living in a city that never sleeps
Entry for February 15, 2007

I’m going  to try this out for a week.  if it has cramped my style, then back to the old secret log.  If I can overcome the publicness of this, then so much the better.  After all I do want to open dialogues, to get ideas going.

So, although it has been discussed ad nauseum I wanted to say something about sex in this country.

But first a digression:  The Yiddish word, ‘Mechaya,’ meaning ‘pleasure,’ comes of course from the Hebrew word ‘to bring life to…’  Simple: pleasure returns the sense of being alive.

My mother used to sing a song about a mother asking her daughter about the kibbutz training camp she went to in Lithuania.  Here’s a rough translation of two verses: “And what did you eat there, my dear daughter?” “Burnt-up Kasha, made by Masha.  Mother it was a mechaya.” “and where did you sleep, my dear daughter?”  “In the loft in the hay, with two ‘halutzim’(pioneers).  Mother, it was a mechaya.”  Now it you remember Nina Simone’s mother-daughter song about marching for the NAACP  it has a similar structure:“Oh daughter, dear daughter take warning from me, and don’t you go marching with the NAACP.  For they’ll rock you and roll you and shove you into bed, and if they steal your nuclear secrets you’ll wish you were dead.” And ends with “Oh Mother dear mother, no need for distress.  For the young man has left me his name and address.  And if we win though a baby there’ll be, he won’t have to march like his Dada and me.”  My mother’s version downplays the ideology behind the daughter’s sexual revolution, emphasizing the irony and the freedom.  

And although all the refugees I knew who survived the Holocaust (and I’ve known a lot – more of that some other time) expressed their belief in sexual restraint, there was also an awareness of the pleasure involved, and a rueful tolerance for reality that they brought with them from the shetl. 

It was probably different with the Oriental communities, I want to say.  But then I remember the Delacroix paintings of the Jewish women in Morocco, and their open sensuality, and I suspect that the mentality of the women I grew up with were similar: know about everything, hunger for everything, and do nothing unless it is permitted, or unnoticed.  And it was up to the society to make sure that nothing went unnoticed.

There are more unique factors determining sexuality around here – the ideology of socialism and the equality of the sexes.  And the holocaust and post-holocaust anarchy.   

But there is more.  Sexuality is one of the noted considerations during wars around here.  In the Gulf War, for example, I kept a poetic log of the rockets, called “Between Bombardments” and noted:



“No, no sex," Eyal says.  What man

can compete?  This missile

gives it to all of us at once.

A war with no heroes, every man

for himself, every woman

fearing her own life,

everyone divided

from the others,

and with so many faulty options ‑

everyone divided against themselves.


Even jerking off 

can't do it.


(I can’t remember if the whole journal was published)


The other day I caught the end of some announcement on the news that Israel is high on the list of ‘performance,’ that is that the sexual average is 7 times a month and that it is a lot compared to others.  Of course it could be that Israelis are big braggarts, but the fact is that it is almost always a sexual element in Israeli behavior.

Where does this lead us?  Sorry, guys, not now.  I’ve got a life to live.



2007-02-15 15:59:15 GMT
Comments (2 total)
Funny, I don't seem to recall surveys like that having been reported in the British press. But then we did have as one of the longest running plays in the London Theatre the comedy, "No Sex, Please, We're British."
2007-02-15 22:48:42 GMT
I think we unearth surveys like these all the time. i'll check, though
2007-02-16 05:17:20 GMT
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