Friday, January 4, 2008

W4W and Me: You Defy Description

This past year, after each of two tough, but very different break-ups, I found myself turning to Craigs List as daily habit in my life. The first time, last March-June, I scanned the local Missed Connections forum daily, enjoying the distraction and entertainment, hoping to see myself reflected through another's desire (it's been a fantasy since I was 17 or so), finding solace in the hordes of other people lonely and hurting and strange and spewing. I don't own a TV, don't really consume any media except books and the two free weeklies (I am a bit embarrassed by being so poorly informed about current events and the like, but have yet to find a regular relevant source of clear, unspun news), wasn't watching movies, and no longer drink or smoke pot, so Missed Connections became my little escapism fix.

I almost never look at Missed Connections anymore. This time, it's the W4W section, which I've mentioned before. My roommate got me started on it and now I check it, generally several times daily, as a fascinating microcosm of the local gay/queer/lesbian/bi/trans communities. I examine the writing styles, and have learned general trends about what kinds of people write what kinds of ads, who is most likely a man trolling for sex pictures (a hot though amateur pic of a young, very femme girl in lingerie looking to hook up and exchange pics....NO MEN!-generally a dude), how more than any other category W4W is used as an online community/info center beyond just personals, and marvel at how much queers love passing judgement, policing each other and giving each other shit. Irene calls DVDs of HBO shows her "stories" like a grandma at home with Days of Our Lives, and W4W has become my stories. Oh right, and as of 2007, I occasionally get dates from there, though often when I'm not really trying.

When I was actually actively dating the last ex, I rarely perused W4W, and if I did I was usually looking for ladies who fit one or another of our fantasies, in the hopes we could find someone to fill out a particular role or gang up on. But despite, or perhaps because of all the trivial petty shit, name-calling and sizism and trans- and bi-phobic attitudes, beyond all of the ways it's so much like everywhere else in all the most mundane and embarrassing ways, it perfectly feeds my brain's craving for bite-sized pieces of fluffy, arousing, informative and occasionally soulful information.

And, I realize while writing this, although I often mourn the lessening of quality connections with empathy, compassion and sensory satisfaction between people that this world of cell phones and instant messenger and MySpace and blogs is weaning us from, I guess that the W4W forum also gives me the sense of belonging to an ersatz community, without facing the scorn of the Lex or running into my ex's or feeling invisible because of my generally femmey, weirdo presentation and male-oriented history and expansive desires. Being actually invisible can give you the freedom to be exactly who you are with confidence. It can also dehumanize people, inspire new heights of deception, and without accountability, bring out the worst.
Funny, that.

So this evening during my casual scroll, I came across a thread about a well-written ad. I love following the threads especially, they are a bit like anonymous exquisite corpses. So I went back and found the "OP" which is original posting in CL speak, and discovered it to be not only well written, but really resonant with many of my own feelings. So I emailed the poster and asked if I could re-print the ad here. She gave me her blessing so here it is for your reading pleasure. She is quite a bit older than me, and felt the age gap too significant to date, which was fine by me. But I feel the ad to be very apropos to what I am looking for.

My notes would be these:
1. I may put more importance on looks and interests than the author, though I have a very wide spectrum of what I find appealing in both those arenas.

2. I consider work to be anything on which you spend time, energy and hopefully some passion. In my (very privileged and also creative) world, work and finances are not necessarily corollary, though hopefully there is some of each.

3.Although I have practiced polyamory (much more difficult than the piano, which I gave up years ago) for about eight years, I am imagining my wife to be probably single. While I envision a poly marriage, with perhaps some periods of monogamy to help through rough patches, I want to get involved with someone who has the room not only in their hearts, but also in their bits and schedules to really fall deeply in love and intimacy, sometimes quickly sometimes slowly. To me this indicates someone who has had good practice with poly life, but happens to not have any super significant (in terms of romance and time commitment) partners at the moment. Perhaps some very casual, or occasional out-of-town lovers, but no relationships that would make her feel not single.

