"Doc, I'm in love with a monk!"

Nice going. Good job.

Oh Christ, here we go again.....

Ah, what a subject. But first, let's read an email that I got which will kind of "lead" us from first base to second base, in our discussion:

    "Hi Doc,

    Your site is great and one of the most comprehensive I've seen yet! I just came back from training at the Shaolin Temple... and wanted to know if you knew if they had any rules about marriage, relationships with females, etc. I had a really amazing connection with one of the monks (although I don't think he's a true monk yet) and he asked me to learn chinese so that when I go back next year we can communicate, etc. He also gave me his address so that we can communicate over the next year. The connection/attraction was obvious to everyone around and I'm extremely frustrated that I have fallen for a shaolin fighting monk. I'm sure you rarely get these kinds of questions, but do you have any idea what this means or am I reading too far into it?

I just love when they start off with "Hi Doc". It usually means I'm in for one hell of an email. I had to respond to this first with some questions, to try to ascertain some very important information, before, I got into the "meat" of the matter: And as for the "I'm sure you rarely get these kinds of questions" statement? Oh, if you only knew.....

    "Ummm. Stupid questions first, if I may? Are you a girl? And what was this monk's name? And where did you train??? At the wushu guan? Or at a local school?"

I usually start my emails off with "Ummm". I think it makes me "look intelligent"; you can almost imagine me sitting in front of my laptop, thinking of deep stuff, stroking my chin, and going "Ummm". But, usually I go "Ummm" when I haven't the slightest damn idea as to what to write.

    "I am a female (US born, early 20's) and I'm not sure where at the Temple we trained to be honest. All I know is that those fighting monks were our instructors (orange outfits with black bands on shins). He indicated that he hasn't had those nine dots tattoo-ed on his head yet, so I don't think he's a "real monk" quite yet. I'm not sure if we were at the wushu guan (doubt it)... but, we were in a dormitory area where these kids live, eat and train."

Sometimes it's the stupid questions that yield the most information. And, let's be thankful the respondent is a girl. This is not the time to get into other issues.

Now, let's move onward:

    "Well, sounds like you've gotten yourself into something here. Congratulations. I thought I was the only one who confounded his life to such a degree. OK, a few things that you said made a lot clear.

    No, I don't think he's a real monk "quite yet" either. I don't think he's a real monk at all. The name that you list is not a monk name, and, if he were a warrior monk or otherwise, you would have known him as a "Shi......". Sounds more like this guy was a coach. Actually, I'd bet on it. Chances are, you weren't trained by true monks directly. Usually, the training of this nature takes place by coaches, who, are top notch students of these schools, who, then, return to teach other students themselves. They have a master, the headmaster of the school, who is usually, a Shaolin monk. I'm further convinced that he's not a monk because you lived in a "dormitory" at a "school" in Shaolin village. Almost all training of these students at these schools take place by coaches, and not the Shaolin monk headmasters.

    Oh, and the dots are not all that significant. Some monks do, some don't. Most don't nowadays. And, if they do, they usually do the tattoo thing in a not so noticeable place. The memories of the Cultural Revolution are not all that far behind. That's not to say that these guys aren't good. Their gong fu is incredible, just as the monks themselves. And, though they are not "monks", they predominantly are disciples, so they have monk names. But, that doesn't mean that they took the vows, or grew up in the temple. So, if your dilemma is that you've fallen for a guy that you think is a monk, that really is not your problem. He probably isn't a monk, so, you won't have to worry about the religious shit to get in the way. Besides, if he was a true monk, chances are he wouldn't have bothered with you at all. I know these guys, and they predominantly don't turn their heads for women. (Some have though).

    But, let's say he is a monk, just for the hell of it. Just because somebody has taken vows doesn't mean that he has to live by them. Some monks have met women, fallen in love, and have left the monk hood and started families (they are then called su jia di tz). So, vows are not really something to get your panties all twisted up about.

    Sounds like your biggest problem is the distance and language barrier though. I'm the last one to be talking about the ins and outs of love, but, didn't your mother ever tell you about how long distance relationships usually don't do all that well? And the language barrier.... Generally speaking, it's been my observation that relationships that involve two people of distinctly different cultures and backgrounds just don't last. Too many complicating factors. Too many cultural differences.

    Then again, it's been my observation that relationships that involve two people period, just don't last. But, I live in Vegas. It's kind of weird here. But, back to your question.

    He probably isn't a real monk, but he lives in another country. As in everything in life, good and bad news. I will tell you this, however, and that is, it's also been my observation, of love, whatever the hell it really is, that love has absolutely no rational components to it. Intelligent thoughts, observations, perceptions, interpretations. Nope. All irrelevant bullshit when it comes to falling in love. The best thing to do in these situations is to follow your heart. Do what your gut is telling you to do. Try to instill a little rational thought into what you are starting to do here, to minimize possible potential (and likely) hurt in the future. And have no expectations.

    Especially since you may be misreading his intentions. The Chinese are a very warm people, even though they sometimes come across as being rude. Whether your feelings for him are being reciprocated in a way that you might think they are, is another question. And that's one that only you can answer. Granted, it's easy to take overt feelings of genuine warm intentional friendly gestures and translate them into something deeper. It gets worse when you're dealing with a group of people that tend to be exceptionally warm and friendly, as you tend to find in the martial arts world of Shaolin. So, whether or not you truly do have the relationship that you allege that you might, is another question. That's for you to decide.

    What you do with it is also for you to decide. What would I do? I just go with the flow. In everything. Some rational interpretation as to what is going on is always good to minimize potential disaster, but, sometimes it's fun to see where things lead you. That's what life is all about. Enjoy it. And maybe one day, if you're really unlucky, I'll give you the doc diatribe on what a real relationship is all about.

    Good luck. It's tough being young. And if you think this is tough, just wait until you get old."

Ummm. How's that for being compassionate, concerned, understanding, caring, rational, and intelligent. Damn, I surprise myself sometimes. Mom's going to be proud of me.

    "...and he asked me to learn chinese so that when I go back next year we can communicate, etc."

I'll let you know when this situation advances. Personally, I'm looking forward to finding out more about this "etc" stuff. Paradise by the dashboard light. Oh baby, here I come.

And did you ever wonder why women tend to get themselves in these situations?  Strictly an anatomical dilemma, one which was described to me in great detail by a highly knowledgeable doctor of anatomy, years ago, when I was struggling not only with the intricacies of human anatomy, but, with these, overly difficult concepts of the female mind. It's all very easily understood, but very difficult to remedy.

It's because they don't have brains. They don't have a penis to carry one with.

And to think, Sigmund Freud went to his death claiming that he understood all there was to know about the human mind, with the exception of female behavior. He claimed to have never been able to figure them out.

Dumb shit. I got them all figured out.