Psssst! Hi Sexy!

65277It sounds just like the hiss of a poisonous snake. And many women immediately sense danger when a strange man on the street calls out to them in this way. I don’t think Jamaican men even think about what they’re doing when they psssst women on the street. It’s a reflex action. A man sees an attractive women and he instinctively knows he must proposition her. That’s just the way it is. That’s our culture.

But this culture can be very oppressive for women. You want to go about your business unmolested. Instead, you are forced to listen to a whole lot of foolishness: “Hi, sexy! Hi, fatty! Wa a gwaan? Mi can come home wid yu?” No man in his right mind expects the woman to say, “Yes, baby, yu can come.” He’s just practising his lines.

Even though the man knows full well that he’s only trying a ting, he can still get quite offended and very offensive if you make the mistake of not acknowledging him. You’re in for a whole lot of abuse. All of a sudden, you become a completely undesirable demon who must be verbally attacked. Even worse, you may be physically assaulted.

For a peaceful life, it sometimes makes sense to just say ‘hi’ and keep moving. But if you do say ‘hi’ this is seen as an invitation to prolong the interaction. And if you keep moving, your refusal to stop and engage in conversation is then interpreted as an insult. So, either way, is pure abuse.

TURNING THE TABLES

Some time ago, I was on my morning walk dressed appropriately in exercise wear. I was greeted by a very ‘friendly’ man: “Morning, Miss! I like your shape this morning. Can I be your friend?” I couldn’t help it. I had to laugh. Then I said, “No sir, mi not looking no friend this morning.”

And I put it to him. How would he feel if a woman stopped him and said, “Morning, Sir! I like your shape this morning. Can I be your friend?” It was his turn to laugh. He said the woman would have too much pride to admit that she found him attractive. So then I asked him if men don’t have pride.

He said is not that men don’t have pride. But when you see certain women, you can’t help yourself. The attraction just bubbles up and you have to say something. As far as he was concerned, the woman should just know he was paying her a compliment.

thBut what if the tables are turned? While I was on my walk another morning, a man on a bicycle called out to me in passing, “Hi, sexy!” My immediate response was, “Hi, sexy!” He almost fell off his bicycle. He certainly hadn’t expected me to return the compliment, such as it was.

I suppose he felt entitled to call out to me. After all, im a man. And he probably assumed I would be pleased with his view of me as a sex object out on the road purely for his entertainment. I wasn’t exactly telling the truth when I called him ‘sexy’. I had no way of measuring his sexiness. I was simply serving him back his sour sauce. And it was most effective.

SEX EDUCATION

Michael Thelwell wrote a brilliant novel based on the movie The Harder They Come. He cleverly fleshes out the story. There’s a powerful scene in which a domestic worker comprehensively puts in his place a gardener who was trying to friend her up:

“‘Since when me and you is frien’?’ she demanded. ‘Me is you love? What I would want wid all like you? What you have dat I want? You have money? You have looks? You have colour? You have education? No! You doan have nothing in you favour. You ugly, you poor, you ignorant and you black. When you see me a street, don’t talk to me, y’hear’? She sucked her teeth, tossed her head, and started off, her proud b*tty rolling with indignation.

‘After you is nothing but a damn garden bwai,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘You think garden bwai money can get me?'” That is a very hot piece of tracing. But if the man hadn’t called out to the woman, she wouldn’t have had the chance to list what she considered to be all his limitations. Proverbial wisdom warns, “Trouble deh a bush, yu bring it a yard.” This man certainly brought down trouble on himself. All the same, his fellow gardeners felt it was their duty to help him to take revenge on the woman.

alllogHow do we change this culture of male entitlement? On a recent ‘All Angles’ programme on TVJ, I half-seriously suggested that we pass a law making it illegal for men to call out to woman on the street. And it would have to be an equal-opportunity law. Women shouldn’t be allowed to call out to men either.

This law wouldn’t work. Men and women should be able to compliment each other courteously. We have to start with the children, teaching them how to treat each other with affection and respect. Sex education isn’t just about biology. It must include emotional intelligence. Otherwise, snakes will keep crawling in the streets, hunting for prey.

Old Man No Fi Grudge Young Boy

Unknown-1Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.

CKAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

It no right fi old man a grudge young boy. Some a dem old man must be figet seh dem did young one time. A no like seh dem born old. Dem did get fi dem chance fi live young-boy life. An pick an choose dem woman-friend. An mek fi dem owna mistake. So wa mek dem no stop diss di young boy dem? Dem no have nutten good fi seh bout dem.

Chruu nuff a dem old man a look young gyal, dem can’t believe seh young boy coulda want big woman. A must someting di young boy dem a look. Money, car, house, land. A coulda never di so-so woman sweet dem. No matter if she a healthy-body woman; an she know how fi treat man; an she just nice-nice. She no have nutten weh di old man want. So ascorden to him, no young boy can’t want her fi nutten good.

The-Power-of-Ambition-Part-7Wat some a dem old man no know, a no all young boy a look big woman fi mind dem. Some a di young boy dem a mek good-good money. Legal. Dem no ha fi a beg woman nutten. Dem deh youth have ambition. An dem no prejudice gainst big woman. Dem two yeye wide open. Dem see one big uman an dem skin ketch fire. Dem just love how she flex. An dem put argument to her.

If it sweet her, she mighta tek on di youth. A no like seh dem a plan fi seh “I do”. Dem just a seh, “See me ya”. Ya so. Fi now. An if dem lucky, it sweet-sweet. A it dat. An it mighta last one night, one week, one month, one year. It coulda gwaan long-long. An wen it done, it done! An nobody no ha fi bex wid nobody. A so it go.

NO BODDER TALK BOUT VIAGRA

Then some a di old man dem love fi gi advice to big woman. A warn dem seh di young boy dis a use dem. Fi wa? Money? Sex? Deh so a di problem. A dat mek di old man dem so bad-mind an grudgeful. Di ting weh young boy have over old man a stamina! An dat a one a di ting weh big woman a look fa. Di old man dem no got it. No matter how dem chat. An no bodder talk bout Viagra. A no di same ting. Any stand weh last fi more than four hour can’t good. Dat a kill dead sinting.

But mek mi tell unu someting. A no ongle old man a diss young boy. Some a di said same big woman dem weh tek up wid young boy a diss dem. One youth tell mi seh im did deh wid a big woman. An any time im go a her yard all she waan do a sex im. Like im a human vibrator. An im seh it hurt im. Sometime im just waan fi talk. Seet deh! Man an woman story no easy.

Di big woman dem ha fi treat di young boy dem better. Dem can’t gwaan Iike seh di yute a machine an dem waan wear out im battery. Still for all, if young boy an big woman waan fi try a ting, mek dem dweet. Nobody can’t tell dem which combination nah go work. A no padlock. A life! Some a dem outa order old man better mind dem owna business an stop tell people how fi live dem life.

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN It no rait fi uol man a groj yong bwai. Som a dem uol man mosi figet se dem did yong wan taim. A no laik se dem baahn uol. Dem did get fi dem chaans fi liv yong-bwai laif. An pik an chuuz dem uman-fren. An mek fi dem uona mistiek. So wa mek dem no tap dis di yong bwai dem? Dem no av notn gud fi se bout dem.

Chruu nof a dem uol man a luk yong gyal, dem kyaahn biliiv se yong bwai kuda waahn big uman. A mos somting di yong bwai dem a luk. Moni, kyaar, ous, lan. A kuda neva di suo-so uman swiit dem. No mata if shi a elti-badi uman; an shi nuo ou fi chriit man; an shi jos nais-nais. Shi no av notn we di uol man waahnt. So azkaadn tu im, nuo yong bwai kyaahn waahnt ar fi notn gud.

Wat som a dem uol man no nuo, a no aal yong bwai a luk big uman fi main dem. Som a di yong bwai dem a mek gud-gud moni. Liigal. Dem no a fi a beg uman notn. Dem de yuut av ambishan. An dem no prejudis gens big uman. Dem tuu yai waid uopn. Dem si wan big uman an dem skin kech faiya. Dem jos lov ou shi fleks. An dem put aagyument tu ar.

If it swiit ar, shi maita tek aan di yuut. A no laik se dem a plan fi se “I do”. Dem jos a se, “Si mi ya”. Ya so. Fi nou. An if dem loki, it swiit-swiit. A it dat. An it maita laas wan nait, wan wiik, wan mont, wan ier. It kuda gwaahn lang-lang. An wen it don, it don! An nobadi no a fi beks wid nobadi. A so it go.

