What I feel like I’m about to write is probably going to involve subject matter of an adult nature. If you were in any way offended by the web address of the site you’re visiting, read no further. If you are in any way offended by subjects relating directly to or specific descriptions of my sexuality and sexual activities (past, present, future, and imagined), read no further. If you are my mother or father, you probably shouldn’t read on. (I can’t stop you, but you probably won’t like what you see, so I’m letting you know ahead of time.) If the idea that Teel even possesses sexual organs of his own baffles or disturbs you, read no further.
You have been warned. If you are still reading, it should be because you are comfortable with sexuality and sexual situations, and thinking critically about the nature of these things and how they relate to the rest of our lives and worlds. This is you last chance to get out. (Note: I can not ensure you that there will be any kind of explicit or adult material below. I haven’t written it yet. I just have been on that sort of train of thought, and I’m not planning on censoring myself, and I wanted to give you fair warning. If you’re looking for erotic literature, go someplace like http://www.asstr.org. If you’re interested in my take on my life as I see it today, read on.)
So, what I’m writing today pretty much assumes you read what I wrote yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, please go to Caffeine and read through that before you read through this. It will help.
There are many different reasons I’m trying to understand how to decide what my core values are. Among them is the question presented to me by the entire world of Mating and Relationships. I seem to have got the getting the girl (or boy) part down, but I’ve been stuck on the question of “Once you’ve got them what should you do with them?” for quite a long while. So much of the “dating” scene seems to be about finding that special someone and then getting to know them/impressing them/convincing them to stick around. I’ve got that part down pat. I can see almost immediately who someone is and whether or not they are the sort of person I can get along with. I’ve learned how to be myself, and that seems to be all that’s necessary to get to know them, impress them, and convince them that they like to spend time with me. I just … I don’t know what to do next.
I guess I really don’t know what to do with friends, either. People that I never intended or attempted romantic involvement with, that I like spending time with and can tolerate (or appreciate) my presence; we get to know each other, but I … I don’t know what to do next. I don’t see anyone else struggling with the concept of “What are friends for?”… I’ve known people to be concerned that they don’t have any friends, or that they’ve lost friends, or their friends have changed, and I can understand all of those ideas. I’ve learned that friends are valuable; I like having friends, and I like the idea of keeping my friends and getting new friends. I just don’t know what to do with the friends I have. So, the ones I don’t live with, I don’t see very often, if at all. I don’t know if that is right or wrong, because I don’t understand the concept of “What happens next” in friendship, but I can see that other people seem to spend more time with their friends, and it is easy for them.
I guess part of that is that there really isn’t a whole lot of “activities” that I am fond of. It seems to me like friends are people that you do things with, so if I don’t do things, that would explain why I don’t spend time with my friends, right? And if I don’t know what my core values are, that would probably explain why I don’t know how to choose what activities to do, and why there basically aren’t any. So maybe this all comes down to figuring that out. Like, my core values are the key to understanding everything, and I just haven’t worked that part out yet, and when I do, I’ll know what to do with my friends, what I want to do with my life, how to know if I’m successful, what I’m looking for in a mate and why, and so many other things… It will be like reaching enlightenment. Or, I will understand core values and find that there is an even more basic assumption that I haven’t noticed yet, and see a whole new range of things (in addition to the ones pending today) that understanding THAT will unlock. Who knows.
Anyway, in trying to work all of this out, and keep living as I do it, I am faced with many different thoughts and feelings and desires that push and pull and twist me into different situations and that I don’t really know what to do in. I know when I see a beautiful woman (or hot man (for the sake of understanding, I’ll try to restrict myself to referring to women from here forward except where necessary. Understand that everything I’m saying about women probably applies to men, too.)) that I think to myself “I like that.” I have the desire to stop and say hi and sometimes I have the desire to forego words and just kiss her right there. I don’t, but I’ll think about it later, too. How I should have said hi, or if I said hi that i should have done more, and how I certainly should have kissed her. How I wanted to be close to her, connect with her, be intimate with her.
Yet that it where it stops. Desire hands my head and my heart that message, and they don’t do it because: My Head says things like “What next? If we say hello, a conversation will start, and that will lead to a place where we don’t know what to do next. Sure we could become friends, but I get the feeling that isn’t what you’re looking for, Desire. What do you think, Heart?” My Heart says things like “What about me? How much am I expected to get involved here? Is this just about getting next to that girl, or do you want me to form an emotional attachment (and don’t you know I’ve already begun to form an emotional attachment)? Every time I form an emotional bond with someone and let you know what I feel like we should do about it, Head isn’t sure, or we can’t decide if the actions are aligned with our Desire. I don’t know what you’re asking me for!” My Desire just keeps repeating the same urges to connect, and my Head keeps going on about not knowing where such a connection is intended to lead, and Desire doesn’t know, and before long the opportunity has passed.
