the child leaning out for love or the cat that curls itself
around our feet and legs when it wants affection, we are ‘forever’
looking for love. The poet Wordsworth writes: “the Child
is father of the Man.” Since there isn’t anyone
who wouldn’t rather be liked than not in his daily interactions
with friends, colleagues and acquaintances, we would all rather
be loved than not in our romantic life.
children – unlike adults -- want love and affection, they
go straight for it because the marvellous instinct to lean out
for love has not yet been mediated by self-consciousness. Observing
children reaching out for love makes us long for the time when
our needs and response to our needs constituted a single vocation.
All that changes with the onset of puberty and the ego’s
discovery that it is in rough seas with other egos. With self-consciousness
and the concomitant loss of immunity against the judgment of
others -- a loss from which the adult never fully recovers --
our sense of who we are and how we comport ourselves becomes
captive to how others perceive us, or, more precisely, how we
perceive others perceive us. And this holds especially true
in our relationships.
teaches those who are teachable that what is essential in life
is often learned when it is lacking, and that learning happens
when the operations required to attain an objective are performed.
We learn the value of money when it is in short supply. We come
to appreciate a simple bed after sleeping on a hard floor, the
importance of community when deprived of it. We learn most about
love when it has been refused.
regards and rewards single men and women differently than couples.
Singles, perforce, view themselves more self-critically than
their married (partnered) counterparts. After a certain age,
singles who are still out there looking for love are de
facto publicly confessing to a deficiency in themselves
because they haven’t found what others have found and
are therefore flawed in some way. In order to protect themselves
from relationship disappointments and pain, many singles try
to convince themselves that they’re not looking for love,
that they don’t need it or want it.
abiding fascination with being cool -- a pre-emptive defense
mechanism summoned to protect the emotionally vulnerable against
pain – betrays our essential fragility when leaning out
for love in societies that judge and reward couples more favourably
than singles. Being unloved, in its accusation and singularity,
validates the longing to be cool and the development of the
mental muscles required to attain that blissful state. Aspirants
deem themselves successful when they wake to discover that they
are at long last indifferent to the conceit, condescension and
pity exhaled by the smug society of couples. Blessed are these
tough-minded, mental acrobats who, in order to endure the unkindest
of Kismets, are able to will themselves (with or without mind-altering
therapies) to the state of coolhood.
LIVES ON LOVE STREET
workers are uniquely qualified to unravel the mysteries of love
because they receive unfulfilled men from every walk of life
who pay top dollar for all that she embodies that masturbation
all of us want to be loved, some men who have been turned down
by women still want to be loved by them, even though they have
come to hate them as a consequence of rejection. They will have
paid court to a favoured woman, admitted they were alone and
no longer wanted to be, and played the game only to lose. Some
of these men who have lost in love frequent sex workers. Like
abused children who become abuser adults, these men treat the
sex worker -- who symbolizes all the women who have rejected
them -- as they were treated (or perceive they were treated)
in their courtship defeats: unfairly, callously. They turn her
into a mechanical device to be exercised for their pleasure
while ever mindful of the consolations afforded by tough language
and rough play.
of this would change on a dime if the sex worker were to take
a romantic interest in the client, which is what he secretly
hopes for, especially in the very safe context of there being
nothing to lose because nothing is expected. If some males,
puffed up with the power of purchase, frequent sex workers to
revenge their hurts, others, unsatisfied by the emptiness that
is at the heart of revenge, turn to wooing the sex worker, regaling
her while she dutifully provides the illusion he has bought
into, temporarily staying all traces of past hurts and rejections.
each of their radically different motivations, initial contact
resembles a collision that both parties, in advance, have decided
not to avoid. The collision damage waiver is never an option
because both parties have implicitly laid bare their essential
needs and appetites: an unholy trinity of sexual, psychological
and economic confluences.
the exercising of her profession, the sex worker is not only
privy to every manner of sexual appetite, but the full spectrum
of men’s emotional life and manner of asking for –
not just sex – but love. If it were simply a matter of
bursting seed, self-gratification would suffice. When a sex
worker is engaged, the sex is almost always a means to other
ends and significations which have nothing to do with sex: human
contact, intimacy, empowerment, all of which the sex worker
is implicitly expected to provide. This same 'means to other
ends' holds true for the sex worker for whom apparent economic
motivation betrays deeper emotional needs that sex work satisfies:
the desire to be wanted or treated in a certain manner, the
need for attention, love, control.
