teisipäev, august 25, 2009

noormees ja meri

"Kaka." It's a universal word. French babies say it. Estonian babies say it. American babies say it. My daughters say it. The younger one said it on Friday on the beach.

She was following me out of Provincetown harbor, her legs still in the water, when she cried out in surprise: "Issi, kaka!" I turned and saw the stripe of brown sloping down her leg towards the sea. She stared at her leg in panic too.

"Oh shit," I looked around at the other beach goers to see if they had noticed my daughter's 'surprise.' "What do you do when your kid shits on the beach?"

I decided that I had no choice but to give her a good rinse in the Atlantic-fed bay. I was ashamed to pollute in public, but there didn't seem to be any other option. I grabbed her by the arms and dragged her through the tide. To my horror, clouds of brown plumed in the still harbor waters, only to dissipate into nothingness. Within seconds, all was clear again. It was as if nothing had ever happened. As if there had been no "kaka" incident. The water looked fit to drink. Standing there with two legs in the mix, I had to ask myself: How much shit is actually in here?

I rolled her up in my t-shirt and made for my wife who was at a beachfront café. She was lost in verse when I approached her bearing our bundle of joy, now oblivious to her condition, who was pleased to see her mother. 'Tsau, emme,' she chirped. 'Tsau!' her mother responded, her hand gracefully finishing the last line of a well-thought out sentence.

"Kaka," I explained. We hurried to the public restrooms. After some emergency surgery, mother and daughter emerged clean, with a plastic bag bearing her unfortunate swimsuit and my unfortunate t-shirt. And there I stood in nothing but a bathing suit in downtown Provincetown surrounded by tourists and locals, many of whom also have nothing on but swimwear. My wife was soon joined by two Estonian friends, who were sympathetic to our 'kaka' incident. They have kids too. They understood.

I stood waiting in the hot August sun with our stroller and the ill-fated plastic bag while the Estonians discussed our agenda for the rest of the day. After awhile, I noticed them glancing at me.

"What do you think? Could he be one of them?" my wife gestured at the half-naked guy with the mysterious plastic bag. The trio of eesti naised turned and looked me up and down.

"No, his shoulders are too broad," concluded one.

"And he's too hairy to be gay," the other offered her expert opinion. "If he was one of them, he would have had that stuff waxed."

***

We came to Provincetown at the end of Massachusetts' Cape Cod for a carnival. Epp found out about it and put it on our list of things to do. It was advertised everywhere, a real local event. Carnival! It sounded so quaint. I imagined there would be cotton candy and a Ferris wheel, live music and lobster rolls. It would be a child-friendly happening. Maybe there would be pony rides too, face-painting, and funnel cakes. But this was Carnival Week in Ptown. Instead there were rainbow flags and gangs of roving mostly-nude males holding hands and discussing European fashion trends. Yes, there was a touch of Europe on the main walking street of Ptown that day; I hadn't seen that many guys wearing thongs since my last trip to the Aura Keskus water park in Tartu.

The first shops I saw as I parked our car on Commercial Street were of the European persuasion. 'Simply Danish' hosted a inventory of Scandinavian designs: futuristic vases and metallic ashtrays. Across from the Danes was 'Red Square,' which employed crimson motifs. I stopped to look at Danish vases as gaggles of bare-chested, hairless males passed by on the street.

"I'm going to go have dinner," said one to his friends.

"Ok, we'll meet you at the café later," a friend responded. "Just remember: no carbs after 6 pm!"

"It's 5.50," the first one chuckled. "I've still got 10 minutes!"

As we waded through the masses down this walking street, I noticed that, other than a few curious couples with kids and perhaps family members of the carnival attendees, Ptown was overwhelmingly gay and lesbian. Instead of people staring in confusion at two men holding hands, they shot odd looks at my wife and me as we pushed our daughter in a stroller down the street, as if to say, Wait, you're married? To a person of the opposite sex? Why would you go and do a silly thing like that?

This is what the world would be like if gays ran it. There would only be elegant shops purveying the finest in interior design and men's apparel or wild discotheques playing the best of the 1970s. There would only be well-manicured gardens and trendy cafes serving the yummiest of treats and tastiest of drinks with a pinch of this and a hint of that. And, most of all, couples with young children would be kept to a bare minimum: at least couples comprised of one male and one female.

