It's amazing to think of the proliferation of ways we males and females of this species work to make ourselves attractive. In fact, many people can put food on the table in this world simply because we're succeptible to the latest wrinkle cream, shade of blusher or hot rod. The thing is, it's not just about mating or attractiveness to a mate.
Behold, my Sunday afternoon: Head covered in brown goo to cover my ever-burgeoning grays, wearing an unflattering, too-tight button down shirt gapping between the buttons, eating a kosher bologna and mayo sandwich. Can you think of anything less attractive? I'm not sure that I can. The funny thing is, my husband always tells me to leave my hair alone already. He likes the little cruella gray streak that I've had since I hit 28 and he could care less about the vanity. So why do I do it? I guess I feel like I look better with my original hair color which was described to me by a friend's mom as "about as black as a white girl can get". It's not fear of aging per se-- I just feel like I look much more tired with grays. And looking tired makes me feel tired.
Still, the goofy things that we do for vanity (or, I suppose, attractiveness to the opposite sex) have nothing on the penguins. They're apparently really turned on by rocks. Simple rocks. Apparently at the Shedd Aquarium, they introduce them over a weeks' time and watch the birds get to it... building nests with the rocks, stealing particularly appealing rocks from others' nests.
I don't know enough about penguins (though I did see "March of the Penguins"), but perhaps the appearance of rocks in their displays (just where, do you suppose, the penguins think these rocks are coming from, I wonder?) signals springtime for the penguins because as ice and snow melt, more rocks should become apparent. And, truth be told, if you're going to lay some eggs, wouldn't you rather do it on rocks than on ice?
I guess similarly, having a well-appointed boudoir could be more inspirational than, say, staring at milk crates piled with graying socks.
Still, what about the penguin who prefers his mate a little pudgy around the edges? What of a female penguin that likes the guy with the small rocks because those big rocks are just way too hard to climb up?
In love as in life, there's just no telling.