Lenina shook her head. "Somehow," she mused,
"I hadn't been feeling very keen on promiscuity lately.
There are times when one doesn't.
Haven't you found that too, Fanny?"
--Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
He wants more, don't you, Rocco?
Yeah. That's it. More. That's right! I want more!
--Key Largo (1948)
Combine humans plus power (or lack thereof) plus frustration plus few creative outlets = sex.
Since so few of us communicate well or are entirely compassionate or
skilled in the art of making love (or are even so motivated), these
efforts are often sloppy and flubbed, and depending upon the maturity of
the actors and the site at which they occur, the acts get labeled
workplace harassment or rape (Reports of Military Sexual Assault Rise Sharply.)
Humans work and recreate, and no one
tells us this is a bad thing to do. Recreation for the few is pursuing
an avocation; for the many, it is hooking up. So we consume wings and
rings and beer and porn, and feel like grown ups. The World State likes
it that way. The Army has been rolling that way for a long time (the Pat
Tillman's of that world are the exception.)
Telling of our priorities is the initial failure of Jeff Bezos' Amazon as an online bookstore; when he changed his format to the "everything" store,
it took off like hotcakes. We want Chinese tchotchkes on-demand, and to
be able to consume them, 24/7. Some want to play World of Warcarft
(WOW) and any other violent action game or view films, on demand,
because that is the world we live in.
The other day I was looking up a song with the lines, "Too many people / and not enough love to share", and while I did not find my tune, Google returned the following as the #1 search result:
Ludicrous? Most young women I've asked say they don't find these lyrics misogynistic, rather, "It's just how it is."
Likewise, it was overwhelmingly my black female students who could not
understand why President Clinton or any other man was being skewered for
extramarital sex. "It's just how it is." Perhaps a realistic take on their experience, and one might argue, a healthy acceptance of an immutable situation.
Surely we will not re-engineer the
human animal, with its complex hormonal interactions. What we can do is
to recognize our place in the puzzle and act accordingly. While the
Women's Lib movement may have had a noble cause -- equality of the sexes
-- that is neither a physical nor an emotional reality. Maybe, it is not even desirable, given our innate ways of relating.
Recent press pieces have asked, "should women get drunk?",
in the face of the many sexual assaults that happen to women when they
are under the influence. Of course women should be allowed to drink, as
well as men, but if you are at a fraternity bash and get trashed, you
are easy pickings. You may end up in front of your sorority in a grocery
cart with "SLUT" written on your leg. Them's the facts.
It may not be the most elegant
treatment of a woman, but we are often inelegant to each other, and the
Madonna-whore archetype is going nowhere fast. Most women today reject
the Emily Post-style etiquette, but have found nothing to put in its
If we do not get real about
capabilities and desires, and wish to act like putting on the same blue
or green suit eradicates our essential differences (2 Democrats Split on Tactics to Fight Military Sex Assaults), then we can choose to be shocked by the more negative outcomes, but that is disingenuous and you can count me out.
[Cynical? Wait til you read Ranger's codicil, actually written several months ago. It will go on next.]
Labels: gender differences, higgledy piggledy, sex as recreation, sexual assault