27! Woot! It feels good to be alive!
The rest of this post I wrote Sunday, but I'd been too busy to finish and post it.
Today was Pará Pride! Belém hides its alternative side pretty well, but not for the parade. We took over two of the biggest streets and filled them for over a mile. People overflowed the street and climbed up the fences on either side to dance to four huge sound trucks. The parade ended at a large square which we packed with music, club lights, and discarded beer cups. The designated bathroom was a dark red wall with the words "proibida urina nesta lugar". It was an absolute blast-- but not the subject of this post-- and one of those parties that most people who come alone leave together-- which is.
A nice guy in our group hit on me. I rubbed back to be friendly, but it wasn't going anywhere. I liked him fine, but he didn't excite me. It's a problem I seem to have with men and women all the time. I don't mean to be an asshole, but most of the time I like being single alone.
Brazil is known for the most beautiful women in the world, and I've met some of them. Belém, apparently, is world-renowned for the ease of its women. One-Track Girl berated me for not sleeping around-- "Just kiss them!" she says. Brazilian women only expect about five minutes of talk before you're supposed to get obvious, so it's not a technical problem. It's just my problem.
In heterosexual flirting, it may not be totally the guy's job to progress things, but it mostly is. And I drop that ball all the time. By not pushing the sexual envelop, I know I've made wonderful people feel bad about themselves and spend unwanted nights alone.
I neither want the people I'm with to sleep alone if they don't want to, nor expect them to push the sexual envelop for me. And it's not that I'm not interested. Just not interested enough to push for another half-hearted one-night stand. Sex when I'm making myself interested just isn't that good.
I dance by myself, and enjoy myself, and try not to worry about the people who have said something to suggest that they'd be happier dancing with me. It's not that I don't want to be with someone, but it takes me a while to get interested. Communication is a huge thing for me, and in Brazil, I don't know enough of the language-- neither speech nor body-- to do it.
And I'm in no hurry. I'm sure I'll encounter more fantastic people, at some later time when I can talk to them. In the meantime, I enjoy the friendship. And I'm enjoying myself. It's not that I want them to make all the moves-- I'll always make some of them, and there's no move I'm afraid to make. It's just that things are good already, so why perform?
But maybe I should hurry. Life is zooming by-- will I regret not taking every chance I'm given, like Dean on the road? I can grow pretty well as a brain on my own, but to grow as a person I need people. And a sexual encounter is never just the sex (not so far for me, anyway)-- it's a kind of sharing that lets you learn about someone else and yourself in a totally new way.
And maybe it's selfishly miserly of me. I may be happy alone, but a lot of people aren't, and some of those people have essentially asked me to ask them if they would be happier spending a certain kind of time with me. I can make myself interested, so why don't I?
Is my sexuality doomed, just because I don't need it? Will it become a passive thing waiting for the right stimulus? I don't want it to be!
I wish, wish, wish I knew what to say to let them know what incredible people they are, and that friendship now doesn't exclude something else later. Yeah, I want to learn portuguese now, and I want to learn to dance better now, and to flirt Brazilian-style, and buy them all drinks, and enjoy sharing myself with everyone. But I've got other projects too, and some of them involve just a computer and me. I just wish I knew how to balance it all without hurting others and crippling myself.
My coop plans fell apart this weekend, so I'm leaving Belém! First I take a riverboat for a week into the Amazon-proper (there are no roads there), and then a flight south. I started packing last night, and it felt like a little part of my life was ending. Definitely a little part-- I've only been here seven weeks-- but long enough for my travel gear to get a layer of dust. I learned an awful lot, experienced some wonderful aspects of Brazil, and met a number of fine people I hope to keep in touch with.