Saturday, February 22, 2014
Homelessness and forced intimacy: they're related
Petula Dvorak, a columnist for the Washington Post, has written a lot about homelessness in the DC area. She has discussed both the city budget stinginess, which she says may send abused women back to their husbands sometimes, and the fact that rapid real estate development is driving the poor people out, as in this column here.
The next area where this will happen is NE Washington, along H Street and the streetcar line. It happened a few years ago with the building of Nationals Park (and now a soccer stadium). It will happen if RFK is raised for an Olympic stadium (all private money).
One issue that one of my other blogs (the main one) has taken up is “radical hospitality” – partially the old Biblical idea that people should be able to house strangers – and idea that we saw after Hurricane Katrina in some parts of the country, less so after Sandy.
In Arlington, a local church serves food to the homeless every third Saturday, and seems to use over 200 volunteers who show up just for this event.
I’ll change the subject, but not that much, to another subject: the degree of intimacy people take for granted in marriage. It was linked Saturday morning on AOL’s home page, “Ten signs your guy shouldn’t ignore”, link here. I was struck by how “ordinary” people have to let very sensitive aspects about their bodies be the business of other people, of course their spouses. One of them was “getting it up”. Another was a pot belly. About the only thing not on the list was “balding legs”. Of course, in my mind, this links to a culture where people are expected to share their bodies – blood donation, of course, which I was cut out of in the 80s, but bigger things like kidney donation while still alive, or even partial liver donation. Given the physical humiliation of my upbringing, sharing my bod is such a blasé communal fashion isn’t on the table. But many people don’t really have a choice.