Must Love Chimps

The opening sentence in his self summary caught my attention immediately; "I am a 28 year old human." 

I like humans. Maybe he felt the need to say this because his screen name was bonobo77. Maybe his screen name was bonobo77 because he liked bonobos. He continued, "I like wine, travel, input, and apes," clarifying that it was the latter. And he didn't stop there...

"I have a profound connection, respect, and appreciation for our nearest evolutionary ancestors the Great Apes. Particularly Bonobos which are the closest to us, are matriarchal, peaceful, intelligent, and innocently endangered thanks to human destruction and poaching. I fundraise for their conservation."

I HAD MET MY SOUL MATE. It might sound strange but I also share a profound appreciation for the Great Apes. Not particularly bonobos per say, I don't like to choose. I love all apes and find each species to be equally lovely and fascinating. My love for apes is also extended to Jane Goodall who I consider a champion for all women and a personal hero of mine. When she appeared on the field at this year's Rose Bowl I nearly fainted. I still have no idea why she was there. But she was(!) and I was there too, and I took in the moment with the same reverence that one might take in their wedding vows.

I was thinking of wedding vows now, as I sat starring at this man's OKCupid profile. I should probably add, dating hasn't been going too well for me as of late. It was one year ago that I set up a profile on OKCupid with the goal of rebounding from the pain of a breakup. Not surprisingly, the immediate onslaught of messages I received soliciting coffee, or cunnilingus, or sometimes both, was a welcome distraction. What followed was a series of good dates and bad dates and couple of mini casual relationships, all of which were great. But, as I said, it's been a year. I'm ready to move on from coffee and cunnilingus, I'm ready for something more, I'm ready for bonobos.

I decided to take the plunge and message bonobo77, but what should I say? The first thing that popped into my head was a line from the Raffi song "I like to eat." If you're not familiar, the song takes the line "I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bana-nas" and carries on replacing the vowels in eat, apples, and bananas, with different vowels until you get to the line that came into my head, "I like to ote, ote, ote, oh-ples and bonobos."  It was funny, but as an introduction, didn't seem right. "Ote'ing a bonobo" could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and while I consider myself a very open late 20's Brooklynite, I'd hate to put something out there that even I'm not quite ready for.

Raffi was out, and because nothing else immediately came to mind as a witty opening, I decided to go with my online conversational standby: sending links to neat things on the Internet. The first was a link to The Arcus Foundation coupled with the alluring question "Have you heard of this foundation?" The Arcus Foundation, "works to advance LGBT equality, as well as to conserve and protect the great apes." Apparently the founder loved both apes and LGBT rights too much to choose and created an umbrella foundation for both, much to my delight and the delight of anyone looking to make the easiest AIDS joke ever.

The next link I thoughtfully copied and pasted was to an NPR article about a recently published Book,The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans De Waal. In his 10th volume about apes, Waal makes the claim that morality is based on our species rather than coming from a distant God. I hadn't had a chance to read it but if there was any measurable morality in this world then Bonobo77 and I would soon be enjoying each others company in a dimly lit bar with arcade games set behind us. Feeling confident that my courtship display would attract this mate, I sent the message with the two links and waited for my true love story to unfold...

If there's one thing two ape lovers can agree on - besides how great apes are - it is the role of natural selection in the world in which we exist. Bonobo77 never responded to my mating call, and I'm beginning to worry that my online dating skills might not be sharp enough to ensure the creation and survival of my offspring. Perhaps myself and others like me will die off while those that have adapted formidable message openings will breed and their offspring will posses online conversational abilities that will continue to evolve and advance our species. 

It is of course possible, that it could be the opposite, that those whose abilities thrive in the ether may be unable to communicate properly with the outside world and will create offspring who won't have the ability to purchase a liter of milk without a computer. Thus, devolving our species to the point where we will not be able to combat the eventual robot takeover. At this point, it's hard to say. It seems pointless to worry about the trajectory of your species when you're so lonely you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. For now, I can only force myself up, go with my instincts and also, I guess, follow my heart. 

I am a 29 year old human, and tonight I'm getting off the Internet and going to a bar.

-hk