I love women, and I enjoy fish, but for some reason I hate mermaids. They’re some of the most horrifying of animal-human hybrids. I mean, they’re scaly. And they smell — well — like fish! I don’t care how good they are at singing and swimming and strategically arranging their lengthy hair, they’re gross little monsters.
Yet their legend endures. We still get slurred reports from drunken sailors who spot them in the seven seas. And little kiddies everywhere believe in Ariel, the so-called “Little Mermaid” (who isn’t little enough to step on, unfortunately). But get this straight: if mermaids existed, we’d see dead ones floating belly up in the sea once in awhile. And there’d be plenty of beached mercorpses washing up on the shores or getting hauled up in tuna nets every summer.
But for a moment, let’s pretend they’re immortal. Let’s pretend that the icon of the mermaid — that seductive siren who is half-fish, half-woman — is a reality. And let’s pretend that she doesn’t get as slimy as oily oyster guts from scooting around in the silt and sand all the damned time. Even then, I’ve got problems.
First off: they’re always topless bombshells without any legs. You don’t have to be a feminist to see that this is clearly a male fantasy. Why? Because they can’t run away.
And if they aren’t male fantasies, then why are the top halves of mermaids always the human part? What if they were giant walking fish heads instead? Even the most committed of “leg men” might have difficulties with a breastless bass. Besides, the creatures really should be human on the bottom half. It makes more sense. The kick would make them better swimmers. Plus they’d actually be able to breathe, since the top is the half that has the gills. And, well, let’s just say I just think it would be more efficient for mating.
Or let’s take it a step further: what if only the left half were fish and the right side human? What then, Popeye?
And even with the traditional organization of parts: Why is the lower half always a long flappy green whale’s tail? How about a half-woman, half-jellyfish, oozing weirdness beneath her lovely torso? Or half-sting ray, her bottom as flat as a flesh blanket, undulating in the waves before she covers herself up, blushing at your approach…and stings you when you make your move?
And, like, what’s the “mer” in mermaid stand for, anyway? It can’t be that stuff the wise men brought to the baby Jesus, can it? And are mermaids really “maids”? And if so, do they do windows, or just portholes? A mermaid in a French maid outfit, feather duster in fin. That, I’d like to see.
Here’s another question: If I only ate their fish tails, would it still be considered cannibalism?
Okay, so we’ve established that mermaids are weird male fantasies and even weirder sex objects. So if sex is involved, how do these chicks of the sea reproduce, anyway? No, I’m not asking because I want to spawn. I’m curious how the whole species began. It’s probably the usual origin story: a human and a fish mated and — voila — Darryl Hannah was magically born. Fine. I don’t want to imagine the details, but fine. But then how does the species perpetuate after the first mutant is born? What comes after the initial bestial sin? Would a merman and a mermaid have to meet to breed? Wouldn’t that be incest? Is it still incest when eggs are deposited and fertilized in their weird fishy ways? Or is the whole species sustained by all those randy sailors out there? (And if you were a mermaid, would you still love your father, knowing he was some sick kind of fish fetishist? Wouldn’t that kind of swear you off the whole “man” thing, altogether? And would the other fish be repulsed by your flesh if you turned to them? Something doesn’t add up for me here.)
Now I’m sure there are some fantasy fans reading this who are thinking, “What about all the other merfolk, like mermen, you sexist pig?” To them I would simply say: hey, if even the mermaids would rather be with human beings that those of their own kind, then there’s really gotta be something wrong with them. Besides, without the beard and the triton in their hand, I’m not sure how you can tell if they’re male anyway. For all you know, they’re really transgendered merherms. Especially the ones with the well-groomed beards artfully cascading down to cover their breasts.
Whatever their sexual orientation, There’s very little romance in Neptune’s bachelor pad. Fish spawn and reproduce in all sorts of weird, gelid, and inhuman ways. Eggs are often fertilized externally, in a method akin to drizzling caviar with hot sauce. Speaking of which — if there were merfolk, you can be sure that they’d eat their own young, though roe wouldn’t be as exotic a delicacy as it is for us. No? Too abhorrent? Well, then, perhaps in merfolk culture, human embryos would be all the rage at the fancy dinners. And can you imagine the price of mermaid caviar! Or the flavor!
Give me chicken eggs instead any day. But don’t even get me started on the henmaids. Their eggs actually kick and squirm…and peck.