Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Curiosity & Boredom

Oh, to be in bed with someone new! The curiosity, the suspense, the surprise and the delight. The way his mannerisms translate now that neither of you have any clothes on. Because you just knew when you saw him walk like that or laugh like that or smile askew at you like that—you just knew he'd be fun, and you were right.

And the fun is so particular! Each fuck is a sparkling discovery: of tics and looks and laughs transformed, familiar but strange. The transformation of voices is especially acute. Once you've heard someone's sex-voice, they never sound the same. FOUR had such a lovely voice, with rounded words, like intricate hollow objects, or piping with water trickling through. And TWO had a toy box voice, a pop-goes-the-weasel voice, with all sorts of crackling surprises that made me blush and demur and look on in awe.

This is what gives me the most pleasure: to experience someone in all their specificity. Everyone's styles so deliciously different: I didn't know that a person could be like that! And their being constitutes a whole new take on life, a whole new life.

* * *

As a kid, when something funny made me burst into hysterics, it was always followed by a shot of panic: what if that's the last funny thing that happens, ever? What if nothing makes me laugh this hard again?

When I got a little older, the end of a sexual relationship left me with the same fear: what if I never have sex with anyone new? What if there's only a finite amount of newness in the world? Pretty soon I'll have discovered it all and be bored.

It's similar to a feeling I used to get lying awake in bed at night, paralyzed by the newfound realization of my mortality: I am finite. The things of this world are finite. Laughter and sex do not go on forever. Everything ends in death: the ultimate boredom.

* * *

Boredom, like death, can strike when you least expect it. I hardly knew FOUR when we began sleeping together—a first for me that should have guaranteed an endless stream of surprise and discovery. And it did, mostly. But sometimes I would catch a glance of something in his face that I recognized; it was the same face I first saw in ONE, and later recognized in TWO. A familiar something, neither attractive nor repulsive, but shocking for its banality.

Seeing this face obliterates my fixation on all those unique little features and mannerisms. You're nothing special, I think to myself. Seen you before, ages ago, a hundred times.


  1. I hate to make the comparison, but you're like a familiar carrie bradshaw, except real and probably a more excellent writer.

    I must say your last few posts have sparked some very intense and personal discussions not only with you but with the boyfriend. I think there have been far fewer comments on your blog then you might want or expect because most people are not as brave and willing as you are to talk about such personal matters. So even though you may not see all the many important conversations your blog is inspiring, know that they're out there and happening....

  2. Oh Alli, that's very sweet of you to say.

    It's funny, but a lot of this doesn't feel all that personal or revelatory to me. A number is just a number, and I've never had much problem sharing mine—I guess that's just the way I am.

    There have been a few instances in writing this where I've paused and wondered whether a certain detail would constitute oversharing. And the times when I've taken something out, it's not been because it felt too personal, but rather because it didn't feel relevant or interesting—nothing about it seemed to reach across the divide.

  3. You're such a spectacular writer. As I read and reread this last post I revel in your description, even though it doesn't resonate with me. New people? Eh. As you know, I'm usually happier to stick with what I like. I don't usually enjoy meeting new people for the sake of newness, but I tolerate it with the hope of finding something good.

  4. Lindsay you continue to impress me...I am inspired by your honesty and your willingness to share your life with the world. Not only can we all learn from what you have to say, but just from the fact that you are saying it, and doing so with grace and intelligence!!

    Strange how boredom really is just the other side of the same coin as newness and excitement. I guess it really is what we make of it! xoxoxox