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Amber Paulen

Free Shots

24 August 2008


Atop a beaten green flower stand in Camp de’ Fiori I watch them come and go. And though the night-time cobbles are swarming with many variations on a theme I am able to delineate at least five Americans, girls. I know they are Americans by the dress they wear, tight around the breasts it holds their butt as if in a crinkled plastic bag. They wear them in blue or green or black or grey; they wear them with flip-flops or high heels. These dresses must be the fashion of this season. . . for American girls in Rome, at least.

Though without the bag-dress I can spot them; drunk and stumbling over their inebriety, washed-up in their desire to loose it all, to loose themselves if just for the night. When standing besides their European counterparts, say a Dutch girl of 20, these Americans seem but a drop in the bucket, a body with no poise, a person with no self-respect. And they love it! Listen as they giggle and then squeal for more! More shots! More self-debasement!

At a bar in Campo de’ Fiori — Sloppy Sams, if you really want to know — I waited for the bathroom, watching a young girl get smothered by two older Italian men. Hands reached out for her and their faces were so close that they probably got drunk just breathing in her breathe. When I returned from the bathroom, a friend we were with—let’s call him Jim—had taken the Italian’s place, and now we all sat together at the bar. Jim wanted to buy the two Californians shots; the drunk girl and her friend wanted to drink shots. More free shots! Shots all around and the night slipped on.

Jim wanted to go dancing; the girls wanted to go dancing. But when we hit the cobbles and the air was inhaled, freshly, crisply, it was strikingly clear that the girl in the sack-dress, the extremely intoxicated girl, was not going anywhere. Her drunkenness had become her and she was but drunken flesh, her whole body drunk, her feet drunk, her mind gone, her mouth liquid. The friend then said, “We live just around the corner.”

With the friend on one side and Jim holding up the other, we found out that they did not “live just around the corner.” They had no idea where they lived which I can not and will not contribute wholly and solely to their state of inebriety. One hour later it was discovered that the girl’s wallet was gone. Jim sat her down on a bench before a wall of people, before the stairs of Piazza Trilussa. Not five minutes after Jim left to search out the wallet the girl puked on my foot and then fell sideways off the bench. Not ten minutes and she puked some more. She puked and puked.

Needless to say the wallet was not found.

Four hours later with the sun now a hint of blue black lightness breaching the horizon, after we had hiked the whole of Rome round as she puked in intervals of ten minutes, we deposited the still seething drunk flesh into the hands of Timmy, from the “boy’s house.”

This young girl knew not what she did. She was drunk. And that is the point. Drunkenness breaks entrance into permissibilities which we do not normally allow. If Jim would have been any less of a moral person, he could have convinced the girl to fuck him on the spot. And she would have laid down giggling in some shadowed dingy corner and lifted her crinkled sack-dress. She would have let him. Maybe her obscured drunk sensibilities would have “wanted” to. Isn’t that what fleshy drunkness preludes? Don’t they want to lose themselves completely? To lose all? To be free free free like the wind, as beautiful as a flower.

We, especially American girls, have been given promises in our intoxication. There will come an appreciation of our bodies and our selves; we will be loved; we will be outgoing and friendly; self-consciousness will drop away. We will be more than who we really are.

Who has made these promises? Surely young girls have not swore such things unto themselves. We have gotten these ideas from somewhere, from an overwhelming mass variety of sources: the media, movies, TV, the ruthless advertising schemes which will not give up until every last woman looks and wants to look as every last woman, inadequacy spawned by both, silly drinking laws causing irresponsibility. Though I think mostly and where all above paths lead: public perversion of sex, particularly disfigured versions of female sexuality.

Easy women with tits hanging out, intoxication makes us; easy women who can be persuaded to do just about anything, alcohol helps us; just a body with beaten down desires, a body which must be trashed to sleep with. We, as women, have refused to hold ourselves firmly above these MAN MADE images; have refused our own rights to OUR OWN sexuality. Fallen into stereo-types, dressed-up to throw ourselves down. Walk on me! Stomp on me! And I will be forgiven for wanting my own sweet innocence back. We seem to have forgotten ourselves, female, the ONE TRUE bond with the earth, our mother, with nature, our teacher. Sometimes I kind of feel like we deserve the beating we are getting, as individually devastating, as gender destructive as it may be.

Reading this article about Joe Francis, slime-ball extraordinaire and founder of the teenage objectification association: Girls Gone Wild, I found myself overcome by disgust and loathing, not only for that self-righteous man but for the stupid stupid girls involved. That the girls must be drunk to do what he films is a “no brainer” BUT shouldn’t that be the first problem? That they sign waivers in drunken script hardly waves them beyond anything. Identifying themselves with their breasts, ass and pussy, lumps of fat and genitals every woman has, shoots them instantaneously beyond their simple lives and failing self-esteem into the all-glorious realm of “stardom” and “famous”; because isn’t that what everyone wants: to be seen? To be more than who they really are? You are: a female, just like the rest of us; a person, like all of humanity.

There is something so bad in all of this that my stomach churns; I have a physical reaction to the physical abuse, to the emotional abuse once the alcohol wears off. Stupid stupid girls. But what pisses me off to no end is that they are completely destroying the highly fragile developments of true sexuality for all of us, for males and females, for all of humanity.

I try to make myself laugh. I try to say, “The more raped virgins the better.”

Two flyers for bars in Rome lay on the kitchen table the other day. Both of them were preaching the same thing: Free shots for girls all night no kidding. We have accepted. We have resigned. We have stripped ourselves of our natural beauty and have replaced it with a trashed and sweat slippery drunkenness. We go easily to bed because we think there we may find that piece of ourselves which was stolen then perverted and printed out on magazine covers and shown in television commercials.

I have an idea, for revolution is always in order: What if all women in all places rose up in their pure nakedness? If we lined the streets and went about our day-to-day, naked. Sitting down to dinner, naked. Out at the bar, naked. What could they steal from us then? We would have everything to give and nothing to hide. Free free free like the wind, as beautiful as the flowers, as expansive and mysterious as nature herself.

Because if you want to really know something about female go lay yourself among the trees and feel with all your senses the pure good thrusts of sexuality we have been given. Amen!

And the young woman leaning out of the window, you remember? She was dreaming of the dawn, of how lovely she would look when she would come down amidst the throng and they would see her in the flesh. —Henry Miller in Max and the White Phagocytes

Post Scriptum: If anyone’s up for such a revolution, drop me a line! or comment below.

Bracciano Italia
August 2008



Commentary for Free Shots


1 On Monday 25 August 2008 Dollface wrote:

I just got your email, saying you got the Girls Gone Wild article from our site.

Can I just say, this post makes me speechless. You express everything I want to express, and in a beautiful, passionate way.

Seriously, I’m going to comment more later, but right now I just want to think about what you have written.

- Dollface


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