07/16/2012 02:20 pm ET | Updated Sep 15, 2012

Love, Sex and Earthworms

Dear Waldo,

I went fishing with my bud Luke and we went to the bait shop and the super-hot bait shop chick told us earthworms were hemafordites if that's even the way you spell it, which she said is what you call something that's both a dude and a chick all in one. And I was thinking to myself if that's a real thing then I want to be one of them. I fall in love with chicks nonstop everywhere I go. The bait shop babe for starters. I am one horndog for sure but my love life is not exactly at the level I want it at. And I can't think of anything better than being one of them hemafrodites if there is such a thing and skipping the whole dating wahoo altogether and just banging my own self nutty in my basement any time I please. It sure explains the looks of a earthworm. Who needs a face and pecs and a sixpack and so forth if dating gets exed out? Anyways, Luke said she was just yanking my chain. Was she? Is there such a thing as a hamafrodrite? I'm just going to sign this as--

Horndog a-lookin for love

Dear Horndog,

No, the bait-shop girl was not yanking your chain. There is such a thing as a hermaphrodite, and the earthworm is a good example. A single earthworm does indeed have both male and female sex organs. However I'm afraid I'm going to have to burst your bubble about that Solo Cellar Shangri-la of yours when I tell you that even earthworms need other earthworms to have sex -- a sort of sperm-exchange program after which they both go their separate pregnant ways.

While I'm impatient to get the image out of my head of you making love with yourself, I'm more concerned with your confusion about sex and love. Horndog, Sex is one thing. Love is another thing.

In hopes of making this point crystal clear, let's take a quick look at the Mating Games of a few other creatures. Each living thing has its own way of going about reproduction. We've already talked about those oddball earthworms. But how about them insects? They just screw once and out come billions. Or what about some of them whacky water-dwellers -- Ms. Fishy just deposits her eggs here and there and then along comes Mr. Fishy, whom Ms. Fishy has never had the pleasure of meeting, and he finishes off the job in her absence thank-you very much before going belly up. Some other groups ask Pop to stick around after screwing at least until Mama and the little ones can get along without the big lug, at which time he's absolutely free to go. Still others would never think of screwing and running. You screw, you're mated for life pal. Discussion over.

In fact, no other creature besides Us has the slightest inclination to engage in a discussion of The Rules of Mating, because for all the other living things on the planet those rules are fixed at birth. But Us, we had to go and develop a Big Brain, and with a Big Brain comes Big Emotions, and this has complicated everything with such bewildering sophistications as Jealousy and Respect and Promiscuousness and Etiquette and Morality and Religion to name a few. Gone are the simple days when we just obeyed our survival instincts and screwed like bugs. Now we're told, Choose Just One.

Huh??? Just ONE?? Ya gotta be kidding! From all the human beings on earth, we're supposed to choose just one to make love with AND THAT'S IT? THAT'S ALL WE GET???


Yes, correct. Just one. Just one screwing-partner apiece is the plan we're trying out at the moment. But it gets even trickier: You're also expected to add to it a crazy little thing called...


Love? Love? What is it? What is it?

Horndog, a lot of people will tell you a lot of things about what Love is and what Love isn't, and you will hear poems about it and you will hear songs about it and you will not sleep because of it and you will not eat because of it and you will find nothing that comes close to Love in its power to make you cock-eyed with all that is truly good in Life and all that is truly bad in Life, and it can drive you to rapture and it can drive you to murder. And yet no one can pinpoint what Love is. That's because it is different for everyone.

But here, for certain, is what Love is not, and if I had a font that blinked on and off in orange neon I would be using it to write this:


Sure, Horndog, sex turbo-charges Love, but Sex is no more essential to love than perfect weather is essential to happiness. Once you realize this, then the panting stops, the physical clattering ceases, the air clears, and finally it's easier to focus upon what Love is.

If you are waiting for the swelling of symphonies in your search for Love, or even for bells and whistles, or just for the early pump of an erection Horndog, you will certainly miss it. Love is a whisper that you don't hear but you feel. It can be a look in the eye, or a tone in the voice, or a certain way of a smile that says Yeah, you and me both, we're in this thing together, and isn't it some ride? Something you cannot put your finger on that makes the two of you, at that moment, recognize in each other an essential agreeability with the hard terms of life, and accept each other as allies in the struggle to be hopeful and kind.

So, Horndog, you and the Bait Girl. I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like it's a good old fashioned sex thing. Should it come to wild humping, that might be a delight for both of you. But it's not making Love. Leave Love out of it. At its ecstatic best, it's lovely humping for fun.

But please be careful. Because here is a common tragedy: As you search for a partner to Love and to cherish forever til death do you part, you will have to put up with the mindless incessant yowling of your ancient reproductive system hell-bent on survival. The more turned on you are by Beauty, the more deafening and distracting the sex-yowl. Because of this racket made by your reproductive wolf-pack, you may be tempted to try your luck with that skeleton key to the Sex Palace, that handy shortcut to screwing: the saying of I Love You. But beware: It's only much later, when the yowling of the loins subsides, that you will finally hear each other's true music. And when you do you may find to your deep sorrow that it is not a tune you care for.

Horndog, you don't want to be an earthworm. There are such pleasures to be discovered in courtship. In the looking for Love. Even the agony of failure has its warmth. Go buy some more bait, and look the bait girl in the eye -- really look at her, really take in how she looks back at you -- and see what there is to see.

Your Fan.

Waldo Mellon