NO BADA TAAK BOUT VIAGRA

images-1Den som a di uol man dem lov fi gi advais tu big uman. A waan dem se di yong bwai dis a yuuz dem. Fi wa? Moni? Seks? De so a di prablem. A dat mek di uol man dem so bad-main an grojful. Di ting we yong bwai av uova uol man a stamina! An dat a wan a di ting we big uman a luk fa. Di uol man dem no gat it. No mata ou dem chat. An no bada taak bout Viagra. A no di siem ting. Eni stan we laas fi muor dan fuor ouwa kyaahn gud. Dat a kil ded sinting.

Bot mek mi tel unu somting. A no ongl uol man a dis yong bwai. Som a di sed siem big uman dem we tek op wid yong bwai a dis dem. Wan yuut tel mi se im did de wid a big uman. An eni taim im go a ar yaad, aal shi waahn du a seks im. Laik im a yuuman vaibrieta. An im se it ort im. Somtaim im jos waahn fi talk. Siit de! Man an uman tuori no iizi.

Di big uman dem a fi chriit di yong bwai dem beta. Dem kyaahn gwaan Iaik se di yuut a mashiin an dem waahn wier out im bachri. Stil far aal, if yong bwai an big uman waahn fi chrai a ting, mek dem dwiit. Nobadi kyaahn tel dem wich kombinieshan naa go work. A no padlak. A laif! Som a dem outa aada uol man beta main dem uona bizniz an stap tel piipl ou fi liv dem laif.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Old men shouldn’t envy young men. It’s just not fair. Some of these old men don’t seem to remember there was a time when they were young. It’s not as if they were born old. They had their chance to enjoy their youth. They could pick and choose their female friends. And make their own mistakes. So why won’t they stop dissing young men? They have nothing good to say about them.

imagesBecause a lot of those older men are trying to hook up with young women, they can’t believe any young man would want an older woman. The young man must have an agenda. He wants the woman’s money, car, house or land. It couldn’t possibly be just the woman herself that he finds desirable. It doesn’t matter if she’s physically attractive; and she knows how to treat men; and she’s just very sweet. She has nothing that an old man would want. So, as far as he’s concerned, no young man could want her for any good reason.

What some a these old men don’t know is that not all young men are looking for an older woman to look after them. Some of these young men are making good money. Legally. They don’t have to ask women for money. These young men are ambitious. And they’re not prejudiced against older women. Their eyes are wide open. They see an older woman who excites them. They just love her vibe. And they chat her up.

If she likes what he says, she just might fall for him. It’s not as if they’re planning to say, “I do”. They’re just saying, “You can have me”. Right here. For now. And if they’re lucky, it’s very good. And that’s it. And it might last one night, one week, one month, one year. It could go on for a very long time. And when it’s done, it’s done! And they don’t have to get angry with each other. That’s just how it is.

DON’T EVEN TALK ABOUT VIAGRA

viagra3_aotwThen some of these old men love to give advice to old women, warning them that young men are just using them. For what? Money? Sex? That’s the real problem. That’s what’s making those old men so malicious and envious. The advantage young men have over older men is stamina! And that’s one of the things mature women are looking for. And old men just don’t have it. No matter what they say. And don’t even talk about Viagra. It’s not the same. Any erection that lasts for more than four hours can’t be good. That’s a death sentence.

But, by the way, it’s not only old men who diss young men. Some of those same older women who get involved with young men diss them as well. A young man told me he used to be with an older woman. And when he visited her, all she wanted to do was have sex. As is he was a human vibrator. And he said it hurt him. Sometimes, all he wanted to do was talk. You see! Male/female dynamics can be quite complex.

Older women have to treat young men better. They can’t get on as if the young man is a machine and they want to wear out his battery. All the same, if a young man and an older woman want to have an affair, let them go right ahead. No one can tell them which combination can and can’t work. It’s not a padlock. It’s life! Some of those officious old men should mind their own business and stop telling other people how to live and love.

Who’s Stuck in Dr Semaj’s Boxes?

unimaginative_by_xrniborI got so many amusing responses to my column, “Mi No Want No Woman Look Mi”, published on March 22. It’s amazing how a hot headline can motivate people to read Jamaican. If I’d even used only the ‘prapa-prapa’ writing system, that wouldn’t have stopped too many readers from trying to figure out what the column was about.

