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Being equal or simply being trashy?

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"If you are not going to marry me by the end of this year, I'll go to my other boyfriend in Holland. He'll marry me - yes, he will. And that will be the end of our relationship, you hear me?" Yayuk, the twenty something year old woman screamed at her boyfriend.

John, shocked to finally realise that there was a guy from the other side of the world had been sitting in the back row all along, couldn't say anything else but: "Yes, it's over. Go ahead, run to your spare tyre."

Yayuk was speechless, obviously knew that her trick didn't work on her boyfriend, with whom she had been living for the past six months. She felt thankful that there was still her good old loyal second boyfriend waiting for her in the windmill country. Fine, he might already have one foot in the grave compared to her current young American stud, John. But she had tried her best, now it seemed that she had to settle for less.

"Playing smart - double dipping, eh? Cheap woman!" hissed John as soon as Yayuk walked out the door.

Anita has a different story. Starting when she was only seventeen years old, altogether she had slept with more than half a dozen different guys before she settled down with her current husband. She confided in me that her past behaviour was definitely not accepted by the local culture, but at the time she had no other choice.

"I was probably searching for true love - the perfect prince charming. It seems impossible to prove my feeling - my genuine love - without sleeping with them. I didn't do it for fun, lust, let alone for money. Of course I never told my husband that I had those experiences. He wouldn't accept it. He might think that I was a cheap woman or something," Anita admitted. She obviously didn't realise that having sex with a man doesn't help him fall in love, make her more special to him, save a failing relationship or even guarantee a commitment will follow. In fact, when a man is serious about a woman, he will wait a long time for sex. A lot of men would even wait for marriage. Anita might have been the desperate kind - though it was still her right to do so. Don't men commonly practice it - although with completely different reasons?

The question is - why is it if a woman has sex out of wedlock with more than one man she is called a slut? While if a man spends half of his life sleeping around with more than a dozen women it is considered normal or even an expectation of being a real male or macho? It is a phenomenon in life that has been troubling me for quite a while.

A good friend asked me once. Why do I feel more comfortable being friends with men than with women who have free sexual lifestyles? I was befuddled for few minutes before I jumped to a conclusion. Reason number one is that I am a female - and quite proud of it. Women carry the symbols of purity, dignity and many other sacred titles. The bond amongst females in society makes me feel that women should behave accordingly - to be pure and dignified.

Reason number two, as long as the man of my life is not a member of the morally questionable group, then I don't give a darn. I think that some men are still maintaining some ancestral barbaric traits. They've got the urge to mate without any feeling involved. Why? I consider male society is a kind of alien from a different gene pool that is not related to female society in general or to me. They live by different moral standards.

I'll give you some examples. One male friend, who happened to still be married, told me his experience with a prostitute disguised as a masseuse at a health centre a few weeks ago - about how much she charged him for a 'special service' he had. My reply was shocking. I just laughed at him, told him how silly he had been; and that was that. I said to myself that his behaviour suits him well, he's a male, what do you expect? Do you think that I would have the same reaction toward a female who had gone astray?

Is it wrong to expect women to be virgins and pure? While it is acceptable for men to be just the opposite? Is it backward thinking? Back to medieval times?

Why men behave the way they behave - God knows. But it is also known that purity has been important to men from the beginning of recorded history. In fact several thousands of years ago, the ancient Greeks encouraged homosexual acts among men so that there would be virgins for them to marry. What a huge sacrifice for them to make, not so for the homosexuals of course. This is definitely not a perfect solution though.

The award winning hit comedy 'Sex and the City' explores the sexual and social lives of four single women who are searching for their own versions of happily-ever-after fairy tales. Men come and go. Nothing can keep these women apart as they stand united in their quest for love, sex and power. In every episode, each woman has different lovers whom never stay for long because of their quirky flaws. This TV series has become more than a religion in some countries. The story is about perfect 21st century's heroines. Is this a prototype of emancipation or a competition about immorality? But again - who am I to talk about morality any way.

First published in the Jakarta Post

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

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