Love is difficult, but it’s real,” Taylor Swift sang. Love, for some men, sometimes, can be difficult. Lust, we know: our blinkered desire for a woman. Respectfully, appropriately, mindfully, and sensitively expressed, desire is a good thing. Men pursuing women, women having babies, still make the world – such as it is – go ’round.
Desire energizes men, is a driving force for them, especially for young men. The need to make love to a woman is in their genes. A guy will walk a long road to a small chance of intimacy. He will take foolish risks in a deep-seated quest to repeat a terrific all-body feeling, sow seed, and express love.
But committed love, as Taylor sang and some women know – may be difficult for some men. A man may reach this love through his desire, or it can beckon him from “across a crowded room,” as Oscar Hammerstein II wrote. A man who has lusted but not loved has the best to look forward to.
The stories that follow look at men’s adoration of women from many curves in the Lust-Love Highway. Master Hawaiian storyteller, Jeff Gere, relates a conversation he had with a Samoan man at a “Lei Queen Contest” in Honolulu. Russ Allison Loar takes an all-encompassing view of women in “What Men Want.”
Donna Julia, a key character in Lord Byron’s epic satire, Don Juan, was 23 years old when she wrote a lament of women’s plight in “Donna Julia’s Letter to Don Juan.” Her epistle is followed by a Shakespearean song lyric, “Sigh No More, Ladies,” from the Bard’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Bruce Colbert writes of an American man’s marriage to a Thai woman in “Star of the Sea.” Philip Roth tells masterfully of a younger woman’s attraction to an older man in “The Chaos of Eros.” And Jon Pearson celebrates love in “A Busload of Banjo Players.”
Writers have sweated fervent reams about love and lust. The stories that follow are a bare introduction to the universe of ecstasy and agony.
It’s hot in here.
You who love and you who lust: grab a fan and read on.