Friday, December 3, 2010

You want to be a Cowboy?

(What follows is a reprint of previous writing of mine, some of it more than a decade old, that appeared in various places including "The Bear Bitch Project" and The Gorean Voice, which I co-created and served as editor for a few years. The webzine is long defunct, and the archives of the site are sadly incomplete, but it pleases me to present my thoughts then, to my audience here. As always, if you have a question or comment for me, use the e-mail link in my profile down there somewhere.)

Around the age of five or six years old, he wanted to be a cowboy. So he gathered his chaps, his cowboy hat and the rest of his little outfit, added his holster and cap guns and went off to tell his mother of his decision.

"That's fine," she said. "But did you know that the life of a cowboy is not like the stories that your father reads to you? In order to be a cowboy, you have to live and work outside during cattle drives, in the sun, snow and rain. There is nowhere to come inside for a glass of cool lemonade if you get thirsty. There is no heated home nearby to go back to if you get cold. You have to sleep on the ground and not in a bed. You have to eat what you can carry, and not your favorite cereal."

"And most of all," his mother explained to him. "You have to go away to be a cowboy. Your father and I won't get to see you."

The little boy thought and thought about this. He decided that he did not want to sleep on the ground, that he did not want to be outside all the time and that he did not want to give up his favorite cereal. It was obvious to him that it was too hard to be a cowboy in real life. It was obvious to him that cowboys were just stories from a book his father read to him.

It was just too hard to be a cowboy, he decided.

So he then decided that cowboys could not exist.

Around the age of eight or nine, he saw a program on television and decided that he wanted to be an astronaut. He gathered up the toy rocket and space helmet he had received for his birthday, and the little action figure in a full spacesuit that was his favorite toy, and went off to tell his friends in the neighborhood of his decision.

"That's fine," the older brother of one of them said. "But did you know that in order to be an astronaut, you have to go to school for fifteen to twenty years, study hard and get good grades? That in order to be an astronaut you have to train where the astronauts train, take all kinds of tests and shots, learn to be a team member and work really hard? And after all that, when there are a lot of people just like you there, you have to wait to be chosen to be an astronaut and go up in a rocket?"

"And most of all," the older boy explained to him, "You have to leave all those toys behind. An astronaut does not play with toys."

The little boy thought about this. He decided that he did not like school all that much, and that he would be an old man in fifteen to twenty years and besides, his grades (except for recess) were not that good. He decided that training did not sound like fun, it sounded like work and that he really did not like shots at all. It was just a show on TV, anyway.

It was too hard to be an astronaut, he decided.

So he then decided that astronauts could not exist.

She was in her thirties, a user of the Internet, and she decided that she wanted to be a good, serious and pleasing gorean slave girl to her dom. He was, after all, well-respected and deserved no less. She gathered up her silks, her make-up and her weight-loss diet books and went off to talk to some others about how to do so.

"That's fine," one of the men told her. "But did you know that being a gorean slave girl is not simply submitting to a mans will when you want to, but instead truly surrendering everything you have and are; your entire being to him, without stipulations, without reservation and without ever ceasing to do so? Did you know that being a gorean slave girl means you have to read all the source text, thousands of pages, probably many times in order to grasp what you can of the philosophy that underlies what these men believe? Did you know that being a gorean slave girl has nothing to do with BDSM, or the SCA, and that it is not a game, or a character you wear only in the bedroom.?"

"And most of all," the man explained to her, "once you present yourself as a gorean slave girl, you will be treated as one by the men who are Gorean. Your thoughts and opinions will be listened to only when it pleases them. Your tantrums, frustrations, and acting out will only earn you ostracization from the other girls who are slaves, and the disdain of the men whom you have lied to. No amount of machinations, with the slaves or the men, will succeed. In the end, you will face a simple choice: Be what you claim, or fail."

She thought about this. She decided that she was unsure if she could really and truly surrender to her "master", or if he was actually worthy of her should she ever deign to do so. She decided that all that reading was simply a waste of time, after all, what are web-sites for? She decided that no matter what this man said, she could certainly make her master incorporate her BDSM hobby and her SCA character into her gorean slavery - they were not all that much different from one another as far as she could tell. And she decided that it was obvious that this man was wrong in how he described slaves. Did not her master listen to her when she screamed at him? Did he not change his mind when she told him to and defer to her when she demanded he do so? Wasn't that what a master did?

Could it be that she was wrong? No! Impossible! How could anyone live like that, really??

She decided that it was too hard to be a gorean slave.

So she then decided that gorean slavery could not exist.

And in her own case, with her inability to even approach surrender in any form, she was completely correct.