A friend and I were talking the other day about the dynamics between men and women and I said, “Men sometimes are like trout and some woman can be looked at by men, as lures. But note: smart men are like lunkers.”
“What’s a lunker?” she asked.
“It’s usually the biggest, wisest fish in the hole,” I said. Explaining that they’ve been careful not to strike at just any offering that’s tossed their way.
All fish have an onboard computer that tells them whether it’s worth their time and energy to nab that cluster of gnats hovering above their head; or that grasshopper that just landed two feet further out … if they think they can get more bang for their buck, if it’s worth their while, they’ll go for the most attractive offering they find.
If the lure dances in the sunny riffles like an emerging Mayfly, twirling, tempting, making an effort to draw attention, casting looks, and messages from across the waves that suggest an interest, then there’s a good chance the lunker will leave his lie for a closer look too. But both are engaged in the effort before there’s a hook up.
Lures are generally not tossed in murky, stagnant pools. Fish, if ever, rarely walk the shore hoping a worm falls in their gaping jowls. Both are led by attraction.
One craves attention: “Look over here, here I am, see my slick self move in the flow?” It’s as old as the Odyssey.
The other craves what it craves and that’s something usually just out of reach and therefore more forbidden, exotic and tempting and again, like the Odyssey, a man will drive his ship ashore and turn to stone chasing that etherial call.
The least choosy fish though, are the first to get tossed belly up on some gritty bank. Every once in a while though, there’s a trout, a big boy, one who’s been landed once or twice out of his element, snagged by dumb luck or young stupidity, but for what ever reason, he made his way back to his lair, falling through nets that were worn out from previous catches or straightening hooks that had no real barb to hold him. These fish flop and feel the sting of capture and know the joy of living free.
They might long for that thing that had them so damn crazy that they nearly lost their head chasing it … but they will recall the panic they felt when they were pulled from their element and led astray by something that was essentially artificial. Fake hair. Fake flash. Dull hook.
But even a wise trout will follow the line that holds his attention best, right into a blazing fire if he thought he could get even one taste of what he was after. It’s as much a gamble for the fish as it for the lure I suppose … neither knowing what will happen when the two forces meet.
But the dynamic, right or wrong, is obvious to me and I think it’s been hardwired in men and women, human kind, since forever. Even today, though women don’t want to be viewed as objects and men don’t like being viewed as trophies to mount, this act of fishing for connections is pervasive among the sexes. The MEN/TROUT think they’re getting something they wanted to chase and the woman with the rod in hand only casts with increased fury with each nibble they feel–loving the attention. It’s fun for both until I guess it’s not.
Of course, there are those who don’t play the primal game at all, hold their own and mind their business with no real notion of the hunt. They might just like drifting along without aim. They don’t need to mount anything. They don’t even like fish.
Sometimes, it’s just chance that we are plucked away from our original intentions by a force that wasn’t even in the picture before. Like this fish above, he never saw what was after him. Too bad in this case, that it was a lose-lose outcome. No one had a meal here, save for maybe the coyote that came along later. But that’s in the chapter called, “Settling on Scraps” which I’ll keep for another day.
As is the case in much of life, there are times when no one gets what they were after and I suppose, that’s why fishing isn’t called “catching.”