Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Fetish

Friday nights at Club Abstract teach me a lot about human behaviour...I mean, the behaviour of humans that I don't deal with in every day life, at least not in an intimate, pseudo-sexual way.

These Friday nights are very heterosexual: young men go there to find women to have sex with, and young women are in the privileged position of being able to pick and choose among the men at the bar. This is not an unusual situation...

...until I arrive, because I genuinely enjoy the music and because I trust the staff. My very presence in the bar is a case study in gender, because suddenly the focus changes.

(I don't want to say that I am the ONLY person who could disrupt the bar's focus in such a way, because obviously I only know what happens there when I'm actually THERE. Still, I assume that when I'm there the men get somewhat distracted by the creature that is Muffy, and...well, I'm not really sure what the average girl does when I'm there).

I'm VERY curious about the men who are attracted to me...and I mean, the men who really know that I'm a man, which is increasingly obvious as I get older. I want to know WHY they like me, and my incessant questions are probably the ultimate turn-off for guys that I'm already determined NOT to be involved with: who do you NORMALLY date? What do you LIKE about me? What do you EXPECT?

After a brief interaction with Spanish men who had obnoxious stories to tell about "traps" they'd met in the past, I was extensively fumbled by a "straight identified" guy who simply wanted sex...and this was the sort of situation that could simply go on and on and on.

Who are these guys? These men who have virulently heterosexual friends and who go out looking for women, but perhaps never pick them up because they don't REALLY LIKE the women. What do they WANT? When I show up in their ecosystem -- the fish they truly desire to catch but never expect to actually find -- how do they ultimately RELATE to me?

That's the really interesting question. Sometimes they get disturbed and scared. Sometimes they express a deep hostility, quietly, under their breath. Usually they just tell stupid jokes. Tonight was the first time I was approached by a man who really tried to make me feel GUILTY: "I don't ever get chances like this and you're REFUSING my advances? You're ruining my LIFE!"

I suspect that this is a technique used by bar-men frequently, to get women to sleep with them anyway, so this is surely nothing new. In this situation it was particularly nasty because I honestly DO want such men to find comfort...I want them to be able to explore their sexuality without their jerkoff friends taking covert pictures of me, which they were, oddly.

But -- as I explained -- we're all adults, and we're all responsible for our sexuality...and if you want to keep your sexuality HIDDEN it's best not to do it around the aforementioned jerkoff friends. Especially not when you're way too drink and are about to be kicked out for two dozen different reasons, one of which is your treatment of me.

I don't pretend that my own sexuality something easy to deal with. I like to think that I'll help others to explore theirs as well. But I suppose my message to the world is that being somebody's "fetish" is not necessarily a complimentary thing, and -- most importantly -- that "no means no."

Still, however, I find myself wondering: what do these men want from me? Is this just a fantasy? Or, more unlikely, something more significant? What do they LIKE? Who am *I* to them? Everybody probably asks these questions, at least in their heads.


Anonymous said...

Well, as someone who is infatuated with you I may have some insight into this question. (Mind you, since my infatuation is absent every seeing you in person and is more the result of 'reading' you - perhaps not).

I believe there is a continuum in human sexuality with those attracted to only one sex at one end and those equally attracted to either sex at the other end - spread out in a typical Bell Curve. So those who are really and totally either heterosexual or homosexual make up only about 2 - 5% of the population. The rest are somewhere in the middle (societal pressures, of course, skewing the apparent numbers one particular way).

So, among men in that continuum are some/many (like myself) who can comfortably express themselves sexually with other men but who are sexually attracted mostly to the female form. This isn't a case of denial (Bi Now; Gay Later) but simply the result of being in a certain area of the curve in the human sexuality continuum.

For such men, the prospect of sexual encounters with men who present the female form is very compelling.

Among these men are the "shemale-chasers" CD-fanciers, and drag afficianadoes. These are not (or, at least, not necessarily) gay men in denial about their sexuality but men who find themselves with a particular attraction which they often feel can never be fulfilled. The potential prospect of it actually coming about may cause them to behave poorly.


Gary said...

Without stepping into a potential minefield of identity and emotion issues, there seem to be as many questions as there are answers, in both the original post, and in the "Anonymous" post. These are big, real-life issues that can lead to discoveries, revelations, or – in some hands – a doctoral thesis.

Perhaps one complicating factor is the so-called observer effect. It may be that some of the questions that you (Muffy) have cannot be easily answered, as you are the subject of your own examination in real time.

In English, it means that you have an effect on those around you, such as the would-be suitors at the club. Your mind is racing to deal with the situation; just at this time you may pause and analyze, trying to figure out the “big picture.” This in turn may affect how the others in the club perceive you.

It reminds me of things I have seen and read regarding quantum physics. You think this gender stuff is confusing – try the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, where the observer effect is a central determinant. Until an observation is made, the system exists simultaneously in two states! From what “Anonymous” wrote, the gender issues seem to be as complicated!

Maybe the gender identity quandary is like the quantum-theory example of Schrödinger’s Cat: it can be in two states simultaneously. Here’s the scoop from Wikipedia (sorry about the poison):

“A cat, along with a flask containing a poison, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal Geiger counter detects radiation then the flask is shattered, releasing the poison which kills the cat. Quantum mechanics suggests that after a while the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not a mixture of alive and dead… Schrödinger's famous thought experiment poses the question: when does a quantum system stop existing as a mixture of states and become one or the other?” Maybe that’s what Anonymous means?

Or maybe it’s a case of wanting to be (or go out with) two things simultaneously? I dunno. Defining what is and isn’t real? Maybe. Perhaps some folks within your milieu could be destined to replace that cat as the poster child for the ambiguity of quantum mechanics (and the need for independent, outside observers – see the Wikipedia article).

Albert Einstein is quoted as telling Schrödinger, “You are the only contemporary physicist, besides Laue, who sees that one cannot get around the assumption of reality—if only one is honest. Most of them simply do not see what sort of risky game they are playing with reality—reality as something independent of what is experimentally established. Their interpretation is, however, refuted most elegantly by your system…in which the psi-function of the system contains both the cat alive and blown to bits. Nobody really doubts that the presence or absence of the cat is something independent of the act of observation.”

Yeah, I’m a bit over my head and out of my element if I’m bringing quantum mechanics and Einstein into a discussion about club behavior, attraction and gender-bending. I am not an expert in any of these issues – I just find them interesting. I hope that I won’t get my face slapped by an irate quantum physicist…

P.S. There are a few SciFi stories that have used Schrödinger’s Cat as a central or tangential theme, or as a character. Some TV references, too. The cat gets around (or doesn't...let's not get started on this physics thing again, please!!!)

Syd said...

That sounds like something to write to Dan Savage about, he probably has something to say about the subject. But I figure there's creepy, there's bad creepy, and there's plain old obliviously rude.