Monday, September 30, 2013

taryn, anari, angela

WOMEN 81-83
We met through an apartment search. I had put an ad onto Craigslist, describing the kind of home i was looking for. I think she was the only person who responded. She was quite taken with the way i described myself...when we talked on the phone, she admitted she didn't really have a place for me, but wanted to meet anyway. So we did. She lived near Columbus Circle, in a somewhat fancy doorman building. We walked and talked for hours. She was funny, smart, progressive, and open. She'd been a dancer for much of her life, and was now a personal trainer. When it came time to say goodbye, it was obvious that our hearts weren't in it, so we went to her place. A few hours later, she invited me to spend the night, non-sexually (this was dandy with me, as i didn't rush into sexual relationships). Not only didn't she have a guest room, she didn't even have a proper bed, so we shared her pull-out couch. I asked whether she'd mind if i slept naked. She said no. As soon as i disrobed and laid down, she said all her resolve had just disappeared, and could we make love? I don't think i'd ever been with a woman who was so suddenly overtaken by her own carnal desires in such an objectively accepting way (she was even laughing at herself). It was adorable and made me want to care for her. So we made love. It was quite beautiful. We didn't share penetration, because she'd told me she had HPV (but hadn't had symptoms in a long time).
She had a glam side i didn't relate to...despite her body health awareness, she wouldn't give up high heels. And when she got made up to go out, she really threw herself into it. But too, she loved relaxing at home with me, with not a speck of makeup. So beautiful. She'd been a Rockette for a number of years, and i told her she had the kind of physique eighteen year-old girls wished they had. It was the stuff of my dreams too.
We settled into a fun relationship, getting together two or three times a week, often getting takeout and watching Bill Maher, or some such. We sought out vegan yummies. She respected how i lived with one foot off the grid. I learned that her biggest demon was abandonment issues stemming from her childhood and father. These issues had exploded any significant romance she'd ever had. I knew that might be a minefield no wisdom of mine could spare us from, but i didn't try to "fix" her, i just focused on learning and sharing. Her progressive side had one blind spot, in the form of a cinderella complex (surprise surprise). Though i knew it meant avoiding an issue that might easily end our time together, i was happy to offer her monogamy for the present.
Our sexuality was wonderful, even though a part of my brain had trouble wrapping around the HPV thing. I knew she could pass it on even when she was asymptomatic. For a month or so, we resisted any penetration. It was during this time that we shared one of the most beautiful sexual memories of my life. She lived on the third floor, and had huge windows running all along one of the walls. She didn't mind leaving the curtains open, which gave a show to anyone higher up in the building across the street. I didn't mind either...i'd always dreamed of loving a woman so uninhibited. One afternoon, with those curtains open, she lay on her stomach while i made love from behind...not penetrating, but sliding our tumescent, well-moistened genitals together, moving between her lips for time without end. So amazing.
Finally, i acquiesced to those loathsome things, condoms. She said she wanted to get tested to find out whether the virus were inactive. If so, she excitedly wanted to share condomless penetration. As much as i wanted that too, my understanding of HPV told me there was still a possibility of passing on the virus.
It was at this stage of our togetherness, that the explosion occurred. She was telling me about some of the horrible things she'd lived through, and that part of it had involved drug use. I told her i wasn't surprised...that her face had the suggestion of an alcoholic in it (my housemate had thought the same thing). The size of the button my comment touched in her was probably beyond words. She had lived most of her life in a world where looks were everything. I tried, over the next few weeks, to tell her how innocent my comment had been. But nothing i said was able to bridge the chasm that had formed. She thought i was horrible and insensitive. She resisted seeing me, and finally told me to go away.
In the aftermath, i wondered whether a part of her reaction didn't go back to her abandonment issues...that the closer we got, the more afraid she was of losing me. Perhaps she subconsciously needed to burn us, so that i would never have the chance to leave her.
I felt the sadness of losing her, for years to come. For more on taryn, see
Anari - see
Angela - see

