Slowly, inch by inch, the tarantula hawk wasp – her brilliant red wings ablaze against the desert floor – drags her paralyzed prey across the trail and back to her burrow. The maggot-like larva she deposits will feast on the tarantula – still alive, but unable to move – for about a month. The following spring her spawn – now fully grown – will emerge from the burrow.
In the meantime, however, mom traipses off for another night on the town, getting her buzz on from the juices of flowers and fermented fruit and trolling for a new baby daddy with whom to deposit her next egg.
As I took another long sip from my now near empty glass of sangria (mmm, time for a refill…), it occurred to me that the female tarantula hawk wasp is not much different from many female human beings.
In fact, she’s not much different from many male human beings, either.
Really, think about it. It’s happy hour at Club Arachnaphilia and you and your crew head out for a night of fun – maybe a little jasmine juice, a little dancing, a little…well, who knows where the night will lead? You know you’re looking good – just back from the spa where you had all eight of your legs — and all points between — waxed. And everything that wasn’t waxed was plucked or laid. Yes, momma, you are hot!
Then you spot him. Brooding at the other end of the bar. Tall, dark and oh, so handsome. There’s something about those fiery wings that just draws you in. He flutters them at you. He could literally have any woman in the bar – including the next-thing-to-unclad black widow flashing her hourglass at him from the stage – but he chooses you. Rubenesque you. And you’re in love. Halfway through your third forsythia-tini, you’re trying his name on for size.
So, of course when he invites you to his place to help him decide on which wall to hang the portrait of his dear, recently departed mother, your heart aches to just hold him and make his heart feel better.
Back in his burrow, he takes you in his arms and – WTF!! You feel a sharp sting…then…you…can’t…move. Is that his idea of foreplay? Then he’s poking you. What the hell is that? And where is it? Sixty-second Sam is having the time of his life, but you don’t feel a thing. Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am! And he’s gone. As he seals the entrance to the tunnel you so desperately wanted to redecorate for him, so too, he seals your fate. And as the parasite he deposited before he disappeared into the night sucks the life from your body, Julie Andrews sings “I Should Have Danced All Night” in your head (hey, it could have been worse — like, Yoko Ono singing “It’s a Small World” between your ears).
Fortunately, as human females, we eventually look back and realize we were better off without him.
Also fortunately, as human females, our spawn will eventually spring themselves – if we’re lucky – while there’s still enough life left for us to head back to the bar.