Love - or something like it - blooms at the OWS barricades
I guess exhibitionism will still be allowed in the new communal paradise being planned by the OWS protestors.
Outdoor sex has been a topic of discussion at quality-of-life meetings held each afternoon inside Zuccotti Park. Some people have expressed discomfort with sexual activity in their midst, but Andrew Carbon, 26 years old, said protesters generally are loathe to restrict anyone's behavior.
"To be controlling someone's own autonomy is a sensitive issue," he said. "It's a bad image if it's visible, but policing it is wrong."
Filled with the young and underemployed, the half-acre concrete plaza has become something like a college dorm. Protesters have grown close as they share tight quarters, sleep communally and perform daily hygiene in public. For those finding love - or something like it - amid the occupation, intimacy in the open air requires both tactical expertise and a loose take on modesty.
Soleil Laboy, 20, and her boyfriend have relied on a tarp for privacy and a yoga mat for comfort during their two-week stay in Zuccotti Park. But the couple has kept most of their clothes on.
"It was too cold to be naked," she said.
Her boyfriend, Nelson Gubing, admitted that their attempts at discretion hadn't always worked. "Apparently, a bunch of people saw us" during one romantic encounter, he said.
The pair carried on undeterred. "It turned into a big joke," Gubing said.
Robert Grodt did not expect to find romance when he left his girlfriend in Santa Cruz to join the demonstration. But Grodt, 24, has met - and shared sleeping bags with - several women.
"It's a natural human thing," Grodt said. "It's part of our support structure. It's nice to have someone to care about. It's nice to have someone to hug and kiss."
Nick Long, who is known at the park as Nick at Night, has gained a small measure of fame for providing the protest with free, hand-rolled cigarettes. He joined the encampment with his girlfriend, and they set up their nest at the park's western end, which is becoming known as the fun-loving, adventurous section. When they want to be alone, they take cover under a tarp.
You can't have a revolution these days without sex. And since everything to a leftist is political, having sex where everyone can see you is a political statement.
I think I prefer "soak the rich."