Since I was young, I’ve been attracted to that invisible nub that emerges when you put two magnets near each other, that push and pull (depending on polarity): one the one hand, that palpable attraction between two supposedly inanimate objects. On the other hand, that palpable repulsion between two supposedly inanimate objects.
Magnetism is a sensual introduction to the power of objective forces, a testimony to the undeniable reality of the world’s primal desires.
But it’s that moment in which the magnets neither push nor pull, both push and pull, that I love. Once the magnets either connect or leave their zone of repulsion, the fun is over. It’s the power, the energy, in the moment just before that is nothing less than erotic.
This is an exquisite erotics — riding that tension without ever quite consummating. Oh, it’s not easy to maintain. Bodies want to go together or not — attraction and repulsion: they want to fuck or be gone. Of course, there’s an ambivalence between human bodies that is more nuanced than between magnets. Still, to exist in and on and with that nub where attraction and repulsion have begun to show themselves, when bodies ache for each other but don’t surrender: this is a kind of jouissance, an edging towards that release but never coming, as it were, to a conclusion.
In order to maintain, it involves a very intimate and secret compact between you, an endless negotiation that says “yes I want you” and, in the same breath, “but, no, I’m not gonna fuck you.” This takes confidence by all parties involved, a surrender to possibility without making that possibility real — heavy petting without fucking. Sometimes, it is much harder to not fuck than to fuck. It demands an incredible, impossible intimacy, a conspiracy of desire: both parties must say yes, let’s ride this wave of surging power, extend it even though its very condition is to annihilate itself, even though it’s telling us to go all the way, even though this is what the universe seems to demand. What a strange and beautiful pact!
This is not the only erotics. There is, needless to say, a beauty and power and frenzy and delight and merriment and madness in consummation, in riding that wave of attraction that exceeds you and dominates you and becomes you all the way to the sweaty, sticky end.
But it is that tension, that palpable push and pull, that attracts me in many ways. It’s the time just before kairos, the very possibility of kairos, the groundwork of kairos, the conditions of kairos. It is the moment in a gunfight before they pull their guns, the dribbling and passing and movement before the drive to the basket, the tension and swell before you undress.
There must be a word for this.