Free Radical

-fall 2004
A short film whose audition notice advertised it as a mockumentary a la Christopher Guest, about a college “radical” with grand delusions. The Guest allusion made it irresistible, and it was only when i was in callbacks that i realized it was non-paying (i don’t know how i could have missed that in the audition notice). They wanted to cast me as the hippie third grade teacher of the radical, and since it only involved one afternoon of shooting, i said yes. It was a fun little shoot. I got on well with the actor playing the radical’s dad, and with the two child actors. We shot my scene in an elementary school, and i gave it a basic hippie-dreamy quality. Director Andrew McKinnon was very cool, but never sent me the copy of the film i’d been promised.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

nocturnal emission

I had a wet dream last night, for the first time in years. Maybe a decade, maybe more.
In the dream, i'm walking along a city street. There's a bit of a run-down, post-apocalyptic vibe (but that's just how a city can feel sometimes). I'm walking under scaffolding near the intersection of several small streets, almost alley-like. I stop at a vendor at a news stand. He's watching a baseball game on television. Not far off, another vendor is watching another game. I suddenly realize that in another reality, i'm a major league pitcher currently pitching, and going into the ninth with a no-hitter. I say to the vendor, "But i don't want that, i don't much care for spectator sports anymore." The vendor says that if i do it, there will be three TVs playing different games at that intersection, something that's never happened before. He seems excited, so i play along. Standing on the mound, i get ready to throw. I realize i'm holding a glass jar. Two of my fingers are inside the jar, so i know i have a good grip for an effective pitch. The jar is also a ball, so the batter will be fine (and perhaps get a hit). The next thing i know, i'm in an apartment above the street. I'm with a white married couple. The wife has decided to take me as a second husband, because one man isn't for a woman, sexually. I agree to do this even though the commitment might take years, because i'm proud of her for asserting herself (i know he's not comfortable with the idea). I'm not in love with her spiritually or hormonally though, and he's a bit of a corporate jarhead. The two of them finish making love...or rather, he finishes. She calls me to her, as he backs off unhappily. It feels strange, but she's also very attractive physically. Both of them are well-muscled, almost body-builder types. She hasn't moved from her position when he came, with her knees at her shoulders. I bring our naked bodies together. Her hair is lightened by dye, in a wavy perm. She also wears makeup...but i'm attracted nonetheless. Part of that is just pride in her for asserting herself. I penetrate her. It feels wonderful, so much so that i want to cum quickly. I try to resist, because the reason i'm here is to be long-lasting for her...but she tolerates my cumming, and it feels wonderful.
As i start to ejaculate, i wake up and realize what is happening. In such moments, it's sometimes possible to stop oneself, but i decide not to, as this hasn't happened in so very long. Even in the taoist years when i wasn't ejaculating, i would still have regular retrograde ejaculations.
It's strange that this would happen today, as i ejaculated just two or three days ago. It usually takes a week or two of no sexual release, to bring on a nocturnal emission.
This is also all very strange, because last night i had surgery on my penis.
Self-surgery of course, said the uninsured american (if you'll pardon the redundancy). But strictly outpatient stuff. I had a pinhead growth of extra skin on the lower shaft, and a blocked sebaceous gland near the head. The pinhead is new, the gland decades old. I used a sterilized nail clipper. Neither bled. The pinhead was tiny, the blocked gland a little bigger, so i just took off the top. It had maybe gotten a little bigger than it used to be (which was so small that no woman had ever noticed).
The gland, that is, not the penis.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Failed States"

