after a day of phone calls and unpacking my vintage clothes and running around, i perched myself on my bed late in the evening and watched "baise moi" on my iBook. there were moments when i felt myself flinching involuntarily at what i saw. glorified porn or feminist rant of rage and revenge? maybe it's crap.
i went down the hallway to borrow a drill from my neighbors who call themselves the fags on the third floor. only paul was there. we sat on their red ikea couch and channel surfed while i slowly lost myself in an oversexed gigantic white trash art photography book called terryworld and paul gossiped about all the goings on in the building -- from a gay perspective, of course. ("have you met the fags on the 4th floor?" no, i haven't. "did you know that there were fags on the 2nd floor?" no, i didn't. "well, we're the only fags on the 3rd floor." yes, you are.) the lovely boyfriend came home from an evening of having drinks with friends. once he settled in, he saw what i was reading and asked me what i thought of it. maybe it's crap, i said. of course it's crap, paul laughed, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.
that's when the boyfriend pulled out a book of photography from their shelf and warns me not to open it as he plops it in my lap. i can't remember the name of the book or the photographer's name. the images were highly stylized in black and white, with deformities, cadavers, dead flowers, dwarves and other assorted freaks. it looked like victorian porn from the very bowels of hell. all at once, i could see where so many movies got their visual ideas. ("the cell" immediately comes to mind.) and we talked about "salo" which paul used to have a copy of on videotape but he didn't know what happened to it.
that's when i told them about "baise moi." we fell into a conversation about art and film and the politics of having sex on camera and not calling it porn. the boyfriend asked me to tell him what i thought about el-lay. and i described a lonely place, filled with sunshine and great eateries. a great place to go if you want to be alone and get some writing done, i remember saying. to me, it is a city of people who all work for the same company -- flaky, self-absorbed, surgically enhanced marginally talented uninteresting individuals who use casual sex as a kind of modern day networking device. paul nodded silently as i described the typical el-lay encounter wherein you agree to meet someone somewhere or whatever and they flake out on you, again and again. how could you ever know where you stand with anyone like that? it's not just the people. it's the culture. the boyfriend said that he had friends who described portland in much the same way, after being away from the city for some time. in the south, people making a point of doing what they say they're going to do. it must be cultural, i suggested. no, paul said, it's called home training. it's called manners. they're big on that down there.
the boyfriend is looking at the terryworld book now. when a picture of vincent gallo as jesus pops up, paul suddenly remembers that he's got the blowjob scene from the brown bunny on his computer. while he's setting it up, there is a general chat about blow jobs in general and why she had to sexually service him and not the other way around. all three of us stand around looking at it for a moment in silence. both of them agree that chloe sevigny doesn't know how to give head. paul thinks it's a prosthetic of some sort. the boyfriend thinks that her career must be in the toilet by now but interestingly enough, it seems to be doing just fine according to imdb. it looks painful and difficult and weird. paul says it's supposed to. so she's acting right now, i ask. we listen to her whimpering. and then the boyfriend says, she's a bad actress. they've seen the whole movie and try to put it in context for me and explain why the blowjob needed to be there in the first place. i get it and i don't get it. what did people do to tell a story before everyone decided to have sex in the movies and call it art instead of porn? how did hitchcock make it happen? what about fellini?
it's a really crappy movie, they say. maybe it's art, i counter. that's always the case when people say that something is crap, isn't it?
i get home and i realize that all of the porn i've been looking at all night has formed a black cloud in my head that's completely desensitized me. i want to watch north by northwest but i can't. i take a shower but it's just not enough. i know what i need. i need to physically exhaust myself in the gym with a good hard sweat. and then i need to steam and sauna and soak. and then i need a cobb salad and a good night's sleep. tomorrow, i tell myself. i'll do that tomorrow. that'll get it off me. (i hope.)
i go to bed, genuinely relieved that i'm not having sex with anyone at this juncture and wishing that i'd never had any kind of sex at all, with anyone, ever -- not even myself. i end up dozing off, wondering how i can avoid sexual contact with anyone for the rest of my natural life.