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This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

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Notes on Being a Man Slut

February 2003:
Lately I've been easy. I use the term slut in preference to "stud" because I think they're behaviorally pretty analogous, but one is loaded with patriarchal normative potency and the other one is quite frankly a little more honest. Sleeping around creates just as much vulnerability as it does empowerment. Someone said to me that I was in a "player phase" and I took a little offense at that too. Players, to my mind anyway, are manipulaters, liers, misleaders. They take things from people. I strive not to be like that. Sometimes it's difficult, but the truth always feels better.

And now for the unadulterated rant.

Where's my fucking conversation? Too much fucking, not enough conversation, if you ask me.

Here's an example of what I mean. Standing around Friday, post-gym tired, drinking goofball redbull&vodka trying to stay awake and get myself into dancing. Britpop and 80s music that's all about love. I'm finding my eyes everywhere except for the suicidegirl I'm supposed to be with, finally sinking into a kind of power-save mode to keep enough juice stored up for the PATH train and sex back in New Jersey, exhaustion and a lack of will threatening to capsize the whole endeavor. It turns me on, but only the necessary parts; friction mechanics and fluid dynamics. A locket containing the ashes of her dead boyfriend in the bed, somehow I'm just interested, not turned off (his art, photos, etc, all over the room). Weird and heavy, but not wrong. Doubtful that I can give everything that's needed, I proceed in any case. Anything less would be boring, static. The truth shall set you free. At the dance-party the music was making me feel like a liar, but once we got out it was better. Keep it simple. Friction and fluids; physics never fails.

We'll dance all night and we'll sing all day
and on the girls we'll spend our pay
and when we're done then we'll away
to dance with Jack o' the Shadows

I admitted everything to my semi-square friend Kate at dinner. She's a reality check for me, someone with morals. We ate Chinese food in a sliver of decency carved out of times-square, good prices and a kind of anachronistic science-fiction vibe. Later, over ice cream in a strange smoky swiss spot, she says it's endearing because it's me, wonders (boyfriended) if she should have slept around more when she had the chance. "No," I tell her in so many words. "Well, not no. But don't regret it. Having a relationship is much more." That's what I tell betrothed Mark too, and I mean it.

But where's my fucking conversation? Still too much fucking without enough conversation. Saturday night is all drinking with the dudes, I get a painful arm-massage and the redundant advice on stretching after a workout. Redundant conversation, not communication really but a kind of competition, assertions of our various states of being and knowledge about the world around us, at best a ritual affirmation of things past, shared experience. Who's running the show here? Don't we have any new stories to tell? I'm killing time...

Booty call comes through at 4am -- Saturnine. Mercurial. Vaguely French. Gone by 6. First go was pretty pleasurable, all tied up and blindfolded. She likes to drive, and is very warm when I take over, riding that tender edge of pleasure, brutality, caresses. It was pretty pleasurable. Second go was a bust. Notes: have more energy, teach the handjob, stick to the truth, work on reception; there's nothing worse than half-hearted powerfucking. She's already not too into men and I wasn't a very good ambassador just there. We'll see if I get another chance. Either way, a learning experience.

That's the saving grace for me at this point, the irrefutable proof that what's going on lately is worthwhile and not just empty kicks: I'm learning a lot about my self and a little about other people. It's a voyage of discovery.

Being a man-slut, being easy, is a matter of being an echo chamber for desire. I am a resonator. Sometimes I get a little tingle and throw it out there, sometimes a little vibe comes my way. In years and months past I used to cringe, feeling fearful or inconvenienced, feeling like I'm inconviencing others. Now I drink it up with a smile. You get a lot further in life with a smile.

Lately it's been all about amplification, trying for that ineffable positive feedback loop. You can get into some pretty spontaneously high places like that; waking up from a short pasta-induced nap on some rich girl's floor in the wee hours only to find everyone else is gone and sparks are flying and pretty soon it's neighbor-waking time. Got digits, never called, too late now for a repeat gig. That game cuts both ways though, happens to the best of us. That first girl from the party, the older one who started this whole phase, she never called despite stipulating that she could before we even got started. It would have been nice, but it's ok that it never was. Dig the ephemeral.

Feedback loops are value-neutral. They can tear you down just as quick as they build you up. Sometimes you just don't have enough mojo to sustain, sometimes ulterior motives are in play, conscious or not, and then it becomes something about using and sublimation. I don't like that quite as much. It's why the slut thing tends towards one-off engagements; there's no time for suspicion and all sorts of room for fantasy and projection. Maybe much later when I'm more jaded and cold it will be boring, but for now I'm adolescent enough to be endlessly fascinated with the strange, excited about that which I do not know. Learning is a turn on, but classes can cause wind-drag if you're not really a good fit for the course or you don't do the homework.

No regrets so far, but I do wonder where this is going. There's a real possibility that I could get hung up around here, stuck in my current eddy. That I do not want. I want more conversation. With all these liaisons, there was conversation at one point or another, and the best of sex amounts to some kind of divine two-way communication. Flavors abound -- power, comfort, humor, the gamut of human preoccupations -- but the basis for anything hot is a successful connection. Are you feeling me? Am I coming through?

Yes. I can hear you. Speak no lie.

As I think about what is next I'm a little afraid. I can't stay where I am; the present is blissfully unstable. I don't want to consolidate, yet I still fear the consequences of unleashing myself on the general population. There's the bit about relationships, and the simple truth that I don't have any particular direction to head in search of that particular treasure. I'm fond of thinking myself an explorer, a connaisseur of the universe, but where do I go to find my fucking conversation? Where do I go to find conversation for more than an hour, more than a week, more than a month?

In the end, I still have these unrealistically high standards. It's just that I've elected to let myself out to play a little more. I really am a romantic on the inside, a true believer in the boundless potential of the human spirit. My core desire is for something incredibly special, and it's a tall fucking order, maybe too much to ever find in another person, let alone put upon them to fulfill. I don't know if this period of experimentation and exploration is going to take me closer or further away from where I really want to end up, but I've concluded that it's far better than standing still and depressed. It's a turbulent and stormy way to live, but are these not turbulent and stormy times we inhabit?

For now, I embrace the storm, both for the pure raging fury excitement of it all and in the pure-hearted hope that lightning will strike and light will eventually break through all darkness.

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Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...


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