Some of you, I know, are People of Science. You know things about the natural world, its ways and wonders. What is more, you have Method, and possibly Paradigms, old and new. One of you, at least, has had a letter published in New Scientist, about doing unspeakable things to a cane toad. So I come to you with a question of Science. My question is:
Why me?Disregarding the obvious answer ("why not?") I shall provide some context.
Not so long ago, I spent a weekend with a good friend in Raglan. It was my birthday so my friend took me to a Reserve, one of those places full of Nature; by a babbling brook there we sat down, with a bottle of decent fizz, a quiche and various other goodies. And there I wept, when I was bitten by a thousand flying and biting insects.
Thus it is always every summer. I go to commune with Nature and Nature bites back. This occasion was especially bad. Again and again they came for me, heedless of my attempts to wipe out their entire population with my bare hands. Again and again they broke through my defences and found their target: my soft and succulent skin. By the end of the day's fighting, I had sustained extensive damage: I counted eighteen successful attacks on one forearm alone; and these were not mere bites but welts, the size of a two-dollar coin and the colour purple.
Meanwhile, my friend grazed nonchalantly, untroubled by insects or their bites. At one point she expressed doubt that midges bite at all.
So, why me? Why am I so delicious? Like me, my friend is caucasian, of a respectable age and lacking in obvious insect-repelling qualities. Yet she received no bites. Is it a guy thing? Do biting insects prefer the flesh of men? If so, could this preference explain what is going on in the scene above?
Answers on a postcard to the usual address, please.