Alice in Ponderland


subject of my affection, object of my addiction

My favorite anime fairy tale begins with a scene of frightened girl crossing a tunnel in a wall of a derelict amusement park. There's an adventure as much as danger awaiting her, events supernatural and feelings intense, friendship, beauty, magic, lessons and skills to acquire - even if her civilized self is reluctant to step out of the normal, beyond understandable and predictable. I felt stunned as if someone at the other end of the world was drawing and animating my own forgotten childhood memories or dreams. This archetypal story is present in most of the cultures and we do not leave it behind as adults, it remains a part of the artfully weaved fabric of our soul.

The fabled and infamous nudist beach in Sitges, the gay capital village of Europe, has a tunnel separating the polished (if wonderfully natural) public playa - decent and modest - from the maze of condom-blooming trails and private rooms and rocky views of the mediterranean bush. The Woods. In gay slang, it has almost lost its banal meaning, being translated as a synonym to darkroom. My decent self resisted, my modest self did not wish to be seen entering "there", my comfort seeking self sensed danger, my shy self felt lacking know-how of the ways of the magic wonderland. But there would be no fairy tale without Alice crawling through the rabbit hole, kids crossing the wardrobe, Dorothy running into the house,...

The cynical saying sees the light at the end of the tunnel as a train rushing towards us. Let's not get hit then and rather hop on. Of course, there is no fairy tale to be afraid of, these gay Woods can be cruised criss-cross safe from any events. Our practical self usually lures us in to get the thing - that's the rational explanation. While we ignore the element that really responds to calling, to teasing, to the attraction. A soul - the word too spiritual for modern man. So let's use more safe-to-be-around term "psyche". Even if we get the thing - hastily, clumsily, unsatisfactorily - we feel somehow un-whole, as if robbed of something. Robbed of ... a story, maybe? That "childish" story-seeking bitch of a soul demands from us to find an adventure at the other end of the dark tunnel, not just around the crease of an intestine.

I often catch myself whimpering about being lost in the dullness of the darkrooms of the saunas, sex clubs and other wondrous gay facilities "created just for our amusement" and "tailored to our very specific needs". They seem to me as the fairy-tale tunnels maliciously stretched to infinity, without a Wonderland at the other end. Without the other end. More an infinite loop from science-fiction. Designed for straying. Like a sex without a climax? No happy-end deserved? Is it to delay the gooey end of pleasure of sex? Might I actually miss the point - that the labyrinth is a place to be lost? The only thing to find in a maze is an EXIT sign, indeed. My feeling of gay spaces is mixed - everything one might wish for is there, readily available in the most un-erotic way, while the aim of my quest is impossible to reach in the most frustrating way. This is why we obediently pay at the cash-desk.

That's actually how any item of a fetish works. We buy military uniforms and lace up 77-holed boots while dreaming of soldiers wading their way through jungle, swamps, mountains and rivers (adventure), knowing how to survive, how to fight, how their heavy machinery works (skills), camping under the tents, showering together naked in the field (eros), having to rely on each other, provide mutual support (friendship), be less cocky and more understanding and maybe even sensitive (tenderness) in contrast to the rough circumstances, having no one else then their mates to release with (sex?). Though buying that uniform and unwrapping it from plastic (with eager expectation) usually leads to aaah and an unexpected disappointment. A disappointment without a name - a feeling that there's no added value in this premium package. Then we put the uniform on - and still nothing is happening. We jerk-off in it, in front of the mirror, but we see nothing but ourselves in the uniform jerking off in front of the mirror. What you see is what you get.

Freud might intellectually jerk-off as well, seeing this exemplary case of frustration in undeciphered compulsive behavior. Unsatisfied, we might try to search fo the other accessible "objects" wearing the uniforms. But whatever kinky we make our sex, the Adventure, self-confidence in Skills and often even Eros, Tenderness and Friendliness are all lacking. We are missing something. And the decades of imprinted economic behavior have taught us to obtain the thing that will fill the gap. We either seek another and another and yet another person in uniform, or buy another and another and another piece of fetish clothes: a camouflage jacket, 100% real US army belt, different style of combat boots, camouflage face paint, ... we are becoming collectors.

It does not matter if we are into uniforms and crave for adventure, or into skinhead outfits dreaming of taming the wild and dangerous urban beasts, or jerking off in clean-washed sportswear among the four walls of our sterile apartments fantasizing of the sweaty and smelly jocks in the locker-rooms after the game that we are not skilled enough to play, or sniffing the sneakers of would be skaters, or we are not kinky at all and are "just" buying "normal" decent clothes, either branded or hipsterically "non-branded" and vintage - in order to look good, shine at the party, catch attention, get tonight's trick, fish out our husband-forever.

These are the fetish items from our dreams. Knowing that the cleverly attached story is a fundament of any advertisement for a product, our adult self might already be aware that "buying the thing" does not buy us a story. With each new item that we buy, it appears that we are approaching the object of our deepest desire, it feels like we are at least one step closer. The real need inside of us excitedly shakes the bars of its cell deep down in the soul. This commotion is confusing our sense of orientation, making us feel that the "holy grail" is more visible, tangible, seizable. Every other piece of dream relics brings us seemingly nearer to it. More desiring it, more in need of it, more lacking it, more frustrated by it. And that frustration needs a treatment, a treat, a candy - to shut the mouth of crying child that wants one more ride on the roller-coaster. We do not realize we are not approaching to anything, we are just walking on a running belt. We are like a donkey following the carrot tied to a string tied to a stick tied to his back.

Our wardrobe has now hundreds of shoes, our dungeon dozens of fetish and torture tools - our wallet is empty and we need to work more for more money. This is a dynamics that Karl Marx called "commodity fetishism". That's our economy. We tend to be used by it more than making use of it. Though, how did we get our lives to be so storyless? What makes us spend so much time working hard to be able to afford the instant pleasures of things that we need at the end of the day because we don't have much time to develop any stories?