Civilized beasts in a trimmed wilderness


grooming the life, or man(e)scaping

How lucky were the sea travelers of the 15th century, not having cars, high speed trains, nor planes. There were still unknown continents to discover, the adventure to set up for, the stories to live, unseen beasts to encounter, instant death to risk. Modern adventurers have to dig deep into the impenetrable jungles of Papua or Amazon. The raising popularity of extreme sports cries loud about an epidemic of acute boredom. Nowadays there's hardly a surprise lurking on the thousand-and-one-page-thick holiday catalogs. The "diversity of options" of normalized hotels with normalized service with normalized pools with normalized bars. We purchase and demand a standard not the adventure. We pay over-agitated folk to excite us while we sip margarita from a sunbed.

The explorers spellbind us with their incredible discoveries. The novelists bewitch us with their charming tales. The photographers tease our sunset-thirsty fantasy. Hypnotized, we follow their calling. And then we find ourselves standing under The Pyramid - the wondrous, magnificent, ancient marvel of the world - a place that even the most ignorant among the men would not refuse to visit at least once in the lifetime ... and we are shocked by feeling a little close to nothing. Dare we look into the face of the other thousands of tourists - as deceived as us by the catalog pages with no stories, just parameters and numbers? Do they feel tricked like we do? Robbed of an adventure? We've payed for the trip, the guide has shared the facts - dry and tasteless, as a tax to our rationalist society - but where is our added value? The anthill is covered by little creatures clueless how to digest the monument.

We almost find ourselves envious about the other cultures - those ecstatic about monuments much smaller in size, but of deep religious significance. Though, even circling seven times around The Cube - "as ordered", "as tradition says", "as everyone does it" - may not bring the desired finger touch with The God (as painted by Michelangelo at the ceiling of yet another sight). The places, plazzas and palaces are just a dead stone, unless a story unfolds around them. Magnificence needs a human scale, if human being is to process it. Traveling is a product as much as a house (promising home), clothes (promising beauty and attention) or sex toy (promising sex), as much as club or disco (promising fun) or cruising spot or dating site (promising to find a mate).

If we know that there is no adventure in browsing the travel catalogs, what do we expect of the Book of Faces and other Vibrating or Grinding virtual tools? Profiles with lovely pictures (or no pictures), self promotion written in the language of the advertisement (what other genre do we read so often - even without willing to?), but mostly enumerative and numerical data - from height and weight and age to "length" and lengthy lists of favorite food, movies, sports, sex positions and couple of common social phrases quoted in the "about oneself" text-box.

As a good computer with added whim software, we evaluate the date, find suitable matches, type couple of required flatteries and perform a small talk, and finally hop on the bus - in the direction of our object of interest. The living sight is pretty as expected, witful and smart, with an air of high demand (crowd that would like to devour it as well) ... but we feel empty, un-attracted, missing something. That annoying void feeling is subtle, inconspicuous, almost imperceptible. We tend to ignore it or sweep it under the carpet as a matter of today's mood. Otherwise we would have to ask: Was there a mistake in parameters? Did computer provide incorrect assessment? is there something about the person that he has concealed?

Instead of the flaw in that particular person, we might look for a flaw in the way we have met him. Robbed of an adventure, devoid of erotics, without a story. As the living computers, we have evaluated the contents of a database and chose this particular item. If we succeed we will consume him, whether sexually or socially or emotionally, executing the usual instruction sequence of the usual social programming code. Having either "decent" or "kinky" intentions, we will act accordinly as reliable sex robots or relationship robots. But that's a different tale. Let's return to the story of our missing story. The last one we have really experienced might have been our coming out drama - a narrative almost universal to gay experience. Usually somewhat perilous, not seldom embarassing, perhaps even too long. We felt urge to speed up, not to miss out on life. Since then, we've learned many shortcuts, that might save us some time, but maybe also save us from pleasure from adventure.

The background of a fairy tale is usually a still life. The hero pursues his craft, dwells in the status quo. Then the obstacles, challenges and foes appear - and the story starts to unfold. The troublesome journey offers strengthening, learning, acquiring of the virtues, self-transformation, all this alchemy of the soul is going on - everything related to the inherent quality of the experienced events. One turn leads to another, next surprise would not happen without previous one, gifts (skills, character, reward) would not be given without struggle. But - where is all this in the story of our meeting the lover? In the story of summer romance? In the story of love? In the story of cruising? In the story of non-romantic sex? Is our haste, no time for the play, the practical "let's get it done" - helping anything? Is the result worth it? How does our insatiability in quantity relate to the missing story-quality of our encounters?