Dear long-forgotten lady,
There is an odd legend in my hometown that involves hot bath water and floor drains. It says that you should always recite a certain incantation to dispel the evil spirits that reside inside the drainpipes of a bathtub before you turn on the hot water tap. If you don’t, the legend dictates; the devils will get burns and eventually get even with you in ways you couldn’t predict or imagine.
Although not particularly superstitious, it used to frighten me that I hadn’t been observing this ritual when I was younger. And sometimes I’d wonder if semen could have acted as an extenuating agent when it got mixed up with hot water. I’d wonder if the devils hovering in the pipes would have felt less furious had the hot water surging at them been mixed with that viscous material. Maybe the female devil is used to giving the male devil a blowjob and so is accustomed to the taste and the thickness of the fluid. Maybe they are grateful after all.
I sincerely apologize for having started off on that disgusting note. If you are still reading, then you must be at a loss by now as to why I’d mention such a personal and vulgar thing to you in the first contact since we’ve last seen each other, years ago.
Think of your private secrets as a collection of expensive objects on display in in your own living room. Only a few select people are allowed to visit and examine them. With the passage of time and the accumulation of dust, however, these objects gradually turn into artifacts, and these artifacts are moved to public museums. That is when they become old and innocuous memories, ‘declassified’, and it is a source of no shame or embarrassment to have them seen by strangers.
So, allow me to show you something… This way please. There’s an interesting piece on showcase in that hall up ahead. Yes, here. Let me just open the door. Here you go.
Remember that hot day in May, the year before the year we were due to graduate? You probably don’t, but if you look closely here at the display, you will see it crisp and clear. I was leaning against the dwarf wall that stood at the end of the giant steps that lead to the main entrance of our college. There were probably a hundred people in the miniature paved plaza that stretched from the entrance to the outer fence. I was waiting for a friend to come out of the crowded copy center right next to the entrance. And although the huge concrete canopy provided a shade against the robust mid-day sun, the weather wasn’t what you would call pleasant. You know the period; between the middle of May and summer solstice, where the air is laden with heat and late pollen and faint sweat. It is a period when people are at the peak of their sexual tension and confusion. The shifting of seasons, scurrying of clouds, migratory birds and approaching exams; all these factors unite to bolster the need for extracurricular copulation.
As I stood there, slightly annoyed, waiting for the friend to finish his business, I did a casual scan of my surroundings. It didn’t take long before my annoyance dissipated. You were with the usual group of friends. Some of whom sat side by side on one of the giant steps. You and someone else I didn’t recognize stood with your backs to me, facing them. Wearing tight jeans and a low-cut blouse and a pair of flat shoes, you had your left foot on a higher step to support the bundle of books you were lugging on a knee, while your right leg stood a little erect with the tension of probing your lovely figure.
Given the stance, I could trace the outline of your body dipping in and out of clothes, all the way from the nape of your neck to your ankle. Despite the tentativeness of the situation and the crowd and the noise, I could do nothing but stare. At one point, you had to bend forward and spread a roll of tracing paper on the contiguous laps of your buddies, to show them a sketch or a detail or something…
At that moment, the sweatiness and jostling of the scene experienced an immediate physical shift, revealing a layer of calm. The slight inclination of the torso, albeit graceful and vaguely immature, caused a cut in the logical sequence of the day, shifting its course towards something more compelling than revising for exams or worrying about grades. As I stood there, I felt a tug at my temples, as if a magnetic field had just completed a three-dimensional inventory of the piece of art before me, and was now telepathically transmitting it to my mind. I was motionless. Frozen in place. No sensory stimulation of any kind could pry my attention from the image I was witnessing. Knowing it’s going to haunt me for a long time to come.
Ever since that day, despite the number of women I’ve been with and the depth and expansiveness of my porn viewing: I still think of the hologramic representation of your bottom as the ultimate sexual outrage. I’d carry that image around like a shield, a proof of how delicate yet powerful it all is. I’d slip it out of its holder when I needed it the most, primarily in the shower. At other times I’d just bask in the knowledge of knowing it’s there somewhere, waiting to be invoked at a moment notice.
Recently, that image has undergone an imperceptible transformation: a new glint, a revived vividness, has been added to its glossy lamination. No doubt caused by the diametrically opposed views you and I have on crucial ethical and political issues. Like the contrast modifier of a photo-editing program, the differing views provide depth and shadows and intensity and passion to that image…As if its mere existence proves one’s point of view completely right, and the other’s completely off the mark.
But please… don’t get me wrong: this is not a situation where an oriental guy is lacking in debate skills and instead relying on the misogynistic idea that all it takes for a man to be correct is having a penis. That all it takes for my opinion to trump yours is an erection. No, this is something completely different. If you could analyze that image in a lab, if you could explain it to an artist and tell him to dream up an interpretation, he would draw an apple and a mushroom; an apple because the poles are so attracted they bore in the skin and tissue to get closer to each other; and a mushroom because of its similarity to the shape of a penis helmet.
Do you know why a penis helmet has evolved into its current shape? Science has it that those with the most enlarged penis tips among our ancestors were able to procreate more successfully, because the helmet helped expunge semen (left over from competing males) off the cervixes of the intended females, and gave their own sperm the advantage. And so this helmet shape had evolved to perfection throughout the history of man. Did you ever notice that helmets worn by soldiers are different than those worn by construction professionals? The ones proudly donned by army men are more like the helmet of a penis than the regular semi-spherical fiberglass bowl worn by engineers. Next time you turn on the TV and watch soldiers in action, you are bound to see some helmets. I urge you to pay attention to the form and circularity of them. No doubt the military helmet had undergone an evolution of its own, to improve competitiveness, to increase their performance against foes and rivals.
What connects drainpipe devils to army helmets or college encounters to political crises? I have no idea. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with unsolicited thoughts. Science argues that the feeling of helplessness tend to make human beings more prone to dot-connection and pattern recognition. That could probably be it. But no man is an island; my confusions are but the residual failures of my society to reconcile its suppressed sexuality with its political ambitions. The grind of time is too impatient to give each one of us a time slot to explain his unabridged point of view. The image contrast gets sharper and sharper until it boils down to a uni-color portray. If you want to stay alive and relevant, you have to choose to be either the color of the background or the color of the drawing, nothing else. The pressure of needing a release doesn’t impart one with the luxury of masturbating at leisure; the jerks must be quick and furtive. The muzzle velocity of ejaculate is 45 KM per hour, can hardly compete with that of the gun wielded by a helmeted man. I can’t tell whether this is a degeneration of the world as we know it or just an inevitable phase of transition. I need more time to think about this, but unfortunately, summer is not the season for deep thinking.
I hope you enjoyed this quick visit to my museum. There will be more exhibits of intrigue if you decided to come again.