Monday, August 8, 2011

Lost and Found Dept.

Rated R

I was on a walk this morning, in between summer storms, and found something white on the sidewalk(the R part begins here). Without investigating, even with the toe of my sneaker, I assumed from its size, shape, color&location that it was girls underwear tossed out the window of a car the night before. (Yes, this could be a puerile male fantasy, but read on as I think my reflections are worthwhile beyond any relation to the actual physical evidence.)

SOMEBODY LOST SOMETHING last night. Perhaps her virginity (if the first time) or her self respect (if the 5th or 50th). It matters a lot less than you think whether or not she “asked for it,” as that only determines whether it is rape or not. Maybe this guy was her dream date, maybe not. In any such transaction, the girl loses something important, and the boy gets something for nothing. Maybe he paid for dinner, maybe he just paid. That hardly matters either; it only determines if it is prostitution or not.

While I have no desire to trivialize the ugly violence of rape, the importance of sex goes far beyond its current legal or political status, and far, far, far beyond what two 15 year olds, or 50 year olds, give it on a certain night in a certain place. (At least that was the conclusion back when people actually studied these things.) Occasionally, as in Mary Pipher's frequently excellent “Reviving Ophelia” people still “get it” and actually write about how demeaning sex is for teen girls. The religion taught in public middle schools says that sex is OK if you've thought about it enough. I disagree, unless by "thought about it" your thinking leads you to realize that sex belongs exclusively within marriage, as previously taught by all cultures, even those that wink or even celebrate violations of this heretofore obvious fact.

In the 19th century, Leo Tolstoy found meaning in the simple faith of the peasants. Today, Dallas Willard tells us, “there are no more peasants.” We convince ourselves that even the most obvious truths are just “lifestyle choices” and think we are sophisticated. Instead of just stupid.

A friend told me a story; hopefully it's not true. Year after year, a certain parent would tell their young child, as they went outside to play: “Have fun, and if things get too hot, put your panties back on and come home!” They thought they were being supremely clever, especially when, as a teen, the child finally got the “joke.” It's not a joke; it's immature parenting at best. And, yes, it would be of some comfort to learn that the parent made up this sick story to demonstrate their “cleverness” to an adult, and never actually spoke to a child this way. But in the end, perhaps it doesn't matter:

We trivialize sex, and then wonder why it doesn't satisfy us. The same lawgiver that governed the rising of the sun this beautiful summer day also said “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The celestial bodies have no choice in their obedience; human bodies do have choice, we abuse it sorely, and feign surprise when teen girls and many others suffer consequences. . .

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