Watched a movie last night that for the first 30 minutes had me transfixed. It was a movie called Shame, starring Michael Fassbender. He plays the role of a damaged man living in NYC, whose life seems to revolve around sex in its different forms, whether it be an opportunistic root, a prostitute, or porn of every type.

For the first 30 minutes the film making was almost minimalist. There was little dialogue, much was revealed in tracking shots, in the faces of the characters, even in the background music. The acting was great, the direction sublime, and I felt myself connected to a movie as so rarely I am. Then I dropped off, until perhaps the last 10 minutes.

I wondered at that after. Where did I lose interest? Why? From about 30 minutes in the movie became more melodramatic as new characters and conflict were introduced to the story. This was absolutely necessary for the development of the story as a whole, but it also took it in a direction away from me. For the first 30 minutes I could relate on some masculine level. It was a type of life portrayed, a different life to most, but one, as a male, as a virile male living in and around the metropolis, that I could closely relate to. Even though I don’t have the same porn fixation, much else was familiar: the lust for lust; the matter of fact, but ruthless desire; the lifestyle, drinks, dinner, laughter, flirtation, dirty sex. Even the scene in the train where he undresses a girl with his eyes, as she reacts to him, even that seemed real to me. Those 30 minutes would be close to many men I think, certainly these days, and in men of my rough vintage.

After that it became a story. Though we shared some behaviours he was different to me: that connection was severed. What had seemed personal now became entertainment. His inclinations were revealed as being more degenerate than I could understand, and the story became sordid, almost cruel. It became clear how deeply damaged he was, vulnerable, troubled, confused, lost, his life sliding away. It seemed his fate, something he seemed passively resigned to even as, now and then, he tried to change the course of it. The movie ended on that question: was he changed? Would he do as before, or would he choose another way?

I knew what I would do in that last scene, but then I’m not defined by these things as he was. He lived in a stupor, lit up by, and addicted to, the sensation of sex. Maybe that’s what a sex addict is, I thought – I’d always wondered. And so for him to say yes in the scene we never saw would be to shoot-up again; for me, simple fun.

Interesting movie. I’m sure a lot would be confronted by it. I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ it – it’s not the sort of movie you enjoy. I think though that it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. I’ll watch it again. I’ll read it on different levels, and knowing where it goes, will take in the first 30 minutes with a different eye.

It reminds me of a movie, I can’t remember which. It nags at me. Stay tuned.

The virtues of being horny

When I was in Langkawi, about 2 weeks ago, I woke up one morning feeling more than usually horny. It happens, and regularly, though I can’t say why. If you benchmark my usual levels of sexual appetite at about 100 then sometimes, rarely, it might dip to about 80, and other times swell to around 900 (it aint pretty). On this day I felt vibrant and the world about me a place of infinite sensual possibility.

I left my room for breakfast and found myself the first guest in the dining area. I was chatting with one of the owners when the first of the other guests arrived, a neatly built, attractive Indian girl, her boyfriend still obviously sleeping in. The next guests appeared then, a Chinese couple from KL, the woman not beautiful, but very feminine. Finally, the other guests arrived, a French couple, the woman lithe and fit and with an interesting look.

I continued my conversation with my temporary friend while my mind raced.

I don’t really know what is in the minds of other men, though often I presume that I do. I presume they are much like me when it comes to matters of sex, that while they might not zoom to 900 like I do they will often be preoccupied and distracted by speculation and anticipation of matters sexual. I imagine that they experience similar flights of fantasy, and at times have that confirmed in occasional conversations with my mates. I think I’m likely randier than most, but the difference is more likely to be in extent rather in the type of desire. But I don’t really know.

Sometimes when I’m bored and feeling a bit antsy I’ll play a game. I’ll be sitting on a train or a tram and I’ll look about me. I’ll look at the women, going from one to the other, gradually ranking them in my mind from the first person I would want to have sex with, to the last. That done, and presumably, a few more stops to cover, I’ll subtly change the rules of the game. This time I ask myself which I would want to have a relationship with most. Often, mostly, the lists are quite different from each other, those you want to fuck, those you want to marry.

I went through this exercise that morning in Langkawi. Which is it I wondered, the cute Indian, the feminine Chinese, or the sporty French girl? They were all attractive, but the decision came easily to me: the feminine Chinese.

The reasons may surprise someone who believes exercises like this are simply about objectifying women for sexual cravings. The Chinese girl didn’t come out on top because she was feminine, or because she was the ‘sexiest’, but because she captured my imagination. How?

As I glanced across to her I observed how she ate her breakfast, the way she lifted her head to talk to her boyfriend, the way she sat there. Her feet were folded beneath the chair as she leaned forward, her little sandals having slipped off and feet bare and crossed. As she wielded a fork with her right hand she held her long, dark hair with her left, sweeping it away from her face and out of her food, at the back of her head. It was obviously something she had become habituated to do over the years, and it revealed both personality and a back story. It gave some insight to the person, and as a sight was both unusual and cute. In a sense, with her feet innocently bare, and this unique gesture, I was some way towards knowing her – and keen to know more.

It’s easy to play down sexual desire as being all about the sex, but – in my case at least – that would be false. Imagination plays a great part in the experience and often lends a delicious edge to it. There’s no denying the great pleasure in a spontaneous fuck over the kitchen bench, or a chance and abrupt sexual encounter with a stranger. Long may they occur. But equally, and perhaps differently, the pleasures of anticipation, imagination and the slowly coalescing sexual burn are never to be discounted.

