Seule une repue, qui s'était payé son étalon comme son dernier sac Prada et le tenait fermement par la bride, pouvait dégoiser pareilles sornettes. [...] « La polygamie n'est pas si terrible que ça ! » C'était la pire insulte jamais faite aux martyres de cette pratique d'un autre age.
A Senegalese writer Fatou Diome, Celles qui attendent (2013)
I'm in Amsterdam, on heavy duty during the coming two weeks, but right now I've resolved to enjoy my Friday night as a European woman. In an Irish pub in the immediate vicinity of the Red Light district.
The idea could not possibly be more unerotical, not to say asexual one. When I entered the premises about 11 pm, I found the pub full of desperately looking people, including many haunting (rather than actually hunting) females. Typically English kind of females, some of those who some years ago used to advertise "free hugs" on their T-shirts, and sometimes to live up to their promise. When I returned half an hour later, I could sit down quietly over my pint of Amstel, nearly alone among males. Only a few females remained, in pairs, talking between themselves. I have no idea if they actually came here to meet any of those males; clearly they had no strategy of seduction whatsoever, I didn't see any of them attempting whatsoever. Any woman could hardly do, against those men confronting each his own pint of some kind of beer or another. Those few ladies who were still there, were doing so by some sort of desperate, residual companionship, as if keeping faith to their males throughout a final ordeal.
The females were young, but many of them obese; I don't consider them as automatically discarded or unattractive for this reason, I've seen obese prostitutes doing good business in the District. But visibly there was something between them (females) and them (males). Something like a glass wall across an aquarium.
I write about all this, because it is perhaps time to become more balanced in my extreme criticism of Polish males. There was no Pole in that bar, but many of the clients actually looked like Poles; I think about their general expression that only the French term abruti can render. Even if they seemed to me bigger, heavier than a majority of men in my old country. Heavily built and overgrown with fat at the same time.
I've had many theories about what happened with males in diverse countries; one of those theories, that I shared with Ewa Thompson, was about devastating effects of past recruitment to colonial armies. In Poland as well as Morocco. But the English, apparently coming to Amsterdam for the sake of slightly cheaper beer, were the colonisers, not the colonised, all along their history. Isn't it so?
As I looked at them (none of them returned my glance as any God-fearing Muslim guy would do), a new theory got conceived in my brain. What if it is all about calories?
I've had it clearer in my mind how obesity is destructive of female sexuality; I even saw it somewhere in scientific materials, explaining how the fat accumulating around the clitoris hinders its proper functioning. But perhaps I've never cared to muse on the effects of caloric excess on the male body.
We might be too well fed in Europe to have an intimate life to speak of. In my previous post on religion, it didn't occur to me to comment on the possible importance of fasting as a factor in those equations. But in fact I've always resented the cumulative difficulty of abstaining simultaneously of food and of any intimate activities...
Nous autres les Européennes, repues, nous nous payons des étalons en Afrique comme des sacs Prada. This is what the Senegalese writer criticises. But we are also celles qui attendent. Desperate to get love at any price, unconditionally, even with a male to share, to hire, anywhere in the world that we manage to find it. And it is curious to observe that we do find our stallions in those parts of the world where people still fast, by necessity or by choice. Sex is still a luxury, tel un sac Prada. Why, even in this City of Men, there is not enough for everyone? Clearly, there are crowds of men, none of them fitting our purpose. None of them hungry.
And at the very bottom of all these musings, what I discover is once again the necessity of frontiers, of narrow boundaries. The interdependence of eroticism and ἄσκησις. Of hunger and fulfilment. Of the luxurious, elitist aspect of all this. Perhaps otherwise the game wouldn't even been so attractive to play.
I'm coming to this wisdom so late; that's a pity. But even at my 46 years of age, I am increasingly determined not to let it go, to stick to this lifestyle of ἄσκησις, and narrow boundaries, and fulfilment.