And here it is:

You Defy Description

Your looks and interests don't preoccupy me. What matters to me are your experiences, perceptions, and states of mind.

You know idiocy. What it is for you to completely screw up. Lose a chance. Miss a deadline. Blow a fuse. Lose your mind. Slip on a peel for real. Wound a lover. Lose your star. Sign a contract you know you’ll pay in blood.

You know many kinds of love. Romantic and silly. Unyielding and loyal. Coarse and exquisite, jealous and forgiving. Stirring-the-oatmeal love. Ancient, deep, recognition-love. Unrequited and tearing.

You know loss. Lover, family, goddamn body part stopped working, whatever it was. Crying in the shower. Getting through the days. Wincing away from the photographs, years later.

You know bliss. Music finding the heart of your ears. Touch. Image, sculpture, and narrative in visual motion. A glance, a smile, the simple phrases that wing the heart and make it sing. The body pushing against gravity to a great pleasure, to a finish line, beyond pain to submission, through silence to a timeless space of luminous ground.

You know surrender. To accept, in the big ways, that you’re not who you thought you were, or wanted to be, or thought you would become.

You know work. A steady hum. Combat and loyalties, crisis and crap, and even so, getting things done.

You know nature. Not just the elemental joy in rivers and mountains, kinship with that doe in the woods. Now, Being unconceals itself everywhere, you feel rapture in the concrete at Bush and Van Ness, a lost button, the rusty car hood.

You know connection. So you find it odd and hard to feel so much a-part-of-things -- not important, not unimportant, just a infinitesimal part of a whole -- in a culture peopled with many (not all) peripatetic, disconnected individuals, subjects who feel like objects, many of them scared and unhappy with who they are and what they’ve (not) got. You know you can’t hug total strangers, but sometimes you want to.

You have a job, a life, a family you talk to, friends. You have problems, you’re not perfect. You’re single. You’re thinking about “dating” and maybe in some moods you’re reluctant, in other moods optimistic. You’re more cautious than you used to be. You think if you meet the right person, something will click, there will be an opening of a sort. This frightens you a little but you’re willing to be open to it.

Me too.

If this post describes you, I have lots to learn from you. And maybe I have something to offer you. Though who knows? We'll never know unless we meet.

-A.J Waterborne

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

Oh, and once again, Happy New Year. I was in Slab City, being happy to get out of town again, reminded of the magic of shooting stars and hitchhikers, confused about intense love of the dessert, proud about owning and disassembling my own tent all by myself; as well as: wallowing in bubbling muddy hot springs, marveling at the trash in such desolation, and getting a lot to think about regarding class, lifestyle choices, and the path of my own life.

To paraphrase Sherilyn's New Year's Eve journal (a fiction); the new year seemed to take forever to come. Time moves strangely in the dessert. Thanks to my sister's respect of my birthday, I had a bottle of Navarro Vineyards grape juice with which to celebrate in my own sweet way. I made a few new friends, felt strong about driving most of the way there, and despite a moment or two (like the one as midnight approached when I realized how long it had been since I had someone I was in love with to kiss at the temporally kissable moment), I had a great time.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wouldn't It Be Funny....

if by some bizzaro twist of fate, this thing actually ended up landing me a husband? Though boys aren't currently on my horizon, that's just the sort of ridiculous shenanigan my life would get itself up to.

By the way, has anyone (besides Sherilyn) noticed that I *still* don't really know how to use semi-colons properly? Thanks a lot, fancy private school.

Off to my lovely, lucky, blessed new bed! Night Night!

Mojo and Crush Death

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I was thinking about how I love crush death. What I mean by that is: I find realizing that a crush has passed quite heartening. While the experience of lustful infatuation, when I feel so very excited and covetous and almost possessive of that certain person(s) who crosses my path, is fun and invigorating, adding spice, intrigue, and obsession to the rainy or maudlin days; equally joyful to me is the moment when I look at the person (usually someone I barely know) for whom I've been longing over weeks, months or years, and realize that I just don't give a shit. I love that experience.

