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Fucks I Have Known

December 15, 2008

[A brief note: my first entry on Archetypal Writers will come later this week.]

In another life, I could have been an anthropologist.*  When I am in my best, purest, most honest state of mind (whether sober or drunk), I am detached from my immediate surroundings. Observational. Recording. Thinking.  Now, don’t take this to mean that I think of myself as objective. No.  Objectivity is one of those myths, like religion and the Pittsburg Steelers, that men use to rationalize all of our beastly behaviors: the wars we make, the hearts we break, and the people we hurt either deliberately or by omission. Whenever you hear someone claiming to be objective, you can be sure that, most likely, that person is looking for a way to justify himself.  It’s denial, pure and simple – an attempt at rhetorical legalese that he can use to explain all of his heinous behaviors to himself so his conscience won’t keep him up at night.

Don’t say you haven’t been told.

One of the behaviors we most try to justify is sex. There’s the puritanical (and therefore purely American) perspective that sex is dirty, disgusting, and should only be engaged in for procreation.  Our cultural obsession with the human body and the censorship of that body is proof of how this view pans out. There’s also a more reasonable (all be it amoral) view,  offered up by secular humanists and some scientists that sex is simply a biological imperative.  It’s natural – for the continuation of the species to be sure – but beyond that, it just feels good. Sex feels good, and we, as humans, tend to keep doing things that feel good.  Moreover, the urge is normal.  This perspective has made even the ancient edicts against masturbation outdated; and, as a former 13 year old boy, I am certainly grateful for that.  And since we have allowed that the urge is normal, we then to focus on what kind  of sex is normal. We categorize by number, age, gender, and who’s on top.  We’ve spent an excessive amount of public time and public space determining what normal means – specifically, how, why, and under what circumstances people should get off.  The spectrum from oppression in the guise of imaginary morality to unhealthy depravity is so wide that I am amazed we can even take ourselves seriously as a culture when we attempt to define and then live out normal lives.

A lot of guys define themselves by how often they get their dicks wet and by how many different girls. Sex becomes, not surprisingly, conquest.  But it also becomes competition.  We stick it in because can and because we are, essentially, marking territory.  We’re saying (generally only to ourselves) “This pussy is mine.” At the heart of this kind of sex, though, is a lingering misogyny. It’s no secret that men don’t have to be in love to fuck; in fact, it’s possible to hate women while screwing as many possible with reckless abandon. This is probably more common than we like to think; but while it may be the most common, is not looked on as normal – when, in nearly every other aspect of our lives, majority consensus (and consensus determined by action) tends to be the determining factor in what is normal.)

Maybe that’s because this kind of sex is nothing more than masturbation sans the hand, and even knowing that the urge is normal doesn’t change the fact that we still think it’s a little dirty.  And even if you were to mention this point to the swinging dick in question, he probably wouldn’t think about twice before shrugging his shoulders, smiling,  and agreeing with you.

I used to know this guy – he was a friend of a friend. He wasn’t bad as guys go. Smart. Literate. Fun to drink with, except for those a bit too frequent maudlin moods filled with self-pity and unwarranted indignation. He had literary aspirations in the same way I had aspirations to be an astronaut when I was five years old. This isn’t to say that he lacked talent. He could’ve been a decent enough writer and most likely could have been widely published  — if he’s also had the discipline.  Being published has nothing at all to do with talent; it’s luck and discipline and a deep seated need for futility.  As a matter of fact, publishing and sex have a lot in common.  But when I knew him, though, his luck wasn’t tied to his literary ambitions. No, his luck was tied to his balls. He had good game. At his best, he was a smooth talker.  He came off polished, confident, and mildly assholish – just enough for women to like him. (Because it’s true, as far as I can tell, that many women mistake an asshole for a confident person, and generally, are attracted to assholes because the “nice” guy is boring like the suburbs.) And, he had pretty good luck with women. At least, that was the impression he gave early on.  It was also pretty clear that his respect for women extended only as far as his prick  — which he enjoyed talking about to an uncomfortable degree.

It happened the way it happens to all pussy hounds.  He met a girl, a friend of a friend. Though in this case, she was a friend of mine. A group of us were out on a Friday or Saturday night and the two of them met over burgers and beer. Everyone who met her fell in love with just a little.  It couldn’t be helped.  She was earthy, attractive, intelligent, vivacious, and bit tragic. Sex came out of her pores like a fat man sweats in the summer. She was raunchy and well-seasoned drinker. I like to think she styled herself after Dorothy Parker:  she had pointed and acerbic wit that she would use on anybody who was unfortunate enough to earn it.