This is how they must feel in straight society, I deduced as I watched a guy with pierced nipples sorting trash from a cafe into a variety of recycling bins. A world where everything is its opposite. We walked down to an ATM in a parking garage. The wall was covered with posters for different local events. Someone was screening a film called Two Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter Night. On the other side of the garage, I spied a deck on the water and a swimming pool filled exclusively with dudes in fluorescent-colored thongs. Somewhere a radio was blasting Patrick Hernandez' 1979 hit, "Born to Be Alive." For me, all stereotypes about gay culture were justified in that one moment.

In Estonia, there are two takes on how to handle this phenomenon of the West. Persons to whom I am tangentially connected sit at opposite sides of the debate. There are passionate social activists like Lisette Kampus who would be happy if Estonia was a bit more like Ptown. Then there are conservative newspapermen like Priit Pullerits who would prefer if carnival took place at some place in the woods, rather than on Main Street. Most of us probably sit somewhere in between, turned off by the moral absolutism of the gay community and the social conservatives. Curmudgeonly misanthropic writers like me just want to be left alone, thanks.

It was this yearning for isolation that drove me to Ptown in the first place. It sits at the end of an eastern extremity of America. To get there, you have to drive through miles of mountainous sand dunes that shift with the winds of the sea. I see dunes like that when I go to sleep in Tartu. The sands of the Atlantic coast may be the one thing I miss about the place where I grew up. In Tartu, the nearest body of water is the Emajõgi – the 'mother river.' That meandering vein through southeast Estonia is persuasive in its own way, but it's no substitute for the ocean.

It's probably this longing for lonesomeness that's drawn so many strange characters to Ptown. "The gays wind up here because this is a place you have to decide to come to," Epp told me as we rolled along. "You can't just pass on through. You have to have this place as your destination." Before it was a gay haven, Ptown was home first to pirates and Colonial ne'er-do-wells and then Portuguese fisherman before the homosexuals seized cultural power, starting in the 1940s, and later political power, starting in the late 1970s. Indeed, in Ptown, gay political power was apparent. As we strolled through, a gentleman dressed in a one-piece pink body thong ala Borat alerted me to the reality of politics in Ptown while soliciting signatures for some particular local cause. In any other town, the gentleman in the pink body thong would be an oddball. Here, he just might wind up as a town councilman.

***

While Carnival Week in Provincetown was not exactly what I expected, it was fun. I'm not the type to go skydiving and I loathe roller coasters, but there's nothing more exhilarating than the masochistic shattering of one's own homophobia. Homophobia – the fear of gays. It's not easy to walk past a row of half-naked males in your swimming trunks and pretend you don't notice them eyeballing you. It's harder still when you are carrying a thick book entitled Gay Lives, Straight Jobs. My spouse bought it, along with other treatises on Ptown life for use in some future essay or book chapter. She must have bought a dozen books in Ptown's used book shops. I bought one: The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller.

I kept Miller's travel book on Greece on top of Straight Jobs, Gay Lives in one hand so no one would get the wrong idea as I pushed the stroller down the street. Epp had left me to go feed the parking meter. I got tired of the one-handed pushing and put the books on top of the stroller. Then, as I neared a group of guys at the entrance to the Prince Albert Hotel, we rolled over a bump and the books went flying. Straight Jobs, Gay Lives landed front-cover up for all to see. Humiliated, I bent over and picked up it up along with the only book I had bought. It's not what it looks like. I'm like Miller, I wanted to shake my fist at them. I desire women!

Some women at least. Later that night, the Estonian ladies quizzed each other as to Estonia's sexiest politician. "Margus Tsakhna," one ventured. "Or maybe Silver Meikar."

"How about Savisaar?" I asked. "Some ladies think he's sexy."

The Estonians looked nauseous. "How about our president?" one changed the subject. "He's looking better these days."

"Who do you think is Estonia's sexiest politician?" they asked me.

I couldn't decide on who was Estonia's sexiest female politician because there seems to be something inherently unsexy about politicians, like they'd only sleep with you if you'd vote for them. I decided to keep my mouth shut.

But there in front of the Prince Albert Hotel, I was ready to endorse just about any Estonian female for sexiest politician to prove that Straight Jobs, Gay Lives was not my book. Even if I had done so, those guys probably wouldn't have cared. After all, it was my phobia I was dealing with, not theirs.

Why are people scared of gays or any particular group of people? When I lived in Tallinn years ago, I was intimidated by the Russian kids who hung out near the Säästumarket in Kalamaja. They were big and loud and usually drinking something alcoholic outdoors, even in January temperatures. They wore puffy black jackets and were boiling with machismo: if they were ever with women, their arms were draped protectively around their females' shoulders. When I passed them, I looked straight ahead as not to arouse their attention. That was Russophobic me. But what about homophobic me?

Maybe fear isn't just drilled into us by our family and friends or by films and books. Maybe there are certain instances in our lives that lead us to adjust our instincts a certain way. Nobody on Commercial Street in Ptown tried to touch me or said something suggestive. But when I was 15, I had a friend who had just come out of the closet that did so several times. Each time, I pushed him away. But he came back three or four times. To him, maybe it was funny, but to me it seemed like sexual harassment – that thing they were always talking about on TV. It was harder to determine how harsh my 'no' should be because he was my friend, or at least he had been. Such is the painful confusion of human sexuality.

Probably because of that one guy, I felt intimidated in Ptown. It's not something I intended. It was just a natural response, one that said, Please, whatever you do, don't invade my personal space. This was the fear I faced. It felt good to deal with it because nobody there bothered me in any way. I understood then that it's wrong to link one individual's behavior to a whole group of people. These guys meant no harm. They just wanted to wear thongs and listen to Patrick Hernandez in peace. Once I had identified the root of my fear, I was able to let it all roll off my back. I could walk down the street with my head held high holding a copy of Straight Jobs, Gay Lives.

Epp's response to the scene seemed different. She's a kind of cultural bon vivant. She learns about gay culture the same way if we were in Japan she might develop an acute interest in Shintoism. She's hungry and the world's her buffet. She fears no one. She savors it all. While I enjoyed the shock therapy of carnival in Ptown, she loved its vibrant colors and exotic characters. She fell in love with the place at once. It was a respite from the banality of American consumer life. For me, it was looked like a lot of fun, but not designed for my personal enjoyment. Instead it took time and a trip to the Portuguese Bakery for Provincetown to win me over.

***

I am not Portuguese. I only know a handful of phrases I learned from listening to João Gilberto records. But in Ptown, I felt like the Portuguese community was my life preserver, keeping me afloat in a storm not only of a gay vibrancy, but also in the icy terrain of Yankeedom. Remember, this was still New England -- a place where people's surnames often mean things – Bush, Ford, Starbuck.

Even if it was Carnival Week, I could escape to the Portuguese Bakery. I knew that there they would understand. They would have rich, delicious Mediterranean pastries, made with the love of people who appreciate the sweet life by guys with names like Fernandinho or Gilberto and women with names like Carolina or Teresa. If Epp fantasized about blending into Ptown's dissident culture, I imagined getting on a first-name basis with its Portuguese fishermen and bakerwomen. Maybe they would even one day take me as their own: Justino.

The woman behind the counter didn't wear a name tag. Instead she had on a t-shirt that read The Crazy Portuguese One. I took a sample of the best-looking treats, giant frosted malassadas, cream-colored pastéis de nata. They were all good, but one stole my heart. It wasn't the crazy Portuguese one. It was called trutas: a fried, sweet-potato turnover shaped in a crescent and covered in sugar. I bought and ate one. Then two. Then I had to have three. I bought one for my youngest daughter, but she got frustrated with the sweet potato filling and threw part of it on the ground. I've spoiled her. She doesn't yet appreciate that her father keeps her supplied with cannolis and trutas. One day she'll learn.

In a nearby bookstore, I Told You So by Kate Clinton, political commentary from a gay/lesbian point of view, was on display. I flipped through the essays on gay marriage, the Bush White House, Hillary Clinton, and Ptown, but felt bored. It looked like another artifact from America's never-ending culture wars. But who wanted to think about Karl Rove on a hot August day? I wanted to read about something delicious. I made for the more captivating Provincetown Portuguese Cookbook to find out how to make my beloved trutas.

Dough made with whiskey and orange juice, filled with sweet potatoes, sugar, and cinnamon. Why didn't Estonians make things like this? In every bakery in Estonia, they'll give you moskva sai and dallase sai and mooni sai and kohupiimakorpid. But nobody cares enough up north to mix whiskey and orange juice with their dough or fill their pastries with sweet potatoes. Only the Portuguese are crazy enough to do something like that.

