The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 13: Love and the Undead
The Zombie Apocalypse Series returns! ~
Jonathan Glazer, 21 April 2017
The dead have risen with a taste for our yummy flesh. Beyond feeding ourselves gathering other supplies and killing zombies, what is our next priority? Well, if you believe most TV shows and movies about this topic, you would probably say finding a hot hookup ranks at the top of the list. Romance seems to be a big thing among apocalyptic survivors in the minds of screenwriters. Will the dystopian future be a great time for grabbing a little something-something? I hate to be the burster of bubbles, but losing our technology and societal support infrastructure will probably have the opposite effect. The reasons for this are many. Chief among them would be our focus on just plain trying to stay alive. Leisure time will be a real luxury as most of the day will be spent doing the things required to feed us, quench our thirst, find us shelter and protect us from fetid snapping undead jaws (not to mention our fellow survivors who will have long cast the Boy Scout’s oath aside). Listen to any mother/wife in our present world and you will hear that the daily grind of food preparation, child care, laundry and other assorted chores leave them with a nightly desire for action hovering around the zero level. And that is without the stress of being attacked by rotten ghouls jonesing for our innards. Add in the collapse of civilization and most survivors, male, female or other will have little leftover energy for boom boom.
Putting aside the reason I just outlined, there are other factors that make naked hijinks less like what he have come to enjoy. Starting from the superficial, appearances will suffer. Most people will lose weight, lots of it. A year after TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World As We Know It), the lack of a steady supply of Twinkies, pizza and pork rinds will deflate each and every one of us to what our unprocessed ancestors would find normal. Clothing would hang off of us as we lost poundage and Wal-Mart wouldn’t be restocking any time soon. We wouldn’t be carrying suitcases around with us for midday wardrobe changes and would be mostly limited to the clothes on our backs. They would get threadbare, ripped and filthy. Dirty clothing and unwashed bodies (did I mention that bathing was also a luxury that might go by the wayside?) will create an olfactory stew that just doesn’t feed the libido. Deodorant, perfume and cologne will be quickly consumed and will also not be a high priority on one’s kit bag since they will displace other stuff you will need to carry with you, such as ammo, knives, food and water. I can already hear those of you who are discounting the effects of foul stank on a raging horndog in the heat of a hormonal hunger. But factor in the lack of food and inhospitable environment and things will change from what we expect. And some of you are also saying that our forebears in the prehistoric times, through the middle ages (skipping over the Roman Empire since they clearly loved their baths) and into the Victorian and Western eras were not too scrupulous about their hygiene. But those people lived in those times and didn’t know any different. Their sensibilities found the human odor to be less objectionable than we do today. Perhaps after a long passage of time, that might change. But for the near future, we are likely to be turned off by unwashed foulness.
We know that food, potable water, fuel and medicine will be in short supply. Do you know what else will be tough to find? Condoms and birth control pills join that list. That makes hanky panky an endeavor with big consequences. Putting aside the ethical discussion of whether making babies in a world where zombies outnumber people is desirable, a quickie could result in pregnancy which is not a boon to short term survival. The sexual revolution that started in the 1950’s and flourished in the 1960’s was fueled by the development and proliferation of “the pill”. Women having control over whether or not life would be created during a quickie changed everything. Losing that factor will doubtless make coitus in the new world to be less of a leisure activity.
I am not saying that people will stop having sex. Even in the darkest times of plagues and war, people somehow figured out how to insert tab A into slot B. However, the dynamics of power tended to play a large role in who was doing whom. Unfortunately, sexuality has always been tied to power. Those in power had more choice. They could use force or persuasion to get what they wanted and it was not always a consensual situation. Whether it was at the tip of a sword or with the promise of a loaf of bread, strong men have historically been able to satisfy their desires. It is said that 10% of the people living within the limits of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan are direct descendants of his. I am sure it was not because he was a snappy dresser. It is nice that women have been able to even out the power imbalance to some extent in modern times. However, there is no telling what will happen once the dead rise, reality TV ends and McDonalds stops serving breakfast all day. Sex and power will once again be the hot couple that they used to be.