art by Ron Sanders
Love is a component of this story
by Liz Argall
***Editor's Note: Adult Story, not for Minors***
Love is a component of this story. Specifically the love that develops between a man, Ernest, and a woman, Bruce. Ernest identifies himself as definitely straight, but his physiological responses could be classified as 73% straight. Bruce identifies herself as mostly straight but curious, yet her physiological responses could be classified as 87% straight. This is unusual, as, in studies thus far, women tend to be physiologically more fluid in their sexual responses. A sexual increase in vasocongestion can differ substantially from a person's sexual identity without diminishing the significance of that sexual identity. The narrator is 29 years old, describes herself as situationally heterosexual and a bit queer. The narrator is flawed, 78% omniscient, and skims over the sex scenes in fiction.
Sexuality is socially constructed and so is its close cousin, gender. Gerai people in a Dayak community in Northern Borneo, for example, see gender in the shapeliness of knees, the ability to sort rice or felling trees--genitalia are just a happy coincidence and are the same organs anyway, simply stored differently. The ability to procreate comes from the sameness of men and women's organs and fluids--as they say, coconut milk can only mix with coconut milk, it cannot mingle with water. The Gerai believe that men can have babies--it is just foolish to do the work when women are so much better at it (and while having babies is specifically a woman's job it is not the work that defines femaleness. Sorting and storing rice is what makes a woman).
Men are said to participate equally with women in all things, except in giving birth. Equality is considered crucial for the safety and well being of the community. The Sabat ritual and giving of Buis is used to correct the imbalances created by men not giving birth--restoring harmony and protecting the tribe from bad luck. The severed head of an enemy is no longer given at the conclusion of the Sabat, and some hypothesize they never were.