Fishy Orgasms

ByABC News

July 17, 2001 — -- Bad news for boy fish: Female fish are known to fake orgasms. Who even knew that fish had egos?

Sweden's National Board of Fisheries watched trout in an aquarium and found that females faked orgasms in 69 out of 117 couplings, according to Britain's New Scientist magazine.

How did these fish learn the dubious art of sexual deception? Did they catch Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally?

It actually takes more than a little conspicuous moaning. Researchers say the female trouts trick their partners into premature ejaculation, most likely to give them some choice over who will father their children.

As a couple begins to spawn, both fish quiver violently with their mouths open. Egg and sperm are released simultaneously. (You could call it the caviar of sex.)

But researchers noted that female fish often quiver without releasing their eggs. Of course, those dumb male fish fall for it every time — hook, line and sinker.

It apparently pays for fish to fake it. Researchers note that the more false orgasms a female had, the more other males were attracted to her. With a bigger pool of eligible bachelors, she'll have a better chance of hooking up with a fertile guy when she finally does have the Big O.

And who do the lady fish ultimately choose? It often turns out to be the male fish with bigger fins and jaws. Forgive me for being a short man for a second, but isn't that always the case?

Thousands of fishermen flocking to the 27th Annual Brown Trout Festival in Alperna, Mich., this weekend were hardly surprised by the news.

"These are wily fish," said festival director Ken Kolasa. "To hook one, you need lots of skill and patience."

Gentlemen, Start Your Babies

What will come of your baby if the little tyke watches too much TV? Do you worry he'll turn into a couch potato? There's some evidence he may be a speed demon instead.

Some of the fastest babies at the National Baby Food Festival's annual "Baby Crawl" turn out to be those who see a TV remote control dangling in their face to get them to cross an auditorium.

"Parents coax their children with toys, stuffed animals, pacifiers, blankets. But more and more, the TV remote control is becoming the big motivator," says Wendy Sinicki, a spokeswoman for the Fremont, Mich., Chamber of Commerce, one of the festival's sponsors.

The folks in Freemont think they know a thing or two about raising babies. The city is the home of the Gerber Products Co. Festival organizers are even expounding this year on a barbecue sauce recipe made from plum baby food.

"Kids always want what their mommy and daddy are holding, and usually they're not allowed to touch the TV remote," says Sinicki. "So when they see it waved in front of them, they go nuts."

Interestingly, not too many kids seem to be racing toward a jar of strained peas.

Purple Ketchup

You know that delightful stage in life when children seem to exist purely to disgust their parents? Well, the folks at A. J. Heinz Co. are ready to capitalize on that — with a new brand of purple ketchup.

"This could be the next gross-out sensation. It could be like gummy worms," says Pat Verlodt, former president of the Color Marketing Group in Virginia. "The more it makes their parents retch, the more they want it."

The folks at Heinz seem to know the value of appealing to the parent gross-out factor. The company claims that kids consume about 55 percent of all ketchup. Last year the company introduced green EZ Squirt ketchup, and the product sold 10 million units in its first seven months on supermarket shelves.

Slathering burgers and fries in purple tomato concoction should be even more disgusting, and more successful. Heinz kind of sees it that way, too, only folks there are dressing the strategy in corporate niceties.

"We want to give kids a way to have interactive fun at mealtimes," said Kelly Stitt, EZ Squirt senior brand manager.

Well dip me in Grey Poupon and feed me to some baby seals. I'm just a little too old for Day-Glo condiments at my barbecue. Nevertheless, the newfangled purble stuff is already being shipped out, and by Labor Day, your kids will be able to express themselves on a whole new level when they play with their food.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.