The following is a fictional story. Its my first attempt at a serious post. As it took all of 13 days to write, it will also be the last.
Scene 1: age 3
Players: The Author and his doting mother (DM)
DM: What did you do at school today?
A: I asked P to marry me.
DM: (switching to "ain't that cute" voice) And what did she say?
A: She said yes.
DM: Thats nice.
A: (very pleased with himself) I told her I would kill her if she didn't.
Ah, the innocence of childhood! Or was it?
Scene 2: age 4
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails,
And puppy-dogs' tails;
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
Aand all that's nice;
That's what little girls are made of.
They're different from us, you see. They're sweet and spicy. We're only liked by Frenchmen with a taste for haute cuisine.
Scene 3: age 5
Players: The Author and his knowledgable friend (KF)
Setting: A playground
A: (fighting back tears) I hate her! She cheated! She always cheats!
KF: So what can you do?
A: I want to punch her hard.
KF: You can't hit her. She's a girl.
A: So what?
KF: You can't hit girls.
A: (defiantly) Why not?
KF: (in a conspiratorial whisper) Because if you hit a girl, she can't have babies.
A: (in open-mouthed awe) Really? Why?
KF: See, girls have babies in their stomach. So if you hit them in their stomachs then it gets damaged and they can't hold babies there anymore.
A: (slightly unimpressed) So I can punch her in the face.
KF: (hadn't thought of that) No, no... what if you miss?
The unfairness of life hits home for the first time. Ideas forming - the use of physical force is a no-no, and the reason has something to do with making babies.
Scene 4: age 8
Players: The Author, his class teacher (T), and various classmates (C1, C2,...)
Setting: At school
T: Lets play a word game. All of you sit according to your houses, and I'll write a word on the board. The house that can make the most words using letters from that word wins. Any questions? Good.
(Little boys scramble into groups. Teacher writes "PAINTER" on the board. Ten minuted pass)
T: All right boys. One boy from each house read out a word and I'll write it down.
A: Rape (pause)
T: (shocked) That doesn't count. Do you have any more words.
A: (protesting) But ma'am, it IS a word.
T: Don't argue with me
A. I say it doesn't count.
A: But ma'am, I read it in the paper.
T: OK, that's enough. Go stand outside for the rest of the period!
(A sulkily complies)
After class, C1 catches up with A.
C1: Hey, what does that word mean?
A: Its when you hit a girl.
There's the power of mass media for you. Children learn so much, so fast. Notice that A has no idea about sex yet, but is aware of rape as a vague concept.
Scene 5: age 10
Song - Billie Jean, by Michael Jackson
People Always Told Me Be Careful Of What You Do
And Don't Go Around Breaking Young Girls' Hearts
And Mother Always Told Me Be Careful Of Who You Love
And Be Careful Of What You Do 'Cause The Lie Becomes The Truth
Billie Jean Is Not My Lover
She's Just A Girl Who Claims That I Am The One
But The Kid Is Not My Son
She Says I Am The One, But The Kid Is Not My Son
Scary. And not just because it was sung by a paedophile
Scene 6: age 13
Players: various classmates (C1, C2,...)
Scene: Classroom, after sex education class
(relatively quiet, given that its break time. muffled sniggers and nervous giggles are heard all round, as little boys get confirmation of facts they only vaguely knew)
C1: Hey, C2 is crying
(everyone gathers around C2 who is quite inconsolable)
C1: What's the matter?
C2: (between sobs) My mother and father. They. They did. THAT.
(C2 throws up)
C1: Yuck! Someone call the sweeper.
How could they, who we held in such high esteem, stoop to such levels?
Scene 7: age 15
Players: The Author and an Excitable Friend (EF)
EF: Hey, you know what?
EF: You know, we're going to study Shakespeare next year.
A: Yes. So?
EF: (sniggering) I read this poem he wrote. Guess what it was called?
A: Ummm, no idea. Tell me.
EF: (can barely contain himself) The Rape of Lucrece
EF: Yes, I swear. I read it from this collection my dad has.
A: Wow! Do you think they'll teach it?
EF: I don't think so. But you can borrow the book from me.
Such unhealthy fascination.
Scene 8: age 17
Player: Noted sexologist (S)
Setting: A talk show on TV
S: You see, women give sex because they want love, but men give love because they want sex.
Indeed, what filthy creatures we are
Scene 9: age 19
Song - Free Fallin' by Tom Petty
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts
And I’m free, free fallin’
Ah, those good girls made of suar and spice. We thought they could do no wrong. How wrong we were.
Scene 10: age 20
Players: The author and his distraught friend (DF)
DF: How could she leave me for him? HOW? HOW?
A: Calm down. It'll be all right. This is for the best. You'll find someone better than her, I guarantee you.
DF: No, I won't. And you know what - neither will you!
DF: This whole sensitive guy shit that we're pulling. Its a load of crap, man. Utter crap! The truth is that girls don't want to be treated with respect. That's just another of their lies. They just want to be fucked. They want to be fucked till their brains fall out. That's the truth.
A: You're being irrational.
DF: Am I? Then tell me, what did I do wrong? I treated her with respect. I never forced her to do anything she didn't want to. And this guy? He gets her drunk at a party and rapes her. I told her it was OK. That I'd still take her back. But she went with him anyway.
A: I'm not so sure this counts as rape.
But definitions are blurring around this point.
Scene 11: age 23
Player: Reputed Professor (RP)
Scene: Lecture on Game Theory
RP: As you must know, George Akerlof has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Economics. This is mainly because of his pathbreaking paper "The Market for Lemons". Akerlof concieved of a used-car market. Some cars are good (peaches) and some are bad (lemons). The seller knows which is which, but the buyer doesn't. Since the buyer knows that she might end up with a lemon, she is willing to pay less. However, peaches are more expensive than lemons, so at the lower price, the seller won't sell the expensive peaches. This makes the chances of ending up with a lemon higher, and the buyer further reduces her willingness to pay. Ultimately, all the peaches leave the market and only the lemons are left.
Now, if only I had understood that earlier.
Scene 12: age 24
Players: Ranting man (RM), calm man (CM)
Setting: Online forum for displaced Calcuttans
RM: Of course he deserves to die. He raped a little girl!
CM: While I'm not denying the severity of the crime, I am opposed to the death penalty on principle. I think that all civilised societies need to abolish capital punishment. Even if someone kills another human being, we can't take it on ourselves to kill him. Then we're just as bad as he is.
RM: Maybe what you're saying is right, but for rape we definitely need the death penalty. That's a fate worse than death.
CM: I've heard this being said often, and I disagree. Murder is the worst crime you can commit because you end a person's life - snuff out their existence. After rape, the victim has a chance, however small, to rebuild her life and put it behind her. Murder offers no such chances.
RM: You have no right to make such a comment. You can't begin to imagine the trauma of a rape victim. Go ask your mother and sister what they would feel.
CM: Whoa! Time out!
Players: The Author and a female friend (FF)
A: Thats what these guys were saying. I don't know exactly where I stand on this issue. What do you think?
FF: I don't think rapists should be killed.
A: I'm glad you...
FF: I think they should be castrated!
So the equivalent fate worse than death for a man is to make sure he can never have sex again. I guess that makes sense at some very twisted level.
Scene 13: age 26
Player: The author and a much older acquaintance (MOA)
Setting: A restaurant
MOA: You see, women give sex because they want love, but men give love because they want sex. They want different things in a relationship. That's the basic problem.
A: You're still single, aren't you?
MOA: But so are you, smart-ass.