Wednesday, 3 August 2005


Boys on the street walk close, touching. They hold hands, they whisper in each others’ ears. They giggle. Relationships between men are central, valued, special.

A girl and a boy – friends or lovers – won’t hold hands in public, and although it’s not uncommon for a girl to hold hands with another girl, it’s not nearly as common as boys doing so. Women are secondary. Homosexuality is overseas – is something laughed at about notorious celebrities, generally in Moresby – is for sissies – is unnatural, against God’s law – is nothing to do with friendship between boys, between men.

Boys also carry bags (like my existential friend above), or bilums – what westerners would call handbags. Here there’s nothing unmanly about it. There’ll be tools inside, or a cheque book, or buai. i love it (but i've always loved bags too. not shoes or makeup for me; just the bag.)

The closeness between men, the value given to it, the opposite of self-consciousness – the pride in parading this boys’ own intimacy – is not like it was in India (where you grow out of it). It would be so touching, if it wasn’t accompanied by such intolerance (re women).

But that’s up here. I don’t know what a matriarchal society would be like.

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