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June 13, 2011

Nookie with a Wookiee: Crushing on Chewbacca, One Badass Bhakta

I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee”

~ Princess Leia

I’ve always had a thing for Chewbacca the Wookiee of Star Wars fame. Before I hit the double digits and my friends had crushes on Luke Skywalker and Han Solo (the latter totally my type now that I’m in the…er…double digits), I drooled over the “walking carpet.” I kept my feelings on the down low—I found it difficult at the age of nine to articulate why I had the hots for a bipedal tree sloth over Harrison Ford. Though this phenomenon was a premonition of my lifelong penchant for rebels with long hair.

I couldn’t quite put a logical finger on my Chewie crush for the longest time. Hmmm, let’s see: it wasn’t just the full metal jacket strapped across his strapping chest (though that was kind of hot) and it wasn’t just his mad skilz at fixing Han’s hoopty, the Millennium Falcon (though any man who can lift a hood and pinpoint the problem is A-OK in my little black book). There was something else beyond the kavorka, the animal magnetism immortalized by Kramer in Seinfeld.

After further exploring my fascination with a certain flying deity of Hindu origin, I’ve managed to identify the basis of my attraction: it’s all about the devotion.

Those familiar with the storyline may remember how Mr. Solo saved his furry friend from enslavement and a bottomless can of whoop ass. Torn from his native planet where he was born into nobility, summa cum laude graduate of his engineering university, and revered as the most fearless and skilled warrior among his tribe, Chewbacca wound up at the mercy of a real scumbag. In struts Han Solo, trouble-maker and hero extraordinaire, who sweeps the fuzzy fighter off his feet by way of inserting himself between aforementioned fuzz ball and blaster, saving The Chewster from demoralization and death and earning his allegiance per the Wookiee tradition of granting life debt to anyone who saves his hide. Due to a unique vocal chord characteristic, Wookiees can only speak in difficult-to-decipher guttural tones but they understand Basic. Chewie didn’t need words to communicate. His actions spoke volumes.

Sitting in that dark movie theater a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away with wide eyes glued to the big screen, my heart broke at the forlorn howl of despair Chewie let out when that charming albeit sneaky bastard Lando Calrissian, portrayed by Bille Dee Williams, gave Darth Vader carte blanche to turn his savior into a carbonite popsicle. And I cheered during the subsequent chokehold.

I got a sinking feeling at the foreboding whimper that Chewie gave Han when instructed to fly the Millennium Falcon into the mouth of danger in the battle to save the Republic. But Chewie did it anyway. Boss says go, so we go.

A Wookiee in service always keeps his word and never leaves his loved ones in the lurch. Bound by a code of ethics and integrity that would make any member of the Greatest Generation proud, his allegiance ascends average loyalty and common companionship, entering the realm of intimacy in the purest degree: nishkama bhakti, or devotion without expectation. And that’s what turns me on.

Lauded legendary twosomes cannot be canonized without including Bogart and Bacall, George and Gracie, Fonzie and Pinky and Danny and Sandy. Still, one of the greatest love affairs in silver screen history exists between one man and his hopelessly devoted Wookiee.

Chewie stood by Han until the bittersweet end, sacrificing his own life to save the son of his most beloved comrade. The majestic Wookiee warrior was last seen standing his ground on the surface of an exploding planet, howling defiantly in the moon’s trajectory right before impact.

“You left him. You turned and ran away while Chewie stood his ground and died. Chewie, who had just done everything to save you. You left him!”

~ Han Solo objurgates his son, Anakin Solo, who piloted the Millennium Falcon away from a stranded Chewbacca.

Han never got over his best friend’s death, resenting his own child’s hard-pressed decision to desert his beloved battle brother, though he ultimately found acceptance and forgiveness. Han Solo, the intergalactic and enigmatic bruiser, who began his epic resistance against the Dark Side all alone, found his soul mate, and loved and ultimately lost as all of us one day will. In the likeness of venerable Jedi Knights bearing the precious gift of a Force called ‘yoga,’ might we collectively commit to this romantic notion—adhere to truth, stand ground in the heat of battle and fight the good fight with hearts blazing eternally brighter than our burning world.

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