Or worse, one or more of these three will be frustrated about not ever acting, just sitting around debating, and will take the initiative, bowling over the other two and forcing me to be friendly or take action. Although it may not make sense on the surface, usually when I am being friendly or flirty with total strangers it is because one or more of the basic parts of me are fed up and frustrated upset with not knowing what’s supposed to happen next. Usually when I start to act on my Desire, my Head and my Heart pay close attention hoping that maybe this time, if they just play along, they’ll get a glimpse of “What comes next” and will be able to get past all this trouble. Which leads to all sorts of interesting/difficult situations.
So while I was writing that, I began to think about Monogamy. What does Monogamy mean? dictionary.com says it means 1. The practice or condition of being married to only one person at a time. 2. The practice of marrying only once in a lifetime. 3. (Zoology.) The condition of having only one mate. I believe that the definition that should be considered though also relates to the “serial monogamy” of the dating world. The idea that while you are in a Relationship with someone, you aren’t in a Relationship with anyone else. The idea of cheating seems to be based on the idea of not remaining monogamous. Cheating seems at first to be defined by having a sexual relationship with someone other than your primary partner, but it truly extends much further. If monogamy is defined as being married to only one person at a time, than the conditions of monogamy must extend to all the conditions and features of marriage. In the modern sense where monogamy includes the serial monogamy of dating, monogamy must extend to include all aspects of the dating relationship, real or potential.
Which means what? That if you’re “dating” someone you shouldn’t have sex with someone else, sure. That if you’re dating someone you shouldn’t be dating someone else. That if you’re dating someone you shouldn’t act on or even think about any attraction you have for someone else? Being attracted to the person you’re dating seems like an important part of the Relationship, so I guess that should be considered an aspect of the dating Relationship, and thus part of what is covered by the monogamy there. To remain truly faithful, you should not just avoid sex with and dates with Other people, but you should also avoid even being attracted to other people. Is this realistic? Is this reasonable? Does it matter? It follows logically, but is it logical to expect?
Just because I am in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean there aren’t other people in the world I’m attracted to. If I like pie, and I see a pie and take a slice of it and eat it, it doesn’t mean I like pie any less, or that there isn’t other pie to eat than the slice I have. If I agree that while I’m eating my slice of pie that I won’t eat any other slices of pie, I will stand by my word and stick to the one slice of pie, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be aware that the rest of the pie is there. That there are other pies to take slices from. That i like cake, too. Maybe a little ice cream on the side. is that wrong? Have I violated my agreement to eat only one slice of pie at a time if I look at the entire desert cart while devouring my pie? What about choosing another slice of pie to eat when I’ve finished with the one I’m eating? What about taking deep breaths of the scent of the other pie between bites of the pie I’m eating? What about going online and chatting with other pie, or about eating other pie? What about reading a recipe for other pie? Where is the line drawn?
(Sorry about that last bit. I wrote it right before I went to lunch. I have a full belly now. I’ll try to stay away from bizarre food analogies.)
The problem I think, is that discussions about where to draw the line are generally not had. Most people just assume that you know where to draw the line. I believe that most people draw the line differently from each other, though. Perhaps even differently between what they hold themselves to, and what they expect you to. Subtle differences, sure. And most people agree on certain points like “Don’t have sex with other people”, but I know that different people define “sex” differently. So how do we know what to do and not do? We go by our own standards and hope that our partners agree, and then fight when we find out where our differences are.
For me, where to draw the line is important. I don’t have sex with anyone. I’m basically impotent, so I couldn’t really go have a proper affair if I wanted to. Yet I have lost a very serious relationship over a kiss, so I am very aware that infidelity is not just about sex. I have also learned many, many ways to please and be pleased, physically and emotionally, without intercourse. By necessity as much as desire for innovation and creativity and “being different”. So, I can’t maintain an erection. That doesn’t mean I can’t go to bed with another woman. That doesn’t stop me from forming an emotional attachment. That doesn’t stop me from taking a bite out of everything on the dessert cart.
What stops me is something else. What stops me is something like maturity; the ability to not give in to Desire because I understand that giving in will have a less positive result than standing firm. At a basic level, maturity basically comes down to patience, but what stops me is also based out of the remembered (and in some cases continuing) pain that resulted from my inappropriate actions that were construed at the time as infidelity. From my loss of these valued Relationships because I didn’t understand what monogamy meant or didn’t use self-restraint to maintain it. What stops me isn’t about my physical failures, it is about the failures of my Heart and of my Head.
