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Lions, Hyenas and Eating with Girls…

January 26, 2012

With my older daughter turning 12-years-old this week, the topic of birthday cake has reminded me again of the distinct differences between men and women when it comes to food. I have found that women (especially in my house) are more akin to a lioness pride that carefully chooses their meals while I (like most other guys) resemble the spotted hyena.

Lions and hyenas coexist and have a dietary overlap of almost 60% (me, I don’t like cucumber sandwiches). Spotted Hyenas do not eat a specific prey, rather, their meal preferences are a function of size – the larger the better. In the same way, pizza buffets (or any buffet for that matter) are typically dominated by guys due to both the quantity and availability of food. Despite a hyena’s ability to hunt (or a guy’s ability to cook), the hyena will often opt to eat whatever is easiest to obtain, which is often the leftovers of the pride. Yes, most guys will go for whatever is in the fridge instead of cooking a meal when faced with the choice. Cereal works also.

The lionesses of the pride do most of the hunting and have a varied but defined diet. However, occasionally my wife will order something out of the ordinary when eating out in an effort to “do something different.” Sometimes disappointed, and in the same manner a lion pride will seize the kill of a hyena, she will eat my meal and leave me with her lame order.

Women, like a lioness pride, are ‘socially inclined’ and eat in groups of 5-6 females much like you see in a tea room or a happy hour. Men, like the spotted hyena, are a social animal which live and eat in large communities called “clans” that can consist of up to 80 individuals – Think Hooters and College Bowl Games.

Like a lion pride seeks a specific prey, my girls are focused on Red Velvet Cake this week. And in the same way lions hunt, they prefer to savor dessert under the cover of darkness. It has been on more than one occasion that I have come down to my kitchen in the morning only to find stale, icing-less pieces of cake laying on the counter like the carcass of an impala on the plains of the Serengeti. “…When confronted on a kill by lions, spotted hyenas will either leave or wait patiently at a distance of 100–350 ft. until the lions have finished.” Sage advice my friend. Sage advice.

“…In some cases, spotted hyenas are bold enough to feed alongside lions, and may occasionally force the lions off a kill…” You could try this with some things, but if dessert is involved I would not recommend getting into the fray. “…The two species may act aggressively toward one another even when there is no food involved…” No comment.

Finally, I will add that hyenas’ fur color changes with age while the lioness maintains its svelte look and remains almost ageless though its life. I think it must be the desserts.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved


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  1. Johnny. Love that you are doing this! Your girls will love reading back over your posts in the years to come!

    • I have been wanting to do it for years and finally got around to it. I hadn’t thought about how the girls would enjoy it, but you are the third or fourth person to point that out! I started writing to keep track of all this funny stuff, and it grew from there.

  2. Dude… this is possibly the best blog I have ever read. I just read the entire thing. Every post. You’re a few years ahead of me (my girls are 7 and almost-6), but I completely relate. The car ride, stopping at McD’s and the bathroom, the smocks, the 9 conversations from 3 mouths… awesome. Plus you’re a good writer. I look forward to more. Thanks, and keep it up!

    • Thanks so much for that! I really appreciate it! I try to post each week, and I put smaller posts on my Facebook page. Writing about the funny stuff helps me keep things in perspective…

  3. Hooked! Keep the stories coming. I think this is one blog even my husband will read.

    • Thanks so much!!!! Come visit any time. I try to post once a week.

    • If you have girls in the house and he is the lone or almost lone guy, then he can probably relate.

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