One of the first emails came from an unimaginative man: “Can you please define ageable genkleman (age group)? I fit all other criteria as stipulated in your article. Your response to my question will let me know if I have a chance:=)”. He was not too happy with my answer: “Remember, age is just a number. But you also need a recommendation from your last woman”.

That’s not an original line. It’s from a vintage calypso:

“She tell me to bring a letter from mi last woman

With she signature stating why we done

Bring two passport picture of the woman to

Ah want to know how much children weh she have for you”.

It wasn’t the letter of recommendation that bothered my would-be suitor.   It was my imprecision about ‘ageable’: “You contradict yourself by saying that age is just a number. Your article clearly spoke about an ‘age-able man’”. Yu see mi dying trial! The man picking quarrel with mi already an mi an im no deh. That was the end of that.

‘DI RIGHT SMADDY’

A rather clever man made his “application fi hart occupancy” in Jamaican. And he had no difficulty understanding ‘ageable’. After giving some lovely compliments, he proceeded “to di meat a di matta”, as he put it: “mi a di right smaddy fi look yu. Self praise really anuh good recommendation but mi tink mi a one ‘nice, ageable genkleman’. Mi anuh young bwoy nar old man cau mi a jus fifty-four even dou mi easily look thirty-four.

“Mi did marry one time but mi fine out seh di ooman a Delilah genaration an mi ave fi tek weh miself fast, fast. Mi bun fish-tail wicked so yuh woan ave nuh concern deh so.

images“Mi feel mi can read an write well cau a intallect dem call mi. A one teacha gi mi di name wen mi did deh a primary school because she seh me always a read wen all the odder pickney dem a play. All a mi teeth dem inna mi mout an none a dem nuh ratten. Mi feel mi well qualify fi de position. Please shortlist me an sen mi a email”.

I had to laugh though I wasn’t so happy about the fish-tail burning. A ‘real’ man doesn’t have to call down hellfire on gay men to prove he’s not one of them. But this man did give a good account of himself so I shortlisted him and sent an email. Incidentally, the condition of one’s teeth is a good indicator of overall health. And literacy is a sign of access to a world of books.

SEX FANTASIES

The most elaborate response to my column came from a psychologist, Dr. Leahcim Semaj. He was definitely not putting in an application for my hand or any other body part. In fact, he was casting me into outer darkness – a lonely place of total manlessness. In a guest column published last Sunday, Dr. Semaj prophesied that I would have “a long wait” for a suitable man. Bright!

By the way, I hadn’t said in my column that I was looking man. I was simply stating the desirable qualities of any man who might want to look me. There’s a difference. Mi no want no young boy fi work out mi soul case. An no old man fi go dead pon mi. Dr. Semaj concluded that my desire for an ‘ageable’ man was a sexual fantasy that wasn’t likely to be fulfilled.

The headline of his column was intriguing: “Ageing And Lovesick? Don’t Chase Sex Fantasies”. But what is sex without fantasies? Especially if you’re stuck with a boring partner who is trying to box you in! To be fair to Dr. Semaj, that was not his headline. It was the editor’s. But it did capture the essence of his argument.

imagesThe goodly psychologist constructed some neat little boxes in which he tried to trap young, middle-aged and old people. I was amused to see that, with typical male vanity, Dr. Semaj proposed that women age faster than men. So young boy ends at 35 years of age; but young woman ends at 30. The ‘ageable’ man ranges from 35+ to 50. The female equivalent starts at 30+ and pops down at 45. The old man starts at 50+ and, presumably, keeps going. It’s all over for the old woman at 45.

Dr. Semaj clearly does not take into account the sex appeal of the ‘nice big-woman’. That’s how I was greeted last week by a young-boy ‘ductor leaning out of a Coaster bus. And Dr. Semaj doesn’t distinguish between biological age and chronological age. People age at different rates depending on how well they take care of their teeth.

Dr. Semaj insists that people must ‘stay in dem lane’. Young with young; middle-aged with middle-aged; old with old. Nothing no go so. Sexual desire is unruly. It makes people veer out of lanes.   It’s only Dr. Semaj who’s stuck in his little box.

Coming Out In Jamaica – Dead Or Alive

Last Wednesday, I got two emails that forced me to write this column. I’d already been thinking about sharing a schizophrenic email that came in response to last Sunday’s column. Homophobia in Jamaica is still so fierce that even writing about the subject makes people point fingers at you. But my back is broad. So mi just a gwaan.

coming-out-450x429Here’s the first email, which I’ve not edited for punctuation errors, etc. So mi get it, so mi give it: “Hello Ms Cooper, how are you?I am an occasional reader of your column and it seems like homosexuality is one of your favourite topics.Tell me something are you in the closet yourself? If not then why such passion and sympathy for these folks. Well, if i am right and you need a hook up feel free to let me know. Peace, love and respect.”

My response: “Thanks for taking the time to send feedback. If you were to read my columns regularly, not just occasionally, you would see that I write on a wide range of topics. I would say that chik-V (and the failure of the Ministry of Health to protect) is one of my recent favourites. You can catch up on my blog – the link is below.

“Then you wonder if I’m in the closet. Your question is a classic example of the fool-fool assumption that a newspaper columnist only writes about his or her personal issues. In any case, I must decline your facetious offer to “hook up” with me. I do not embrace abusive relationships. Best of luck with finding a suitable sexual partner!”

LIVING IN LEVITICUS

That email came from ‘Jordan’. Could be male or female. I suppose s/he was not necessarily proposing her/himself for the ‘hook up’. But the tone of the email is abusive. And what I find intriguing is that s/he is willing to source a lesbian for me, even though s/he appears to disapprove of homosexuality.

Then why does this ‘bright’ person feel I’m not able to find my own sexual partners? Why would I need his/her help? The email is not only facetious; it’s facety. And instinct tells me that the author is male. And Jamaican. There’s a type of Jamaican man who just loves to tell women what to do. Especially if it’s directing them to engage in sexual practices he enjoys watching under cover.

I’d decided not to bother to write about that out-of-order email. And then I got these two others. The first came from my friend Maria, co-organiser of the International Reggae Poster Contest, who lives in Greece.

http://www.reggaepostercontest.com

It was about a story in Pink News, ‘Europe’s Largest Gay News Service’, published on March 10.

The headline was sensational: ‘Report: Gay man stoned to death in Jamaica’. The actual ‘report’ is more cautious: “Video has emerged reportedly showing the bloodied body of a gay Jamaican man who it is claimed was stoned to death.” If this is true, we’re back in the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus. This is not a good place to be in the 21st century.

‘BOYS WHO DIDN’T FIT IN’

The second email came from another friend, Ben, an attorney in the US. It was a link to a beautifully written personal essay by the novelist Marlon James, published in The New York Times on March 10. The essay is headlined “From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself”. It opens with an unsettling quote: “I knew I had to leave my home country – whether in a coffin or in a plane.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/magazine/from-jamaica-to-minnesota-to-myself.html?_r=0

James’ account of growing up as an outsider in Jamaica is disquieting: “I’d spent seven years in an all-boys school: 2,000 adolescents in the same khaki uniforms striking hunting poses, stalking lunchrooms, classrooms, changing rooms, looking for boys who didn’t fit in.

“I bought myself protection by cursing, locking my lisp behind gritted teeth, folding away my limp wrist and drawing 36-double-D girls for art class. I took a copy of Penthouse to school to score cool points, but the other boys called me ‘batty boy’ anyway every day, five days a week. To save my older, cooler brother, I pretended we weren’t related.”

But we are related. No matter how religiously some of us deny it, gay Jamaicans are us: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins – not-so-distant relatives. I suppose ‘Jordan’ could have been one of the boys who would have hunted Marlon James. And s/he might very well email me again this week, like a stalker, looking for confirmation that I’m in the closet. Another column on homosexuality, so I must be gay.

After writing the first draft of this column with those sentences, I did get a seemingly conciliatory response from ‘Jordan’: “Sorry Carolyn, no offence meant…Peace, Love and respect to you. Keep up the good work.” Makes no sense. But this is Jamaica. Conflicted about sexuality.

OverTheEdge_logoMarlon James writes about being suicidal: “One day after school, instead of going home, I walked for miles, all the way down to Kingston Harbor. I stopped right at the edge of the dock, thinking next time I would just keep walking.”Marlon found the courage to stay in Jamaica and not walk over the edge. He has written three brilliant novels that are rooted in our fertile/arid landscape. Thank God Marlon James came out of Jamaica in a plane, not a coffin!

KC Old Boys Won’t Kiss and Make Up

Bishop Gibson, Founder of Kingston College

Bishop Gibson, Founder of Kingston College

Last year, I got a lovely invitation from Dr. Patrick Dallas, president of the KC old boys’ association. It was to give the Kingston College Founder’s Week lecture, scheduled for next month. I was delighted to accept. KC is the brother school of my high school, St. Hugh’s; and my own brother is a KC old boy. We’re family!

Then, a few months later, completely forgetting about the invitation, I foolishly had a little fun at the old boys’ expense in my now-infamous column. I won’t even repeat the scandalous headline because I’m afraid of arousing the old boys’ passion again. That’s not the kind of passionate arousal I like to provoke.

When I saw the murderous responses to my satirical column, I immediately emailed Dr. Dallas. Given the ‘trauma’ I had caused, I told him, I would completely understand if the old boys decided to withdraw the invitation. I felt it was the right thing to do at the time. The wounds were fresh and the old boys were hurting.

Then, after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, I publicly apologised in another column for pulling the old boy’s legs: “Wa A Joke To You A Death To Me”, published on January 18, 2015. Sex and religion are very delicate subjects. Especially in Jamaica, homosexuality is no laughing matter.

DEEP DISTRESS

All the same, I hoped that the old boys would eventually forgive, even if they could not forget. But alas! That was not to be. Late last month, I got a rather disappointing email from Dr. Dallas. The invitation to give the Founder’s Week lecture has, indeed, been formally withdrawn because “the distress still runs deep among many persons in the KC Family and this makes such a possibility too difficult at this time”.

I’m disappointed not because I no longer have to prepare a lecture for the Founder’s Week event. I give lectures for a living. So it’s not like I’m dying to speak in public to old boys and young men who may be carrying feelings. What surprises me, though, is that some of the KC old boys are still keeping malice – after four months!

I say “some” because I really can’t imagine that it’s a unanimous decision to withdraw the invitation. There must be a few men on the committee brave enough to say, “Wi no fraid fi her”. They must know that on a grand occasion like the Founder’s Week lecture, I would behave myself. Not a word about same-sex dinners would slip out of my mouth!

stereotypesThe problem with having a reputation for being ‘controversial’ is that you get stereotyped. It’s assumed that you delight in controversy for the hell of it. In my case, this is certainly not true. I don’t go looking for controversy. It’s the other way around. Controversy stalks me. And I have to keep running away.

By now, the KC old boys must have found an uncontroversial substitute to deliver the Founder’s Week lecture. So it’s not like I’m begging them to reconsider their decision to uninvite me. What I am hoping for is that the ‘controversy’ ignited by my column will inspire more frank discussion about sexuality in Jamaica today.

GAY ROLE MODELS

At the core of that satirical column was the expectation that one-day, one-day, gay men could, indeed, come out in Jamaica and not feel ‘a way’ about their sexuality. It was a serious joke I was making. And the fact that so many KC old boys got so angry at the very thought of the Fortis name being ‘tarnished’, means that I touched a very sensitive nerve.

largeI keep wondering about the young people all across Jamaica who may be wrestling with their sexuality. And I don’t mean hands-on combat. Conflicted young men and women need reassurance that it’s OK to be gay. Where are they going to find support? Where are the gay men and women who could be role models for these youth? Without exploiting them!

This is a conversation that needs to be taken out of the proverbial closet and put on the public agenda. We can’t keep on hiding from the subject. We must take the shame out of sexuality in all its variations. My edgy column on the male-only dinner was an opportunity to seriously consider the taboo topic of sex at school. In and out of the water closet!

Admittedly, the ironic tone of the column made it look as if I was not just mocking the old boys for their folly in excluding women from their special dinner. I seemed to be turning homosexuality into a weapon of abuse! That’s the trickiness of satire. It both is and isn’t what it appears to be.

I certainly understand the persistent desire of long-time buddies to reunite annually.  Without the prying eyes of females who may be tempted to pass unwelcome judgement! Old boys are entitled to their homosocial world. Social means just that: innocent socialising.

And even though I did say I would understand if I were uninvited, I thought the KC old boys would be able to kiss and makeup. But I now see that it’s going to take a very long time for me to be accepted back into the family. If ever! And I would have given such a nice lecture, you know.

