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Ettercap Courting

To face the facts, Ettercaps face some severe impediments to their complete integration into society, and these are mostly related to their reproduction. Females are famous for eating their husbands in the heat of the moment, and they don't seem to know how to care for their massive brood of hatchlings, nor feel obligated to do so. The ways in which Caps and their friends and foster parents tackle these challenges are complex and delicate, as is everything related to the interplay of the sexes.


A male ettercap will eventually determine that he's not getting any less riddled with tumors, so he might as well make something of himself and seek marriage. He approaches a female, and she pretends he's not there until absolutely forced to do so. Then comes some very uncomfortable courting, and all going well, a very somber and sad little marriage ceremony where the bride's family dresses in festive colors and the groom's family dresses in black to save a bit on the dry-cleaning costs.   After marriage, most 'cap couples will live happily together for as much as several years, but at some point, probably at the assent of the female, the man is found missing his head or his torso or his whole body, and the female is expecting. A few months of mourning follow, and then the eggs are deposited somewhere where the hatchlings won't bother anybody or kill anyone's livestock, and so the perpetuation of the ettercap subrace is assured at the usual high price.


The Leading Lad   A male 'cap only lives to around 42 years of age on average, and so around age 25 to 35, he is inclined to consider that his life could either dwindle out as he become more and more a walking tumor, unable to function socially or physically, or it can end with a productive explosion and a meaningful legacy. In this way, many males eventually come to the point of being willing to mate, even despite all the possible ramifications.   The Conflicted Cappess   The female 'cap has, it is agreed, the hardest dating life in any culture, because coming from her a profession of love is tantamount to a death threat. There's a good chance that if she ever falls for a man, she'll wake up the next morning without any appetite for breakfast and without large portions of her dearly beloved. For this reason she feels an obligation to keep maximum distance between herself and any possible suitor throughout her youth, and even when approached she often has her avoidance so ingrained that she can't accept his advances. She not only has to come to accept him, but also to accept the high risk of his death, and as the one progresses the other becomes more difficult.   The In-laws   The only other role is often played by the parents of the two. The male's parents don't want to see him go, but won't usually step in to stop him. The female's parents, especially her father, typically can't wait to see that little punk dead, so they actually encourage the relationship in an unprecedented reversal of the cliche.


After a marriage, occasionally the in-laws will seek any of the little grandchildren they can, but this sentimentality often earns folks some bad bites to the hand or wrist. The precocial infants are quite capable of raising themselves in their traditional bands of woodland scavengers, and many will return to civilization on their own after a few years to learn what clothes are for and how to speak.   After the children are laid, the widow carries on with her life as best she can. There's nothing she can do for her babies, and there's a high change that she could wind up getting ganged up on and eaten if she too aggressively tries to impinge on their freedom. Many widowed 'caps join the Firemen or some military group, dedicating their handful of remaining years to service in honor of their late husbands. A few are emotionally resilient (or callous) enough to return to their former lives, some even remarrying.
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Cover image: by Oogalook


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