The usual post-vacational problem has turned up again. Throughout the stay in Malta I had millions of those insanabile cacoethes scribendi moments. The mind operating like a tiny polaroid took tiny snapshots of different moments, themes and issues that should have been filed for blogging at a later date. The sun, the drink, the food or the combination of all three has led to the confutatio of all these moments in my mind such that they are no longer useful if not as a serendipital list of maxims / observations.
The loss of reasonable bloggable material is to be coupled with the saudade that struck me upon leaving the island to return to cold, grey and sealess Luxembourg. All is fine now - following a shopping trip to Auchan, stocking up on Bocconcini, Prosciutto San Daniele and Mozzarella di Bufala as well as four litres of Martini Bianco (currently the accuser's favourite sip), we may say that the morale has been partially repristinated.
And it is with a prosciutto laden belly that I sat down to read this morning's papers, in particular, my favourite Thursday read - DCG. (When TGIL is not on of course). For some time Daphne has chosen topics of the, let's say, sexual nature. Simple reading would induce one to think that these are the (more moderate) rantings of a feminist columnist with much more grey matter than the other more radical codpiece of feminism Lorna V. One would of course be wrong.
I think that the underlying theme in Daphne's articles is not the lack of advancement of the status of the grumpier (erm sorry, fairer) sex. Nope. It is all about the general disappointment one feels when one examines the general state of affairs in the islands of Gozo and its Dependencies with regard the subject of SEX. Salt and Pepa were asking us musically to talk about it way back in the early nineties. In the islands of Gozo we prefer to talk about Alfred Sant's toupee and Chiara's Eurovision dress.
Which brought me to one of the topics which failed to fall victim of my blogamnesia. Toplessness. You know what I am talking about? The tits in full view on the beach business. The "marelli madonna ara x'par ghandha dik!" (1) epidemy. As well as the "Jaqq dawn il-qhab barranin b'sidirhom barra!"(2) syndrome. Contrary to what some of you may be cogitating, I was not reminded of this issue the first time I removed my t-shirt and exposed my substantial collections of fat that cohabit with me on my torso in the form of various rings mid-riff and pre-pubertal mounds in the place of former pectorals (I kid, I kid, I never had proper pecs thanks to my aversion to physical exercise).
No. It so happens that both Mel. and our visiting friend S. are both in the habit of sunbathing topless. Even as I type I feel some sort of "naughtiness" and almost a slight reddening of the face. For the truth is that the taboo of toplessness is still very much alive in Malta. The few brave women who decide to defy the archaic laws of the island are looked upon on the basis of either axiom (1) or (2) above.
From what I understand, toplessness is a choice. An aesthetic one. I actually conducted a mini-survey. First of all the reasons for: because half-suntanned breasts are ugly. And no... she is going to be the only one to see the full tanned version later, and anyway they are hidden beneath a dress most of the time are not valid reasons. They could actually be mildly insulting if suggested. So basically and bluntly, nipples surrounded by a triangle of white are NOT NICE. And I am not talking about the evaluation from the male side. What I am talking about (apparently) is the right of the woman in question to feel good when looking at herself in the mirror.
Then I asked two Maltese friends. Two who I would consider more "open" but who I surprised performing the usual contortions and acrobatics which Maltese women are subjected to every summer in order to ensure that even when sunbathing while hung from a hook three metres above the ground and with their hands tied behind their back, the bikini top will not fall off. I asked the simple question: Why do Maltese girls chose not to defy the law and burn their bikini tops in disgust?
Easy. Their answer was simple. It involved tongues. Of the wagging kind. Basically they said that if Lorna Doone (fictitious name) was to sunbathe topless today, tomorrow half of her village would be talking about her - and most of the words used would not be kind. They'd love to - expose their breasts to the possibility of a uniform tan. But they can't. Because Malta is full of oglers and saints. The former believe that an exposed female nipple is an invitation to promiscuity, the latter believe that the same is a one way ticket to a full roasting in hell.
It's great isn't it. We have not been dragged kicking and screaming into the century of the iPod. No. We are still chained tightly in the 1950's. Have you seen Malena? Watch it. It could have been filmed in Malta. The "gharukaza" in Malta is the female breast and not the ugliness of the rape of the country and its resources. The shame is all down to a pair of hooters and and not the tits in Parliament. Contradictions galore. It's what we are in the end. But some things really do need to change.
"Trid tahrab minnhom dawk iz-zibel ta’ tfajliet
Ta’ nofs sidirhom barra
Ja mghaddsa jgeghluk taghmel hafna affarijiet
Illi mhux suppost
Jaghmlu s-sex qabel iz-zwieg
X’gharukaza ’a qatta hmieg!
Skoss drugati u mdamdmin
Qatta zghazagh bla valuri
(1) "Mild Expletive... look at the pair on that one!
(2) Bleurgh! These foreign whores exposing their breasts.