Mr Hanem

Men choose their girlfriends and their wives. Right?

Men choose their girlfriends and their wives. Ok so the ladies have to agree as well, but at the root of any relationship lies a man’s initial choice. Right…? Wrong. Here’s why…

Phylloscopus Trochilus is a very small bird which stands only a few centimetres high and is commonly known as the Willow Warbler. This lucky creature spends a leisurely life enjoying cool summers in Northern Europe and warm winters in Africa. Willow Warblers begin to arrive back in Europe for the Spring breeding season, having passed a nice long winter vacation in sunny Senegal or some such exotic place.

First to arrive ‘home’ are the males followed, a few days later, by the females – it seems they like to keep the males waiting a bit (sound familiar?). Ok, ok, I’ll get to my point. The males – as males do – spend the short time before the girls arrive in fighting amongst themselves, to claim the best trees and branches for themselves. The conflict is sorted out quickly – it is not polite to fight in front of the girls – and peace descends. Our male birds take a deep breath… and burst out singing.

The fluttery trilling tune of the male Willow Warbler is a beautiful sound to hear, it makes you just want to sit and listen. Which is exactly what the females do when – finally – they start arriving. As soon as each female bird has caught its breath at the end of the exhausting voyage, it starts hopping from tree to tree to check out this year’s crop of would-be Pavarottis. “Let’s listen a bit to this one… hmm… hop along to the next branch… no, his voice is too thin… his is too monotonous… didn’t like that last trill… what about that first one again…? Ah! This one sounds sexy! I think I’ll have him!” And have him, ladies and gentlemen, she does.

You see with Willow Warblers the male has no say in the matter. The male never refuses a season’s mate. With Willow Warblers mate choice is utterly and absolutely… a female choice.

Now, I’m sure the guys amongst you are bursting out laughing in mockery at the fate of poor Mr. Willow Warbler, and why not? I mean it’s pathetic. Thank God we are men not Warblers. We choose our girlfriends, our fiancées and wives. Of course they have to agree as well, but at the root of any relationship is an initial choice made by us about themOur decision. Our advantage. Right…?

Errr… well, wrong. Or so I have come to believe. On the surface of things it really is we men who have to make the first move and unlock the doors that lead to the beginning of a relationship. It is we who have to persuade them by using convincing words. It is we who have to impress them by performing gallant actions. All true, but let’s go back a little. Can any man out there remember the moment he first became attracted to a woman with whom he ended up in a relationship? Can you remember how attraction started to transform into love? How it turned into that agonising obsession that preceded the day you asked her out?

Guys, please think about it a little… Didn’t every turning point in this build-up involve an action on her part? When she first caught your eye wasn’t it because of the way she laughed or moved, the way she glanced at you, or the way she brushed passed you? Because of something she did? When you first decided to talk to her, wasn’t that because of a certain look she gave you, an indirect compliment passed on casually by a mutual friend, or because you bumped into her ‘by coincidence’ one day chatting to some of your close friends? And what turned that attraction into infatuation when you got to know her? Wasn’t it because she sometimes didn’t want to meet up with you? Because she didn’t always pick up the phone when you called? She sometimes ‘disappeared’ for a few days…? And always with the same attitude of indifference…?

It drove you crazy didn’t it? It worked you up so much that when you finally did ask her out and she eventually agreed, you became so relieved and so excited that she accepted that you would do whatever she wanted. Admittedly that feeling eventually wore off, but by that time you were deep into your relationship.

I don’t know about you, but the more I think about it the more I’m convinced. I mean they have us marked from the beginning. Easy prey. They notice us first. They make the first move. They control us from afar until we are ripe enough to fall happily into their laps. Theychoose! And all along we think we are the ones in control. And it is this false belief that cements the bond of loyalty and fidelity to their majesties. It creates ties of servitude and allegiance far stronger and far more durable than that of Mr. Willow Warbler to his Madame Willow Warbler. Because at least he’s not under any delusions. He knows who’s in charge.

On the ladder of evolution Mrs. Willow Warbler must be considered an inferior creature to her human counterpart, for she has not yet developed the latter’s ingenious techniques of manipulation. Until she does, it is clear that the most advanced creature known so far is… Woman. 

Men are still trying to catch up with Mr. Willow Warbler.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

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