There is surely no single day in our calendar that is capable of conjuring up such opposite ends of our delicate emotional spectrums than tomorrow; so is your Valentine’s Day guaranteed to open up your weekend’s floodgates to a sexplosive lust-filled mini-break full of sexual thrills and sexual spills, or will you be spending it with your long-term partner instead?
However the reality can be extremely harsh and at some point we’ve all been there. Traipsing miserably through darkened empty streets, dragging our desperate single heals past never-ending candle-lit rose-tinted walls of posh restaurant windows, braggingly glowing with softly-lit smug couples all ignoring our current credit crunch; proving that romance definitely isn’t dead – well for one night anyway.
But there is only one animal out there that really does have a good enough reason to wallow in his own self-pity.
Because thousands of miles away on the arid plains of Africa, the male Spotted Hyena (pictured) will have to endure yet another annual sprinkling of salt onto his giant year-round wound.
For in this day-and-age it’s simply not enough to have already been crowned ‘The Old World’s Most Dominant Scavenger’, own a stomach containing acid strong enough to easily dissolve any bone dipped in it, or even sport a Mohican that took 26 million years of evolution to successfully style into a cool and rebellious ‘reversed forwards’ look.
You see what really gets our male Spotted Hyena down is the fact that his female counterpart – Mrs Spotted Hyena to you – has bigger ‘bits’ than he does.
And when I say ‘bits’, I really do mean ‘bits’, so much so that until fairly recently females were actually thought to be hermaphrodites.
Female hyenas even give birth and urinate through this unique protruding genital which must also stretch to accommodate the male during sexy-times.
Its anatomical position also gives females complete control over which males are allowed to mate with her, which – coupled with the fact that the females are significantly larger than the males – makes them the totally dominant sex within their highly intellectual and noisy social packs.
To make matters even more complicated, females also possess pair of fake testicles which are filled with fatty tissue, so imagine the surprise of the first 19th Century explorers of Africa when they witnessed their caged “male” hyenas actually giving birth in front of their very rather-confused eyes!
So if tomorrow, Valentine’s Saturday, it all seems to be getting a bit too much, please spare a thought for our lonely male Spotted Hyena, home alone and chomping on his zebra–flavoured meal-for-one, it’s a wonder he’s still got anything to laugh about.