Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just a few questions... I promise they won't hurt...



***

More words from 2007:

I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine on facebook........

*drum roll* ..........

......about Pakistani sexuality!

Since my sample consisted of more women than men… and I had run out of co-operative men I didn’t know, I naturally turned to men I did know.. and asked them if I could interview them. I didn’t hear back from several friends and the one I did hear back from wasn’t being too open. You see, I'm really not kidding when I tell you this has been like pulling teeth.

So I eventually ditched the idea of finding more men, and got on with writing the book (which is now a blog). Here’s the conversation…

*

(October, 2007)

ME:
ok .. so im not interviewing you.... im just going to ask you one question at a time,... come on.... my book is actually getting somehwere... now please answer this question:

When was the first time you ever heard of sex...how old were you, what were your thoughts....opinions...etc?

(if u dont feel comfortable answering on facebook ... please forward ur answer to
*&^%$.sex@gmail.com)

thanks :P

HIM:

Hmmm...don't remember actually....I remember I heard fuck the first time when I was in class five or six...and I pestered my sis till she told me what it meant...thought it was gross...but warmed up to the idea gradually...! seriously speaking, I'm the worst interview subject...I have a shit memory...M**** will be better....or ****l

...hope the book is coming along well...

ME:

I doubt ****l will reply to an email interview...
and puhleez... what are u so afraid of? are we finally going to discover that u have homo erotic fantasies? :P :P
listen ... just try to remember as much as you can .some of the questions are opinion based,.... i would think .. you have opinions right? ok get ready for the second question ...

HIM:

Opinions...I have tons. I like big boobs and I cannot lie, other brothers might deny....

ME:

2. Do you think we are sexually repressed as a nation?

3. Have you ever had/Do you enjoy having sex?

4. What are your thoughts on premarital sex (and have u ever engaged in it yourself, if so – please elaborate)?

HIM:

2) Yes
3) Yes. No
4) It's fine as long as everyone is willing and of age. Yes, in college.

When is the book coming out?

ME:

u cant give me yes and no answers... what kind of interviewee are u?? no one wants to read.. yes... no... yes...

ME:

the book will come out as soon as ur more cooperative with me

HIM:

You never specified you wanted anything other than yes or no!

ME:

its common sense - who do u think wants to read an interview with yes and no answers...?? :P could u answer those questions again?

HIM:

Nopes! :)

I told you, I'm a wierdly private person...even though I want to know everything about everyone else's lives!

Actually come to think of it....how would I elaborate on the questions? They seem like yes and no questions to me...

ME:

As##$!!... :P hmm ... but somehow - everyone else managed to elaborate..
and yeah i guess ur right to be so private... no one wants to know about ur sex life anyway :P

well i seem to have an abundance of twenty somethings.. its the thirty somethings that i cant get to speak...

HIM:

Have you interviewed the rents as yet?

ME:

who's mine? Um…no…my dad’s like you .. in fact .. he doesnt acknowledge that sex exists in front of his children.... know any other parents who would be interested?

HIM:

Not really....don't thnk they want to talk about their sex lives to one of the kid's friends....are you actually writing a book or are you just doing this to give your own perverted kicks?

ME:

AHHAHAHAHAHAHA yes.. yes u got me... this is all so i can get off on old peoples sex lives...


*

Well, there you have it – my last desperate attempt on the internet to reach my friend in Pakistan. *sigh*

Notice how helpful he is to the cause? I don’t blame him…this is how most people responded to me if they responded at all….Most of the time he’s just trying to be a smart ass. And this is one of my closest friends back in the motherland (at least I like to think so). Unfortunately, he couldn’t help me out. When I first thought of writing this book, I got so excited. I thought my email interviews would spread like wildfire… a nation of youths that haven’t been allowed to speak up…a nation of people whose parents told them to shut up and never talk about such things. How could they not want to talk to me? Well that bubble burst soon enough :/
Most email interviews hit some cold, deadly wall of silence in cyberspace. That finished them off right there, and I can assure you 95% never made their way home. (As you can tell, I didn't have too much more luck with the face to face ones either).

Ahh Fuck it. Beggars can't be choosers.

Onwards to the next bit of writing….!

(Mind you, I am usually much more professional when I'm interviewing, I assure you that is not how the rest of the interviews were conducted :P)

5 comments:

  1. Lols.... i just want to give you a big hug.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aww thanks Hadi! I so need that hug, lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. you had me at pakistani sexuality...okay so I know many boys twenty something boys and a few girls who wouldn't mind speaking about their sexuality and even a couple of thirty somethings who would gladly take part in the interviews as well provided of course they are assured of confidentiality...if interested please tell me. you can mail me at ahmertensionATgmailDOTcom

    Also my wife is wondering something particularly nerdy: how do you manage to reduce/identify biases in your research techniques given your interviews are obviously qualitative in nature given the topic is a tough one to navigate? (yes she's a researcher too.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Karachikhatmal:
    Well, as you mentioned, this was a REALLY tough subject to navigate through (I thought about abandoning the project many times, which is why it's taken years to get this far).

    Some of the biases in this kind of research were unavoidable, such as my gender, age, appearance, "social status" (as much as I hate mentioning that, there is actually a physical divide in Pakistan between the educated/well to do and the uneducated - as you must know, you can tell who belongs where, just by looking at them :( ).

    One thing I tried to maintain was as neutral an appearance as I could, lets just say I 'toned down' the 'alternative' aspect of my physical being since I didnt want people making assumptions about what kind of answers I'd want to hear. I obviously kept my mouth shut for the most part (in the face to face interviews)... offered no opinions, just listened. Something that had a major impact was my accent in english I'm sure, but thats not sometihng I can change on command :/ And when it came to speaking to people of a lower income category, obviously, they were pretty conscious of the difference. Needless to say, those attempts didnt get very far - which is why I had to be content with the limited number and type of willing participants I had.

    So, that said, everything was pretty screwed (no pun intended) from the beginning - and what I was left with was by no means an accurate representation of how varied Pakistanis' opinions are, how varied their backgrounds and experiences are, etc. And what I have left is what Im sharing with you...

    As for the email interviews, I did my best to phrase the questions neutrally. Of course in that way people didn't see me.. I think that itself eliminated a lot of biases. But there was always more substance to the interview when it was face to face. But lets face it, especially with this kind of topic, in our kind of country... tremendous amounts of biases are inevitable... from both sides, I can only do my best to recognize and reduce them. :) And I am by no means perfect.

    I would absolutely love more participants to add on, the more the merirer, and of course, anonymity/confidentiality for all...I will for sure email you. Thank you for being so helpful...Pakistani sexuality is more important than a lot of the country realises, it bleeds into every single aspect of our lives... if we could only begin speaking up about it... i think a lot of things would sloooowly start to improve, for women especially.

    I appreciate every single word of encouragement, so thank you. Its been kinda rough... and sometimes I feel like people think I'm crazy to be so passionate about something so 'frivolous'(esp. when not in relation to reproductions) except they dont realise the gravity of it. Fucking is not *just* for fun, and can go horribly wrong when 'used' irresponsibly...

    ReplyDelete