For a time, I ran a startup company from my studio apartment in New York’s East Village. My daily routine was to wake up naturally, spend an hour in bed checking email, choose a pair of pants off the floor, and ideally be out the door by noon on my way to one of my neighborhood coffee shops in the hopes of getting in a few hours of focused work instead of wasting time writing.
One day, for the mere sake of change, I decided to walk to a more distant coffee shop. It was the middle of winter and was snowing, but I made the trek. I arrived at the café, the Blue Bottle on Clinton St., and ordered an espresso over ice, my go-to coffee shop order. I found an open table, took my seat, began mentally preparing for a day of productivity, and on the table, I saw two fruit flies… Fucking.
That startled me. Have you ever walked in on people having sex? It was a miniature version of that feeling. Like, Whoa, sorry! I thought this door was the bathroom. But lock the door next time, would ya?!
To be honest, it hadn’t occurred to me that fruit flies fuck. Of course, they must. They multiply like, well, fruit flies. But what really got me thinking was the position they had been employing. Doggy style. I’m not sure what else I expected. Had I walked in on them performing reverse cowgirl or advanced Kamasutra, I surely would have called the Entomological Society to take them in for observation.
Because, now that I thought about it, it seemed to me that all animals do it doggy style. Water buffalos, emus, spotted leopards, bats; they’re all hittin’ it from the back! How fascinating, I thought. I had another sip of my frigid espresso. Why, then, did doggy style get named such?
Doggies don’t have a monopoly on the position—not by a long shot! Canines, I theorized, just happen to be the species we most often walk in on having sex. So, we carelessly named the position after our best friend.
Humans do it doggy too, of course. However, I would have to call it a bit of a novelty for us. It’s not our go-to, not our default in the way it is for every other species. If anything, we’re the Darwinian freaks in the sack with our signature style, our prolific practice of the missionary position.
So, given doggy style’s near-ubiquity among terrestrial beings, I say we rename the position something neutral, something standard, something boring to reflect just how commonplace it is across the animal kingdom. Something like… per usual. Turn over, baby, let’s do it per usual. And let’s give missionary the new name it deserves: human style.