Every year, upwards of tens of tens of assistant primatology researchers exchange cutting edge data retrieval techniques, field-based observation protocols, and daring new pants-and-jacket combos at their annual meeting. Usually a coastal locale, San Diego or Stamford, CT, the meetings are a veritable meat market for new blood. The cattle call of interviews is so famous it’s infamous, aspiring primatology assistants stacking their cv’s with just that many untraceable unpaid internship listings and five-letter acronyms. Primatological assistantship has, as a matter of course, become a lucrative and difficult-to-land job, not the least reason for which is the requisite grooming skills. As the tabloids have attested, most of our finest assistants have gone on to greater positions in the broader field, sometimes dressing people too. During a break-out session at last year’s Airport La Quinta Inn meeting, we took a poll:
How Long Does It Take to Dress Your Monkey?
Molly, 31: Honestly, I’d say no more than 2 or 3 minutes. He’s good about it. Sometimes he helps me pick out the tie. Hilfiger always goes well with his slacks.
Calvin, 27: Hmm, that’s a toughy, cuz we usually tousle first, get him all fired up, then get the suit on. He likes it that way, so I can’t say, really. Some days two minutes. Some days a half hour. Depends.
David and Anna, 34 and 32: We reject the question. No, seriously. We reject it. It’s not about the outfit for us. Daryl is part of the family and we don’t single him out. How long does it take you to get dressed? You don’t know, do you? Nope, you don’t time yourself, right? Exactly.
Melanie, 40: If vest, jacket, and a half-windsor knot, we’re looking at six, seven minutes. We go the bow-tie and suspenders route, then a few minutes more. Ugh. It’s always a pain with the suspenders. But I use a clip-on bow tie. I learned long ago with monkeys, always go clip-on, no matter how lame that may sound. Believe me.
DeAngelo, 24: Well…just a sec…hold on…there…up and around…hold on…just a sec…just a…into here…then under again…just…one…more…OK. There. What was that? Like maybe 45 seconds?
Lillian and Walter, 59 and 65: Oh, we do have a time with dressing. Verily. We’ll make a game of it, and Roger will pick out the shirt, and I the pants. Then we’ll switch, especially if we’re going to dinner with the Jacobsons. Such a wonderful chimp, our Marvin. He is marvelous. We call him marvelous Marvin. Don’t we, Marvin? You are marvelous, you are. Walter honey, be a dear and get me that Delft Saucer from the hutch, Elise asked that we bring it.