A View To A Kill

It’s not uncommon for someone to say that they most enjoy the hunt, that being a metaphor for the complex social dance people engage in before any actual amorous activity happens.

I must admit that I have never been among them.

When I was a child, I  watched every wildlife show I could find on television. The process of the web of life fascinated me, as did the elegance of each part of it. One aspect of these shows always annoyed, me though:

The lion creeps up on the herd, sleek and powerful and unseen. At a point only it comprehends, it explodes from the grasses that hid its golden bulk, and homes in on its intended target.

Then we see the lion halfway through its meal, bits of zebra on its muzzle.

The program never showed the kill. None of them did. The culmination of the entire preceding segment got skipped over, every time. How the kill was too much for Tender Eyes to view but blood and stretched tendons weren’t, I never figured out, but apparently all the producers agreed, and it was many years until someone had the gumption.

I still prefer the end of the hunt, which begins everything else.

Oh, I do the dance. My heart’s not in it, though I’ve become fairly good at the steps. The chase is merely a shadow of what’s to come, full of promise but empty of substance. When the goal of the hunt is pleasure and feasting, even for the “hunted” (the metaphor does have some pretty serious holes in it), it seems a trifle silly. Yes, yes, I know why it’s there and why it’s such an important part of every culture. I know my anthropology and evolutionary psychology. But glorifying that dance seems like making a fetish of getting to the starting line.

The first kiss… ah, now that is satisfying. The kill, if you will, in this sweet and pleasurable hunt (or one option for what “the kill” would mean to the metaphor, depending on how you count things). The connection is made, the preamble is done with, and resistance to the obvious falls away. Perhaps it is just that way for me, the capitulation that comes from a kiss; but according to movies and such, there seems to be fairly wide agreement. And the satisfaction occurs as fully whether that preamble was brief or drawn out. The whole notion of anticipation being the best part is rather sad: you plan to be disappointed? Perhaps you’re not doing it right. By my lights, it’s no more than delaying greater for the sake of lesser. Prefer a chase to a kiss? Really?

Prolonging the hunt for the sake of the hunt is for those who don’t know how to enjoy pleasure for its own sake. The true beauty and point of the hunt is in the kill.

I don’t hunt to hunt. I hunt to feast.

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Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure.