Tuesday, September 22, 2015

WAKING UP to WAKING LIFE: Men, Women, Sex, and The Internet

IN CASE you happen to be a resident of Asheville, then you know where this morning rant/rambling is heading. Thing is, I haven't heard of this absurd story till last night when my good friend Cindyrella mentioned it over dinner. I didn't immediately get the story though. Until early this morning when I skimmed through my Facebook Home page.

       Okay, it's about these two J dudes a.k.a. Jared and Jacob, co-owners of a West Asheville coffeeshop called Waking Life Espresso, who went on an online folly albeit anonymously (via blogs, podcast, tweets etc) about their “sexual trysts” smothered with sexist and misogynistic trash-talk. Normally, I'd easily consign such gargantuan waste of time to bored, drugged-up deadbeats—but these guys are supposedly responsible business owners in a respectable Asheville community. Their brains and limbs (and whatever's between their legs) should have been focused on passionate coffee warmth, you know... I mean, be creative. There must be a civilized way to let go heat coming from one's loins, right? Write a poem and launch an open mic, paint figures and hang them up, sculpt, eroticize the brew whatever—but go online for hours and hours to hyperventilate sexual insecurity and disregard of women, for what?
       Who cares about how many women one man could lure to a quickie in a basement or overnight nakedness in a motel room in staggering frequency? Or women who do the same... This happens in adultworld. But to disrespect a human being in full knowledge of the universe—is the lowest of low for a dude who fucks and tell.
       I read that these guys could've been coaxed by sites such as The Red Pill and Pick-up-Artist. I don't know that those sites exist... I must admit most of my love poems are inspired or moved by my own intimate moments in a privacy of a room (or somewhere where only trees and birds could see)... I also get excited and “horned up” quite a bit, you know. And I may translate those in a blog if my poetry doesn't suffice. But after reading the two J dudes' dirty stuff... Uhh, what were they thinking?
       I came from a culture where the woman is the boss in the house. A mere whistle to a passing lady on mini skirt invites an angry mob. “Would you want your mother or sister to be treated like that?” is the usual retort to disrespectful men. I remember those days when mere act of staring at a woman is considered low. I grew up and grew old at a time when a moonlit serenade is the noblest way to invite a lady to a stroll by the river or park the following weekend.
       But I also admit that I am far from a consistently gentle and nice guy. I get angry. I say terrible words (while in a relationship fight) that I later regret and apologize for. But although I share details of those “lovers' quarrels” with a very close friend/confidante or two, I NEVER shared details of my sexual or intimate moments with anyone. Those are mine. As I said, I can write poems and songs and paint and it's up to the public to take those as is—but I keep the privacy of that moment that moved me to craft such an art. She knows those are for her. For her only.
       Sometimes I still have a little culture shock with sexual openness in America but I try my best to view them on a positive light. Gifts of intimacy, blessings of human interaction. Freedom to give and take pleasure from our body and down deep to our heart. Although many times I fumbled bigtime, I didn't know how to confront it. Always a new experience. You see, the first woman that I slept with at age 24 was the mother of my firstborn. And although Anais Nin's diaries and Erica Jong's books “bothered” my manhood when I was a teenager, I didn't know how to deal with it... Even when I was in college, I didn't know how to pick women up in a bar or vice versa. I can say, “You are beautiful, can I write you a poem?” not as a pick-up line but a shy way of translating my admiration of a woman. So when I get the same compliment, I don't know how to respond. It's awkward.
       There is that grey area between appreciation of beauty and subtle disrespect of an individual's humanity. Many times, it is not easy to navigate that line—yet we know, both men and women, what is uncool and what is cool. We also know that things do happen out there—in a park bench, bar pool hall, coffeeshop veranda... Men meet women, women meet men. They hit it off and as consenting adults, they do whatever they feel is mutually good. It's an adult world.
       But what J and J did isn't even categorized as “adult,” it's inhuman. I don't believe a curious 17-year old on his right mind will do such reckless stupidity. Jared and Jacob, after the public apology, must also say their apology to their mothers and sisters and families, and the entire universe of women. I don't know if they'd be forgiven. But they should be forgiven. Asheville is a peaceful community. These guys blundered but they should be allowed to brew more coffee but this time, they should be grown up enough to keep the steam consigned to the espresso machine not between their legs while at work—and their fingers busy with serving more latte or tea, far from the internet.

[--PASCKIE PASCUA, 15-year resident of Asheville, North Carolina / editor-publisher of The Indie / founding executive director of the Traveling Bonfires / dad to four daughters and one son, brother to four sisters]