How the aliens of Star Trek do romance

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Feb 13, 2018

Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates? Unnecessary. Champagne? Unheard of. Roses? Nowhere to be found.

A highly sensual guide on how to perform Ferengi ear massages? Now you're getting somewhere.

Aliens get ensnared in lust and love like the rest of us, but they have ways of expressing it that are unfamiliar to us humans. Even the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise isn't always prepared for what a sentient being with extraterrestrial DNA might do when hormones run high in the cosmos. Betazoid women of a certain age may get much too personal with the captain. Klingons may look like they're trying to kill each other when it's really just foreplay. A mate-less Vulcan at the climax of Pon farr might have to be rushed to sickbay before his brain explodes (or something like that).

It will all make sense in this pseudo-scientific Star Trek guide to dating someone from another planet.

BETAZOIDS

Betazoids can read your mind if you're cheating. You should expect that from a telepathic race. Even Deanna Troi's betrothed in Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Haven" can't make her believe he is in love with her and not some fantasy woman in his drawings (who turns out to be real, but that's a whole other soap opera).

Anyone dating a Betazoid female needs to be wary of the Phase that they go through when they reach maturity at about 40 to 50 years old and their sex drive increases at least fivefold. Deanna even had to warn Riker about it. Lwaxana Troi may be the most scientifically accurate specimen of a Betazoid burning up from the Phase, much to Deanna's horror. As if your mother being constantly on the prowl for a boy toy in the halls of the Enterprise isn't embarrassing enough, it gets even worse when the one potential mate she sets her sights on is a really unwilling Picard. Whether he really was having those X-rated thoughts she accused him of a little too flirtatiously on the holodeck, we'll never know.

By the way, if you marry a Betazoid, there is no saying yes to any dress. You'll also save on tux rentals because these humanoids get married in the nude. Unapologetically. In front of everyone. If I'm going to march down that aisle stark naked in front of 300 people to my husband-to-be who is just as naked, I'd better be supernaturally positive he isn't hiding anything.

FERENGI

Ferengi are into ears. Like, really into ears. It's kind of understandable when half your face is ears. They also just so happen to be a major erogenous zone, as prisoner Lwaxana Troi finds out in "Ménage à Troi" when she reluctantly has to seduce Dai-mon Tog into whispering the password that will get her off his starship.

Oo-mox (rubbing ears) is the ultimate Ferengi act of pleasure, relaxation and negotiation. What Lwaxana found out she needed to do to get Tog to loosen up was massage his earlobes until she drove him into ecstasy. The Ferengi even pay willing females to do nothing but provide on-demand oo-mox, even in public. This sort of PDA is the equivalent of shouting out how wealthy you are to the entire universe. If you see a Ferengi walking into Romantic Depot, he's probably looking for a few feathers and the book Oo-mox for Fun and Profit (because all Ferengi activities must involve a business transaction).

There are actually techniques to this. Tips for thrilling your partner with the Eustacian tube rub, auditory nerve nibble, and tympanic tickle are probably what you'd find if you opened that questionable book. Just don't get a feather stuck in anyone's ear with that last one. Also, you shouldn't oo-mox yourself too much.

VULCANS

Pon farr is the one time in a Vulcan's life when all logic escapes into space. Neurochemical imbalances such as a plunge in cortical and serotonin levels will drive a Vulcan in heat to — especially during the final phase — the plak tow, which literally means "blood fever" in Vulcan. It's also contagious. Vulcans can transfer the imbalance to others' brains through (what else?) a telepathic mating bond. Trust a species known for mind melds to be capable of that.

If you're in the throes of Pon farr, you have eight days to get busy or else you could possibly die from the intense surges of hormones and endorphins that take over your mind and your rationality. At least it only happens once every eight years.

But something even more illogical can happen during Pon farr. If a Vulcan is vying for a mate desired by another Vulcan, they'll engage in a passionate fight to the death known as kal-if-fee. As if that doesn't give you reason enough not to get romantically involved with this species (or another one of your species if you happen to be a Vulcan), a female can initiate the mating ritual of koon-ut kal-if-fee, which means the unfortunate male she was matched to in childhood must face off against the guy she really wants. Spock's arranged fiancé pulled this on him in TOS's "Amok Time."

It's not that Vulcans can't get in the mood outside Pon farr — it's that they must mate or die during Pon farr. Any other time is pretty safe to date a Vulcan, the downside being they aren't exactly the type to gush over you with champagne and expensive chocolates. When female hologram Marayna mesmerizes Harry Kim in "Alter Ego," there is a perfectly logical explanation for Tuvok advising Kim to avoid contact with her. He's jealous.

Do Vulcans have an ear fetish? That will have to remain one of the great mysteries of the universe.

KLINGONS

If you're dating a Klingon and you're anything but Klingon, you're going to need a complete cultural overhaul on what is considered romantic. When Worf tells Wesley Crusher that Klingon mating is like the male getting bombarded with flying furniture by the female as he tries to read love poetry in "The Dauphin," the look on Wesley's face should tell you something.

What humans consider violence, Klingons consider foreplay. Think sniffing each other's hands and digging your nails into each other's skin until someone draws blood. Fighting — which may or may not involve weapons and even more blood — is totally erotic. Exhibit A: that scene in "The Emissary" when Worf walks in on the jungle holodeck simulation his ex K'Ehleyr calls a calisthenics program. Things get wild when he tells the computer to take it to Level 2.

Klingon weddings aren't the first to involve swords, but they're certainly the only weddings where the couple is required to fight each other with bat'lehs and the guests are encouraged to attack them with swords after the vows are said. Weapons are just an indispensable part of this species' ceremonies. Deal with it if you plan on entering the Klingon Empire.

Of course, if you'd rather not go through the whole wedding planning process that involves tackling strange rituals and being formally approved by your mother-in-law, you can just say the binding words that K'Ehleyr freaked out at after her tryst with Worf. Just know that you really are in this for better or worse because Klingons mate for life.

Now for a bonus android analysis…

Data fails at anything remotely having to do with any form of human or alien attraction. The romantically inept android makes even the glacial Vulcans look hot-blooded. It might have something to do with the fact that he isn't made of living cells.

There is no way to program an android with the emotion of love — just to download every conceivable line of Shakespeare and Jane Austen that you can in the hopes of replicating something vaguely recognizable as such. If he gives himself a crash course on mood music, the soundtrack will change accordingly and make everyone else on board think something really bizarre is going on when they hear Andrea Boccelli streaming from his quarters. If he knows he's supposed to bring you a dozen roses, you can expect a vase of them on the coffee table.

 

Just don't expect him to actually feel anything human.