-by Noam Chomsky
Chomsky's works centers on one of the great ironies of this land of the free and home of the brave. One of the metrics we employ in global relations is the term "failed state". The definition is complicated and imprecise, but can be said to describe any country that ignores both the dictates of the international community and a majority of its own population. By this metric, the U.S. deals with "rogue" nations, through sanctions and worse. The irony? By that definition, America is arguably the most failed nation in the world. Our history of ignoring the mandates of the UN and world courts is apalling. By a large majority, americans reject the notion of preemptive war, want reduced military spending and increased social services (in particular, the kind of health care that virtually every other industrialized nation enjoys), and strongly dislike policies that prolong our dependence on fossil fuels. In these and other ways, our government is more estranged from the will of the people than at any time in our history. Chomsky offers seven actions that will go a long way toward restoring us as a beacon of democracy and equality. They are worth repeating in their entirety. 1) Accept the jurisdiction of the World Court and International Criminal Court. 2) Ratify the Kyoto Protocol. 3) Let the UN take the lead in international crises. 4) Fight terrorism with economic and diplomatic measures, not machines of death. 5) Return to a traditional interpretation of the UN charter. 6) Give up our much-abused Security Council veto. 7) Cut back on military spending, and use that money for life-building purposes. Chomsky's work is well-researched (almost painstakingly so). "Failed States" is the product of an eminently keen mind, and profound patriot.

Friday, September 6, 2013

this week

THIS WEEK i got my first white hair, received a sexual come-on from a sixteen year-old, and found out i have an incurable STD.
Okay, not necessarily (that last one, i mean).
And none of those things are connected (in case you're wondering).
And i'm no believer in anything so self-important as karmic balance, but those first two things together? Fun!
UPON discovering my white hair (a cute lil' feller in my red beard), i immediately scheduled a party. I had to do this myself, as i don't have a group of cool friends to do such things for me. Ready to confound and contradict the dysfunctional dictates of this ageist society, i invited all to come celebrate my ascension to wise community elder. I'll have to hope that the evolutionary basis of white/grey hair (a sexual signal that alerts potential mates to desirable "long life" genes) will kick in subconsciously in females around the conscious reaction our society instills in us is generally more akin to wailing and sackcloth. My party invitation was essentially a silly gesture to promote thinking and talk among people too far away to actually show up, but i thought it was important. So next time you know someone who's discovered their first grey, throw them a blow-out celebration! Sincere, not mockery. Generations from now, our descendants will honor us with statues, for making old age venerable again.
AND...if ever an agnostic who doesn't drink might be tempted to say "god bless alcohol", it's when a drunk female comes on to you. I was on the beach doing yoga calisthenics, when a rainstorm left me the only person in sight. Undeterred, i continued. A group of four female teenagers soon came along. Their ebullience left little doubt that they'd been at some watering hole (and were well-watered). When they caught sight of me alone on a rainy beach doing a dhanurasana, they expressed mystification. When i told them what i was doing, one of them became fascinated, and got down on her stomach to mimic me. I went into a headstand, as two of them walked on. The other two came closer, and the bold one asked me to support her in a headstand. I told her to wait one minute. Her friend pressured her to go - i got the sense that they were on vacation with parents, and were overdue. When i arighted myself, she asked me to give her a session the following morning (after asking about my marital/girlfriend status). I didn't ask how such things were relevant to yoga, but told her when i'd be on the beach again. She ran off.
I was both touched and saddened. Touched, for libidinous reasons. Saddened, because i thought of all the truth that alcohol releases...truths that are crying to be let out. Foremost, the fact that we live in a repressed society, walking around in a constant haze of subconscious (or not so sub) misery over all the SEX WE'RE NOT HAVING. If this isn't the outright, inhibition-lowering, number one reason bars exist, it's at worst tied for first place with the general need to simply escape reality. This poor young creature has a howling sex drive that our society provides no outlet for, that isn't furtive at best. I was also sad because, even in her blurred state, and though she was obviously in no position to be in any kind of monogamous relationship with me, she still framed her come-on in the context of sexual possessiveness. All my hopes for how much more spiritually evolved the younger generation is, suddenly flew away.
I was also saddened, because i had a sudden insight into all the intimacy i've missed in my life, by avoiding the bar scene. Before this young woman knew anything about me she couldn't have learned from a photograph, she was all over me. I'm not saying i ever could have made a career out of hooking up with drunk chicks, but...just the chance to be around people who are perpetually lowering their inhibitions is, well, an intoxicating thought. And then there's me, soberly dedicated to never taking advantage of any woman in any way, spending a life far more alone than not.
Lonely ponderings in a broken world.
AND...i have HPV.
Or not.
You'd think the most prevalent social disease anywhere might come with some sort of test whereby we might KNOW whether we have it, Not if you're a man, anyway. Unless you, a male, has some sort of visible symptom that can be biopsied, you're out of luck. So why do i think i might have it? Because i had a wartlike blemish on my abdomen. I acid-dissolved it before realizing it was the only way i could have been tested. Why might it have been an HPV flat wart? Because two years ago i had an affair with an HPV-positive woman. She was asymptomatic and we used condoms...but HPV doesn't necessarily care about that. Do you know how many people reading this will get one of the hundreds of HPV strains out there? Four out of five. I spoke to at least six clinics in search of something called an HPV rectal swab test, even visiting one who told me they could do it (but were wrong). Although it presumably exists somewhere, it's so unreliable that it does NOT exist here. In my search, i had given up hope that i (an american without medical insurance - surprise!) would be able to get this test at a walk-in, sliding-scale clinic. So the test would cost $200. This means i was prepared to take it in the ass, both literally and metaphorically.
I did get a nice free gonorrhea/syphilis test out of all this, plus the knowledge that many health care workers are genuine, caring people who hate this capitalistic system almost as much as do the patients who can't afford to go to them.
So now i have to hope(?) i get another blemish. Could it have been any one of a number of other things, including a regular wart? Absolutely. The body creates all sorts of unscheduled growths - i have one friend who had brain and tooth tissue removed from a place where brains and teeth most decidedly do NOT grow (unless we're speaking metaphorically again).
And that was my week.
I love you all.

