A sweaty weekend. By my reckoning, I sweated through to the ends of my hair about five times over the weekend — a serious Saturday workout, then a bike ride in the early-evening heat, then cleaning the house, the usual — and now, on Sunday, my hair is basically held in place with dried sweat and truth be told, it’s not a terrible look. Maybe these hack-your-biome people are on to something. Once upon a time, it would be a disaster; I’ve always been a little on the oily side, but in my dessicated-crone years, I seem to have reached an equilibrium.
(I hasten to add that I still showered a couple times over the weekend. But I didn’t get my hair wet, because the last thing you want to do on a sweaty weekend is blow hot air on your head.)
And it was a decent weekend, hot, and a little upended. I had plans to do a river swim with a friend today, but we cancelled because police were looking for a drowning victim right where we usually go. Perils of summer, I guess, along with things like the blackout in New York.
What a blast that must have been, with Broadway casts singing in the streets and everybody jolly and helpful. I get the feeling people elsewhere are somehow disappointed when New York fails to disintegrate into a zombie-apocalypse scenario under such conditions, and instead rises to the occasion with grace, humor and generosity. When a water main broke in 1999 in Fort Wayne, cutting off water to a big chunk of the city, there was pushing and shoving in the bottled-water aisles at the grocery stores. And service was restored in just a few hours. Afterward, the tension was chalked up to “concerns about Y2K,” but if I was facing a tense situation, I know where I’d rather be.
Which brings us to the story of the weekend, wherein the president of the United States reveals himself, yet again, to be a racist, and half the nation gapes, appalled, and the other half essentially yawns, shrugs and says, “Portfolio’s doing pretty great. Nobody’s perfect.”
This stupid country. We are so deep into our Good Germans phase we’re soaking in it, and who cares? You do, I do, lots of people do, but not enough.
I want to say one last thing about Jeffrey Epstein, at least until I say the next thing: There’s an idea going around, that if you try to distinguish between “pedophilia” and what Epstein apparently has, i.e. “ephebophilia,” i.e., attraction to post-pubescent adolescents, that this is the hallmark of a creep. I get it, I really do, but I think it’s important to make a distinction, because it goes to the heart of the way young women are treated in this culture.
It’s in the porny way we treat “Lolitas,” and it’s not just people like Epstein and Larry Flynt and other creeps. It’s also evident in the way virginity is prized in evangelical cultures, this idea that women can be “spoiled” by sexual activity outside of marriage. It’s deeply misogynistic.
And it’s far more widespread than we acknowledge. I understand that men will look at beautiful teenage girls and recognize that they are attractive; that’s biology, and it happens. In ancient cultures, women were married off as soon as they were capable of childbearing. And this is what a lot of the don’t-call-it-pedophilia seem to be saying: That this is somehow OK, because it used to be OK for men to sleep with teens. Obviously, that’s not what I’m saying. When adults act on those urges, I think it’s a mistake to call it pedophilia, because that reduces young women to children in the name of protecting them. Of course they still need protection, but it’s different from the way we protect young kids; rather, it’s a way of valuing their potential and the life that lies ahead of them.
I keep thinking of something I read in the original Miami Herald piece about Epstein that started all this, last fall. One of the girls said she was triggered by the word “pure,” because that’s one Epstein used with her, over and over. I guess when he was done with her, she was no longer pure.
Women are people, and they’re real, not precious glass sculptures that you throw away when one’s leg gets snapped off. They’re not children, either, as much as we want to treat them that way.
OK, time to face the week ahead. Still gonna be hot. I guess it’s preferable to January.