FI Question #12 - I don't even know how to title this one

by Tom Robbins

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FI Question #12 - I don't even know how to title this one

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:42 am

Pg. 171 “Implicit in most sexual yearning was a deep-seated desire to connect somehow with the mystery of being, but the yearning of the young was overlaid with a scary yet optimistic desire to solve the smaller (though they’d hardly seem small at the time) mysteries of the adult universe, a universe in which the p**** seemed to cast a long shadow and the v***** formed a gateway to both shame and salvation. If the longing of many older women lacked that sweetness, it was because they already had gleaned the information for which young girls were so shyly desperate, and may have found it disappointing and unsatisfactory, particularly where men were concerned.”

Is this an accurate assessment?
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Unread postby KYwoman » Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:06 am

Accurate??? I don't even know what the h*** he's trying to say. Sexual longing is a desire that young women have for information about men for survival as an adult? Older women's longing lacks sweetness because they have the info and found it disappointing and unsatisfactory? Boy, now there's a mouthful.

I'm not sure this is the time/place for this discussion, but I've been waiting to respond to this particular issue in this book. I have strong objections to the sexual preoccupation of Switters with this young girl. I tried to find the humor or reasons for it and not get bogged down with my distaste for it, but it was difficult and I was glad when the story veered off that topic. I'm sorry, I just don't have a sense of humor about leacherous men lusting after young girls. I think the time of that being seen as funny has passed, at least for me. I know it's been a long running joke, but the truth of young girls being hurt by adult men is too real to make a joke of it any more. This has been one of the major sticking points for me when I recommend this book (which I have frequently) to my feminist friends.

Okay, off the soapbox. That's my take, possibly off topic, but had to finally say it.
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Unread postby rustyred » Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:39 am

Very interesting quote to start the day with Liz - and a very thought provoking one at that -

Even being an old dried up bag of wind I'd have to disagree with it. To this day I'll always remember my first kiss - how my heart raced, what he smelled like - oh yeah - the shame and the glory of finally experiencing what I had up to then only dreamed of.

Anticipation and Innocence lends alot to the mystery of life around us - Once we have conquered the fear or our shyness we will then experiment with our knowledge and aquire new information. We can use it to continue to enhance and fulfill our lifes or not - That is our choice

Relationships are never a given. Human reactions and what one experiences on the way will change our beliefs and thoughts - life is in constant motion, never stagmant.

The sweetness of sexual yearning is a desire to love and a desire to be loved in return. I don't think we ever loose this feeling. If a one has had a rotten experience in past does not mean one does not still yearn for a more satisfying one, one that will make your toes curl.


:cloud9:
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:58 am

KYwoman wrote:Accurate??? I don't even know what the h*** he's trying to say. Sexual longing is a desire that young women have for information about men for survival as an adult? Older women's longing lacks sweetness because they have the info and found it disappointing and unsatisfactory? Boy, now there's a mouthful.

I'm not sure this is the time/place for this discussion, but I've been waiting to respond to this particular issue in this book. I have strong objections to the sexual preoccupation of Switters with this young girl. I tried to find the humor or reasons for it and not get bogged down with my distaste for it, but it was difficult and I was glad when the story veered off that topic. I'm sorry, I just don't have a sense of humor about leacherous men lusting after young girls. I think the time of that being seen as funny has passed, at least for me. I know it's been a long running joke, but the truth of young girls being hurt by adult men is too real to make a joke of it any more. This has been one of the major sticking points for me when I recommend this book (which I have frequently) to my feminist friends.

Okay, off the soapbox. That's my take, possibly off topic, but had to finally say it.


Actually, KY, I guess it's hard avoid this topic at this juncture. I was looking at it more from the angle of the older woman--because that is the part of the quote to which I can most closely relate. And I'm not going to say what I think about that yet because I want to let others answer. I can't remember how I felt as a young girl. :-/

But since we are on this topic now, I'm going to give my :twocents: I, like you, was somewhat bothered by his attraction to young women, but not as much as I expected I would be. I think it is because Suzy was a teenager. Afterall, not that long ago (in terms of the age of the world) women were getting married as young as 13. Plus, in the story Suzy returns his advances. I'm not sure how realistic that is, though. And I didn't even have a difficult time with the young girls in Bangkok (because Switters indicated that it was an accepted way of life for them and they enjoyed it--again not sure about reality here)--until it came out in the news this past week about how young victims of the Tsunami were being abducted and used for such activities.

And it is because of this issue that I am afraid to do this book the next time it's my turn for my hometown book club. They may start to wonder about Johnny. First it was J.M. Barrie. Now Switters. :blush:
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:03 am

rustyred wrote:Relationships are never a given. Human reactions and what one experiences on the way will change our beliefs and thoughts - life is in constant motion, never stagmant.

The sweetness of sexual yearning is a desire to love and a desire to be loved in return. I don't think we ever loose this feeling. If a one has had a rotten experience in past does not mean one does not still yearn for a more satisfying one, one that will make your toes curl.
:cloud9:


I agree on both counts. I think at times we stop yearning. But then, our life being in constant motion, as you say, can bring back that desire.
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Unread postby lumineuse » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:04 am

Liz wrote:
rustyred wrote:Relationships are never a given. Human reactions and what one experiences on the way will change our beliefs and thoughts - life is in constant motion, never stagmant.