I was fortunate because she and I were always and only friends. Not that sex with her wouldn’t have been nice – but early on I saw a fairly distinct pattern in her romantic behavior. She’d meet a guy. Then she’d flirt with him and develop a small crush on him in the same way some teenage boys develop a crush on a particular car. Next, she would engineer a time for them to be alone… something straight out of Madame Bovary… and the game would begin. Sometimes the affair only lasted a few days. Sometimes it went on for weeks. But there was always, in the tradition of all fictions, a beginning, a middle, and an end.  And when it was over for her, it was over. She controlled the timeline and she more or less dictated the circumstances of each encounter. At the time, I mistook this for a kind of freedom – but only because that was how she defined it. Once, early on our friendship, she was telling me about one of her boytoys. When she finished the little ditty, I asked her if it ever bothered her.

“Does what bother me?”

“Well,” I continued, stumbling over myself in an attempt to be delicate (a sign of immaturity on my part) “does it bother you that all of these men use you…”

She interrupted me mid-sentence, clearly upset with me. Apparently, she took my question as a judgment on my part – which was understandable, I suppose, since she didn’t know me that well and didn’t know that not only did I not pass judgment on people, I prided myself on my ability to live with pretty much anything that anybody did. Regardless, she jumped immediately with righteous indignation to straighten me out. “They don’t use me,” she proclaimed. “I use them. Nobody uses me.” And I believed her. Mostly I believed her tone and because I had fallen in love with her a little. I wasn’t in love with her enough to try and be anything but her friend, but enough that I wanted to believe her.  And I did learn a lot from her – about women, about relationships, and about how I functioned (or didn’t) in relationships. She was the one who pointed out that I was, by all accounts, a selfish prick. “You want ‘em (women) around when you want ‘em; but when you’re not in the mood you don’t want to be bothered.” Never had a truer thing been spoken about me up to that point, and I am still grateful for her blunt and direct honesty.

So, when my friend the self-empowered horny feminist met my friend of a friend misogynist pussy hound, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Not because it made any sense – they should have sniffed one another out and hated each other immediately. They were at philosophical cross purposes. But the sheer improbability of a happy outcome made their tryst inevitable.  So I watched the game begin. He started to strut. She played the coquette.  Each of them told me individually that they enjoyed playing with the other. It was all in good fun. My friend of a friend did extend the courtesy, often but not always extended amongst guy friends, of asking if I was involved with her.  Naturally, I said no; we were just friends. Having been courteous and with his conscience clear, he informed me of his intent to fuck her.  They developed sexual tension based on control over their interactions, and who had it. Sometimes she had the power. Sometimes he did. Though, strictly as an observer, it seemed like she was much better at the game. They played and jabbed and had their fling, and in the end, I’m not sure if anybody actually won. But, they both got laid and a lived out part of a soap opera storyline for a few months.

The fall out was a little surprising, though. In the process of his dalliance with my friend, the misogynist pussy hound fell in love with her. Or, he fell into what probably passed as love for him. In his mind, she was transfigured from one more conquest for the great golden schlong to the archetype of the Perfect Woman. This process of elevation weakened his resolve, and when it became clear to her that she had broken him, she lost interest and moved on.

For her, it wasn’t love. But it wasn’t about freedom either, really. Sex was a distraction in same way that food, booze, and drugs become distractions. Don’t take this to mean that I believe in vice diseases, mostly because I’ve known too many drunks and too many addicts to take any of that rhetorical bullshit seriously. I don’t quite know what to call it – but it’s not a disease. Cancer is a disease. People don’t ask to get cancer.  When people fuck or drink or eat or pop pills to feel better and ignore the everyday mindfuck of life, it’s not a disease. The problem isn’t  pussy or booze. The problem is that people feel powerless to change their lives and rather than face it, they screw, snort, shoot, pop, drink, or gorge until they are numb to their own dissatisfaction.

It’s years later and as far as I can tell, he’s still stuck on her. She has since transformed into The One That Got Away; and even though they still occasionally play with one another, it is with an increasing desperation and ennui that comes with time and age and that creeping knowledge that each passing day brings us closer to permanent change – into worm food. I’ve been lucky in regards to my personal life. I have a solid marriage with a woman who is not only my best friend, but the only lover I have any interest in. But I can’t help but think that sex, even in the best of circumstances, is one big tragi-comedy that dictates our lives – which is what, in the end, makes us all absurd little creatures scrambling under the sun.

* [This fiction is not for the easily offended or for those who lack a sense of humor. This is also not for children… let them keep their delusions as long as they can.]


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Allen Feibelman permalink
    January 1, 2009 8:51 am

    Hi Mick. I love your insights into character and motivation. Allen.

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