Thursday, May 31, 2012


Ozzie Tells All

The Hairpin is pleased to present an interview with Ozzie, the lion-tailed macaque featured in Monday's New York Times piece on breeding phaseouts at American zoos.

Us: Hi, Ozzie. Dumb question: you're some kind of monkey, right? Because the piece opened with some random line about lemurs, but then it was more about you, and we can never remember if macaques are monkeys or birds or what. I mean, you're obviously not a bird, because we're looking at you.

Ozzie: Yes, that's correct, we're monkeys. I found it confusing as well. And kind of a dick move, honestly, like "Bonner and Etienne, the lemurs, have this little 1950s family unit thing going on, now let's go look at the sad-sack macaques." What they don't even bother to mention, right, is that I'm gay.

Us: Oh! Oh, okay. But, obviously...

Ozzie: No, right, that doesn't mean I was never going to have a family. I've kicked the idea around, of course. But I've always been on the fence about it. I have a lot of other things in my life. I love to cook, I love to travel, I love to be selfish!

Us: It's not selfish to not have kids.

Ozzie: I agree! But you know what I mean. I just, I see the other macaques who've made different decisions, and nothing seems to be about THEM anymore, it's all about their baby macaques. I've always needed time to just go into the back of my enclosure where people can't point at me, and just...unwind. I like kids, but I've never been sure if I want one of them clinging to my fur 24/7. Not to mention that I'd need to put more thought into it. The lemurs can just pop that shit out, but I'd have to get into this whole thing with turkey basters and drama, and all of your female friends SAY stuff like, oh, totally, if I'm still single when I'm blah blah, but it just never works out.

Us: Did you ever...

Ozzie: ...and I always thought that if I did it, I'd want to have a partner, first. Like, we'd do it together. But there aren't a ton of gay macaques at this zoo, I mean, St. Louis is not a great scene for gay macaques in general, and most of them are still in that party scene, which I am too, to be honest!

Us: Either way, though, it has to be hard to have the decision made FOR YOU, right?

Totally. That's the part I'm struggling with. Don't let anyone tell you it's not about money. Look at all the resources they throw at the pandas. They're making erotic mixtapes for the tigers! But, apparently, divorced dads aren't getting nagged by their kids to take them to the zoo to see the lion-tailed macaques. Whatever, I don't want to sound bitter. Seriously, though, did you catch the bit about the $18 million they're dropping on the new pool? The squeaky sea lions get the grease, if you know what I mean.

Us: How often does it come up, for you, the mixed feelings?

Ozzie: It bothers me at the weirdest times. Like, I hadn't thought about it in weeks, right, and then I was watching Game of Thrones, and I'm listening to Jon Snow take his oath, and he gets to that line...oh, God, I would tear up if macaques had eyes that functioned that way... "father no children," and I just...it's heavy, you know? That's me. I'm going to father no children.

Us: Hey, really, thanks for talking to us, Ozzie. Good luck to you.

Ozzie: Did you, um, did you get any pellets from the little machine on your way in?

24 Comments / Post A Comment


Oh, Ozzie, I'll make you all the erotic mixtapes you need. Stay strong! I won't give up on you, even if the entire zoo does!


This is the most perfect article. And I'm procrastinating from my job at a primatology lab to read it/say this, so for me to want to think some MORE about monkeys on my breaks is something special.


This is why I love the Hairpin.

Quinn A@twitter

@alabee Me too! If I hadn't already gone "guys? Guys? You should be reading The Hairpin, guys. Why aren't you reading The Hairpin?" several times in the last few months, I would be linking to this and going "guys? Guys? You should be reading The Hairpin, guys." at all my friends.


Balls. REALLY thought there was a small chance this would be an interview with Ozzie Guillen, which surely would have been just as entertaining. Go Sox!


@missedconnections Ummm, got some bad news for you...


@saythatscool he'll always be the White Sox coach to me. Even if he did leave the year I finally broke down and bought a Guillen jersey.


@missedconnections given that it's the StL zoo, I'm guessing he's named after Ozzie Smith. but that's cool--if you're a Sox fan, then surely you can get behind the Cardinals, right? I mean, they hate the Cubs.


That linked article was a really sad read.

I always assumed that Western zoos were, at their core, conservationists and the actual displays were there to raise awareness and money for their activities.

I'm not exactly sure what the downside is with Dr. Monfort's suggestion to raise conservation requisites to be accredited? Too expensive to function?

Also, for-profit zoos need to be banned.


@nyikin The only consolation is that one day, our species (humanity, to be clear) is going to be punished in a devastatingly horrible way for our blind selfishness and wanton destruction.
...Of course, by then it will be too late to forefend our doom, and I probably won't be around to gasp, "I told you so, YOU BEFOULING CRETINS," as I lie dying. So, cold comfort, really.


@D.@twitter if it makes you feel better, I for one feel consoled.


There's this tiny little zoo near where I live, the Micke Grove Zoo, and there was an article out recently about how it's going to be privatized because they haven't been able to afford to finish a bunch of buildings and because they lost their accreditation in 2006. I hope it's what's best for the zoo and the animals, because I've been going there for years and they only have a small handful of animals (including an injured pair of bald eagles who were, I think, shot with a BB gun or something so one is blind and one can't fly?), but it always seemed like they did a good job with the animals and gave them good habitats and everything.


And really, it ISN'T fair that they lead into the article with lemurs, because while lemurs and macaques are both primates, lemurs are prosimians, and we all know what THAT means.


"But there aren't a ton of gay macaques at this zoo, I mean, St. Louis is not a great scene for gay macaques in general, and most of them are still in that party scene, which I am too, to be honest!" Fantastic. I want to be Ozzie's umfriend.


I once saw macaques getting it on at the San Diego Zoo, and all I can say is: that was some serious high-speed knee-bending action.


@Maryaed Those macaques at the San Diego Zoo are all brothers and sisters! I've seen that before too and thought, "No! That's your sister, man!" But apparently the ladies are on birth control, so it's okay.
But, so are the hippos and they still had an oops hippo baby, so...?

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Maryaed Every time I go to the Pittsburgh Zoo, the gorillas seem to be putting on a clinic on oral sex. It's, ah, quite educational.


About half the lion-tailed macaques at the STL Zoo are in an all-male group. Ozzie should approach things with an open mind - maybe he's got some companions who could use some gentle guidance and caring friendship.

George Templeton Strong

My straight, somewhat slutty (but spayed!) female dog and I used to haunt a dog run in the fairly gay neighborhood where we used to live. She was obsessed with this male dog (another frequent visitor, let's call him George) who totally ignored her but would always make a beeline (canineline) for any male dog that entered the run. All would go well until George put the moves on his new male friend and then all hell would break loose. Until one magical day George gave it his best shot and his new male doggie friend acquiesced. Both George and the other dog were owned by gay men and the owners (with George and the other dog, of course) ended up moving in together! I was at the housewarming.

Have faith Ozzie: Your soul mate might be one "rescued from poachers via airlift" away.

fondue with cheddar

@George Templeton Strong I LOVE THIS STORY


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