By: Alison Xin
[Leaked script of the pilot of a new BBC Documentary]
High school is one of the most chaotic – and hostile – environments for the juveniles of the species Homo sapiens. It is often the first taste they have of the human social hierarchy. Additionally, the elaborate courtship of humans often starts in the high school, though the process rarely goes beyond the even rarely successful stage of courting.
The human species comes in a wide variety of hair, eye, and skin color variations, but all humans can be distinguished by their upright bipedal gait and well-developed cranium. Unlike other primates, humans suffer from general hairlessness and clothe themselves in fibers of plant or animal origin.
Here, we have the classic example of an ordinary juvenile male. Standing at 68 inches and, somehow, both chubby and lankily built, this particular case suffers from mild acne vulgaris, typical of humans during maturation. Today, this male has chosen to begin courting a female. The male we chose to examine is not an optimal mating partner, but one of the most unusual characteristics of human juveniles is their tendency to take nearly impossible chances. It is unknown if this is characteristic of all humans or if the particular hormonal imbalances during maturation lends itself to such recklessness.
Juvenile females – and some adult cases – tend to travel and socialize in packs. These packs are in themselves complex social systems with distinct hierarchies and rules. Packs often led by an alpha female – primus bitchicus. This particular male has chosen to target not the alpha of a pack but one of the marginal group members. Though not in a particularly high position of power, any courting attempts will still be noticed by the main pack, who will certainly apply social pressure. He must wait patiently for the opportune movement to strike.
The target female has split from the group to hydrate herself. Gathering at the communal watering hole is not uncommon in human female packs, but this particular group is occupied with social interaction, possibly focused on another tangentially related courting attempt. Slowly, the male approaches the female. His sympathetic nervous system activates, triggering increased sweat production. It is theorized that such a reaction is intended to release pheromones, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the majority of females do not see this as an attractive feature in a potential mate. Luckily, this male chemically disguises his scent by a process known as “deodoration”, which will suppress this unseemly feature.
The male begins with the human social process known as “exchanging pleasantries.” The female is immediately on alert, ready to flee to the safety of her pack. However, our particular male seems to be “not an asshole”, and the female is put temporarily at ease.
Unfortunately, this process, much like a fine wine, takes time. Also much like a fine wine, the process catches the attention of the group of females. His window of opportunity is closing rapidly. Panicking, the male increases the scale and frequency of his gesticulations, tripping into the nearby wall in the process. This movement breaks the social tension. Between the two, at least. The pack has begun conversing amongst themselves, giggling profusely — yet another similarity to the effects of a fine wine. They will soon make a move to dissuade the male and temporarily lower his social standing as well. The male is running out of time.
Quickly, he verbally begins the courting process. He proposes a location and time for a next meeting time. Though initial courting communications are less distinct and articulate than casual speech – a phenomenon that researches have still not deduced the reason for — the female gets the idea of the male’s intentions.
Her mind runs through several possibilities: reject the courting, dismiss the male with an apology, or accept the proposal. An astonishing three-quarters of all initial courtships are rejected outright. With good reason, as females are disproportionately attacked or killed by strangers of their own species. Nevertheless, human recklessness is not limited to just males, and this female takes the chance and accepts the proposal. Though incredibly ill-advised by any stretch of logic, the fate of human repopulation relies on such gambles.
The sun sets on the high school, ending the day with a successful initial courting. Next episode, we will examine how humans, unique among all the primates, engage in a much more complicated de-courting process, ending the relationship before – or even after – the mating process.