Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Bow! Bow! Bow! (Rebel Salute?)

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Little D was hopping mad.

'Twas about 20 years ago while playing with his old-time high-school partner, the Duppy, against Gene Autry and me. Somehow, we'd ended up discussing the philosophy 'Rasta nah bow!'

For those of you exiled to Siberia since 1963, 'bow' means to lower one's head. But Rasta wasn't discouraging respect. Rasta was banning (and 'bu'ning') what many Jamaican men consider unnatural (but not abominable) sexual practice, but which REAL men know is essential to satisfactory relationships and a frequent provider of much-needed rescue.

"And I would do anything for love

I'd run right into hell and back

I would do anything for love

I'll never lie to you, and that's a fact

But I'll never forget the way you feel right now

Oh, no; no, way

And I would do anything for love

But I won't do that,

No, I won't do ... ."

"Man nuh fi do dat," declared Little D in a tone implying the decree ended with Sean Spicer's "period!"

"Why?" I asked in a neutral tone. The Duppy already poured scorn on Little D's views and I didn't want to give the impression I was ganging up. "I hear Rastaman singing, 'I love yu like a fresh vegetable' when everyone knows vegetable's main purpose is to be eaten."

"Nah, sah," Little D drew himself up to his full 4' 11" and proclaimed adamantly, "Nastiness! Mout' no mek fi dat! Me bu'n man weh bow."

"As long as the planets are turning;

as long as the stars are burning;

as long as your dreams are coming true;

you better believe it!

That I would do anything for love

and I'll be there till the final act.

And I would do anything for love!

And I'll take the vow and seal a pact

But I'll never forgive myself if we don't go all the way


And I would do anything for love!

Oh, I would do anything for love!

Oh, I would do anything for love

but I won't do that!

No, I won't do that!"

It struck me like a lightning bolt that Jamaican men, however well educated, were sexually ignorant and still treated the subject as taboo. Now, I've always suspected that Little D's public declaration was just bluster, and what went on behind closed doors was another kettle of (er, um, gotta be careful in Jamaica) water. Why? Because he always had a regular stream of nubile young ladies catering to his every whim, and so was the envy of the rest of us. Surely, in private, he understood 'mout' mek' for more than just chat!




But this dark ages view of what's permitted between consenting adults is because of a crippling combination:

(a) no proper sex education in schools;

(b) parents' reticence to talk about the birds and the bees; and

(c) the Church's willingness to mislead us with Old Testament tomfoolery, the better to control minds and pick pockets.

This treacherous combo is the reason we're easily duped into accepting as gospel all sorts of silly inhibitions and prohibitions that cause:

- young girls' vulnerability to the advances of dirty old men (some in shepherd's clothing);

- more women than would be expected to behave as if they have sticks up their behinds; and

- floods of ignorant, unnecessary questions being put to 'Dear Doctor' or 'Dear Pastor'.

Seriously and sensitively prepared sex education from the primary-school stage (using properly trained teachers) is an absolute necessity in Jamaica. Were we more advanced in matters of sex so that our baby girls weren't in such imminent and cruel peril, it could begin in secondary school. Unfortunately, national neglect has created a much earlier need.

What was it that Meat Loaf, in probably his best ever recording (writers: Jim Steinman and James Richard Steinman), wouldn't do for love? No, not THAT!

Girl: Will you cater to every fantasy I've got?

Will ya hose me down with holy water if I get too hot?

Will you take me places I'll never know?

Boy: I can do that!

I can do that!

Girl: After a while you'll forget everything.

Just a brief interlude; a midsummer night's fling.

Then you'll see that it's time to move on.

Boy: I won't do that.

I won't do that.

Girl: I know the territory; I've been around.

It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down.

Sooner or later, you'll be screwing around.

Boy: I won't do that!

No, I won't do that!"

Peace and love.

PS: Oops, sorry about getting the date of the Reggae Boyz-USA clash all wrong on Sunday. Just call me Al (formally, Mr Zheimers).

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to