What Tartu really needs, I decided, is a really good Portuguese bakery. Maybe I could start it. Sure, I would be a fraud, but if the 19th century Estonian writer Viidri Välma could take a German as his wife and be known to the world as 'Friedrich Robert Faehlmann,' then maybe I could pass as a Portuguese baker in south Estonia.

Sometimes I wonder what I will be like when I am an old man. I imagine there may be sand dunes. I can hear the Estonian being spoken around me. And now, after Ptown, I can see myself standing over a counter, kneading in the whiskey and orange juice, mixing up the cinnamon, sugar, and sweet potatoes. You have to do things that make you happy. It's like they sing out in Provincetown: You were born to be alive.

21 kommentaari:

ranno ütles ...

I came across this blog following a catching thumbnail and title and was assuming it was going to be photoblog.

I shortly realized it was not a photoblog, but continued reading as with so much 'kaka' at the beginning I was sure the story was going to end up with a silly joke about Kaká and I was little curios whether it could have really been so predictable. Wrong assumptions again.

I was about to leave the page when another word caught my attention. I eagerly read through the rest of the story, occasionally laughed out loud and just loved the story!

Fears of a straight guy :) I was trying to think of what might be my fears in similar situation and remembered a lady at a club last week - she looked at my butt, raised hands, screamed and then slapped my butt! I considered it a compliment, but had another laugh when imagining the situation where one of those guys on the street would have slapped butt of the author of this story :D I would assume that the story would have been shifted more towards kill-them-all, but it might be another wrong assumption.

Haven't really heard of people who consider themselves homophobic and same time dare to question about what it is that makes them homophobic. Very refreshing.

It probably would not be appropriate to write a longer comment than the story itself, so it's time for a conclusion - great story!

Lingüista ütles ...

Portuguese bakeries are obviously different from Brazilian bakieries -- the latter are much tamer (a few kinds of bread, Brazilian pastries like empada or coxinha de galinha, and the Brazilian version of pastéis de nata, but nothing so daring as to have whiskey in it, alas). It is true, though, that to Brazilians the Portuguese are stereotypically bakers -- like the French in Europe, perhaps. It's their talent, I suppose.

Interesting to be in 'their' shoes for a change. Provincetown -- a place to learn about yourself. Not bad. And why are straight people afraid of gays? Why, perhaps like Europeans afraid of Moslims, they think they might someday end up being the strange, odd ones -- as they would now in Provincetown. Homophobes may look at it and shudder at the thought of a future in which Provincetown is the norm. Not very likely, given the demographics, but when has this ever allayed the deeply felt fear of becoming a 'minority', of being seen as the little oddball we all know we are, deeply down?...

And then Baltic homophobia... Clearly, despite Mr Pullerits and his friends, Estonia is way behind Latvia and Lithuania in homophobic behavior. In fact, Estonia seems better than pretty much any other Eastern European country. What gives? Is this again the "Nordic" character of Estonia at work?

Andres ütles ...

Oh snap, ranno, I think I just got a culture shock from your web page.

ranno ütles ...

Sorry Andres, my site is indeed missing a warning of potential culture shock.

As of the Estonian homophobia, I can not actually complain. Of course there are some loud-mouths and anonymous commenters but in general Estonians are surprisingly tolerant.

Once upon a time, about seven years ago there were some articles of a guy who dreamed of marrying another guy! It was expected, that most of the web comments would include some curse word, but surprisingly, many of the comments said 'oh, seems like a gay guy can actually be quite normal'. And there was a comment of a mom who said 'I don't want my children to grow up gay, but now I see that it would not be the end of world'.

stockholm slender ütles ...

I like your holiday style as well! Nice writing - you probably have tried your hand in fiction? Anyway, I guess I'm relatively Scandinavian then in my liberal views and have noticed a certain, dare one say, post-Soviet tinge in Estonian attitudes to sexual minorities. I'm sure this will gradually fade. I simply am not overly interested in what grown up people voluntarily do in the privacy of their bedrooms, gay or straight. These categories are in case often quite fluid and the difference between straight and gay sex is surely not very significant. It's time to get over it, I think. Live and let live.

Kristopher ütles ...

I'd bus tables at your Portuguese bakery in T-town. Hopefully I'll be sufficiently burned out from work soon to make such a career change.

But the sad truth is that Estonians won't do orange vegetables or spices in pastries. They won't touch pumpkin pie even if it's really good and you describe it as a "gingerbread creme brulee in muretaigen". Pumpkin is only to be boiled, cubed and marinated. Sweet potatoes are in the stores for expats. There's Karelian pasties with carrot, but those taste like rice porridge.

peedu ütles ...

