Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ninety-Four: Blue Pill, Black Draught

I'm a gentleman of a certain age. There's no denying that, and I've learned not to try. Nonetheless, certain birthdays do serve as markers, and there are certain mileposts that are reminders of mortality. My next birthday will be one of those, and I'll admit to a certain sense of unease. I brought the issue up with two different young ladies of my acquaintance this week--- both in England, oddly enough ---and in both conversations I found myself afraid to talk about the specific number. They've both known me for a while--- a dozen or so years in one case, something like three years in the other ---and they both know the number I'm worried about. Yet I am afraid to say it aloud, even with girls who know my biography and have been okay with me. This is a sad thing, though exactly in line with my personality. If I say it aloud, it'll have power over me, power to harm. Magical thinking at its finest, I think.

My fears do come down to a belief that the number is magic dark enough to mark the end of my ability to interest lovely Young Companions, magic that will bar me from any ability to be with a companion.  I have all the usual male fears--- hair falling out, losing the ability to achieve an erection. Greying hair I can deal with--- I know how to do the "distinguished" thing. There's always dye, if it comes to that. Bald spots...I don't know. If that happens,  I'll feel instantly hideous, though girls tell me that in an era where shaven heads aren't uncommon, a bald spot wouldn't be a major issue. Whether or not I believe them, they've at least made the effort to reassure me. I suppose it's the other thing that frightens me. Systems failure is a something that does leave me terrified for the future. Winter is coming, after all. 

I talked with one of my friends in London about her own experiences. Her latest lover--- mid-40s, moneyed, an academic with transatlantic connections, athletic ---hadn't been able to get it up all week, and she was baffled. She tells me she's been with men into their 70s, and this has never happened to her, ever. She's 32 now, so that' eighteen years of sexual adventures, no man has ever failed to be hard with her. The current lover did everything else with her, but couldn't do basic PIV sex. She was...concerned. Or at least concerned that something physical (blood pressure, undiagnosed diabetes, depression) might be wrong. She has, she says, a cache of generic, probably illegal, Indian black-market Viagra and wonders if she should give him a few. 

I told her about Caverject. Caverject is what male porn stars use. It's...injectable. Which would be...very, very painful, I'd think. But as soon as I said that, I thought about aging seducers in films or novels carrying three or four Caverject syrettes in a chic, stainless-steel Art Deco cigarette case. There it would be in the inside jacket pocket of your suit jacket, and you'd take one out and just...use it. It's probably a very sad thing that I'm far more intrigued by the idea of having the elegant case than I am by whether Caverject works as advertised.

Oh--- if you didn't have syrettes, the Caverject comes more often in a case with two vials and a couple of disposable syringes. That would look and feel just a bit too much like shooting heroin for me. Using it like that just something that would look too wrong. The syrettes would be hideously painful, but the more ordinary injection system has all the wrong visual symbolism.

Anyway--- I've never used Viagra or its relatives, and so far I haven't needed it. Systems failure is as yet only a shadow out there on the horizon. But...having talked to my friend, I'm now afraid that it'll happen any time. Yes, I'm probably hypochondriac--- talking myself into being so afraid of this that it will happen. This is my usual "taking counsel of my fears" procedure. I'm even afraid to say the word Viagra aloud. Somehow the power of dark magic doesn't apply if you say Sildenafil instead. The same applies to saying Tadalafil rather than Cialis. The generic names aren't as frightening.

I can say "the Blue Pill" and be okay with that, by the way. There's no dark magic there, no hovering Delators. I can even laugh about the usage. Patrick O'Brian's novels, of course. Dr. Maturin prescribes "blue pill and black draught" to seamen. The blue pill he uses is a mercury-based remedy for "the venereals", but I'll overlook that part.  Saying "the Blue Pill" brings up HMS Surprise and its adventures, and that's quite comforting.  

My other, younger, friend in London tells me that she's been with various older men who needed it and with a fair number of 20 or 30-somethings who used the Blue Pill recreationally, and that it never made any difference to her. Some girls need extra lube, she writes, and some don't. Using a pill is no different from that. I'd like to have that attitude--- that it's only a tool for solving a problem, not a judgment about personal value. Of course, I regard everything in my life  and world as a (usually negative) judgment about my personal value. My younger friend takes a very pragmatic view of dealing with male fears and male bodies. I have some experience in these matters, she said about dealing with much older lovers.  There are problems, she says, and if there's a simple tool for solving them, you use it.  The Blue Pill, she told me, is no different than lube for girls--- or reading glasses, for that matter.  I do need her attitude.  She's a very lovely, bright girl and of an age to be a perfect Young Companion. If she says that it's not shameful for men to need the Blue Pill and that she would never look at a man with contempt for needing it, I should listen to her.  I'm very much aware of that.

I'm a gentleman of a certain age and a certain genteel poverty, and there's some doubt that I could ever afford Viagra, even something generic and black-market smuggled in from Mexico or India. I almost certainly couldn't afford that elegant, custom-crafted silver cigarette case for holding Caverject syrettes. It says so much about me that I'm more concerned about not having the case than I would be about not having a cache of Blue Pills. 

I'll worried that I'll talk myself into being scared. I once talked myself into being afraid to fly, and that lasted for, well, much longer than I care to admit. Nothing has happened yet, and nothing may happen at all. If there is a problem, then solve it with the tools available. What matters is the result, after all. There's a lovely young companion that you don't want to fail, and you want to stave off decay and mortality as long as you can.

Nonetheless--- I will offer this up to you, if you're reading. What is the proper attitude toward the Blue Pill and its relatives? Is it just a tool, or does needing it serve as a judgment and condemnation, a statement about personal value? Is it something that you should be ashamed of using...or needing?  What are your thoughts?

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