This isn’t meant to justify drinking. This shouldn’t be taken to mean that alcohol is an essential ingredient in writing either. Just so you understand. And, to make the picture clearer, I am writing this after drinking four glasses of wine. I have a cold, my nose is congested, alcohol helps get rid of the stuffy yucky feeling that goes with having a cold, so I had wine. Then, I had this urge to write. And I’m giving in to the urge.
When I was in college and my mother got ballistic over my drinking, I told her that alcohol unleashed something in me. It loosened my tongue. It made me more articulate. Words just came flowing and, slurred speech and spinning visuals notwithstanding, my arguments were more structured, logical and coherent. I’m not kidding. She couldn’t understand. She belonged to that world where only women with “loose morals” drank anything stronger than a glass of champagne at weddings.
Honestly, I don’t know how Filipino women lived in the 50s. Too many restrictions, too many taboos, most based on what nice young ladies “ought to be” according to standards set in the middle ages. A proper young lady wasn’t supposed to let a man know that she liked him unless he let her know first that he liked her. And, even after he did, she was supposed to play hard to get; otherwise, she was too fast and loose. Seriously, I always got this feeling that having an orgasm was a taboo back then. Or, at the very least, something that a woman did not acknowledge. You know, like sex was something a married woman did because it was expected of her but to actually find pleasure in it was shameful.
And yet, it was alright to get all excited over a “coming out” party, the historical significance of which was nothing more than to parade a daughter to society to find the most “suitable” husband — a polite and non-verbal way of saying here’s my daughter, you can bid for her and the winning bidder will be the wealthiest bachelor, young or old, or the one with the most impressive ancestry.
Had I been born a decade or two earlier, I’d probably have died out of sheer frustration. [Read more...]