erections

Palm leaves on palm trees rattle and shake above. A young man is running and leaping over huge concrete blocks, his fitness and agility never in question. The sun is incredibly hot. Sebastião erects two sunbeds and a large sunshade. His entire body glistens and twinkles with huge drops of sweat, even on his hair. Pale skinned women line up on blue plastic mattresses. One has very round bosoms even when she is lying flat, and they are remarkable for their lack of movement and wobble when she walks. She wears dental floss between her round cheeks and scrapes long blond hair neatly under dark shades.

Later…

‘You don’t have the tribe so you couldn’t understand. I have to go with a member of the tribe. Otherwise no one will come and greet me. If I take an outsider people will ignore him. I need someone who is part of our world, who others will want to talk to. I can’t possibly take an outsider.’
‘Why don’t you take a woman?’
‘Are you joking! The only reason to have a husband here is so he can accompany you at cocktail parties. Otherwise, marriage is completely dull. Every man I know here is bored with his wife, and vice-versa.’
‘But why don’t you take a woman instead?’
‘You cannot take a woman. I must go with a man! Of course!’
‘We would take another woman so that we’ve got someone to gossip with and someone to strategise with. She can help you conquer the man you want.’
‘Oh, God, no. That’s for lesbians. And the other women are all watching out for single women. I will have to take a man. He has to be of the right background, and the right size and he’s got to be able to dance. I can’t take an outsider who can’t dance.’
‘Tell them your story about dancing.’
‘Oh. Do I have to?’
‘You must, you must. Your complex!’
‘Oh. Well. Whenever I dance kizomba, these men, they have an erection. Is it the way I am dancing or are they just playing about? I mean it isn’t pleasant to dance with this thing sticking into your stomach, is it?’
‘Sometimes it can happen. Of course you have to be close enough to follow them, but this really shouldn’t happen. The erection. No.’
‘It can be very complicated with employees. I have danced with three employees and they all had, you know, they had, you know -‘
‘Erections?’
‘Yah. I mean, God, imagine, working with these people!’
‘But if you are doing it properly they won’t get an erection: that’s what people say.’
‘It’s not true. It’s not true.’

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