Bottom in de Road: Gender and Sexuality in Calypso
It is also extremely important to note that Denise [Belfon] differentiates between offering herself to her male audience as a sexual object, and celebrating her own sexual power. “I might call a male audience member up on stage to dance with me,” she says. “What I ensure though is that he wines with me – not on me.” The distinction Belfon draws between “with” and “on” reflects the complex rules, customs, and traffic regulations that surround social “wining” in Trinidad. In a party, for instance, a woman may rotate her bumsie all alone, for the sheer pleasure of doing so, or she may back up against a partner’s front (or rear) to wine together. If a man (or another woman) approaches her from behind and presses against her gyrating posterior, he or she is wining on her. This approach may or may not be welcome – and the woman may request that her suitor back off. However, he may or may not do so. Many calypsos (written and sung by men and women) address the intricate verbal and non-verbal negotiations surrounding this common situation. Belfon’s comment makes it clear that she will be the one to control the wining encounter. As Twiggy (Anne Marie Parks) explicitly states, “Doh Put Your Hands on My Property.” In other words, you can’t touch this!
Long, but a fascinating read.