So wordpress has a stats page that, to my shame, I check obsessively. At the bottom there is a little field for “search term” that almost always just says “unknown search term.” Every once in a while though, for whatever reason, something else will appear down there. It’s not uncommon for that something to be along the lines of “fucking with handkerchief,” or “girl tied with handkerchief.”
Some non-zero number of people are sitting down with their pants around their ankles, reptile-lust-brain fully in command, searching for very specific bondage porn, and ending up on the bindle. This pleases me very much.
A lot of people, a LOT of people, will or would react to that with, “ew.” And yeah, sure, “ew.” But there are only a few variations among human here:
1) you don’t masturbate; 2) you do masturbate, but not to pornography; 3) you masturbate, at least sometimes, to pornography, but you think handkerchief bondage porn is a bridge too far; or 4) some combination of the above, plus you’re embarrassed / guilty about it. The connective tissue across all those options, excepting maybe the aesexual, is shame.
What bothers me about “ew” is our knee-jerk tendency to “otherize,” to point at someone else to prove we, at least, are not that. Our need to create “in” and “out” groups is an evolutionary imperative, and it’s been the cause of some of our most callous collective activities. Being “out,” to a group of humans, means they’ll torture you slowly to save their children. Don’t be “out” come winter, says evolution. I would ask, among consenting adults, what constitutes a bridge too far? Why must your answer be “ew?”
Why must you not be that?
Human sexuality is such a funny thing. Some of it’s rooted in nature, some of it’s nurtured in the darkness of our formative years, but after a certain point, it is what it is. We like what we like. And because sex is so vital to us, because it causes us to act so irrationally, it’s also our catnip, our exposed heel, susceptible to the machinery of institutional control, via the state, religion, madison avenue, dad’s shotgun, whatever.
Our endless capacity to live in thrall to lust is such a truism it’s become trope. It’s no secret, this weakness. Your sexuality, growing up in a self-aware society that thrives on conquering and control, is never quite your own. We’re slaves to our sub-conscious, and to our sexuality most of all, and the key to those chains has always been our shame.
Making art, for me, is about honesty; it’s about harnessing truth to help us feel less alone. This shaming and exclusion, this hurting alone in the dark, that’s my bread and butter. The sad irony of our alienation and shame is that it’s something we share. I’m interested in the stuff we know but don’t talk about, the underwater caves and connected tunnels that exist below everyone’s surface, the impossible lights in the darkness we all see but can’t raise in polite company.
I spit on polite company.
Bring me your reptile-brains with their pants around their ankles, bring me your picked-on teenagers, your girls with daddy issues, bring me your fetishes and your orgasms and send them to the bindle, and let them wank if they wish while I play my guitar and sing a little White Stripes song about children walking to school. The bindle delights in it all.
Fuck the shame of rich old men. Live your own weird life. Come sadness we’re all the same monkey, hurting alone in the dark. Open your window, toss out what you don’t need, let me in with the light. It’s just life, darling. Have a wank and a giggle.
In the end, it’s not so serious.