Maybe I should have tried for those tickets after all.
The National Zoo's new giant panda cub, who made his first appearance before the international press yesterday, has women all over the Washington area swooning over the cute and cuddly ball of fur -- and more than a few guys scratching their heads.
"He's just not that cute," said Richard Wertheim, 32, of Arlington -- drawing a fork to the leg from his panda-loving female lunch mate.
"He is too cute, say he is," quipped Aqsa Khan, 24, of Woodbridge, Va., to Mr. Wertheim. "The panda is cute, tell me he's cute. He's adorable."
Tai Shan's power over women has not gone unnoticed by local date seekers.
"I wouldn't go out of my way for a panda, but I'd go out of my way for a girl," said Thomas Holland, 17, of Alexandria. "Girls love cute things. [Forget] the movies, take a girl to see the panda."
As we mentioned earlier, transferred tickets are officially invalid:
During Tai Shan's press debut, most of the female reporters oohed and ahhed as the 21-pound cub climbed rocky ledges in his enclosure, pulling himself up with his front legs and wobbling his back paws up and over, while the male reporters focused primarily on shooting pictures and scribbling notes.
It might be maternal instinct that draws the female fans to Tai Shan, said Janice McGurick of the District.
"Guy's don't go for the cuddly stuff," she said. "Men just don't really like cutesy."
Last week, the zoo on its Web site distributed free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis for designated viewings, which begin Dec. 8 and end Jan. 2.
About 13,000 tickets were snatched up in a little more than two hours, and some later appeared on EBay with asking prices ranging from $199 for two to $500 for six.
Zoo officials then announced that people could use the tickets only if they can prove they reserved them themselves.
Those who got the tickets had to give their names, which were printed on the tickets. Zoo officials said that if the name on the ticket doesn't match a person's identification, they will be turned away.