Lusting After Lisa’s Legs

57223lisa_hannaI really don’t know what all the fuss was about. The minister of youth and culture goes to the beach to cool off after the reggae marathon. She’s wearing a very youthful bikini and a very cultural tee shirt. A perfect photo op for the Jamaica Tourist Board! The minister’s son captures the image and it ends up on the Internet. And, far and wide, both old and new media dissect the meaning of this act.

Even Germany’s highly regarded political magazine, Der Spiegel, carried the story. Spiegel means mirror and Lisa Hanna’s image was held up to public scrutiny: “Debatte in Jamaika: Wie sexy darf sich eine Ministerin zeigen?” (Debate in Jamaica: How sexy may a Minister present herself?). Thanks to my friend Ellen Koehlings, co-editor of Germany’s reggae/dancehall magazine, Riddim, for that translation.

I decided to keep out of the non-debate. Then, out of the blue, a conspiracy theory came unto me like an urgent message from a gossiping angel. These were not glad tidings of great joy. The ratings of the Government are so low, Lisa’s lovely legs were let loose in cyberspace as a deliberate distraction. It was a lust for power, a plot to keep us talking about foolishness instead of important social and political issues.

Just think about it. Class prejudice has been vulgarly displayed at the West Kingston commission of enquiry. The downtown witnesses don’t always understand the uptown language of the commission. I also wonder if any soldiers and police are going to be put in the witness box to be interrogated by the public defender.

Then the prime minister has failed to discipline the minister of health and the chairman of the National Housing Trust. It’s just business as usual. Despite all the calls for the resignation of both men, the prime minister has turned a deaf ear. She must be taking a leaf out of Eric Williams’ book. As prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Williams would shut off his hearing aid when he couldn’t be bothered to listen to his critics.

MALE SEX OBJECTS

I don’t suppose the legs of Ronnie Thwaites, Bobby Pickersgill, Peter Phillips, Raymond Pryce, Fenton Ferguson and Lloyd B. Smith, for example, would have excited lust. In general, Jamaican men don’t do well as sex objects. What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Men expect women to be buff. But they don’t usually consider it essential to keep themselves fit.

sexObject01Perhaps, Mikael Phillips, Peter Bunting, Julian Robinson and Wykeham McNeill might have stood a chance in the best-PNP-legs contest. But I don’t know if they’ve had much experience in the sex-object business. So female legs were the right choice. But whose?

I think we would all agree that it would have been far too immodest for the prime minister to parade her legs in public. And I haven’t seen the leggy attributes of Ms Denise Daley, the Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley or the Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams. So I don’t know how well they would have stood up on the hot legs platform.

Of all the female PNP parliamentarians, Lisa Hanna obviously has the best legs. So she became the chosen vessel. That’s why the picture was posted via the ministry’s Twitter account. It was official business. As a former Miss World, Ms Hanna has had lots of experience showing off herself. Shes comfortable in the role of sex object. She knows she’s hot and she’s not afraid to blaze a fire. Lust comes with the territory.

SINFUL SEXUAL DESIRE

There’s not a thing wrong with honest, old-fashioned lust. That word has a most unfortunate history. Originally, its meanings were perfectly respectable. Lust was simply desire, appetite, pleasure; sensuous appetite. A lust for life! Its the translators of the Bible who are to blame for making lust sinful.

In 17th century English, the biblical expression, lusts of the flesh, turned the pleasures of the body into something quite dirty. And it wasn’t just sexual passion. I John 2:16, King James Version, declares: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”.

In Fundamentalist Christian Jamaica, Lisa Hanna’s hot picture certainly excited lust of the eyes. But the passionate intensity of some of the self-righteous judges who called down damnation on her head makes me suspicious. Could it be that underneath all the apparent disgust there was actually quite a lot of pleasure in the view?

images-1Take for instance S. Hare, whose letter to the editor was published in The Gleaner on Friday, December 26: “The saga of Lisa Hanna’s bikini is thought-provoking, and one must ask, what’s next? A picture of her posing in her lingerie going to bed”? How did Hare get from bikini to lingerie? And did the provoking thoughts stop there? Once you get to bed, the next logical step is . . .

Desire is a very slippery slope. The real issue isn’t that innocent photo. It’s the fundamental hypocrisy of those conflicted souls who both disdain and crave the lusts of the flesh. And as for that damning conspiracy theory! The Government’s sinful plot is only a short-term fix. Not a lasting pleasure!

