There are articles that I find on line that I wish I could discuss over coffee or drinks with lovely friends-and-correspondents. Flat whites or vodka-limes, the trick would be to sit back at a table on a street side patio or a rooftop garden and talk about the ideas behind the articles. I write here, of course, in the hope that people will discover these entries, read them, and then open discussions. I've always been a believer in messages in bottles, in exchanges of thoughts and ideas. One reason I do sit some mornings and search out articles on various topics is the hope of having things to discuss. I was an academic for a long time, and I think the key thing I miss from that world is the idea of discussions, of talking about ideas. Down all the years, the one thing I've enjoyed most with my young companions has been talking books and ideas late into the night. My bedroom wall is lined with bookshelves, and there's a reason for that. Nothing is as powerfully intimate and enticing as talking about ideas.
Yesterday morning on line I found an article by the disgraced Hugo Schwyzer. I know that six or seven years ago he was a voice in the world of the gender wars, but I've no idea what happened to him after his very public implosion. When I was an undergraduate, we'd have said, Sucked out of the universe like a watermelon seed. Well, he went to wherever those disgraced on social media in the gender wars go. Rehab, possibly, but more likely dragged to the edge of a stagnant urban river some moonless night and shot in the back of the head by the Social Justice Cult enforcers. Something like that, anyway.
The article by Schwyzer that I found was about how males in the here-and-now are unprepared to be desired--- how males (or at least straight males) have no ability to believe that anyone male can be physically desirable. The article was filled with too much Good Men Project-style vaporing and moralizing, but it did make a point. I've thought of myself as moderately well-read, as reasonably well-spoken, or as a passably decent conversationalist. I've never thought of myself as desirable or desired. I must've been--- girls have gone willingly to bed with me, and there have been girls who've made repeat appearances. If you'd asked me why they were there, though, I'd have talked about my bookshelves and the stories I can tell. I'd never have talked about being desirable, and that would've been a topic I'd have avoided. Why take the risk of considering whether I was actually desirable in any physical way?
Here in the latter years of my life, it's a fortiori an issue I'd prefer to avoid. But I do wonder about the issue of being desired. I suppose that I can't imagine how a male body or a male face could ever provoke desire. If a girl tells me that a certain male is handsome, I suppose I can agree or disagree in an abstract way, but there's no emotional connection, no way to imagine that anyone could feel actual, physical desire for anyone male. I've no idea what it feels like to be desired, no idea what it means to know that you're the focus of longing. I've been told that someone missed my voice or the things I know. I've been told that nights when a girl couldn't hear the stories I tell over the phone she felt empty and alone. That's something, of course--- a kind of being valued and needed. It's not desire, though; it's not physical.
I understand what it's like to feel desire for someone. I understand longing and need. But I can't imagine anyone feeling those things because of me. My own romantic life has been about being useful for the things I know or the things I can say. Those things have worked well enough, in a way. But I have no sense at all of being anything physical, and I have less and less faith in my physical self as being of any value, or as being anything other than dead mass.
If you're reading this, tell me about desire. Have you ever felt desired? Do you ever feel desirable? Are you aware of honing those qualities and using them? And when you are desired, what does it feel like? What do you become more aware of about yourself?
If you're out there...do let me know.