unlike a priest, every time a sex worker receives a man she
is receiving his confession. But the greatest confession comes
from the man who is her partner in life, who, despite her sex
work, loves her. These exceptional men are not impostors, are
not putting on airs, nor are they deluding themselves. They
embody the most profound asking of the question of love. All
of them, without exception, have come to a remarkable understanding
of the meaning of love because they have had to strip away everything
that doesn’t properly belong to it so that what remains
is love’s pure (invariable) essence.
we are all wired to bond and couple, code for possess (she is
‘my’ wife or partner, he is ‘my’ husband
or partner), a man who is in a loving relationship with a sex
worker must, out of necessity, subscribe to an entirely different
notion of what it means to bond and possess in the context of
sharing his partner’s body with many different men. Most
men stiffen at the mere thought of the exchange of body fluids
between their woman and another man, or worse, other men. It
violates a man’s deepest instincts, goes against every
religious and social proscription, and exemplifies a humiliation
from which he may never fully recover, especially if he suspects
his inability to satisfy has precipitated his partner’s
To grasp the essence of love, we must go where love is least
likely to prevail, deep into the psyche of the male who is in
love with a sex worker, who abides her work as naturally as
he would abide her working as a teacher or software programmer.
What remarkable insights does this man possess that allow him
to regard the penetration of his partner by many different men
-- some of whom are complete strangers -- as an occurrence wholly
lacking in significance? What does this man among men understand
about love that needs to be learned?
his every day life, this man is a construction worker, who,
from Monday to Friday, hammers nails into boards of houses that
don’t belong to him and are therefore houses that mean
nothing to him. Like an automaton, he wakes up and perfunctorily
plies his trade as a means to various ends: to pay for his food,
lodging and other necessities, and modest pleasures his limited
income allows, one of which is -- during weekends -- the construction
of his log cabin on a lake property he recently purchased.
the two principal activities in his life -- hammering nails
into boards to make a living and hammering nails into boards
for his pleasure (his log cabin) -- viewed and described by
an objective observer are exactly the same: the hand holding
the hammer is raised and brought down on a nail resulting in
a board being purposefully joined to another. Yet during the
week, he feels unhappy and exploited in performing the identical
movements that during the weekend are a source of joy and pride.
Since it’s the same activity in both instances, we must
attribute the attitudinal disparity to the mind’s inherent
capacity to arbitrarily assign meaning and value to the various
entities and activities that engage us in the course of daily
life. The cabin belongs to the construction worker which makes
his labour a labour of love since the cabin will constitute,
not unlike his own flesh, an outer dwelling and protection of
his person. It is there that he will receive his family, friends
and necessary small society that constitute the ground of meaning
in his life.
man who is in a loving relationship with a sex worker knows
(feels) that the sex between her and other men means nothing
and between themselves everything, just as the hammering of
nails into an anonymous building means nothing and everything
as it concerns his log cabin.
construction worker and sex worker both understand that love
-- the impulse that carries them towards each other -- while
it entails a practical, physical component, in and of itself,
is independent of anything material, which is why a couple in
love need not have to be in each other’s physical presence
to feel love.
man in a loving relationship with a sex worker acknowledges
that there is a fleshy thing going in and out of her vagina,
it discharges, it deflates and then is no longer there. What
is always there, regardless of the physical facts in the boudoir
(being together or apart), is their mutual love, which, once
established, is independent of any physical component. A daughter
who loves her father in life does not love him less when he
has passed away. A loved one can be 10,000 miles away and the
bond isn’t in the slightest diminished because love, stripped
of everything that does not belong to it, is essentially metaphysical.
human relationships, sex complements bonding but it should never
be mistaken for love. When older couples outgrow their need
for sex what remains if it isn’t love? Love cannot be
quantified; it hath no measure. Like gravity, it is a force
felt but not seen. The exceptional man who is in love with a
sex worker, who regards her work like any other, understands
love in a way that illuminates its essence, most perfectly revealed
in children when leaning out for love.
time Don Juan (the world’s greatest lover) leaves, he
is confessing that he is incapable of love. Every time a man
discovers himself in a loving
relationship with a sex worker, he is not only
challenging the conventional wisdom of love, he is quietly declaring
that he is the world’s greatest authority on love.