Thursday, January 7, 2010
Your thoughts betray you
I came up against my first obstacle in Project Onan yesterday, readers (don't worry I haven't been self congratulating while thinking about Darth Vader; it's for the purposes of illustrating the title, all of which becomes clear at the end). Here’s how it came about:
I found some of Gill’s old women’s magazines, you know the sort of thing. And, like I always used to, I went straight for the problem pages. They’ve always been the best bit for me, they stop me feeling so alone. None of them, unfortunately, were as good as the one that I see my follower Cathy has posted on her twitter feed, about a 32-year old woman who breastfeeds her dog.
I dunno about you, but there’s something darkly salacious about the way she writes of her dog’s pink tongue. There’s also something very amusing about the way she gives the full names of the two boyfriends who feature in the story. What goes on, eh?
Anyway, there I was perusing the problem pages – not, I should add, in a Project Onan kind of way – when I found a bit about sexual fantasies. This woman was saying how she always fantasises about someone else while she’s making love with her husband. Should she feel bad? Not so, according to the agony aunt; apparently this is all quite normal. The response contained the information that men most often call to mind actual memories of other sexual experiences when looking for a bit of a leg up, while women tend to fantasise about things that have never (and, let’s face it, probably will never) happen to them.
I have to say, there’s something in that. I can’t speak for anyone else but I’ve often raided the memory banks in the past and, the older I get, the more I will be forced to, I should imagine. Perhaps it’s the innate practicality of the male sex. Your memories, as Jim Bowen might have said were he some kind of darts-based sex counsellor, are safe. They can’t be taken away from you, unless you get the galloping dementia (see a few posts back). Safe is good. Safe is reliable, because you know the outcome.
Personally, even when fantasising about something fictitious, I’ve always felt the need to include a cast iron back story in the plot. If I don’t do that I tend to get distracted. Let me give you an example: Say I’m fantasising about, oh, I don’t know, getting it on with a couple of lingerie models in the back of a limo driving round the streets of Talin. There has to be a good reason why I’m there, otherwise why would I be there? I wouldn’t just go there for that reason, it’s just not me. That would nag at me while I was trying to get on with the meat of the plot. So, before I’ve even started, I’m backtracking. Turns out I’ve been sent over on a work trip. I should only be in town for a couple of nights. Talin’s supposed to be a fun place, I’ve been told by a colleague, who went on a stag do there a few years ago. The party of ten lads on this stag were picked up at the airport in a limo and there were two strippers in there who gave them a little show on the way to the hotel.
But I’m not the kind of guy that goes whoring, although in this fantasy I’ve decided to give it a whirl. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because the girl I was in love with has recently died and I’m not ready for another emotional commitment But I do need some sex. Finding myself on a trip to a strange town where beautiful women are available on a commercial basis, no guilt involved, I’ve decided to test the water. Ok, so that’s that. How do I go about asking my colleague where to sort out a pair of sexy ladies in the back of the limo, though? I tell him I’ve got a stag do to plan and could he get me the details. Bosh.
What time does the flight land, though. If it’s a morning arrival, I’ve probably got a meeting during the day that I have to go to before I check into the hotel. I’m not going to be getting jiggly with two lovelies ahead of a meeting, getting my suit all crumpled and my hair all messed up. Possibly turning up with one or more of the liquids of love besmirching my apparel. No, I’ve gone straight from work in the afternoon, caught the early evening flight and it’s about 9pm when I get into the limo with the two girls.
Now, you wouldn’t get into a limo and not have a glass of champagne, would you? Well, I wouldn’t, anyway. The pop of the cork, the foamy bubbles spilling over my hands. No, over the girl’s hands; a nice little piece of foreshadowing imagery that I’ve chucked into the tableau. But how much am I going to have? Not too much, I don’t want to take away the performance, now do I. So maybe I’ll just have a couple of glasses. Mind you, will that make for an elongated period of awkwardness. I’m guessing Estonian hookers aren’t that great at speaking English, and I don’t even know what’s Estonian for ‘beer’. Maybe it should just be the one glass. Ok, so that’s that sorted.
I’m just about to get down to the nasty and I find myself wondering: Who the fuck is driving this car, where’s he going and is he watching us here in the back or is he keeping his eyes on the road? The last thing I want is to end up in a car crash while in the middle of some saucy behaviour. Because then the police get involved, possibly the medical services and then, inevitably, I’ve got some guy from the Consulate to deal with. And then I’d be all over the Metro in a few days. Plus I wouldn’t make my meeting, and I’d be in trouble with the boss and probably sacked for using a legitimate work trip as cover for a visit from a couple of high class call girls. In the best case scenario I get to keep my job because of my recent bereavement but I become a laughing stock in the office. But how do I find out if the driver’s doing his job properly? If I don’t know the Estonian for beer, you can bet I don’t know how to ask the girls if the screen between the front of the limo and the main bit at the back is two way glass or not. But I don’t want to bang on the partition and spoil the moment. So I’ll just have to swallow that one, I suppose. Either way, it’s bound to put me off my rhythm a bit, you don’t want a wondering mind in these situations, do you.
Back in the real world, of course, I’ve been on the go for five minutes. I’ve sorted out a reason for going, my flight itinerary and my drinks menu. I’ve had a mild panic attack about an accident that may not happen in a fantasy that I’m having trouble getting started, I’ve lost a girlfriend about whom I presumably cared deeply and I’m nowhere near the good stuff. Take a step back and you realise that I’m masturbating while thinking about personal tragedy and logistics. And that kind of thing would probably give sex counsellor Bowen something to write a bloody thesis on.
No, these fantasies are much overrated, which is why, I suppose, men tend to stick to good old memories. And here’s the problem I came up against. For my go last night I was flicking through the filing cabinet of love when I came across a cherished moment in my sexual history; the first time I was brought to the point of no return by somebody else. An awakening, if you will. I won’t tell you what her name was; suffice it to say it wasn’t Jane Jarvis or Fat Alice. I was 13, she was 14 and it took place under a slide in the park. It was a head-bending moment; I felt some things I’d never felt before. I went under that slide one person, and I came out another person. The world looked different, everything seemed sharper.
So here’s the thing: If you’re sexually recollecting something that actually happened to you that retains an intense emotional resonance, perhaps because it was the day that your life changed forever, are you having the kind of thoughts that get you on the sex offender’s register and the front of the Daily Mail because the girl you’re thinking about is under age? It’s a tricky question, that one. If it’s a memory, it’s legitimate, right? You’re not thinking about you now and the girl then, you’re thinking about you then and the girl then. But it’s still the now you that’s thinking about the then girl. And there are some, I’m sure, that would count that as justification enough for chemical castration.
It was upon reaching this point in my internal monologue that I realised I had lost the momentum. All of a sudden I was struck by self doubt. Was I a deviant for thinking these things? Is there something furtive and unnatural about my desires? Was I afraid to take the questioning any further? Are my eyes too close together? Surely, I thought, it won’t be long before they can record our thoughts and we get betrayed by our own memories. The subconscious could become like one of those neighbourhood watch schemes you get in totalitarian states where kids report their parents for deviating from the party line. Jesus Christ, I’m going to have to start hiding my thoughts from myself, I thought. And then I wished I hadn’t thought it, because if I had thought it, my subconscious would know about my plans.
It took me a little while to calm down, readers. I don’t know, maybe the twelve drugs of Christmas have messed with my head a little bit. After an hour and a couple of cans of cobra, though, I was relaxed and even able to chuckle at my own silliness. I remembered that I still had to get back to the task in hand. I couldn’t give up on day six, after all. Mind you, I kept it all very normal, believe me.