Monthly Archives: January 2021
It could be a lot of things. Commitment. A bribe. A power game. Love? Not necessarily.
And there are things that have got nothing to do with sex. Like good looks. Religion. Rebellion. Daddy issues. Mommy issues. Alcohol.
Everybody has a problem with sex. This is because everybody has problems. We spend our lives trying to figure out how to journey through the madness that is each other. How could those not show up in our sex?
It will hurt. Physically, maybe. Emotionally, definitely. There is so much that will surprise you & continue to surprise you every minute you breathe & move around other people. The sight of someone’s forearm. The musk of a stranger as they pass. The back of a head you used to know really well. Surprises aren’t always good, even if the sex is. You’ll never realise how much your life is based on assumptions about sex, until they’re broken.
I’ve heard people describe themselves as ‘very sexual’ and mean promiscuous. I don’t like the term promiscuous because it has a whiff of judgement about it. One might say “I’m a sexual person” because there are other people who are asexual beings. And there are people who have sex but it doesn’t form a big part of their identity. I say it to mean that sex is an integral part of how I relate to another person. It doesn’t mean I have sex with a lot of people or even a lot of sex with some people. It just means that sexual awareness is an intrinsic of my identity & my connections with others.
Sex isn’t a mechanical act that can be boiled down to a precise contract or formula. It’s the very act of living & being who we are. Only living creatures have sex. How can we bring objectification into it?
There is something about living your best self that draws in other people. We call its wonderful parts, inspiration. The pleasure of watching someone achieve their dream, follow their passion, be happy.
But it also pulls in darker sides of humanity. Microaggressions like insincerity, barbs, sarcasm, condescension. Boundary violations like stalking, hero worship, objectification. Dangerous things like righteous rage & what I call themsplaining (which is people telling you who you are from their own limited point of view but as if that is the truth). Some people are in a hurry to impose on you, their scripts of what your life should look like & who you should be. It’s a lot easier than saying, what a joy to behold & what does it teach me about my own joyfulness? People tell you who they are, in the way they respond to your happiest self.
My dressing often brings in aggression. Workplace harassment for wearing a hair ornament. Bullying by a classmate for wearing sarees. Slut-shaming & prudery-shaming together. Don’t ask – hate isn’t logical. Last evening I sported a face painting, some people said was ‘scary’.
I once read an interview with Rudyard Kipling, where he spoke of the abuse he endured as a child. He said, “That experience left me devoid of the capacity to hate.” My contentment in my body & clothes is probably terrifying for some people. It’s hard to be angry at people who are scared of you. In my experience, refusing to respond with anger kills the aggression. Bullies have returned offering timid affection. It’s hard to take seriously because a guilty compliment is a bribe, a desperate plea for approval. All I feel is sad for the smallness that humanity can also be.
I go back to Kipling. And try & keep my head when all about are losing theirs & blaming it on me. This is being my best self. Doing this in big colours makes it an adventure. I am a fierce butterfly.
: Watch your reaction to what impresses you
I met Scorpio in a chatroom. Reeling from heartbreak, I blundered into a new internet in 2000. We traded barbs, volleyed rock lyrics. When I was all cried out, I wandered back. This time we chatted. Then emailed, a song lyric here, an essay there, a letter then a poem. In a new millennium, time goes by fast.
He had a girlfriend, Gemini. Things weren’t good. Then maybe they were. When she came into our chat, things got richer. More poignant poetry, more passionate declarations. A marriage proposal. To me. I told him to breakup first, then ask me. He did in a Dear Jane email, BCC me. But I awoke to an unread chat message. “I couldn’t. Sorry.” The barbs returned. So did the poetry.
Scorpio’s best friend & Gemini’s senior was Aquarius. Scorpio would ask him to keep me company on chat when he had to work late. Aquarius & I talked mathematics & architecture. He told me about the girl he pined for. Then Scorpio would login & Aquarius would swim off with a polite bye. My nights were to hold Scorpio’s poignant heart but the waiting was made sweeter by intellectual Aquarius.
One night, Scorpio didn’t login. Aquarius & I building a connection over design, barely noticed. Before I logged off, he typed..and stopped. I was used to his keyboard fidgeting. “Goodnight or is 3AM good morning?” The reply surprised me. “I love you. I know you don’t feel that way but you should know this. Goodnight.” I never told Scorpio.
Months later, Gemini found me. She’d tracked my phone number down, something two boys who said they loved me hadn’t been able to, in a year. She was walking out on her family for Scorpio. “You have to tell me if something’s going on.” So I did. Scorpio lied. I served up the emails. Did they count? I let her decide.
Aquarius raged & called me a relationship breaker. I said it wasn’t my job to keep Scorpio loyal. I received an apology email. “What would you do if you were me?” I asked. He said, “Forgive me.” I did.
A new millennium lay ahead of us. It was just the internet.