The Highway to Love

Illustration by Marshall Reeves

It continually amazes me how quickly our society’s attitude toward human sexuality seems to be changing. As a teenager, I recall seeing a dog-eared little brochure called Kansas City Kitty in which a badly drawn Kitty at a Kansas bordello was copulating with everyone in sight. Rumors swirled around the school that immediate dismissal would follow should one be found with such reading materials.

Later, at a university, a perfectly legal first issue of Playboy appeared in which the centerfold ladies may have shown their breasts or buttocks, but their mound of venus was either not shown or entirely airbrushed out. We were on our way, though the parameters were still sharply delineated. In Hollywood movies, where until that time twin beds dominated and extreme sexual passion between the sexes was indicated by the camera zooming towards the roaring fireplace.

Then came the liberating Sixties and gradually in Hollywood things were allowed that previously one had seen only in French or Swedish films. The Kama Sutra came into its own in North America along with the Joy of Sex. One could call it the triumph of realism, but it also had its dark side. I can’t help feeling that with the Joy of Sex largely disappeared the mystery of sex, and all that delicious uncertainty – in other words, the romantic aspect of it all.

Ferdinand Peroutka, my countryman, put it much better: There has always been sex in this world – its whisper anyway. Now it’s a scream. There used to be a quiet path, a young man walking underneath the branches, whistling, his head touching the stars. Now there is a four-lane highway. The experienced hand of export-import experts specialists guide big, shiny cars over it. There are even buses.


Introduction to Drabek’s Glossas

According to one wag the two signs of old age are:

a. the inability to stay with a thought.

b. the inability to leave that thought.

As a well-established octogenarian, I have been warned of the dangers. In this collection, I have tried to avoid them by limiting myself to one-page essays, which I call glossas. I feel that brevity has become a lost art in this age when so many people live in constant fear of being misunderstood. We tend to explain and explain — God, how we explain! And since our emails often abbreviate only words, not thoughts, I consider this to be a pioneering effort.

My glossas deal with some of the things I feel qualified to comment upon and quite a few I don’t. That too is downright revolutionary, because until now it has been largely assumed that such things as conflict avoidance and pathology should be left to the experts. But let’s be honest about it: that kind of approach has left us with two world wars and something called 9/11. And we’re still without a cure for the common cold.

This volume then breaks entirely new ground in that it explores home remedies. And since the paper’s getting short, let’s begin.

Jan Drabek

Jan Drabek


The octogenarian Jan Drabek has been an ambassador in Africa, Chief of Protocol, author, Vancouver High School teacher, a graduate student in southern India, a radio announcer in Germany, a sailor aboard a US aircraft carrier, and a failed naval aviator trainee.