The One About Sex: Get Ready To Be Schooled
I think it’s high time I take this recurring question on: Did I or didn't I sleep with Francisco? If you haven’t read my book, Yoga Mama’s Buddha Sandals: Mayans,Zapatistas and Silly Little White Girls, but plan to, don’t read this yet. I don’t want to ruin anything for you. If you have read it, then you, too, may be wondering about this: Did I or didn’t I? How could we not have? After all, there was a lot of steam in that jungle! And no one was looking.
I’m getting a LOT of disbelief, ranging in temperature from amused shock to downright seething and snide (primarily from women. WTF?). To the latter, I want to respond with a snarky, “Just because you would have doesn’t mean I would have.” Or “Hey, he wasn’t my first Hot Pursuer.”
To the more gentle disbelievers, I refer you back to Chapter 2. Remember? I was on my own more or less from the time I was 13 years old, in and out of the custody of a dangerous, lecherous father who used and threw away women like empty beer cans: crush-toss. Before that I lived in an über strict Southern Baptist house of shaming where everything I watched on TV or read in books was sieved through narrow-fine moral filters. I grew up in a modern world but my media was almost completely from the 1940s and 50s. While my classmates played on their Xboxes, I grew up on Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Gene Kelly movies where the heroes had impeccable character and spent whole reams of film chasing the girl and in the end, all they usually got was a kiss and dreamy-eyed adoration. And the girl who was so desperately pursued? She was never a tramp. Of course, it’s more complicated than that.
When my parents divorced and I found myself yanked out of the bubble and thrown into a world of chaos, I had to learn fast. I had to learn to watch my father’s every expression for signs he was about to derail and learn how to deflect him if things started going badly. When I ended up on my own, I had to watch out for and “manage” would-be predators. Living under such circumstances, I heard the whisperings of friend’s parents that, poor thing, I’d end up dead or pregnant within a year or two. I also read about kids in my situation in child development class in high school who fell exactly as those parents predicted I would. Somehow (inspiring books, a strong belief in God, a higher-power, and an above-average dose of idealism, etc.), I believed it didn’t have to go that way for me and I’d do my damnedest to keep it from happening.
Not surprisingly, I did end up getting into a lot of trouble, but the trouble I got into was on my own terms, and possibly trying to wrest control of my own life. I skipped school, I drank as much as I could, I smoked pot. I sought thrills. I climbed the outside of multi-storied buildings, danced til dawn and jumped on moving trains. But I kept celibate. For longer than could have been predicted anyway, despite the fact that some friends called me a prude and despite many clever predators.
And there are many predators out there and they seem to be adept at sniffing out vulnerable people. Somehow I was generally able to spot them before it was too late and learned to evade or deflect them. I watched and I learned and I read. One of the most important things I learned, a lesson that I would love to share with more young women, is both a protective precaution and a path to true love: The way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach and, perhaps more surprisingly, nor through his penis. It actually is through his heart. At least for a man of quality. Here’s something else I learned: A man of quality would be willing to wait (for sex) for the right time.
It was a most valuable lesson for me: You could rule out dangerous jerks by simply not sleeping with them. They won’t wait. They self-select out. See ya! I knew I was in danger of making bad choices because I’d read books about abused kids growing up to marry abusers and get involved in all sorts of destructive relationships. I knew I couldn’t necessarily be trusted to make the right decision in these circumstances. But I could develop safeguards, tests for my suitors. Anyway, by the time I’d actually decided to…indulge, I mistrusted everybody, yet at the same time, I was a passionate woman who dreamed of true love, of a hero that would be willing to ‘run the gauntlet and slay dragons’ for the sake of love. My love. Literally, spiritually and emotionally, I needed a dragon slayer. And that man would be willing to wait for when I was ready, when I trusted, whether that took a month or a year. I have no doubt that philosophy has saved me a LOT of trouble and was so ingrained it held up under the tipsiest of circumstances…mostly. And I did find TRUE LOVE, so yay me!
Don't misunderstand and go voting for sainthood status for me or anything. I’m no saint. I’m human and I’ve made mistakes. Doozies. But I can go into those another time. But now that you know a little more about from whence my strength derived, maybe with this little context you can see how a woman traveling alone would be able to abstain even when the heat was on high? Maybe now you can just accept it as truth? If not, maybe you should ask yourself why it bothers you so much?
P.S. If you happen to know Francisco and are wondering, know this: A perfect gentleman with a noble heart. A definite dragon-slayer. Just not mine.