KC Old Boys Desire Male Sex

Dr. Patrick Dallas (left) and Dean Nevers at the 2014 dinner

Dr. Patrick Dallas (left) and Dean Nevers at the 2014 KC Old Boys’ Association dinner

I have great respect for the KC old boys who have proudly come out and made their sexual preference absolutely clear. The female sex is not for them.  In 2012 and 2013, the KC Old Boys’ Association tried to make it with women at their annual dinner. They concluded that the experiment had failed. This year, under the leadership of Dr Patrick Dallas, the old boys decided to stick to themselves.

It’s quite understandable. For five or even seven years, at a crucial stage of their sexual development, these KC old boys spent five days, every week for most of the year with their beloved classmates. They fought and made up. They played games on and off the field. And they embraced each other in victory and defeat.

These old boys have become big men, in theory. They have big jobs, big houses, big cars and big debts to prove it. But many of these big men are still just little boys dressed up in adult clothing. They long for the good old days on North Street when being a KC boy promised to make life so easy. It entitled you to an eternity of privilege.

It must be quite difficult for these old boys to adjust and learn to enjoy the company of women – their natural inferiors. It’s not a skill at which they’ve had much practice. Their mothers and sisters don’t count. They’re family. Quite inappropriate for certain forms of exploration! And female teachers don’t make good role models. They lack the right equipment.

Some of these old boys may eventually get married to women. But it now seems as if they don’t really enjoy associating with the female sex. It’s just not to their taste. They certainly don’t want to wine and dine with women. They may occasionally do so on the down-low. But definitely not in public!

DELUSIONAL WOMEN

UnknownI don’t understand why some women are so angry with the KC old boys for publicly admitting that they want to play with themselves at their annual dinner. That’s their choice. They have a right to their sexual preference. Delusional women believe they can channel the sexual desires of men. That’s just straight self-deception. No woman, no matter how hot she thinks she is, can force a man to want her – if he’s all wired up for men.

The unwilling man may, occasionally, go through the motions of pleasing women for a peaceful life. But if his heart is not in it, he’s likely to suffer from penile failure. And though it’s quite possible to fake orgasm, it’s impossible to fake erection. If the man is not psychologically prepared to play ball, not even Viagra can help him. And only God can save him from the vanity of a determined woman who thinks her charms ought to be enough to seduce him.

I much prefer a man to come clean with me. It saves a lot of time and work. Instead of getting all hot and bothered at the pleasurable prospect of making it with this gorgeous man, I can just relax. Nutten nah gwaan. The man is not for me. We can have great conversations and even go out together. But we done know; there will be no going in. Or goings-on!

ignorance-is-not-blissAnd ignorance of the truth is definitely not bliss. Just suppose you’re a woman who’s been invited to the KC old boys’ dinner by one Mr Fortis. You accept, on the assumption that your old boy actually enjoys your company. On the night of the affair, you’re dressed to puss back foot and you know you’re looking good. But after a while, you notice that Fortis not paying yu bad mind.

Female intuition kicks in and it comes to you in a cold flash. Much to your vexation, you realise that you’re actually an unwelcome intrusion. Your old boy’s body may be next to you but his eyes are roving the room, looking for the real objects of his desire: his faithful companions from way back when.

HIGH-SCHOOL BUDDIES

KC-LOGOThe origin of that word ‘companion’ is Latin. ‘Com’ means ‘with’ and ‘panis’ means ‘bread’. So, literally, a companion is someone you eat bread with. And that includes patty and box juice. Your heartical brejrin. No woman can come between a man and his bonafide high-school buddies. Plural. No matter how hard she tries. The brave may fall but never yield!

All the same, several old boys don’t approve of that backward move to exclude women from the annual dinner. These are the real big men who have definitely grown up. They have no intention of leaving their female companions at home while they go off to live in the past with their high-school buddies. After the old boys’ dinner, they’ll want to share bread and bed with their woman.

Kingston College is the ‘brother’ school of St Hugh’s. On November 22, we’ll be having our 115th anniversary banquet. We’re including men. It’s such a pity some KC old boys don’t seem to understand that it’s in their best interest to associate with women, the superior sex. Good sense just might rub off on them. It takes a new kind of old boy to get it.