2011-05-14

Etre Suivie aux Etats-Unis


Between Silicon Valley and Tokyo, I lived in Colorado for a couple of years, and had a lot more time to relax. One day, I was sipping herbal tea with Organic honey and listening to National Public Radio. They were interviewing a French authoress who had come over to New York to be on hand for her recent book's publication. It seems it was her first time visiting this country, and the interviewer asked what struck her as the most "different" thing about America. I half-recall having groaned inwardly at the ostensible triteness of this question, but the Frenchwoman's answer struck me as altogether fascinating and memorable. 

She replied that the difference she noticed the most was that she was never "followed". Apparently an unescorted woman walking about in France can count upon being tailed by a series of men. Of course, in America, we have Stalker Laws -- it's against the law in many if not most States for people (men) to just follow other people (women) about, and one can be arrested and jailed for it. 
A friend of mine once recounted to me how she was "followed" in Paris, and finally turned 'round to talk to the fellow, and they ended up stopping for coffee and going through a series of negotiations and discussions centered around her coming over to his appartment for a private "photographic session" and so forth. My friend demurred, the negotiations ultimately went no where, the unlikely pair parted amicably, my friend went about her business, and the fellow in question skulked off to follow somebody else. Of what other stuff than this are amusing anecdotes made?! 
I suspect that the situation is similar in Japan.
It makes me think of how when we children would tease my parents whenever we'd see a circa 1950s movie wherein all of the young men had "buzz" haircuts, and how could women possibly ever have found that attractive, and so on. My dad's pragmatic response on at least one such occassion was to the effect of: "You kids wouldn't be here today if women back then thought that men were ugly." Fair enough. 
My dad and I lived together for the better part of two decades, and I can recall that he toed a fairly consistent party line against such things as "stalker laws" and other such under-inspired contrivances thrown up as obstacles to the basic (or base) desire on the part of men to pursue and meet women. When such things would bob to the fetid surface of the various media, he would softly Harrumph and then firmly and categorically state that if men left off pursuing women altogether, or were prevented with sufficient thoroughness, then there would be no future generations, and people would cease to be, and so on. 
As far as sexual education went, the collection of such occasional side comments was fairly nearly my lot, as it turned out. But that is surely another yarn in itself. 
It was as though my father were somehow in touch with some Loftier Wisdom which was able to weigh such matters and immediately pronounce judgement (usually negative -- given that most such so-called reforms are naïve and superficial).

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