The sweetness of sexual yearning is a desire to love and a desire to be loved in return. I don't think we ever loose this feeling. If a one has had a rotten experience in past does not mean one does not still yearn for a more satisfying one, one that will make your toes curl.
:cloud9:


I agree on both counts. I think at times we stop yearning. But then, our life being in constant motion, as you say, can bring back that desire.


Enter Johnny Depp.
"Oh, good!........ No worries, then."

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:28 am

lumineuse wrote:
Liz wrote:
rustyred wrote:Relationships are never a given. Human reactions and what one experiences on the way will change our beliefs and thoughts - life is in constant motion, never stagmant.

The sweetness of sexual yearning is a desire to love and a desire to be loved in return. I don't think we ever loose this feeling. If a one has had a rotten experience in past does not mean one does not still yearn for a more satisfying one, one that will make your toes curl.
:cloud9:


I agree on both counts. I think at times we stop yearning. But then, our life being in constant motion, as you say, can bring back that desire.


Enter Johnny Depp.


You saw right through me. :lol:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:00 pm

Pg. 171 “Implicit in most sexual yearning was a deep-seated desire to connect somehow with the mystery of being, but the yearning of the young was overlaid with a scary yet optimistic desire to solve the smaller (though they’d hardly seem small at the time) mysteries of the adult universe, a universe in which the p**** seemed to cast a long shadow and the v***** formed a gateway to both shame and salvation. If the longing of many older women lacked that sweetness, it was because they already had gleaned the information for which young girls were so shyly desperate, and may have found it disappointing and unsatisfactory, particularly where men were concerned.”

Is this an accurate assessment?_________________


I can agree with Tom from a gender bias standpoint that men have advantages in our society. :banghead: However, I disagree with him on the interpretation of older women or else he isn't hanging out with any older women that have some Wahoo left. Our society certainly has a Puritanical bias towards sex and this does cause shame and shyness particularly in young people. How sad though to think that as we get older we become even more disappointed and unfulfilled!

Sorry Tom! Pass the Wahoo please! :bounce:
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Unread postby Endora » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:26 pm

Our society certainly has a Puritanical bias towards sex and this does cause shame and shyness particularly in young people. How sad though to think that as we get older we become even more disappointed and unfulfilled!


But it's possible that as one gets older, the loss of that shame and shyness is exactly what makes sexual relations either last if they're long term ones or be more exciting if they're new. Getting older shouldn't be linked to this sort of disappointment, it should be a time to relish and enjoy what years of experience have taught, without those youthful hang-ups. Look how the allure of the nun was in the end more powerful than that of the young girl: experience is more interesting than innocence in the long run.
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Unread postby luvdepp » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:29 pm

rustyred wrote:Very interesting quote to start the day with Liz - and a very thought provoking one at that -

Even being an old dried up bag of wind I'd have to disagree with it. To this day I'll always remember my first kiss - how my heart raced, what he smelled like - oh yeah - the shame and the glory of finally experiencing what I had up to then only dreamed of.

Anticipation and Innocence lends alot to the mystery of life around us - Once we have conquered the fear or our shyness we will then experiment with our knowledge and aquire new information. We can use it to continue to enhance and fulfill our lifes or not - That is our choice

Relationships are never a given. Human reactions and what one experiences on the way will change our beliefs and thoughts - life is in constant motion, never stagmant.

The sweetness of sexual yearning is a desire to love and a desire to be loved in return. I don't think we ever loose this feeling. If a one has had a rotten experience in past does not mean one does not still yearn for a more satisfying one, one that will make your toes curl.
:cloud9:


I agree rustyred....I think it's true that the young have the anticipation and innocence which you only experience that first time around. But I don't think we ever completely forget those feelings and as we mature and experience life, we can feel that anticipation and excitement (the toe-curling :cloud9: ) time and time again if we're lucky enough. Or we can dwell on the negative experiences and become old and stagnant. It's our choice.
Haven't there been documented studies which have shown that women hit their sexual peak in the 30's and 40's whereas, men seem to peak at about 18? I for one, am quite happy to be a woman in her 40's. :blush: And like was said yesterday, JDOCD certainly has helped bring some of the syrup of Wahoo back into my life!
"So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself, who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed." ~HST~

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:51 pm

luvdepp wrote: Or we can dwell on the negative experiences and become old and stagnant. It's our choice.
Haven't there been documented studies which have shown that women hit their sexual peak in the 30's and 40's whereas, men seem to peak at about 18? I for one, am quite happy to be a woman in her 40's. :blush: And like was said yesterday, JDOCD certainly has helped bring some of the syrup of Wahoo back into my life!


