Phew! (for a minute there, I lost myself)
It is a marvelous feeling to recollect yourself. Tonight began on a blue note. Hungover, worn-out, I was on the blink, struck asunder by a strange feeling of being too late for my own life. Listlessly, I began reading Acephalous’s newest post, which linked to a “feminist” blog where someone denounced fellatio as demeaning and joyless for the giver.
Acephalous has taken the position that this is a heteronormative position, and that it discriminates, intentionally or not, against gay men.
I would like to assert that it is simply not worth talking about. It is, of course, strange that I would mention it at all, if I think it is such an undeserving subject. But let me put the question differently: if you were dying, and the events of your life were coming into focus for one last time, fellatio per se would mean nothing to you. You wouldn’t have the will to denounce it, or to defend it. All your energies would be concentrated elsewhere.
I believe that if I were dying, the things I didn’t do, the injustices I suffered, and the countless ways in which people pass time (including in the bedroom) would all become slightly humorous, or even perhaps a cause for wonder. “Amazing,” I would think. “I never bothered to learn guitar. I had a guitar for so many years and I let it sit there.” I would think back with surprise to realize how cold I had been at times, without being able to help myself, to the point of once letting a woman who loved me cry on the floor of a very white laundry room, because she felt neglected.
I would wonder, not for the first time, what it was that seemed to always persuade life to turn on itself. What can possibly make a person sit down and write an angry letter to the blogosphere about some sexual practice? The writer claims (s)he wanted to get a lot of angry responses. What a strange thing to say — angry responses are unpleasant to read.
Then the wonder and humor of our betrayals of our time and each other would lead to one great question: why didn’t I become the person I thought I would be, when I was ten? When I was ten the world was palpable to me. I would pick up a smooth stone, which had been baking on the sand by the river, and run my thumb over its porridge-hot walls and fissures. People were palpable, too. One did not think of them doing right or wrong, exactly; one could hardly even imagine them working on homework or their jobs. At ten years old it’s hard to imagine people functionally. Instead, I felt, in being with people, the volatile engine of their hopes.
That is why it is worth fighting for a metaphysics of being, instead of an anti-metaphysics of doing. Everything we do, even what happens between the sheets, is code for who we are. That code is hopelessly unique to the individual, which is why general prescriptions for behavior are wastes of time. I’m certain the unfortunate “feminist” forgot his or her real point, which was the loss we incur in forgetting that another person is there. The other’s presence is worth knowing, or would be. I am certain that it is presence, not any moral absolute, which glimmers at that last moment, and every moment before which is actually lived.
I guess the wrongness of the question (to go down or not?) just chased my blues away. The absurdity of it mirrored the absurdity of my own wasted time, and with a feeling of relief, I felt myself suddenly outside of both.