I think because it teaches me, without pain or harshness, about how things can change, how the energy and attachment and tension I feel so intensely over someone can relax, and how its perfectly ok and natural when that happens. It doesn't hurt them, they're generally oblivious to the crush in the first place, and it is contrary to the traits I usually attribute to myself. Usually I'd still be down if the crush in question suddenly decided they wanted to make out with me, but would not and nevermore change my trajectory just to catch a glimpse of their shining face or swoon over their memory. Letting go is generally not easy for me, so this small harmless practice, of noticing when I let go of something not terribly crucial without trying, warms and lightens my mushy heart.

I know we all know this by now, but a lovely lady brought up the topic of mojo recently, and while that's not my favorite term for it, I am reminded of how legitimately and surely the concept seems to operate out in the big, strange world. As far as I can tell, the theory of mojo, or continuous, auto-regenerating sexual appeal, is basically identical to Newton's first law. Once you are deemed hot by the universe's magic sex wand, a plethora of factors (possibly including heightened self-esteem, pheromones, less attachment to the outcome of flirting, power of advertising, etc.) conspire in your favor to keep that sexy fairy dust sparkling. I think the dust eventually settles for all of us, but it sure is nice when it's happening, and with some effort, luck, and a strong enough inner sexual pilot light, we tend to flame back into irresistible at some point, again.

It's no secret that everybody wants the wanted. I personally tend to want the underdogs of the wanted, those that obviously should be wanted, but aren't often noticed because everybody's got their heads up their asses. Though this method often eventually ends up working against me, I love being the bellows to that sexual pilot light, and yes, I will often just keep blowing and blowing until the fire is set to heavy boil and the kitchen in slight danger of incineration. But I've lost my point. The point is mojo is communicable, and creatable by the seemingly mojo-less. If it's sparked and fed, you never know when the sweaty, handsy, fire-persons are going to suddenly burst through the door.

An interesting update for me, now that I'm finished speaking conceptually, is that I'm encountering a funny by-product of writing and semi-advertising this blog. Remember, please, that I often forget that these words and pictures and revelations are actually out there, floating around like perverse pigeons, nesting and shitting in the big strange world. In much the same way I used to always be shocked, truly, shocked when I heard someone was talking about me when I wasn't actually around (don't worry, I got over it), I keep being surprised that anyone reads this stuff. So it always cracks me up when at least once a week (and often more) someone that I'm not terribly intimate with asks me: "So, have you found a wife yet?" As far as idle chat goes, "Have you found a wife yet?" is the new "What shows are you in?"
I love it.

I mean, mojo or not, I've been doing this for exactly one month and I think most quality wives are more hard-won than that. One of the foxiest wives I know took a good six weeks before she decided that 'she did', so give me at least until mid-January. But it's encouraging , none the less. And as we look down the barrel of a cocked and loaded new year, I can only hope for the best. I'm excited about '08. I'm foregoing my general 'hopeful pessimism' for balls-out optimism this time. Well, at least one ball out, I still have my actual Saturn Returns coming up in August, but I've got at least one, cheerfully jiggling ball out for '08.

As for '07, well you taught me much (originally typed as "mush", Dr. Freud.) Sometimes I get tired of learning, but I'm glad I get to take these lessons into the future. I feel like I'm actually getting practice changing a bunch of those old, no-longer-helpful patterns that seem dug into my back by rusty nails. I'm excited about that. I don't seem capable of stopping the whole loving process, and I think that's my gift as well as my curse. I accept it though, even when it's really annoying, because if I'm going to do anything in this life I'd really like to spend mine loving more. I just hope to keep getting better and smarter and truer at it.

So Happy New Years, folks. I wish you all much mojo and all the things you need most, as well as at least a few of the things you want most. I wish me a more comfortable and engaged relationship with self-love and art. And a hot righteous wife wouldn't hurt.