Aphids and Breastfeeding: a fucking weird post

I had an odd experience yesterdayday. With the general triumph of life over death and barren coldness in the Northern hemisphere, there are suddenly insects everywhere, and I happened to look down and find a small green aphid walking across my forearm. I found myself endeared to it by the obvious struggle it was having to navigate the hairs there.

Aphids, as readers may or may not be aware, have tiny sucking mouthparts that pierce the outermost layers of green plants and let the sugary liquid inside flow out into the aphid’s body to be digested. And then I had the thought: could it poke that little mouthpart through my epidermis and drain out a tiny part of my blood?

The odd bit was that I suddenly realised that I partly wanted it to. I had an urge to be eaten and fed off by this little creature.

My next thought was that of course that’s possible, that’s exactly what fleas, lice, mosquitoes etc do. Why didn’t I want to get fleabitten?

There are, I think, two answers. One is that I don’t want horrible little itchy bite marks that get red and displeasurable (I also don’t want malaria or somesuch). The other answer though is about control.

Perhaps people who never paid as much attention to insects as I have won’t know this, but aphids are not, shall we say, the most nimble or mobile of animals. They walk only very slowly, much slower than, say, an ant or a beetle. They can fly, but they generally don’t do so very much, unlike, say, flies. They can’t jump like fleas do, and, like hoverflies, their alertness and reflexes are so poor that they can be quite easily picked up with the fingers by just taking hold of their wings.They are also much more conspicuous and easy to spot than lice.

The result is that when I saw the aphid on my arm, I felt totally in control. I could know and determine where it was at any given time, without having to worry about it scuttling, jumping, or flying away. Whereas with bugs that could do that, I would feel much more threatened, much more anxious – especially if there were more than one (since you can’t keep track of many at once). This may explain why I feel no repulsion from aphids or other small insects as individuals, but find them increasingly creepy in larger numbers.

I thought a bit more about this attractive idea of being eaten. A memory came to mind of a rather odd episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which Buffy’s boyfriend, feeling unnecessary beside his super-powered girlfriend, picked up the secret habit of, um, going to bars and letting vampires drain his blood.

Of course the main thing I thought of was breastfeeding, which is precisely this sort of non-threatening being-eaten. That’s right, seeing a bug on my arm made me want a baby to nurse.

So I did some research online, and it turns out that breastfeeding is not at all necessarily something that only women do. With a sufficient period of stimulation or hormones, men can rouse their dormant mammary glands into action and lactate. Simple and easy. Of course, it will still be a while before it becomes socially acceptable and stops being creepy – hell, the idea of a man breastfeeding even creeps me out, when I think about it.

Anyway, that was about it.

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