‘If your sister…’

‘If you are sitting in a restaurant, and a strange man comes up to you and asks if he can dance with your sister, what would you say?’

We are sitting on the floor of a spartan room, whiling away the hours of a Friday afternoon. My companion has beaten me at chess so many times and so soundly that neither of us wants to carry on playing. Instead, as the light fades and we wait for the power to trickle on, the conversation has turned to social relationships as experienced in the West.

‘If he was not a bad man,’ I reply, ‘I would say yes.’

My companion, an Afghan man in his 40s, short, neatly trimmed black beard on an open, engaging face, was trained as an Engineer by the Soviets, spending several years in Ukraine and elsewhere. When we first met several months ago, he told me with pride how he worked in a factory in the USSR building Mig fighter planes. I didn’t have the nerve to ask if those might have been the same planes that were used to occupy his homeland.

Today, he was telling me about his experiences with Ukrainian friends in Kiev’s nightclubs, and asking me what I thought of their behaviour. There, he told me, women would dance with unrelated men.

I tried modifying my initial response. ‘But I would not decide if my sister could dance with the man or not. It would be for my sister to decide if she wanted to.’

We had been through various permutations of the same question already. Starting with whether or not my supposed sister would be allowed to frequent such a place, and running through various scenarios: If the man was my friend? If he had been drinking? If he was black?

I felt my companion to be an anthropologist, posing various hypothetical questions to draw out the details of my kinship system, probing to understand my society’s concepts of marriage, taboos and incest restrictions.

‘If a man wanted to dance with my sister,’ I continued, ‘he would ask her, not me. It would be for my sister to decide.’ I didn’t get as far as the possibility of my sister asking a strange man to dance.

‘That is very good, I think’ he concluded with a thoughtful frown. ‘But it could not happen like this in Afghanistan.’


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One Response to “‘If your sister…’”

  1. Purusharth Says:

    Oh please come of it… do you really believe that the West is more sexually open than the orient. You must be kidding.

    The sexual openness, freedom and fairness of the West is just a sham. West is only ‘heterosexually free’, but there is more to sexual freedom than that. the West is sexually free for women, but for men it is only heterosexually free.

    Would you be really as cool if a man asked if he could take your younger brother or son out on a date?

    If sex is not to be related with marriage or procreation, then why should man-woman sex be treated any better than man-man sex, considering that the latter has been suppressed for so long only because it doesn’t lead to procreation.

    the fact is that the west is the most fucked up country as far as sexual freedom goes. man to man sexual bonds have been persecuted for long, been rendered voiceless and forced to go behind the scene in most civilised societies in the middle ages. But there it has survived till the modern times (even in the west till not so long ago) quietly, unspoken, but still widespread in the maiinstream, because sexual need for men is a universal sexual need of men, at least as strong as their sexual need for women, but probably stronger.

    However, the modern western society through heterosexualisation, which includes giving power to women to be sexually open, demanding and aggressive, while not giving the man the power to say no to women without losing his manhood, and more importantly, without giving the freedom to man to even own up his sexual need for another man without being deprived of his manhood (misleadingly named “straighthood” in the west).

    the fact is that in the West two men can’t even walk hand in hand without being called “homo” (which is an extremely undignified identity for men, because it is officially defined as “men who have sex with men”, it practically means “feminine gendered male who has sex with men”, usually receptive anal sex.

    The non-Western society only suppresses man to man sexuality by shoving it behind the scene and taking away its voice, but allows it to be practised quietly in the mainstream.

    the western society finishes off all the men’s spaces by heterosexualsing them and together with them all traces of male to male sexuality from the mainstream. Not only that it misrepresents man-man desire, but it also gives it a totally inappropriate identity (because of which men start disowning it and adopting ‘straight’ identity/ behaviour).

    I think its high time you gave up your pretenses to be a free and fair society.

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