A friend of mine sent me a link to a documentary about a woman who loves three dimensional man-made structures like amusement park rides and towers. She doesn’t stand in a detached sort of aesthetic awe and admire these constructions, but bonds to them in an ecstatic, fleshly fashion that sends her on pilgrimages to meet them, introduce herself, and caress their walls. There is actually a point in the documentary where the woman lays underneath a one-story metal tower she has been admiring online for months and covers herself in its dirt and rust. After her encounter with the tower, she stands in front of the camera in an orgasmic glow, her face smeared with its metallic musk. Oddly, her mating process doesn’t sound too different than people hooking up off of Craigslist or the somewhat terrifying dating website “Plenty of Fish.”
In this era of internet cathection, we are all screens on which we project any sort of fantasy images. I myself have been guilty of besotting myself with someone’s “profile,” making up a series of conjectures based on people’s facial structure, clothes, and choice in music. I am sure Susan Sontag would have a lot to say if she were alive about how photographs have come into a whole new level of trancing power. We are all in love with the image, and in fact this is normal and congratulated. It is in fact perfectly acceptable to pursue a relationship based on the signifiers that I have mentioned above. I have heard men discuss the outlines of a woman as if she were a car and use stilted adjectives like “refined,” “hot,” and “perky” to sum up the objects of their affection. Women will use words like “rich” and “educated.” It is even in this arena of flat two-dimensional affect that people will choose political candidates, consciously or not. In many situations, it is in fact when the object of one’s affection becomes overwhelmingly three dimensional that the engine of the interaction dies. This is why people will talk about the need for “mystery” in their partners, and will in fact diminish huge parts of their personalities in order to participate in a romantic exchange.
Now I have seen David Cronenberg’s Crash (I sadly have not read J.G. Ballard’s book that it’s based on), and there is that Queen song “I’m in Love with My Car” that outlines the traditional love of man and his car. I have an ex-boyfriend who I believe is sensually cathected with his guitar in a fashion much deeper than he could be with me, and I have known people to love their cats and dogs with a kind of ardor that no human being could withstand. So when I watched this documentary, I could not see this woman as damaged or socially challenged. In some way her love is more honest and noble than most. Truly, she has found the antidote to the human challenges of abandonment and inevitable change. And quite honestly, her lust for these buildings seems much more wholesome than those chicks who covet rock stars and rich guys. Being “in love” with someone in the traditionally romantic sense turns the beloved into an object anyway.
When I was eight I loved a tree I named Rhett after Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind. He was a crab apple tree that stood next to the school playground. He was not very tall, and easy to climb. You could sit snug in a gully in his trunk and surround yourself with his big lovely arms. He also grew very sweet crab apples with which you could make delicious jelly. I felt so truly that this was a good and caring tree, that it contained enough warmth to be a he. Rhett would never change and never leave.
A couple of days ago I had a very interesting conversation with a psychic who I believe to be absolutely intuitive and wise. She informed me that many relationships are dependencies and a lot of times people don’t really like the person they’re with. She also said that all of us have many soul mates, and in fact I may be the type who never marries. This crushed my Taurean heart, as we are the safety-hungry traditionalists of the Zodiac, cherishing our three meals a day and the concept of some sort of exalted consistency. Like all great self-help gurus, she urged me to realize fully that I must be the one who never leaves me. How very boring, but so very true.