Small bits of potato and carrot is quite common in doughs, here's a link on how to make them.

Lingüista ütles ...

Stockholm slender, your attitude is indeed very Scandinavian. I wished it were more widespread! My Brazilian countrimen may be changing their attitude towards bedroom matters, but not as quickly as I would wish. 'Bicha' (Brazilian Portuguese slur for gay people) is still very much a heavy offense, and I don't see many signs of this changing in the near future. Sigh!...

Kristopher ütles ...

Isn't Pädaste Estonia's P-town?

Bea ütles ...

Justin is not a conscious homophobe in views and principle. He goes with don't touch me, don't scare me with the possibility that you may touch me... :D He just described the awkward feeling then you are surrounded by aliens and get the thought that they may do what ever with you if they (one of them) take you for what you are not. That's the phobia that goes from in very special circumstances.

I remember feeling like a Russophobe in Jurmala (near Riga). I had no Russophobia in a sense that I hated Russians and would want to do something bad to them or would take them all as one... But when surrounded by so many Russians from Latvia and Riga, I feared their possible Balto-phobia. I feared to speak Latvian in Jurmala and Riga, I feared that some Balto-phobe among the Russians may assault us for being not Russians and telling that we were not. At least, I could speak Russian myself, too. But think of those Latvians who really can't... I felt like a Russophobe, because even one Balto-phobe among them could have made something awful to me. That's if I would encounter him/her directly in a mass. Look, the phobia is mutually expected by both groups. Gays develop the hetero-phobia, Russians screaming about Russophobia among Balts develop Balto-phobia in themselves, I suppose. And that is not spoken of, generally. We all fear to be[come] a minority. Especially an unexpected or unwanted minority. And it's awful to everyone to be stereotyped and taken for what we are not. In some situations we expect that we'll be stereotyped and taken for what we are not. Because we stereotype, too. So is it we ourselves to blame again? LOL, yes.

Bea ütles ...

Oh, I meant "Russians from Latvia and Russia" - places where, imo, Russians are eagerly thaught to be Balto-phobes by suggesting that Balts are Russophobes.

Martasmimi ütles ...

Justin,
You are a wonderful story teller.
Such a great read.
...was this person Cliff?

Lingüista ütles ...

Bea, I think you've pretty much described the mutual phobia relations between any groups hiding behind stereotypes of each other ('I fear/hate them because among them there are those who fear/hate us', etc.). Apparently, the way out is to tell yourself to stop fearing and to try to build connections (i.e. Russian speakers in Jūrmala or Rīga developing links -- friendships, family links, etc. -- with Latvian speakers, and vice-versa). Judging by the number of mixed Latvian-Russian marriages, maybe this is already happening? At the very least, the Russian-speaking community in Latvia did not behave like the one in Moldova; there was no Baltic Transnistria (and some regions, like Narva in Estonia or Latgale in Latvia, could have been good candidates for a Baltic Transnistria). Maybe this means that something good is happening after all?

Helen ütles ...

I'll try to make something Portugese for you. I've made delicious pasteis de nata's, I've even used sweet potato and orange juice in receipes. But all those have been American receipes!
Can't wait for you guys to get back!

Bea ütles ...

Lingüista, I believe lots of good things happen and they had been happening all the time, Balts are calm people and immigrants here tend to calm down accordingly, and we would always first go and speak, not take arms. The problem in Moldova and other places were probably the provocations from the military forces, KGB and such. Only when ordinary people saw their relatives or friends die from violence, they got the idea to grab arms themselves, I guess. People in the Baltics had very intelligent leaders, they had always been instructed to avoid violence, to film and photograph violence, to talk and try to quash all the provocators. Some 20 Lithuanians died from Soviet violence, but the Baltic people knew that any violence from their side would result in no freedom, but a bloodbath to the countries. We were very careful, and we were instructed before hand by the leaders whose strategy was to fight peacefully and use information as a weapon. We had to counter lots of disinformation from the Soviet side, but the Soviets did not dare to organize bigger bloodbaths here than in January 1991, because they saw people who weren't going to grab arms even after some of them had been killed.

I see certain propaganda more dangerous than the natural every-day relations between people.

I forgot to mention one detail in my posts - I had been a stranger in Jūrmala myself - I am Lithuanian - and I didn't know what to expect there, that's why certain worry - unexpected to myself - found a place in my head.

