fan me with your flippers

The late David Foster Wallace once wrote a very persuasive article for Gourmet magazine about lobsters, asking us to consider why we eat them.


cartoon found here

“Up until sometime in the 1800s, lobster was literally low-class food, eaten only by the poor and institutionalized. Even in the harsh penal environment of early America, some colonies had laws against feeding lobsters to inmates more than once a week because it was thought to be cruel and unusual, like making people eat rats”

The article is ten pages long so click the link if you want to read more. It prompted me to investigate the lobster further and to discover some things I didn’t know about its sex life

Usually in a particular neighborhood, one lobster establishes himself as the dominant alpha male. And once his status is secured, he enforces it. Every night, he goes out and beats up all the other lobsters in the neighborhood, kicks them out of their houses, just to remind them who’s in charge.

Females will regularly go and visit the entrance to the alpha male’s shelter after he’s been beating them up. They follow him home, and they perform a variety of courtship rituals.

lobster leaps in

image found here

The problem is, the alpha male is so belligerent, he’s not really interested in romance.  So the females have to cajole him into a romantic mood.


Essentially they do this by drugging him into submission. When lobsters fight and when they flirt they communicate with each other basically by pissing in each other’s faces. They have these little urine-release nozzles right under their eyes, and they squirt urine at each other.

This relaxes the alpha male and reduces his aggression. He starts to swoon a little bit. He fans these little flippers under his tale to spread the urine around his apartment and savor its aroma.

Females do a few other courtship rituals, some little dances and stuff. They have to take their clothes off in order to mate so the female only mates right after she has shed her shell.

By moving in with him, she’s getting protection from the dominant male in her most vulnerable moment.


So she sheds her shell, and this beautiful copulatory event occurs. But the details are probably too racy for……”

national pornographic

If you’re interested in seeing racy details that might otherwise elude you, perhaps it’s time to invest in a Lobster Eye X Ray Inspection Device

x ray

image by Scott Camazine found here

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 8:53 am  Comments (39)  

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39 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Lobsters are very punctual, too, I believe.

  2. Now that’s a cute story anaglyph

  3. Cute, but sad. Those bastards.


    I’m a good christian thats why I don’t eat lobster…

    Ok thats a lie, I’m not a good anything I just don’t like seafood.

  5. Two cannibals looking at a plane wreck. One says to the other: I’s just like lobster. The meat’s pretty sweet but it’s tough to get at it.

  6. lobsters like golden showers? who knew? informative as always, hotstuff!

  7. Hilarious. I don’t “do” urine so I’m done with lobsters… thanks alot!

  8. Eating a whole lobster is an event, and not for everyone, tasty as the critter might be. They do have a bug-like appearance and those big claws after all. Down in Louisiana, crawfish are very popular, and being smaller and living in muddy bayous and swamps, they seem even more bug-like. However, when you get them cooked up in a tasty cajun dish, you don’t usually have to cope with all the armour, as that task has been done for you, leaving only the tasty bits.

  9. So Daisyfae beats me to the cheap “golden shower” joke. Why does that not surprise me? You’ve got to get up pretty early to beat her to the punchline.

  10. Hmm, wait until I tell my favorite restaurant about this!!! And here I thought only men had pissing competitions!

  11. Prickly creatures aplenty in this post – lobsters and porcupines, pisswallahs all. Seafood aint kosher and I ate my first oyster under the infuence of Dangar Island.
    How people think ‘Balmain bugs’ sound appetising is beyond me. One yucky thing named after a yuckier thing. Kosher neuroses aside, I affirm the values of sea-faring cultures to feast on whatever fweee du mer they fossick for, amen.

  12. Princess and me were at this fancy-pants restaurant this onetime, eating this ‘seafood platter,’ and it was like the platter that time forgot, all prickly carapaces and trilobite fossils in tartare sauce. I ate this “balmain bug” thing, and it (i’m sure it was the bug that did it) made me so sick i just about shat out my brains. We were never welcome at *that* restaurant again, i can tell you!

    So i fully believe you when you say that these prehistoric monstrosities used to be poorfolk fodder.

    Just like oysters were, before someone realised they looked like vaginas, and marketed them as aphrodisiacs…

  13. I’ll cook up a crayfish and white wine omelette for someone who appreciates it but I’ll be the one with the brie filling.

  14. LOL!!! Nurse dear you are an absolute riot!!!!!

    I’ve never tasted lobster in my life and now i doubt i ever will!

    • Sabrina you don’t know what you’re missing. It has the most delicate sweetest tasting meat ever

  15. Never mind the lobsters, I want one of those t-shirts. But not in orange. Best lobster I ever saw was on top of a telephone. You know, Dali’s thingy. But then I’m a vego.

    • Maybe in black….

      • Yeah black!

  16. I’ve never eaten lobster – is it nice?

    • You’re kidding me aren’t you daddyp?

  17. My eldest daughters both work in a restaurant that has an annual summer “Lobster Event”. They hate it. They work in the kitchen and the lobsters must be “murdered” (their word) before being cooked by stabbing them in the head with a knife.

    Neither of them will do it and will try to cajole male co-workers into doing the “wet work” for them.

    I personally don’t eat lobster, shrimp, catfish or any other “bottom feeder”. May as well be eating faeces.

  18. “May as well be eating faeces.”

    Like a dog, or a monkey?

    I would eat both.

  19. You mean there are nude lobsters walking around in the sea??

    • the nude ones are usually in hiding (or getting laid)

  20. Maybe they didn’t get the lobster tail…just the rest of the lobster where that greenish brown poop comes out when you crack it open.

  21. I’ve got a friend who used to be scared shitless of lobsters. It’s eased off over the years but I don’t think it’s completely gone.

    Got any of that Loxapac? Too often these days I feel like an angry cactus head who is not happy with his spaghetti and meatballs. Or maybe I just need some GettingLaidz-a-pac. Tag Larkin finds this pasta insultingly inadequate and demands bloody retribution!

  22. No wonder I keep getting lobster as my spirit animal in all those Facebook quizzes.

  23. Love the cartoon. 🙂

  24. So they’re into golden showers, eh?

    There are new arguments surfacing over the cruelty of preparing lobster r if t is all that cruel or not. Those against it say it is very painful to the creature and a slow death. those for it say the lobster has no brains so it simply doesn’t now what is going on. Based o the behavior listed here,I’d say there is some brain activity going on if they bully and cajole.

  25. Last time I tried to have sex with a lobster, I just hungry . .

  26. I am happier than ever to be a vegetarian.

  27. So lobsters basically invented the ‘golden shower’ fetish. I used to love my NG, if only for the naked native women!

  28. I am tempted by many delicacies, but sex-pissing giant scavenging alien watery naked bug-things are not among them.

  29. I was referred to your site (blame yorksnbeans) after posting about orchids and their deceptive sexual advances.

    After reading a few interesting posts about various sex facts, I know why. This is very interesting stuff.

    good sex education

    • Hi lisleman, welcome to the gimcrack. I like your orchid post

  30. […] One reader really enjoyed learning more about lobsters than Wallace probably ever imagined! In, “Fan Me With Your Flippers,” we see a humorous side to lobster courtship–personified. For the lobster lover, it can […]

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