I commented previously on using the term for a horse tender as the term for a bride's mate. Groom. It got me thinking about the use of animal metaphors generally. Are animals good examples for human behavior?
The phrase "happy as a clam" for instance. What is it that makes a clam such a pinnacle of joy? They sit and spit. They filter water. They have a hard shell. Not a lot of things I think about when I think about happiness. Biological functions and inertness.
Happiness is being braindead? Kind of like "ignorance is bliss" I guess.
Or how about "gentle as a lamb"? I suppose that's okay. Unless we have to actually look like one. Four legs and a lot of thick hair. Smelling of lanolin 24/7. Plus, when was the last time you looked at a lamb face up close? They better be gentle. Because their face isn't going to win them any friends. Luckily, they are gentle through and through. Witness how tender their chops are.
Then there's the old saying encouraging women to not be too forthcoming with their sexuality until marriage. "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" That's wrong on so many levels.
First, it turns sexual interaction into a bargaining chip in a relationship. Which, I don't know, seems to demean an honest expression of love somehow. It's no longer loving, it's part of a contractual process. A predicate in an if/then proposition. If you do this, then I will do that. Is that how you want to start a life of open sharing as equals?
Then there's the whole bovine metaphor. Are you implying your potential husband is a dairyman? And you are a cow that can be purchased?
Emotionally, that's so moo-ving...
America, ya gotta love it.