I can remember once asking a girl to help me with my cuff-links. She was a girl I knew quite well and liked, but had not yet made that connection. I watched as with her dextrous fingers she slotted the cuff-links through the buttonholes on my cuffs, her face creased with concentration, focussed on this minor and passing activity. Suddenly I felt captured by her. Until then I had been conditioned to see her only in a certain way. Suddenly I saw her differently. I sensed some deeper part of the inner person. In her eyes I saw depths I had never bothered to look for. I could see the individual hairs of her eye-lashes separately. Close as we were I inhaled her scent, a mixture of soap and perfume and skin. I need only to have leaned in a few inches and kissed her. I didn’t, but for the first time became alert to her sexual presence. I’d probably idly looked at her before, but now it was real and pressing. She was whole you see, a desirable package not just of body and the bits that make up a woman, but the pieces inside, the tenderness and intelligence, the quirks and history and the things that made her, her.

It’s an alluring package, and suddenly you want that package to be alive to you as you are to her. You want, you desire, fiercely, you anticipate that – and you want to see it in her eyes too.

I am perhaps a bit different to most men in that my imagination is more active, more vivid, and maybe just a little more out there too. I have a strong seam of sensuality running through me also that allows me to enjoy these seemingly small elements that so many will overlook. I think that is different.

Nothing happened with the Chinese girl, nor throughout the day. I went to the beach, I read, I swam in the pool, I went out for dinner, and later in the evening, I returned to the hotel.

I felt just as horny then as I had earlier in the day, but resigned to the fact that it would come to nothing. Mostly that’s as it is. I sat down with a glass of wine at the bar. Soon I was joined at the bar by one of the co-owners, a Chinese Malaysian from somewhere south of KL who had gone to school in Melbourne. She was about 35, lesbian – her partner in the venture was her partner in life – and intelligent. In our early encounters, she had seemed intimidated by me, or so it felt. It had seemed as if she was abnormally alert to whatever I said or wanted and ready to respond whichever direction I went in. Now she was more comfortable with me.

She was clearly the butch half of her relationship, but much more attractive to me than her partner, who I found flowery and over-done. She was not conventionally attractive, and likely had little interest in being so. Her dark hair was cut short, she dressed in masculine clothes, her body wiry, her breasts small, and her face without make-up. Still, as we spoke I found myself drawn to her. In hindsight, I think the way in had been her earlier hesitancy with me, which had drawn my attention and got me wondering at her. Now, as she told me about her schooldays and the challenges of running a hotel and stories about Arab guests and so on, I began to speculate. I looked in her eyes with my arousal growing. So what if she’s gay, I thought. Like so often before I undressed her in my mind bit by bit. Sure, her breasts were small, but to my surprise, I found an attractive figure, imagined the perspiration I could see on her skin now spread as we had sex back in my room, imagined her naked body entwined with mine. She would be a willing and adventurous lover, I thought.

Alas, it was only fantasy. We did not rendezvous later, but it’s a story illustrative of the strong part imagination plays in desire. And how important it is – for me anyway – to get some fragment of the other to get inside them as a person. I love being horny.

Back in the saddle

I was out the other night for drinks with a mate and he reckoned that lately I’ve been a bit flat. That’s a fair call. Plenty of reasons for it, but still, it’s not the way you want to be.

Last night I was out. I went to the Cheeses for a wine tasting. Afterwards we had a bottle together and laughed about all sorts of things, including the ever hilarious subject of pubic hair. I left feeling in a good mood. It was dark out, just after 11. I drove off, switching the radio on as I did. I drove the near empty roads for a while leaving any other cars behind and feeling that swell sense of ownership when you’ve got the road to yourself and a throbbing motor beneath your right foot. At the same a succession of old, great tunes came on the radio. I’m a station switcher. If I don’t like a song I switch stations. Last night I surfed the radio bands each time happening across a great song I would pump the volume up for. It’s a grand feeling when you’re on the road like that.

Eventually I hit traffic, but even then it moved briskly. At first I was part of a road train of about 6 cars moving along at about 5 k’s above the speed limit. I was happy to tail along, very unusual for me who always has the urge to get to the front. Traffic turned off left and right until it was just me and another Audi. Then it was pure. He drove well, in control, a managed aggression like I hope to drive myself. Funny sometimes how you can get on the road and find some kinship with another car on the road. More often it’s on those long trips when you sometimes seem to drive in tandem with the other and unknown driver. Sometimes it happens in the smoke though to. So it was last night. He ripped along at about 70 with me close behind. My music played loud, the suburbs went by, somewhere ahead was home.

There was a feeling in that which I had inherited from earlier in the day, and which has carried forward to this morning. regardless of how fucked things are, I’ve got my swagger back. H without a strut isn’t really H. Together with that I’ve got the very familiar desires. They never really quieten down, just that sometimes they slide up to 9 from 7 or 8. Right now I’m swaggering around much like my mate Prospect would recognise, and feeling as if I’m carrying stick of dynamite set to explode. Life, sometimes, is beautifully vibrant.


The Free Dictionary: left definition: of, relating to, situated on, or being the side of the body in which the heart is mostly located.