Yet stopping now is more complex than ever, because this other difficulty ties in. I don’t know what I want from a Relationship, so I can’t even find the will to participate in one, let alone more than one. I don’t know what my core values are, I don’t know what the long-term point of any Relationship is or should be, so I don’t have any basis to decide whether I should go to bed with or kiss or even call. So if by frustration that not knowing gets me nowhere, I end up in bed with some stranger (as I found myself not too long ago), whether or not I was physically unable to maintain an erection due to nerve damage (most likely from all the bicycle riding I do on a narrow seat with no shock absorption), this mental and emotional void of any sort of goal prevents me from even trying.
Like, someday, I hope to have worked out this whole “core values” thing, and figure out everything I’ve ever been confused about, and be able to pursue a healthy relationship with someone and know “What comes next”, and being physically intimate will still not be easy. But it will be a lot easier than it is today, because I’ll know what I’m trying to do and why.
As it is right now, I meet all these great people that I have things in common with and like spending time with and am romantically interested in, and … nothing. I don’t believe I’m looking to get married right now. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I met a great woman at a club a few weeks ago, and I think we hit it off really well, but there’s that “What comes next” sitting on my shoulder. Do I just keep calling her and chatting, sometimes getting together or going out? How often? How much is too much and how little is too little? What sort of expectations about the longevity of our continued involvement should I have, and per the same, what should I expect her to have? Should I let the perceived longevity of our Relationship effect how I behave, or is it better to always behave as though forever was the goal? What about her daughter? What about her ex-husband? She’s already got this whole complicated life in place, and I’ve worked so hard to just have flexibility and availability that is in such great contrast with everyone around me that I know I can’t expect other people to share it, but how can I know … how much?
I have the desire to pursue a Relationship with her. She is a really great person, and I’d like to get to know her more, and let her get to know me more as well. I’d like to be able to spend time with her, to “just be” with her. I’d like to do all the little things. I’d like to have memories of her, and not just the ones I already have. I do not know what is stopping me. I just keep … not calling her. I know that I’m supposed to do something, and my heart keeps making suggestions (at the worst times), but I don’t want to over-do it. Of course, now I’m under-doing it. AAAAAAUUUGH!!!
So no, I’ve never used a condom. That doesn’t necessarily mean I haven’t practiced safe sexuality. It’s just a symptom of the part of the instructions for a condom that calls for an erect penis. I don’t seem to be able to find mine. I know I had it around here somewhere, but…
I used to work on a technical support desk for Philips’ line of handheld computers. Consequently, I had my own Philips handheld computer & took it with me everywhere and kept my calendar (empty) and my to-do list on it. Now, my to-do list was like my calendar for a long time, but I eventually developed one. It wasn’t like a normal to-do list of things that I needed to do that day or that week necessarily, so much as a more general list of guidelines for things I thought I’d like to accomplish. The handheld automatically sorted it alphabetically, so “Die” came before “Mate” on my list of things to do.
Those were probably the first couple of things I put on my to-do list. I think I set the expiration date for Mating one day before the date for Dying, and both of them were something like 150 years in the future. Like, on my to-do list was that if I hadn’t died by the age of 150, I should try to get back on track. And if I hadn’t mated before the age of 150, I should really try to get that done before dying. Some other stuff ended up on there. Stuff like “Build a permanent colony on the Moon” and “Live alone in the woods”, but today I’m talking about Mating and Relationships.
So, it’s always kinda been on my list of things to do before I die, to Mate. Not to get married, or to date around, or to have children, or any other variation on that theme. To Mate. What this means for me seems to be something like … pair off permanently … find the person that complements me as a person and spend the rest of my life with them and only them … join physically with this person with the intention of bringing new life into this world that combines what we can offer together into a single being, and raise that life together … something like forever and with and being able to relax because having them in my life means not having to worry … I don’t know. More than that, but nothing so specific that it is visually represented in my mind. Just this feeling of what a Mate should be.
I have this idea of forever and perseverance that I don’t think many other people share. It is based out of faith and hope in the future, and it is not something I think I can give up. I can understand the idea of divorce, and understand how other people can do it; they don’t have that same faith that I have, they didn’t have forever properly in mind when they got married. When I give my word, I do everything within my power to keep that word. I have learned the value of honesty and tenacity, and I can not give them up. If I vow “…till death do us part” that is exactly what I mean, and will do whatever is in my power to keep my word.
No relationship should be based on the idea of “Until someone better comes along.” If this person isn’t worth continuing a relationship with after realizing that there may be better people out there, this person isn’t worth continuing a relationship with, period. Perhaps it is the level of involvement with a person that should be considered; if you are not prepared to stay committed to someone, then don’t involve yourself with them in a relationship that is based on an implicit or implied commitment. Just be friends, or just be fuck-buddies or whatever. Don’t indicate any deeper Relationship than you will be willing to stand by no matter what the circumstances. You are lying to the other person, and you are probably lying to yourself, and that doesn’t do either one of you any good.
