Sunday, August 16, 2009
Hilarious Sex Traumas
So as soon as I woke up this morning I started working on manuscripts for a couple of my pals. When I went to send them a couple of quick emails letting them know my initial reactions, the missus usurped the space where I'd been editing and started meditating there, so I had to come on up to the studio and kill some time on the computer until she's done. I figure I may as well humiliate myself in public.
Here's a filthy little workspace secret. My workstation is poorly set up for dealing with manuscripts, so when I'm doing line edits, I do them in bed. That's right, folks, I edit naked.
But that's not typical of me. Naked is not my metier. I'm a child of the sixties. I grew up during the sexual revolution. I come from a generation and a culture where sexuality is regarded as birthright and necessity. None of that has done me a fucking bit of good. I am a roped-off sexual disaster area, half-prude and half-pervert.
I've never approached a woman, didn't hold hands til I was twenty-three. I tend to make friends more easily with women than with men, but if an attractive woman I don't know smiles at me? I am flummoxed. I have been known to walk right into moving traffic to get away from a cute girl, out of brute animal fear. Sexuality just ain't been a positive force in my life.
And while some of the reasons for this might make you want to pat my hand and go, "Oh, poor baby," and others might make you edge nervously away and start looking for a blunt object, some of them are pretty funny.
Let's start off with the moment when I began to feel uncomfortable with the female body. I was three and my sister was just a few months old. We were living in San Pablo, in a bungalow that had exactly the same floor plan as the house I live in now. My mom was laying on the couch in the living room nursing my sister and I was watching jealously.
Now, my mom was... Jesus, how does one find the words for this? Mischievous doesn't quite cover it. Lemme just say that the household rule she defended most fiercely was no squirt guns in the house. That was because she liked use squirt guns on the cats and if everybody squirted them all the time they might get used to it and stop leaping about in affronted rage when she doused them.
So I'm looking at Mom and Charity and I start feeling, well, left out. Cheated, even.
"How come she gets that and I don't?" I asked.
Mom looked at me and smirked. "You want some?"
I nodded, and she slipped her nipple out of my sister's mouth and squirted me in the face with breast milk. And then laughed herself sick as I, like the cats, leaped about in affronted rage.
Intellectually I know it ain't true but my every intuition tells me that male sexuality, especially my own, is inherently offensive. That to desire a woman is to insult her. And this is a direct result of uncritical exposure to feminism. I am not arguing against feminism, of course. I think that even the most inflammatory and reactionary elements of feminist philosophy have been necessary elements in an important cultural passage through which we're still moving. Hell, I think Valery Solanas was funny as shit up to the point where she pulled the trigger.
I'm just saying feminism fucked me up. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it hit me like a truck hits a possum.
For instance, when I was in elementary school I didn't play with the other kids. That's a whole other story, but to understand this one you have to know that during recess, I would find a secluded spot and sit by myself and read while I hoped the vermin would stay the fuck away from me. But during the sixth grade, a group of girls got in the habit of periodically approaching me en masse.
They would stand in front of me, silently, until I lifted my head to look at them. Their facial expressions made it plain that they were pissed off, that I'd done something awful.
Their leader would then ask in an accusatory tone of voice, "Do you like to kiss girls?"
To which I would inevitably reply, "What?"
In response, the entire group would scream in unison, "Male chauvinist pig!"
I'm still not sure what that was all about, but it was an important element in the formation of my character.
When I was in high school, I worked in a day care center. I was a teaching assistant at first, but I made the mistake of showing a knack for cleaning and I wound up as a janitor. (Evading tasks through ineptitude was a skill I had not learned at that point.) But I was really popular with the kids -- wound up babysitting a lot of them.
So one day I come in through the gate and am immediately gang-tackled by five of the girls. They're screaming, "Get him! Get him!" and we roll around a little as they try and pin me to the ground. I put up a bit of a struggle, enough so that they gets some satisfaction when they manage to pin me down, one girl on each limb.
And then girl five, Rayne -- I've got to post on Rayne at some point, she was one funny kid --
Rayne sticks her hand down the front of my pants and yells, "Let's see if he's got a penis or a bagina!"
There is a corner of my soul that is still screaming.
And there have been drawbacks to being friends with women. (I mean, aside from the Friend Zone, which everyone knows about.) Hearing their stories about men has definitely been a contributor to my sexual reticence, but guys? When you're around some women and they start getting raunchy, just step back and observe. You'll learn something.
One time I spent an afternoon sitting in the back seat while my sister and our friend Kirsten (who I had a crush on -- she was robust and bitter, qualities I appreciate) drove around in a convertible. The idea that women actually want to have sex with men is one I regard with grave mistrust (this mistrust peaked right after I had a sigmoidoscopy) so hearing them whooping it up like a couple of prospectors on the way to the whorehouse was a real eye-opener.
At one point they parked next to a candy store and rushed in while I sat in the car. Now there used to be -- and maybe still are -- these bar-shaped caramel suckers called Sugar Daddies. When they came out, my sister -- my sister! -- held out a sucker made by the same company, pushed it in my face and said, "This is what every girl wants."
It wasn't a Sugar Daddy.
It was a Slow Poke.
You begin to understand why even though I prefer sex, I'm a hell of a lot more comfortable with violence.