There are plenty of rabbis and Jewish mothers that would cringe and make “Oy vey” commentary, but how could one resist to blog about the truth? The truth of the matter is that I was schlept to Thunder from Down Under in Vegas last week for a bachelorette party. Now, lets paint the full picture for you:
In line were women of every size imaginable, Hashem created or store bought. My favorite had to be the grandma with the walker and the oxygen tank. I knew there was something terribly lucid about this woman when she was trying to move faster as she realized the better seats were taken. The only thing I could think of was how unsanitary the thoughts and words of these women were. A newly 18 year old girl with piercings and a Rastafarian hat stood behind me with her mother. He mother expressed joy and stated this was not her first show. Of course when I asked where they were from they responded with Reno. Of COURSE you are! How silly am I? I couldn’t believe a girl would want to see something so sexual with her mother. I realized my mom would have been okay to come with me, but I would have been adamantly against such things.
I was amazed… See we learn a few things when being in multiple Jewish communities. In the more observant sects of Judaism, we understand that men’s thoughts and motives can be changed by sights and introductions to avayrot (sins for a lack of better translation). Men are visual creatures that do not operate solely on visions, but do get caught up in them. Women are not as instructed to be mindful. Women are taught to be coy and realize they are vulnerable creatures that are moved by emotional connections. In the reform household my mother raised me in, I was taught that women are sexual creatures that need and desire both types of love, physical and emotional… both before marriage.
One shabbos in Los Angeles there was a rabbi who mentioned a poem called To My Coy Mistress. The premise of the poem was that a man wanted to have sex with a woman he just met. She clearly wanted to be courted, but the man was very carpe diem about his libido and basically states “Baby, I don’t have all night”. I found this to be the VERY feeling of the show. These Australians were going to show their “underoos” as soon as possible, before one of these women popped an artery because “baby, these ladies don’t have all night!” So the show begins!
At first I was sure all these men were Jewish. The dancing was horrible and the choreography looked like something out of Fiddler on the Roof. (I am so sorry Grandma!) As it continued and the pants came off, I realized that this was the most unkosher venue I have ever attended. Now, don’t get me wrong, people are entitled. However, I was more than surprised as to see women of all ages touch the tushies of men they don’t know, or worse, the man’s unit! I was absolutely dumbfounded when a mother-in-law of the bride to be (not my bride thank goodness) was tossed on stage and made out with and fondled. The man pinched her nipples as she touched him in places that are making this YentaPunker blush like it’s going out of style. No one should ever see a 60 year old gray haired Bubie on stage!
I was really surprised when we left. I felt like I needed some mikvah action. Like something needed to be washed away quickly! My eyes had been scared! Then it dawned on me. I used to ask why the heck someone who was in the orthodox world wouldn’t see a porn or maybe even just watch TV. That the beaches could be difficult if you’re teaching your child to be snius (modest) and clubbing could be wicked. Then I realized what I had just left was 1 call short of a donkey show. It took watching an old lady being happily molested on stage for me to realize that I might have been desensitized by my experiences in the world. Now, I am not saying that I agree with completely shutting experiences out due to fear or emotional trauma, but I do see why one would limit their experiences.
I feel like my punk rock–ness went down a little in Vegas. Like me being Jewish let me be a little less “hardcore”. That somehow To My Coy Mistress only served a purpose for double mitzvas on shabbos when the kids go to sleep. That knowing someone might actually be better than paying to see something you cant have. Later realizing, that someone cannot even respect what they could have with a significant other. That love and lust can be mutual or mutually exclusive. It made me question what these women might be missing from their husbands or boyfriends. It made me wonder how many of these women connect to Hashem on a level that’s so meaningful, that cheap penis cannot compare.
Ultimately, I learned that my Judaism follows me from shul, home, and to the depths of the Las Vegas strip and that even when I think I might have a moment to break free from what might bind me, I’m still bound. I think I have seen enough “thunder” for one lifetime. It’s not to say that women shouldn’t enjoy breaking lose, but above all I will NEVER say that men are worse than women after what I have experienced. And as I drove home from Vegas, the idea that someone needed to take off their clothing for money only made me sad inside.
As always, be true to the streets (and yourselves)