Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One Two Seven: Place

I'm thinking tonight about the old line: location, location, location.

Everything in real estate depends on that, and in economic history, too, I suppose.

There's something to be said for applying the saying to fantasies, too.

I read an article not so very long ago by a blogger who once had a reputation as a "sex-positive" writer, a writer who'd fought in the 1990s Sex Wars against the moralizing and puritanism of the forerunners of the Social Justice Cult and the gender warriors.  Her article, though, was a long rant about how we needed to take sex out of most social settings and social encounters. We would never be truly free until sex was kept in its (very narrow) place.  Allowing desire loose in the world, she wrote, would only support...the Patriarchy. Well, one more person lost to age and the blandishments of the Social Justice Cult.

I of course am a gentleman of  a certain age and a roué by vocation. And when I walk through the world on any ordinary morning, desire is always there. I was brought up in a time and place where almost any social encounter had its tinge of flirtation.  I can't imagine a world where desire, flirtation, and the promise of adventure don't whisper through social spaces.  I can't imagine a world where there's not at least the possibility of seductions and adventures there on any ordinary day.  The possibility exists that I watched far too many episodes of "Red Shoe Diaries" back in the waning days of the last age. But I can't imagine a world without the hint of adventures and seductions in the air.

Location, location, location....

When I walk through cities, I look at the architecture and the landscapes and what I see are stage sets. I see the possibilities in location, the places where a novel, a film, a "Red Shoe Diaries" episode would focus.

Back in the middle of the last decade there was a website for people at Harvard who'd had sex in Widener Library.  I read about that and wondered why there weren't blogs for other places. Why weren't there websites for university libraries and museums and corporate towers? The post-9/11 world put an end to the Mile High Club, I suppose--- any "misbehavior" aboard an airliner now draws the attention of the security services. But there's a whole universe of architectural possibilities out there, of buildings to target, of architectural styles to match to mood and erotic preferences.

No city is ever actually yours until you've had romantic and sexual adventures there. That's always been true of apartments and houses, and it's true of cities as well.  We make a city ours by incorporating it in our fantasies, in the films in our heads.

It matters, I think, that we're able to do that. We can still see the world as a stage set, as a series of stages for the adventures we want to have, for the dreams that haunt the corners of our thoughts.

Offices and museums, bridges and libraries, fire escapes and shadowed alcoves in old-guard men's clubs... All those places are there to be sets for the stories we want to inhabit.  Place matters, I think. Places have their own magic, their own valence for adventures.

My own tastes in these matters run to libraries, I think. That shouldn't be unexpected. But if you're reading this, tell me about your own dreams of place--- and what the places mean to you.

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