That's kind of where I was hoping this would go. I think as we get older we "relax" more, as it were. Having more experience helps; but I do think that the peak you are talking about is quite valid. It's kind of hard not to notice that there are so many Zoners in their 40's/50's. And judging from many of the posts that I've read there is Syrup of Wahoo in bucket loads here. :blush:
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Unread postby abigail » Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:36 pm

I wondered when this topic would arise. I've had mixed feelings about the issue. I agree with KYWoman, I don't find it funny either. However, I didn't like Switter's any less for it. :-?
What does that say about me?!

My take on the passage is that young, inexperienced girls have nothing to which they can compare their first encounter. I'm not sure that Robbins meant that older women lack desire, but that they are not easily fooled by men. The "sweetness" Switters is after isn't wahoo, it's inexperience.
Older women already possess the knowledge about sex that young girls lack. Perhaps Switters finds this lack of experience in girls enticing because he would be the one to usher in this new aspect of life for the girl. I think the thought of exploring untouched flesh is an enormous ego boost for Switters. An inexperienced person is much easier to impress than someone with more life experience. (I'm not sure if this is clear. I'm having trouble expressing this thought, I'm sorry.)
I think the whole "solving the mysteries of life" is maybe a metaphor for a young girl exploring her own sexuality and the perpetuation of humankind.

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Unread postby fansmom » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:02 pm

abigail wrote:My take on the passage is that young, inexperienced girls have nothing to which they can compare their first encounter. I'm not sure that Robbins meant that older women lack desire, but that they are not easily fooled by men. The "sweetness" Switters is after isn't wahoo, it's inexperience.
Older women already possess the knowledge about sex that young girls lack. Perhaps Switters finds this lack of experience in girls enticing because he would be the one to usher in this new aspect of life for the girl. I think the thought of exploring untouched flesh is an enormous ego boost for Switters. (An inexperienced person is much easier to impress than someone with more life experience. I'm not sure if this is clear. I'm having trouble expressing this thought, I'm sorry.)
I think the whole "solving the mysteries of life" is maybe a metaphor for a young girl exploring her own sexuality and the perpetuation of humankind.


I think you expressed it quite clearly.

I just think it's a shame that Switters, after claiming that most of his generation of women is disappointed in men, sets out to disappoint another generation. I suppose that's an easier choice for him than trying to find why the older women were cynical. It's always easier to claim the problem is someone else's fault.

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:27 pm

fansmom wrote:
abigail wrote:My take on the passage is that young, inexperienced girls have nothing to which they can compare their first encounter. I'm not sure that Robbins meant that older women lack desire, but that they are not easily fooled by men. The "sweetness" Switters is after isn't wahoo, it's inexperience.
Older women already possess the knowledge about sex that young girls lack. Perhaps Switters finds this lack of experience in girls enticing because he would be the one to usher in this new aspect of life for the girl. I think the thought of exploring untouched flesh is an enormous ego boost for Switters. (An inexperienced person is much easier to impress than someone with more life experience. I'm not sure if this is clear. I'm having trouble expressing this thought, I'm sorry.)
I think the whole "solving the mysteries of life" is maybe a metaphor for a young girl exploring her own sexuality and the perpetuation of humankind.


I think you expressed it quite clearly.

I just think it's a shame that Switters, after claiming that most of his generation of women is disappointed in men, sets out to disappoint another generation. I suppose that's an easier choice for him than trying to find why the older women were cynical. It's always easier to claim the problem is someone else's fault.


Yes, Fansmom, I think Abigail expressed herself very clearly. Abigail, you, unlike Switters (as much as I love him), have humility. Switters appears to think he is God's sexual gift to womankind--one of the things I don't like about Switters--and also a difference between him and Johnny that didn't really come to mind until this moment. Johnny does have humility and doesn't seem to want to recognize that he is, in fact, God's gift to womankind. :lol:
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Larkwoodgirl » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:29 pm

abigail wrote:I wondered when this topic would arise. I've had mixed feelings about the issue. I agree with KYWoman, I don't find it funny either. However, I didn't like Switter's any less for it. :-?
What does that say about me?!

My take on the passage is that young, inexperienced girls have nothing to which they can compare their first encounter. I'm not sure that Robbins meant that older women lack desire, but that they are not easily fooled by men. The "sweetness" Switters is after isn't wahoo, it's inexperience.
Older women already possess the knowledge about sex that young girls lack. Perhaps Switters finds this lack of experience in girls enticing because he would be the one to usher in this new aspect of life for the girl. I think the thought of exploring untouched flesh is an enormous ego boost for Switters. An inexperienced person is much easier to impress than someone with more life experience. (I'm not sure if this is clear. I'm having trouble expressing this thought, I'm sorry.)
I think the whole "solving the mysteries of life" is maybe a metaphor for a young girl exploring her own sexuality and the perpetuation of humankind.


I completely agree with you abigail. It is not that older women lack desire, it is probably that they lack desire for him. Possibly only someone completely naive would be fooled by such hogwash.

I must say that this particular quote reeks with chauvanistic conceit. I always find it amusing when men try to rationalize the sexual behavior of women. I teach high school. I can personally give witness to the fact that sexual behavior and experience in young girls is not necessarily the rosy, naive, yearning picture that Robbins paints.
""We shall never cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T.S. Eliot


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