I told her that the current social taboos and limitations stemmed from the old bourgeois era, when relationships between people were determined by the ownership of property held by a family, which necessitated a strict monogamy. It was a shame, I remember saying, that in our supposedly more progressive Soviet society, where private property was no longer a burden and where goods were distributed among people by the government, we still continued to be oppressed by the archaic sexual taboos instead of having a free redistribution of intimate favors.
If it’s true that the human mind is a social construct, I said, then the above taboos were nothing but changeable perceptions past expiration date. Boundaries on human intimacy had no place in modernity, where perceptions of right and wrong were subject to change along with the socio-economic formation. And since everything was a matter of perception, any wrong could easily become a new right if only someone would give history an overdue nudge. And if someone must do this historic nudge, why not us? If not us, who? If not now, when? This was clearly an idea whose time had come.
She looked me in the eye and said: “I have no idea what you told me, but if you want to do it, let’s go to my dorm.” She wasn’t much of a theoretician. We remained friends for a while, and then forgot about each other’s existence as easily and uneventfully as we met. When the only things you have in common are the hormones, there’s not much left to keep you together after your biochemistry undergoes a change.
I wonder how many American voters had elected Obama, not because they shared his theories or understood any of his hope and change rhetoric, but simply because they shared the same political hormones. Perhaps the number of voters with the hormone-impaired thinking can roughly be calculated by taking the amount of votes for Obama in 2008 and subtracting the much smaller amount of Democratic votes in 2010. Easy come, easy go.
I know how American liberals feel. Most of my Ukrainian girlfriends in my younger years must have been archetypal conservatives, while my endocrinal excesses made me an untrainable liberal. I thought I had their mandate, I didn’t listen, I pushed my agenda, and they voted me out of their lives. It pains me to think how much, in those shameless days, I sounded like Barack Obama at his recent press conference. I can only hope that the objects of my affection weren’t as queasy listening to me as I am now when I turn on the TV. If they can hear me now, I sincerely hope they will accept my apologies for being a fool.
In my defense, I was young, immature, and running on pure hormones. I still don’t know if my growing wiser was the result of life lessons or of the changes in my endocrine glands. But being rejected did teach me this: pretense doesn’t work in the long run. To have a healthy relationship, you must be honest with yourself and your partner. And if the real you is not what your partner wants, pretending to be someone else will make neither of you happy. Inventing stories about shared values in order to prolong a bogus relationship is pathetic.
I wish I had known this in my teens, but I’m not sure this knowledge could have had any impact at a time when my mind was blinded by immature fantasies, and my sophomoric biochemistry conditioned my internal speech processing system to generate wild stories and to come up with any plausible excuse to make the fantasy come true.
While I recognize these teenage traits in Obama when he talks to the nation, I can’s help but notice that he is actually a grown man. What kind of hormone possesses him to his detriment at his age? And what kind of fantasies does he have about himself and America that he is so desperate to fulfill?
Right before the election, scientists at the University of California-San Diego had discovered that a specific kind of gene, a dopamine receptor known as DRD4-7R, when combined with a social environment is associated with liberal political ideology. Could this explain why our president acts like a hormone-crazed teenager, devoid of self-awareness, blind to reality, and deaf to other people’s feelings?
Whether this is the case or not, I do hope that somewhere in the White House there exists an adult — perhaps not even at the top, that would be too much to ask, but more likely a driver, a cook, or a cleaning lady — who will confront Obama with the harsh truth:
Barack, the country is just not into you. Take it like an adult. You’re a 49-year-old man, dammit!