesome for the rest of the night: me, good-looking guy that I am; Poe, as always the life of the party; and her--I grew more entranced with every bubble that escaped from her mouth.Â It was clear--to me at least--that we were made for each other.
"Do you think you'd . . . like to have children some day?" I asked hesitantly at one point when Poe left us to get some more fish food--we had plenty of water.
"Oh, I understand completely," I said.Â "A women has a right to choose.Â Which of her children she's going to eat, and which will survive."
"It's good you feel that way."
Poe returned and said the grill was closed, so we should probably think about calling it a night.
"Okay, well, I guess I'll see you later," I said to Poe and then to my surprise heard the words that broke my heart.Â "Yes," the girl guppy said, "it was nice meeting you, I hope to see you around sometime."Â And then she turned tail to leave with--Poe!
"Wait--he's the less attractive of the two of us!Â Don't you want to mate with me?"
"Well, you just sat there preening," the girl said.Â "He talkedÂ to me."
Poe tried to shrug his shoulders, but he'd forgotten that he didn't have any--and then they swam away.