Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In Celebration of Love’s Labors Lost (Part 2)

Madonna and Child by JMCD @ 1980 (oil on canvas)

When I was 16 someone suggested I apply for a student exchange program which would facilitate my visiting the U.S. for a whole year. I was invited for an interview in KL and on the panel were a few really nice human beings who, to this day, are still my friends – anyway, thanks to them, I left mummy and daddy for the first time in my life a year later and flew to the US of A where I encountered my first Jewish princesses and acquired a fatal attraction for neurotic women.

Long story short, I remained virgo intacta throughout my stay in the U.S. – although I did get some valuable exposure to the literary, cinematic and dramatic arts - along with learning how to unhook women’s bras by stealth while maintaining an innocuous conversation with others. I realized towards the end of the year that the kids who actually got laid were mostly the ones with access to wheels – and that’s why automobiles are such an important part of American culture.

Senior Prom: American rite of passage
At a party for exchange students I met a friendly girl named J from Luxembourg who took an instant shine to me and later invited me to her Senior Prom. We ended the year with a two-week bus tour of other states – and as it turned out, J and I were assigned to the same bus. There was a large contingent of Latinos and Hispanics on board who made a huge racket singing football songs and “La Bamba” (thereby permanently destroying the song for me). So J and I took refuge at the back of the bus and for a whole fortnight got into some heavy petting before we flew back to our respective homelands.

All this while I maintained a regular correspondence with three hometown girls: my first love and the two pretty sisters. The elder sister put a lot of herself into her chatty and flirtatious letters; the younger sister was a bit tongue-tied and her correspondence didn’t carry much emotional charge. My first love wrote only sporadically and wasn’t particularly expressive. So when I returned to Malaysia, it was pretty clear who had missed me the most - and who was therefore the most willing accomplice on the great adventure of adulthood.

We made plans to meet in Singapore. I found a cheap hotel and we checked in, trying our best to look nonchalant. I had packed a dozen condoms, just in case. Prior to my leaving for the U.S. we had logged a fair amount of snogging hours, stopping short of actual penetration. At last the moment of truth had arrived – we were ready to go all the way.

It’s sad that so many young people get traumatized by their first sexual initiation, simply because of ignorance and anxiety. 

I’ve read that in some Polynesian cultures, pubescents are gently, patiently and goodhumoredly inducted into adulthood by a sexually experienced relative - usually an aunt or uncle with shamanic energy who knows how to avoid unwanted pregnancies - to ensure that their youths blossom into maturity with a healthy attitude towards lovemaking. This was before prudish missionaries arrived and infected the natives with their Abrahamic erotophobia.

Much as we were both absolutely eager to consummate our passion, the act proved far more difficult than we had anticipated. I’ve since discovered the word vaginismus – a fancy name for the tight pussy syndrome a significant proportion of females suffer from, usually due to emotional and psychological issues surrounding the idea of losing one’s virginity. It’s a complex and fascinating topic but this is hardly the place to delve further into it.

After multiple unsuccessful attempts, we collapsed, exhausted, and fell asleep. A couple of hours later, while we were between sleep and wakefulness, our bodies were drawn together as though by natural magnetism – and, before I knew what was happening, I felt myself sliding sweetly, deliciously, deeply inside her. The triumph I felt surging through my entire being was indescribable. No way I was going to pull out now and rummage around in my bag for another condom. For both of us this was the very first time, and caution was thrown to the wind as we abandoned ourselves to wild sensations hitherto unknown.

Somewhere at the back of my mind I told myself to be careful not to ejaculate in her; but if you’ve ever tried to stop a cat from pouncing on an unwary sparrow by yelling at it… you know the cat will pounce anyhow. I came anyhow... with the full force of my 18-year-old virility… and even as I rested my glistening body on her still heaving womanhood, I knew we had both passed the point of no return – and that our lives would never again be the same.

About three weeks later, I got a letter from her, telling me her period was long overdue. I wrote back, suggesting she buy a pregnancy test kit from the nearest pharmacy, and to let me know the results by phone. She called me from a pay phone the next evening: “It’s positive,” she said. I suggested we meet over the weekend to discuss our options.

The first person I told was the girl next door – my first love. I walked over to her house and suggested we go for a long drive. She drove and I spoke. I told her something big had happened to seal our fate – I was about to become a teenage parent, and my original intention to marry her (which I hadn’t had the courage to inform her earlier) had to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. I admitted that I had no idea what “love” was really about, but I suspected it was distinctly different from sex and romance. I felt certain I would always love her – but now it would have to be as a friend, because I was accepting full responsibility for my own actions.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

“I don’t know yet,” I answered. “I’m going to meet her in a couple of days and then we’ll resolve what to do. But she’s carrying my child and we now have a genetic and karmic bond.”

The mother of my child and I resolved that we would accept parenthood and live together as a family; but I couldn’t handle the concept of marriage, because I strongly felt that our sex lives are our own private affair, and I didn’t see why we had to obtain a license from the government or seek society’s approval. Since this pregnancy had been unplanned, we agreed to give ourselves ten years; let the kid grow up, then we can decide whether to carry on as a nuclear family or part as good friends. To my relief, she immediately agreed. Guess we were both rebels in our own ways. A few years down the line we became a molecular family – but that’s another story yet untold.

One evening after a good meal, I was sipping coffee at the table with both my parents when I decided to let them in on my big secret: “I’ve got some news for you – you’re going to be grandparents again very soon!”

My mum wanted to know who the girl was. My dad just drummed his fingers on the table for a moment; then he stood up and asked me to help him move the double-bed into my room. Totally calm, ever so pragmatic, what a cool dad, one of a kind.

Our first daughter was delivered by the same midwife who had delivered me 19 years ago – and in the same house too. We opted for a home birth because my de facto wife didn’t want her mother to find out until after the child had arrived. So it was a very organic experience altogether. I had read somewhere that tribal women were given cannabis tea to ease their labor, so I brewed some and we both drank it. She wanted to listen to some music to take her mind off the contractions, so I put on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I sat beside her on the bed, caressing her forehead and holding her hand. When the baby girl emerged, I was surprised to see both her eyes were wide open, and she was frowning ever so slightly, perhaps annoyed that she had been evicted from her mama's cozy womb.

New life is always a miracle and brings infinite joy to everybody. My parents swiftly grew extremely fond of their granddaughter and, as it turned out, her arrival gave them a fresh focus and added zest.

[To be continued...]