the elevator door opened
there was a woman
she stepped back
to let me enter
I didn’t get on
I let the door shut
so she could continue
her ride alone
I live a relatively insular life – social distancing was fairly easy for me even before covid19 made is culturally appropriate. My social interactions are limited to clerks & fellow travellers on the recovery road. That being said I am aware of the complexity of gender relationships, of the cultural context of masculinity, femininity, race.
I’m not sure what sparked this particular moment. The pācittiya spoke to not being alone with a woman & this is where it lead me. For the monks I suppose it was to keep them pure, untainted by temptation – because, clearly men cannot control their sexual urges & avoidance is the only solution. The same sort of reasoning was behind sexually segregated schools.
Rather than men having to exercise restraint just keep the bait out of sight. If they should get at it, it’s not their fault, it’s biology etc. For me some of this comes from our the dichotomy of our sex-o-phobic culture. Look but don’t lust – lust but don’t touch. If you don’t touch what’s your problem?
I’ve heard female friends talk about not feeling safe just walking cross the street after dark, feeling paranoid getting in an elevator with a male they don’t know. I’m glad I don’t have to live in that persistent undercurrent. I can’t remember the last time I was in an elevator.