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Me, I don't drink, so I don't take advantage of the pervasive pub life here in the UK. But working from home, I like to eat out for lunch, so I often come in pubs during the day for that purpose. One day like that I was eating my burger at the Brass Cat, when an old codger came in. He was slightly hump-backed and walked with a cane.

The owner told him he was barred because he had been rude to a customer, by insulting his wife. David, as the customer was called, argued a bit, but then left.

A couple of days later, I was standing in another pub, the Barracuda, in the early afternoon, making my lunch order, when I saw David standing close by, hanging by the bar. I noticed him because then he addressed the young waitress with: "Can I see your bum?"

She laughed and couldn't really believe it, so he repeated his request. Then I said to him: "Now David, you know that talking like that has you barred from the Brass Cat."

Now I relay this because I think it is an amusing incident. But also I hope I have a point. Hmm, let's see... yes: You should enjoy women's beauty always, but don't be rude.

But actually there is more. If we assume that David's rudeness does not go beyond "can I see your bum,", then... well, how bad is it really? David was not unpleasant, he was just eccentric and a bit out of touch with what is proper conversation. There was nothing nasty about him. Assuming he does not go on and on and makes a nuisance of himself, I don't think this is something we should be up in arms about. Let's relax a little.

Eolake Stobblehouse

Letters to Domai

Dear Domai,

Like many others in your newsletters, I have been forced to re-examine my own beliefs after encountering I come from a very conservative religious background, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I highly value tradition. I think some of the deep truths that the ancient philosophers discovered still hold meaning and usefulness today. So it was difficult for me to change my ideas on the subject of nudity and sex. But a single experience was all it took to undo 24 years of upbringing and indoctrination. Like some Christians, I opposed pornography and considered it sinful, but despite this fact found myself giving in to the temptation all too often. Then about a month and a half ago, I encountered DOMAI while searching for pornography, and saw your picture of Ginger. Now here was something totally unexpected - a breathtakingly beautiful redhead, wearing nothing but a simple cross necklace, and posed in a most elegant and stately fashion. There is no hint of the wanton sexual content so prevalent among most pornography. The photograph was so innocent and pure that I felt like crying. Whatever this was, it wasn't pornography.

But what happened when I tried to explain this experience to a conservative Christian friend? You can probably guess. He gave all the standard arguments about lust and avoiding all temptation to lust, and suggested that this might be one of the devil's ploys to get me to look at pornography. Now like most other human beings I've had my mind occasionally play some nasty tricks on me, trying to justify things I knew deep down weren't right. How many of us have said things to ourselves like "it's only a little bit of money" or "stealing is ok if it doesn't hurt any particular person, but only a big corporation that probably doesn't deserve the money anyway", etc... The mind can be quite a deceitful thing. But this wasn't like that at all. If anything I had less desire to see pornography after encountering DOMAI, not more. And being wholly unable to explain what I had experienced through the window of my current philosophy, I realized it would have to change. Tradition (if it is good tradition) can be a wonderful thing, but every tradition originally started off as a new idea, and I realized it was time for me to accept this new idea that appreciating the beauty of the female body for what it is, is not a sinful thing at all, but a thing that can bring great joy and a greater appreciation of all women.

When debating this topic with friends, one of the most common arguments I seem to get is that by looking at these women in the nude I am somehow lusting after them. Since their arguments would have been in perfect agreement with my previous ideas about lust, I realized I would have to spend some time evaluating my ideas about what lust actually is. I believe I would now define lust as follows: A covetous desire; a desire to posses or control. After much reflection I no longer believe that erotica (or pornography), defined as material which causes or is meant to cause sexual arousal, is inherently sinful. The trouble with the majority of pornography in existence is that it condones and even encourages lust. The models are portrayed as sex objects, to be possessed or manipulated to satisfy the desires of the viewer. Rather than human beings, they are but pleasure objects to be forgotten once they have been "used". By stark contrast, DOMAI portrays real human beings, happy to be alive and to be photographed just being themselves. I no longer have any desire to see the pornography I was once so addicted to. I have been reading Song of Solomon recently, which has some truly wonderful poetry about the beauty of woman. I think if Solomon were alive today, he would be a fan of DOMAI! Never underestimate the importance of what you are doing with DOMAI, and thank you!

-- Nate B

(P.S. Wish me luck discussing this with my parents. I go home on break from graduate school this week to visit them.)

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