Nuthin but wimmin
It's my dirty little secret. "Dirty" in the old fashioned sense, of something naughty and sexual. And "little" because, well, not many people would make a big deal about it. But that's because they don't really understand. I love women.

Not in the way Hustler Magazine wants us to love women. Or rather, not only in that way. As beings to possess or merely conquer, or repositories of my anxieties and sperm. But rather as endlessly fascinating people, who live in the same world I do but who see it differently, and who are vulnerable and strong in ways that we, usually, are not.

So naturally I got a big thrill out of the show "Rumi's Math" that I commented on a couple of days ago. And last night's thrill was maybe even more intense, at another all-woman production in New York's "Fringe" festival of theater. It was "El sueño de Sor Juana," presented by four athletic young dancers and a tall guitarist, all women from the theater company "Mujeres en Ritual" from Tijuana, Mexico, dancing and reciting the impassioned verse of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

There were not many of us in the little Greenwich Street Theatre (those in the biz like to spell "theatre" that way). And we didn't hear anyone but ourselves speaking in Spanish, so I wonder how many, if any, could actually follow the clear, forceful enunciation of the Mexican nun's erudite and complex verse. Even we had trouble following the complicated rhyme schemes in Golden Age (17th century) Spanish, filled with literary and Biblical allusions. The women were alternately waifs at a bus stop, whores, doñas of the colonial elite, nuns, political activists, free spirits -- all signified by costume changes and dance movements ranging from saucy to commanding. The literal meanings of the verse may have been beyond our ken, but the sense of the women's enjoyment of their different ways of being was clear as could be.

More wimmin: I really liked the One Story story in No. 23 (July 11, 2003): "Houses," by Martha Witt. It's a very womanly story, about secrets and fears that we men rarely know how to address. A 32 year old American has fled to Rio de Janeiro to escape deeply painful memories, and especially the demand to be nothing but a child-bearer, only to face another, Brazilian version of the monster. And Annie Proulx, in the New Yorker (Aug. 18), does again what no other woman I know, and too few men, can do well: Tell the story of the fear, especially fear of change, beneath the bluster of a manly man, and how it causes him to lose his chance to save himself.

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