Notes of a Sportswriter's Daughter
by Donna Haraway
© Donna Haraway
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Klingon Warrior Princess
Excerpted from The Companion Species Manifesto (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003)
May 30, 2001
Ms Cayenne Pepper has shown her true species being at last. She's a female Klingon in heat. Now, you may not watch much TV or be a years' long fan of the Star Trek universe like I am, but I'll bet the news that Klingon females are formidable sexual beings, whose tastes run to the ferocious, has reached everyone. The Pyr on our land, the intact 20-month-old Willem, has been Cayenne's playmate since they were both puppies, beginning at about 4 months. Cayenne was spayed when she was 6 1/2 months old. She's always happily humped her way down Willem's soft and inviting backside, starting at his head end with her nose pointed to his tail, while he lies on the ground trying to chew her leg or lick a rapidly passing genital area. But during our Memorial weekend brief stay on the Healdsburg land things have heated up, put mildly. Willem is a randy, gentle, utterly inexperienced adolescent male soul (and Susan makes very sure he stays inexperienced & properly fenced!). Cayenne does not have an estrus hormone in her body (but let us not forget those very much present adrenal cortices pumping out aldoserone and other so-called androgens that get lots of the credit for juicing up mammalian desire in males and females). But she is one turned on little bitch with Willem, & he is INTERESTED. She does not do this with any other dog, 'intact' or not. None of their sexual play has anything to do with remotely functional heterosexual mating behavior -- no efforts of Willem to mount, no presenting of an attractive female backside, not much genital sniffing, no whining and pacing, none of all that 'reproductive' stuff. No, here we have pure polymorphous 'perversity' that is so dear to the hearts of all of us who came of age in the 60s reading Norman O. Brown. Willem lies down with a bright look in his eye. Cayenne looks positively crazed as she straddles her genital area on the top of his head, her nose pointed toward his tail end, and presses down & wags her backside vigorously. I mean hard and fast. H is trying for all he's worth to get his tongue on her genitals, which inevitably dislodges her from the top of his head. Looks a bit like the rodeo, with her riding a bronco & staying on as long as possible. They have slightly different goals in this game, but both are committed to the activity. Sure looks like eros to me. Definitely not agape. They keep this up for about 5 minutes to the exclusion of any other activity. Then they go back to it for another round. And another. Susan's and my laughing, whether raucous or discrete, does not merit their attention. Cayenne growls like a female Klingon during the activity, teeth bared. She's playing, but oh my, what a game. Willem is earnestly intent. He is not a Klingon, but what we would call a considerate lover.
Have you seen anything like this with a spayed female and an intact male? Or any other combination, for that matter? Their youth and vitality seem to have made a mockery of reproductive heterosexual hegemony, as well as of abstinence-promoting gonadectomies. Now, I, of all people, who have written all-too-infamous books about how we western humans project our social orders and desires onto animals without scrupple, should know better than to see confirmation of Norman O. Brown's Love's Body in my spayed Aussie dynamo and Susan's talented Landscape Guardian Dog with that big, sloppy, velvety tongue. Still, what do you think is going on? (Hint: This is not a game of fetch or chase.)
Should I tell the writers of the Star Trek world anything about the real Klingon on earth?
Time to get to real work!
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