I say these things, but … I don’t know if I apply them myself. I don’t know if I’m even trying, half the time. I want to be able to live by such noble and obvious precepts, but is it possible? Is it what I am doing? How can I know? What level of commitment is implied in the following actions: Saying ‘hi’ to a stranger. Kissing a stranger, out of the blue. Dancing with a stranger on a crowded dancefloor. Buying a drink for a beautiful lady. Dancing with the same person all night. Giving someone your number. Letting someone give you their number. Calling their number. Seeing them a second time. Talking on the phone for hours. Giving someone your email address. Giving someone your weblog address. Giving someone your home address. Taking someone home. Taking someone home with you. Making out. Fucking. Skinny-Dipping. Skinny-Dipping with a group. Participating in an Orgy. Giving a massage. Giving a topless massage. Giving a full-body massage. Giving a full-service massage. (I feel like I’m administering a purity test all of a sudden. I should probably make a sort of modified purity test where people try to express for each question the level of implied commitment. “Having sex with a farm animal?” “Not much commitment; it’s just an animal. Maybe to feed it later, or hose it down.”)
These are mostly things that at one point or another I’ve done or known people to have done, and thinking back, I don’t know what level of commitment I (or someone I know) was implying by partaking in these activities. I know that the last time I hosted an orgy (and this was a very … disappointing … orgy), I had implied that I was committed to hosting future orgies of increasing intensity to one or more of the people there, and it took a bit of discussion to figure that one out. I think that maybe giving someone your number implies more commitment than making out with a stranger at a club does, but that taking them someplace other than the club to make out may imply a similar level of commitment. But, it’s all so … unknowable. Everyone has different ideas about each of these things, and what they mean, and when and who you should do them with.
And I don’t know what level of commitment I’m prepared to … commit to. With anyone. Especially someone I’ve just met. Also, not to people that I’ve know for a while. I mean, I don’t want to commit myself to them any more than they’re willing or able to commit to me. I don’t want to be standing alone, unable to let go as they walk away. I don’t want to imply that I’m more committed than I am to someone and make them feel bad by walking away. I want to be happy, and I want to be with happy people, who are happy to be with me.
(Sometimes I just want to have the opportunity to see and feel all of a person’s body and hear their voice describe everything about them and then move on with no further contact or connection. To know what it is to hold their naked body against my own without all the trouble that comes with trying to make them a part of my life. To know who they are and how they would feel and react without them actually having to feel or react to the things in MY life, so I can feel that they are with me and they can live their own life. Sometimes I want all that and I look them in the eye for a split second and it is like time stops and in that instant I can remember all of it and more. I can remember all the things, all the little details of what it could have been, and who they are and who were are together. Then time starts again and I look away and I may never see them again, but I know them, and maybe that’s enough.)
There is so much in this world and in this life and in each person that I meet or never meet, and somehow I want it all. I can’t have it all, but … I can have some of it. When I work out what it is that I value, perhaps I’ll know what I should be going after. What shall I do in the meantime? How shall I know whether I should keep trying to dance with the same beautiful woman or just go dance by myself for a while? Is this a person that I should be calling, or just another beautiful stranger? Have I already implied too much by dancing with her so long? Is it wrong to walk away?
I’ve been invited to go out dancing with a group of people this Saturday night. I seem to have had a good time when I’ve gone out with them before. I seem to have had a good time at this club before. If I drink enough, will I forget all my troubles and be able to get out on the dancefloor and not worry about what I may be implying to this person or that? If I’m with friends will I be confident enough that i will be able to resist going too far with anyone? How far is too far? What do I want? What do I get out of going dancing? Is it the opportunity to press tightly against a beautiful person and feel their flesh pressed against mine and move rhythmically in time with them and know them and be able to walk away without ever seeing them again or having to face all the complications of involving them in my life? Is it just getting away from home and doing things I probably shouldn’t (listening to music too loudly, drinking, having brief, purely physical relationships with strangers, etc.)? Is it worth it? What does it cost me? Time and money, I suppose. Some hearing later in life. The opportunity to do every other thing while I am dancing. Not much, after all.
I suppose I’ll go.
My concern is that if I don’t know what I’m looking to get out of “Relationships” as a concept, what will I allow myself to do? Where will I draw the line? Maybe there is no line. Maybe it is impossible to draw the line, and instead I just need to draw myself. Wait, twisted Matrix-style logic probably doesn’t apply here. Or maybe it does. I’ll think about it. I’d love to know what YOU think about it. Take advantage of the Comments box below: