Before deploying JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope on the subjects of love and sex in the Philippines, I thought I would offer a few personal observations about the matter.
First of all, I think there is not one simple and profound kind of love. I think love comes in about as many different styles as there are personalities, which is a bunch. Furthermore, long-lasting love evolves from that first star-struck or sexually loaded glance through the excitement of exploration, the drudgery of really getting to know one another, a lot of arguments, considerable dependency, mutual achievements - possibly including kids - then a deep fondness and binding at the roots that holds through old age. If both partners commit to the pairing, for all that it means, and they don't discover along the way that this relationship just is not working.
Similarly, I think there is not one simple and profound kind of sex. There are a variety of positions and assorted sensual parts of the anatomy and different genders engaged here and there, and even sheep for the marooned sailor and a variety of toys down at the sex shop. Now there is an essential conflict between what churches say and what people may actually do, and each person must work that out with God on his own terms. Sex may be practical, as the way to make babies, but it is usually practiced because it is enjoyable, intensely so, both emotionally and physically. Variety and exploration add to the adventure.
What can we say about Filipinos and love and sex, or the frequent cross cultural pairing of youngish Filipinas with older white men from America, Europe or Australia (referred to herein as "Whities" for the sake of simplicity)? Those are the questions that provoked this blog.
To be frank, all I know about Filipinos and sex is that there are a lot of babies, and they are often conceived in very crowded circumstances (in small houses amidst lots of bodies). So it is very different from the sex I know, which is heterosexual in a bedroom with one other person and under the protective wrapper of some kind of birth control device to prevent undue children, lifestyle constraints, medical bills and lawyers.
I know there are a lot of marriages in the Philippines that are consummated only through the sexual act, and never make it to the church or mayor's office. That is because poor people don't have the required documents (themselves having been conceived in loose circumstances) or the required money. Now educated Manila residents or people with means may partake in the standard model of American procreative exercise, separate and private and protected, but most of the Philippines is poor. The broad laboring masses don't do it that way.
When it rains, babies pour. And it rains a lot.
There are also a lot of deadbeat dads in the Philippines (fathers who flee the scene and their parental responsibility), and a lot of moms who pass their kids off to uncles or Lolas or the deadbeat dad, who is usually an island or two away. So a whole lot of kids grow up in broken or even dysfunctional households. I'd guess considerably more than half.
What is the effect on kids? Does this underpin the constant striving for "face", for recognition, for defense of self and circumstance that characterizes so many interpersonal engagements here? For associative pride, looking for anything to hang one's esteem to? Is this where all the excuses and blames come from, and the ease of reaching for a gun? Is the Philippines essentially a very angry place?
Being a banker, I don't know. I'll pose the questions for the machine in a moment. But I can't help but think it is not the way God or Jesus or whoever dreamed up ideals for humans to live by had in mind. And I'd guess it contributes in some ways, maybe profound ways, to the failure of the Philippines to compete with global societies for good values and wealth.
What about Filipinas who hook up with older Whities? Questions abound.
- Is the woman in love, or is she just practical?
- Is the man only after sex and forever locked into the notion that a youthful partner is a sign of his attractiveness to women? That is, a youthful mate proves he is macho?
- Are Filipino men jealous, angry or superior in how they feel about Whities who have a youthful Filipina mate?
Let's take them one at a time before going to JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope for authoritative answers.
Is the woman in love?
I would ask, does it matter? As I mentioned above, love for different people has different qualities and changes over time. What use is it to try to define what it is? For some Filipinas, security may be love. Or admiration for white skin. Or maybe there is a quality of kindness in the Whitie that she hasn't found in Filipino men. Or maybe she likes sex with a big guy. Or maybe it isn't even love; it is totally practical. So what? The more pertinent question is whether or not she is willing to commit to the relationship, and all that it means, including the stares and innuendos she must face, and the stark reality that her husband is likely to die way before she does.
Is the man after sex and a macho feeling?
Yes, at the outset. Just like any other ordinary guy. Then the relationship evolves. The pertinent question for him, as well, is whether or not he is prepared to commit to the relationship, and all that it means, including providing for his family after he passes on.
Are Filipino men jealous, angry or superior about Whities?
My own experience is that Filipino men accept a mixed relationship as both unusual and normal, and they are neither jealous, angry nor superior. They see a mixed relationship as unusual because there are not many of them. But it is also normal because it is considered simply another way a goal-oriented Filipina can survive in conditions that favor the wealthy and powerful. It is like working overseas, or flopping from husband to husband seeking one who will support the kids. It is just the way a Filipina deals with life that most arrive at under severe penalty: poverty, poor family values, weak government assistance and bent societal norms. If she is actually romantically in love, that is a bonus.
But enough of my personal views on these matters. Let's crank up JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope and see what the analytics tell us.
Damn. Where did I jot down that password?
"Honeybunch, have you seen my little black book? The one with my passwords and stuff in it?"
"Down the toilet? Juices!"
"Yes, I know he's just a child."