I’ve been out of the dating game for exactly 12 years, so maybe I’m not the best person to write about how to snag a man. However, during our recent trip to the Galapagos Islands, I observed the behaviors of various birds and something struck me: their mating habits reminded me of those dating advice columns I used to read in Cosmo.
If memory serves, it’s a cruel dating world out there. For those of you still in the game, take comfort that the animal kingdom knows no more forgiveness than our human one.
Were Charles Darwin to lead a voyage into the realm of dating advice, perhaps this is where he’d take us:
Note: We are not ornithologists. The information below comes from first-hand observations and the humorous, grain-of-salt commentary from Jorge, our guide in the Galapagos.
1. When your man brings gifts, be choosy.
The blue-footed booby female is. When a suitor brings her trinkets and twigs for the new nest, she inspects them. And if she doesn’t like what she sees, she lets him know with a disapproving honk.
Don’t accept just any old piece of flair. Inspect it. Make sure it’s valuable and that your man had to search far and wide to obtain it.
2. It’s perfectly acceptable to poop in his general direction if he brings inadequate gifts.
Iron-clad advice straight from the Galapagos. Blue-footed booby females will turn their backs on male suitors if they don’t like what they see in the way of gifts. And if the booby male gift-giving really falls flat, she’ll turn her back, bend over and give a squirt of her own white paint.
Now I don’t suggest going quite this far with your dissatisfaction, but you get the gist.
3. Make sure your man gets decked out.
The frigate bird male chooses a good bush and parks it. He primps, puffs out a red sac between his neck and chest, and struts his stuff to communicate his availability to the ladies flying by.
Yes, that’s right — males know they need to look their best in order to attract the right attention. But women make the choice.
4. Look for the guy with the best dance moves.
The man on the islands with the best moves: the blue-footed booby. In front of an interested female, he flares his wings, whistles and does a little jig with his big blue feet. If his moves are good enough, the booby bachelor will find himself one step closer to being mated for the season.
Watch a Video of Blue Footed Booby and Waved Albatross Dancing
5. Use the numbers to your advantage.
Be selective. Blue-footed booby females are…because they know they are outnumbered by their male counterparts. They build demand and make the men work for their attention.
So, next time you are at a bar and it’s all men (i.e., a sausage hang), know that like the blue-footed booby, you have an advantage.
6. When choosing a mate, consider his taste in architecture.
During mating season, female frigate birds fly overhead and consider not only the size of a potential mate’s red pouch, but also the quality of the home (or bush) he has chosen.
When evaluating the man, look closely at his nest.
7. Make sure your man can sing.
The blue footed booby sings (whistles, really) his way into his beloved’s heart. Be certain your mate is confident enough to serenade you in public.
8. Keep the romance alive by dancing every day.
After you’ve paired up, keep the spark alive by taking a cue from the waved albatross. Make sure you dance — and cross beaks — every day. Watch the video above for a how-to.
9. Make sure he’s willing to share responsibilities.
Galapagos birds are remarkably egalitarian when it comes to sharing responsibilities between the sexes. Boobies, albatross, and frigates all divide time caring for the egg and newborn chicks.
Once you’ve chosen your guy, be clear about the responsibilities ahead. Is he willing to spend half the time warming the egg in the nest? Or taking care of the little one while you go out to fetch food?
10. Not everyone is monogamous.
In the bird kingdom, as in the human one, there are some birds that remain faithful and there are those who cannot help but choose someone new each season.
Figure out whether your man is more like a waved albatross (monogamous) or a nazca booby (a new mate every season). If you insist on straying, make sure you do so during the off season. Otherwise, everyone in the neighborhood will discover the indiscretion and next year’s mating season could be awfully lonely.
Article Series - Galapagos Islands
- 8 Days in the Galapagos Islands: A Photo Tour
- Dating Advice from Galapagos Birds (or, When Charles Darwin Meets Cosmo)