Sunday, June 24, 2007

More than just a ride, it's a social lubricant

There are a few interesting points to be made about scooter riding culture in Taiwan and perhaps beyond. Underlying the purely environmental experience is potentially intimate social contact by the passengers.

First the environmental case:
"Australian professor Kurt Brereton has published his 'Hyper Taiwan,' a handbook that uses Taiwan's scooter culture as a focal point for examining its social structure and identity.
Based on his own riding experiences, he senses the differences between car culture and scooter culture. He explained that scooter riders are closer to the environment. They take in the air pollution, the street sounds and see things from the street level." Hyper Taiwan

I would agree with his take. However, there are some deeper socio-cultural points to be made.

The owning of a scooter also gives the status of maturity:
"The acquisition of a motorscooter often marks the coming-of-age milestone. [....] However many young people also] look forward to nothing more than aquiring one so they can join in the mobile dating scene."

I'm not sure if this applies in Taiwan but it sounds like a crazy seventies mate swap idea:
"One of many anticipated experiences is that of "Key Mating." This takes place among a mixed group of teens whose male members place into a box their scooter keys which are then chosen at random by the female members. This leads to an interesting phenomenon in which randomly generated pairs speed off together toward some defined destination during which time they have an opportunity to communicate with each other through conversation, close physical proximity, and body language."

God knows shy Taiwanese (and many relatively bold foreigners) look forward to this kind of ice breaker in the Taiwan social scene.

With regard to budding scooter relationships, the writer has this to add:
"The motorscooter driver may be in control of the scooter, but the pillion rider is in charge of the relationship. If the boy can get over the desire to be driver, relinquish that task to her, and can content himself with the pillion seat, he will discover immense potential for physical intimacy. Particularly where the practice of wearing a jacket backward is common, sensuous tactile roving on all levels, from the seemingly accidental on up (and on down), can be undetectable to others on the road, deeply thrilling, ultimately very extensive, and potentially rather hazardous."

Hmm. This sounds more like a sex manual than motorcycle info but, for the sake of 'informing', we'll let it pass.

Finally, an interesting comment is read under one of the photos of a scooter couple on the site:
"A boy will never forget feeling for the first time those two gentle spots of pressure on his back. That is a lot of power. Use it wisely."

Yes master, we will.

For more info check out this great site for the case to be made for scooter and a lot more useful stuff too! Motorcycle Muse
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