P.S. For a most curious follow-up, see:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Self-Made Man"

(One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back Again)
-by Norah Vincent
Through makeup, wardrobe, exercise, and diction, writer Norah Vincent turns herself into Ned Vincent - a woman assuming the identity of a man (outwardly...and ultimately inwardly), to better understand the male reality. Reading this book caused such a wave of catharsis in me, i occasionally clapped and shouted. Her commitment is gobsmacking. She invested a year and a half of her life, devoting as many as five months to each separate exploration. She explores dating and strip clubs, joins a bowling league, works for a male-dominated company, lives at a monastery, and attends male empowerment seminars. I occasionally teetered on the edge of disbelief, waiting for the book to be revealed as a work of secret fiction (like the narrative inserts in "A Princess Bride"), because at times it's too perfect. The characters she interacts with often fall into improbably spot-on archetypes, and many of the resolutions and "reveals" feel too smooth. There are also times when her audacity strains credibility, most notably when she goes on a backwoods retreat in the company of men who have homicidal rage issues with women! But if "Self-Made Man" is even a tiny bit fiction, it is no less powerful and insightful. It will make you face the extent to which gender role identities shape everyone's behavior. Even those who have long been attuned to such things, may find an unexpected bat flying out of their cupboard. Vincent expected to feel fully empowered for the first time in her life - and was shocked to realize the extent to which she didn't. She concludes that our current social structure is at least as damaging to men as it is to women. In a postfeminist world, she contends that the demographic "white male" has lost most of its power and privilege, but none of its dehumanizing stress. The extent to which one agrees with that may vary - i myself have spent my life painfully aware that "white male" still defines our society's norm, and anyone who falls outside that is reminded of their "other" status every day (i even cringe at using "him" or "her" instead of some hypothetical gender-neutral pronoun, and believe that differences between men and women are more artificial than Norah contends). And ultimately, is the "truth" of her observations so subjective that a similar book by a different female writer might have radically different conclusions? Perhaps. Yet don't be surprised to find yourself validating every observation she makes. Her journey finally drove her to a nervous breakdown, no longer able to reconcile her dual identities. Once she recovered, she knew that she never wanted to leave the advantages of female life again. An amazing conclusion. An amazing book.