As the world's population increases (despite my convincing suggestions to roll everyone -ages 0 to 200- up in seaweed, rice, cucumber and imitation crab and play rugby with them!), we seem to find more and more categories, files and boxes to shove everything into. (i.e. HE's a hippy-clothes store-owner, SHE's a softball player, THEY are terrorists and SHE is a dog-freak of incomparable proportions, and SEX is …well…, let's talk about strawberries, because they are in season.)
Now, I'm sorry to disappoint, but this isn't a rant about the Japanese Club-Group mentality.
In fact, it's more based on my knowledge of U.S. sitcoms, attitudes and media.
It's about categorization when it comes to fornication…
(and, I'll admit I have a “Wanna-hug-you” relationship with Categorization, as well as a “Wanna-snug-you” relationship with fornication…but that's another thread!)
I DO think, though, that we've definitely sculpted a few too many artistic box-titles for SEX. Talk to any zealous, single girl and you'll learn that we've got: casual sex, sex for love, sex for passion, sex for marriage, sympathy phux, sex for sex, baby-making sex, make-up sex, break-up sex, wake-up sex, and - my favorite - straight-up sex…
(the list goes on…but you can try it out on your own time!)
What this is all leading to, though, is a question my 14-yr-old student asked me today.
As I forced him to put on his hospital mask and apron to pick up the cafeteria food, he asked me, with sincere curiosity and no 'giggle-I'm-joking'-ness,
“What does 'gay' mean in Japanese?”
I told him: “homosexual”, and then began to explain what he already knew.
He then asked if the same word is used for men-who-dig-men as well as gals-who-dig-gals (Again, he's not a jokester, so this was all sincere).
I had just begun to answer, “Yes, but there is another word for…”--- when my drunken-karaoke-bro-co-working sensei stepped up and offered the Japanese, authoritarian
“No way! That's not suitable for junior high school students!”
OK, then… I stepped back.
But, I couldn't help but be confused. Just last week, I had stood by the same teacher as he taught sex ed. to that same student. Talk of H.I.V. and pregnancy had gone on, as well as a hand-out, complete with pictures of condom-application…
How was I to know that the kid was old enough to talk about eating tacos but too young to discuss bananas..?!
I'm thinking of offering a clandestine course (during coffee breaks) to the teachers of my junior high school:
“Banana-splits and Taco-Salads- Both are Delicious! Which one do you like?”
Advanced course: “Straight-Nutty, fruit, vinegar salad with Taco-banana dressing- Enough servings for the whole family!”