Friday, April 02, 2004

Breast Milk

Pete and Jeff on Virgin Radio this morning were playing with the topic of the woman who sells 50 litres of her breast milk per month. One asked the other, "Your wife's been pregnant, have you ever tasted it?" The answer was reserved, so the topic is still marginally tasteful.

When I was 21, a friend of the family, now in her Eighties and herself a mother of six, told me of an old Chinese saying. It goes like this:

"If a woman breast feeds her child while her man is having sex with her, the child will grow up with mental problems."

This is of course a cultural taboo designed to stop something socially undesirable. But what struck me at the time, with my glimpses of the fecundity and fetidness of Chinese society, was imagining the men and women needing the taboo to stop them committing such indecency.

Chinese society has always been a male-dominated universe. The thought of the sexual urgency of the male requiring the woman to be providing two service functions simultaneously is plainly awful. But my friend also implied that sometimes it was the woman that wanted it.

Well, taboos worked out by an old and experienced civilization deserve respect.

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