Wv Sky ütles ...

I don't think most people are "afraid" of Gays, except for the promiscuous part where Gays continue to spread AIDS.

In my little country town, Gays may be frowned upon, but they are tolerated as long as the Gays don't get in anybody's face with it. I think most people's attitude is "live and let live" but not in public. This thong business for instance: shameful no matter Gay or Straight. No longer civilized, the United States is going down that same path that all great nations before it did, right before they collapsed. So enjoy all the colors and music and "Gaiety" while you can, because eventually people will tire of it and demand decency again.

Brüno ütles ...

Giustino,

Please tell us, why is blogging so popular in the gay community?

I am not judging you, I am gay myself.

Eppppp ütles ...

I still keep thinking, what was the word in the post that caught Ranno's attention (like he says).

ranno ütles ...

The one related to sexual preference.

Sharon B ütles ...

There's an extent to which, when you're not gay and you don't have many acquaintances who are, you really don't know exactly how you're supposed to think/feel/react around people who are clearly identified/identifiable as gay.

I'm not necessarily talking about the "screaming queens" (I've met a couple of those who turned out to be straight), but rather the couple holding hands in the street or canoodling by the bar.

It's this sense you can't shake that you both view "normal" interactions between human beings from a very different reference point. "Normal" for you is not "normal" for me, and vice versa.

It's a little bit like meeting a couple of cannibals at a party. It doesn't matter now nice they are, how interesting they are to talk to or how much you tell yourself that it's a different culture and you should try to be accepting... at the back of your mind you can't shake the thought that they may want to eat you or invite you over for dinner, and you don't think there's a good way to react to either situation...

viimneliivlane ütles ...

Yes indeed Giustino, your writing has always been excellent, but your report on your summer vacation in the US with the bi-coastal gay communities has set a new standard. For years, to our great amusement and enlightenment, you have been able to describe what it’s like to witness Estonian society trying to regain its place in the western world but I suppose it was an inevitability that you would eventually have to make comparisons with what’s going on in the US.

For myself, I am struck with the underlying point-blank question inherent: is the gay movement going to stay a fringe group or will it succeed in bringing a level of decadence into mainstream society, which is to say will enough young people like you have the conviction to say ‘No thank you, I won’t join you, I prefer my traditional family life style, so don’t touch me.’ I think the gay movement so far has proven its toughness without doing further missionary work as it has survived through tough odds and a long-run AIDS epidemic, but how long it goes on, as with any counter-culture movement, is entirely up to them.

You must know that where the dialogue in Estonia is going is based on the history that during the Soviet occupation gays in the arts were forced to get married and lead traditional family lives. This leaves us with the quandary of not knowing which actors were straight and which were gay but to some extent the same is true for Hollywood. In Tallinn the double standard seems to have functioned pretty well as at present the gay bars in Tallinn are seen as the venues with the most interesting and inspiring conversations in town.

Prior to the cultural/sexual revolution of the 60’s from which the gay movement got its momentum (though the free-love of the time was entirely intended to be hetero as a reaction to the straight-laced 50’s) everyone knew that some boys looked effeminate and some girls looked masculine. The 60’s generation was also firmly scientific-based because as you will recall after Sputnik went up in 1957 the US educational system started emphasizing math and science. I think, decades later, that we still haven’t determined if homosexuality is biological or cultural. Looking at the leather scene of the gay community we see some heavily testosterone-laden dudes which leads me to think it’s not entirely about hormone distribution. Hormone distribution, as we know, is not a dichotomy between male-female hormones, but rather a continuum. We know the ground-breaking study would be about identical twins with the same hormone distribution and the same cultural effects, where one is gay and the other straight, but where would we find such a sample? Until then we are in the dark about why we have a gay movement, to my way of thinking. But if that’s your thing by all means go along for the ride.

For now just please don’t anyone blame Freud – he has made his contribution to the knowledge of mankind in the long tradition of the development of Western Civilization and the rest is up to us to apply all this cumulative knowledge for a better life. For myself, I put my faith in the French Enlightenment that all human behavior is rationally explainable but I may not see a satisfactory explanation for the gay movement in my lifetime. Your insight about mocking the stereotypical woman of the ‘50s even though most of them are too young to know what that means probably strikes as close as you can get to the issue. I hope you have an opportunity to pursue this in your own style.