Life The Women of Papua New Guinea
posted by May 1 at 12:22 PMon
A few days ago, I’m inside of a Manhattan bar talking with a elegant lady from Singapore. She is telling me about her past and her family in an English that has the breath of a Chinese cadence and a touch of her colonial education. Expensive sunglasses neatly pull her black hair back. Her forehead is spotless, and her lips are thin and pink like Japanese paper. “And my parents,” she says without looking up at me but down at the crab cake she’s delicately dissecting a with a fork and knife, “they no longer live in Singapore. Business is not good there anymore and so they moved to Papua New Guinea. Though it’s better for my father’s dealings, it’s a very strange place to live. I mean, the people still have their tribal ways, and the women walk around suckling pigs.”
“Suckling pigs!” I repeat in shock.
She looks up at me—a moment before biting the piece of the crab cake pierced by her fork—and says: “Yes, it’s not an easy thing to look at.”
But, honestly, let’s think about this for a second or two. Why was I instantly disgusted by this practice in Papua New Guinea? What exactly is wrong with breastfeeding a pig? We heavily drink cow’s milk, and happily eat goat’s cheese. So what is wrong with giving something back to the animal kingdom for once? The problem is not the milk but the sucking itself: We suspect that the women are getting some sort of sexual pleasure out of this seemingly innocuous (and very public) sucking and licking. Why else would they do it? For sure, if the sensation caused by a piglet’s saliva and tongue was not pleasurable, then the women of Papua New Guinea would have long ago thrown them back in the barn. Their form of pleasure translates into our form of disgust.
Update: In the comments below you will find an explanation for this revealing image: