Dating in Denver: What Every Girl Should Know!
[Editor’s Note: Ms. Duster was asked to write a fluff piece about the singles scene in Denver. This is what she gave us instead.]
Antef, a 7-year-old boy, born into an ancient Egyptian family of slaves, kicks over a sun-baked rock on his way to the quarry. His wicker basket at the ready, Antef deftly sweeps a dozen or so of the brightly colored carmine beetles into the enclosure and gleefully runs to tell Tekha, his overseer, of his prize catch. Tekha’s expression does not change, but Antef can see that he has done well. Tekha gives an approving cluck to Antef, empties the basket into the folds of his kalasiris, and informs the child that he and his family will have extra water rations for today. While Antef runs off, squealing with delight, Tekha carefully places the insects into a water jug, sealing the top with a clutch of grass and sends the treasures to the palace, where they will be ground into a paste, combined with macerated ants and stored in small pots. Cleopatra’s lipstick is now ready.
For the modern woman, cosmetics are part of daily life. Many women feel naked before they “put on their face,” believing that they are more attractive to others when their flaws are hidden behind a carefully crafted layer of powders, creams, and other means of disambiguation. According to recent research, however, these not-so-subtle attempts to snare a mate by emulating the most powerful woman who ever lived, may, in fact, have not been the intended effect.
Reviewing the February 2012 edition of the Journal of Comparative Psychology (Volume 126, No.1, 87-96), I was struck by research out of Universidad de Valencia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Beltsville, Maryland) which made me reconsider the purpose of Cleopatra’s iconic look. Lead author, Enrique Font, and colleagues, concluded that “[u]nder certain circumstances, prey may inform potential predators of their unprofitability by means of pursuit-deterrent signals.” In this case, the presence of stereotyped foot-shaking displays of wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) was found to occur in 22.5% of 484 approaches by a surrogate predator (i.e., a slowly approaching human).
If you’ve never had the chance to observe this rapid foot-shaking behavior, it is remarkably similar to the arm waving behavior of the Bonaire whiptails. These odd behaviors may, in fact, deter predators by alerting them to the fact that they have been spotted by their potential prey and/or they are in for a difficult time because their quarry is fleet of foot!
Is it possible that Cleopatra, believing in the power of animal magic, purposefully stained her famous lips with insect pigment with the aim of inducing some type of lycanthropic state in an attempt to deter her own predators and allow her to freely pursue her own man-prey? Was Cleopatra gambling that a little of the carmine beetle’s magic would rub off on her visage (both literally and figuratively)? What was the feeling she was trying to invoke in her followers – adoration or terror? Doesn’t it make you wonder why do you insist on wearing that Smashbox O-Gloss night after night?
Ladies of Denver, if you dare to wear make-up tonight, don’t wait for the guy you want to make his move – you may have already frightened him away. Take the initiative, hunt the hunter, and for the love of Cleo, don’t wave your arms around like a Bonaire whiptail on the dance floor tonight!