Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Scheherazade Goes to College"

One great thing about blogging is that your ideas do not just sit there and stagnate. Other people read them, comment on them, correct them, and expand them.

Some of you have been following my comments about hooking-up. Link here. You know that I have been very impressed by Susan Walsh's posts on her blog Hooking Up Smart. You also know that she has discussed some of my posts, and that we share a common perspective on these issues.

Yesterday Walsh took up my notion that many of today's college girls are behaving as though they belong to a harem. Link here.

I recommend it to your attention for a couple of reasons. First, and most significantly, Walsh shares an email she received from a young woman named Katherine who has found herself competing for the sexual favors of a young man. She knows that she is not his only hook-up. She knows that there are at least two others.

This does not cause her to reject him. It does not cause her to question her taste in men. It does not cause her to question her character. To Walsh's shock and surprise, she is looking for advice about how she can become his favorite, his harem Queen.

When we compare a college sorority, for example, to a harem, it is an interesting analogy, one that, somewhere in our heart of hearts, we wish were not true. But when the evidence presents itself, through an unsolicited communication, we are truly shocked.

So, if you are looking for a case study in harem behavior, by someone who is blissfully unaware of the role she has taken on, read through Katherine's letter and Walsh's commentary.

Then, Walsh expands the point to include other members of the harem community. Beyond the aspiring harem Queens and ersatz pashas, there are other characters who fill out the cast of characters.

Noting that harem girls are, for obvious reasons, attended by eunuchs, Walsh notes that today's harem girls often collect a few close male friends-- occasionally gay friends, as it happens-- and turns them into eunuchs.

These male friends are good to hang out with, good to share feelings with, but not good enough, or better, not suave enough, to have sex with. They are attendants, there to provide service for the harem girls, but are not considered to be hook-up material.

Of course, as Walsh says, many of these men, intimates of aspiring harem Queens, are not really eunuchs. They have just been treated as though they were by the girls who are out competing for the attention of the supreme pick-up artist.

Surely, that feels like a combustible mix.

And then there are girls that Walsh calls the slave girls. Once a girl becomes a harem Queen she attracts a coterie of slave girls. They surround her, wait on her, demonstrate undivided loyalty, do not aspire to be part of the pasha's harem, but content themselves with the attention of lesser courtiers, the pasha's sidekicks.

The more you draw out the analogy, as Walsh has done, the more depressing it becomes.

No comments: