I’m not sure the experience at sea today made me understand Hemingway better. After all, he said that he did not intend any allegories in his novel: fish is fish, man is man, sea is sea. But guess what, from what our church elder said, I discovered something.

He confided that he didn’t want to buy a camper yet because his wife is still working and can’t join him in travelling so he just finds happiness in his boat.

“Whoa!” his 20-something daughter exclaimed, “that means your boat is your second love,” to which I retorted that this could be the reason why ships and boats are named after women. And look at this analysis on The Old Man and the Sea:

According to Santiago, people refer to the sea as a woman when they love her. When they view her as an enemy and rival, though, they refer to her as a man. Santiago “always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favors, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them.”

My daughter wanted to know why boats or ships are named after women. Do they have anything in common?

Perhaps both provide a heady adventure to an imagined destination?

Another interesting thing that came to mind is the poem my ex contributed to the teacher’s magazine I edited. Its title was “Women like fish” and the only line I could recall is: “They change their colors and they never, never close their eyes”.

My boss who finished psychology from Cornell University hated it, saying only a male chauvinist pig could write that.

There you go – all of them – fish, boat and sea – pointing to the female gender.


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