On polyamory: part 2— Some observations on sexual attraction
A girl once called me
Fifteen or so years later, the remark still
bugs me. Sometimes, when a woman attracts me,
I think “she’d never
fuck me!” And then I fall into hate
with my face,
and physics, and fate for damning me with my face…
…however…that’s not a constructive thing to say!
What is it about my face that I wish
I could replace?
Might as well confront it
and from there begin stunting the depressive rumination
and debasing. How can I both evade indulging in the cliché that all beauty simply comes
and yet maintain and adhere to my optimism that although not always, very often, “if
there’s a will there’s a way”
and, like the blind, mute, and deaf Helen Keller learning to say
“water,” thus begin to visualize, create and cultivate beauty in my face…
…mind over matter does work in mysterious ways….
…the neurology of the law of attraction, just ask gold metal Olympians,
and in fact, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my fair share of serendipities…
Shall I start with my smile?
my father used to tell me when I was a child,
and he was photographing me. Could that be why I hate my smile? What comes to mind,
now that I dare stare at it for awhile? My lower lip looks a little dry. Also, I think at times
when I smile, it’s unnatural, I TRY (and try too hard), and thus, when I see the picture of
my face, I see straight through my lies.
I’m not an especially smiley guy.
My face more naturally displays and radiates a contemplative, meditative style and state.
I’m beginning to stop seeing my prospects of developing my male beauty as a “hopeless
In fact, I even recall this one particular day when I actually even managed to imagine
myself as “hot”
This was one morning last October on a train to New York city. I saw this woman
—whose face I adored!—sitting in the seat on the other side of the train’s corridor, to my
left, and could have sworn,
though could not have explained, I could feel
this flow of her karmic energy permeating me in the form of her combusting lust…
FOR ME! But maybe it was just my imagination.
Why did I, at that specific point in time, FEEL
hot? What most distinguished it from those times when I absolutely did not!?! 
What was it that led to a belief (however briefly held) that she imagined me “fucking her
Whatever the case, I then combusted (I say “combust” figuratively) with shame
as the skin of her seemingly shaved legs, and her thighs, caught my eyes and I sighed,
thinking I’d wronged
my wife, to whom I’d vowed monogamy
 I don’t remember the event too vividly. I was on America Online Instant Messenger (do ye’ remember the days! fellow millennials? Goodness, how younger adulthood fades away!) talking to this girl who was a friend of an ex-girlfriend. Beyond that, all I recall is her typing to me “you’re ugly!” Maybe there was a “so” or a “fucking” in the mix. Anyway, I happened to agree with her. Why? I despised myself inside and out in those days. I deemed myself basically incompetent in virtually every aspect of my life. I hate to say it, but my family was central to facilitating my development of this self-hatred. My soft-determinist metaphysics and conviction that forgiveness must be a fundamental moral principle both complicate how I process my memories of this. But just to consider the surface of it for now, being told things like “come here so I can hit you,”; being called “a faggot pussy jew, ”“lazy goodfornothing,” “lazy bum,” “shit head,” being told to “go play in traffic,” being told, when in the midst of first falling in love with philosophy: “philosophy is bullshit,” being told I “don’t give a shit about anything,” being told I was “socially maladjusted,” being called a “nit wit,” being told “GET OUT OF HERE!” receiving simply the answer “because I say so” when I asked questions, being told I should “just be a teacher,” (as if the “just” was suggesting the aim wasn’t quite so high and so no need to fear failure), being told that my maximalistic, inter-disciplinary, hybrid, holistic, wide viewed cross-genre approach to critical thought is just “ADHD”. Being told that poetry is utterly useless to society. When you are young, and lack an education in critical thought, even if you do manage not quite to believe or fall for all that kind of nastiness… being in some respects trapped in a setting where it seems that everyone is constantly delegitimizing your thoughts and feelings, and expressing their harsh evaluations of your multitude of failings, that’s gotta fuck with one’s head somewhat, doesn’t it? Thus, I suspect I didn’t stand much of a chance to process other insults and such things objectively. Negative remarks from others was simply part of the norm. So, putting “physical” aspects aside, how can we not associate our FACES with our own thoughts and feelings of our SOULS since our faces are often the most visceral impressions of ourselves that we can perceive? Hm? And if a soul is so consistently subjected to discouraging and delegitimizing communication, that fact necessarily becomes rather fundamental to your holistic sense of identity, does it not? And so, when one sees one’s face, unless one has weeded out, in a sort of cognitive behavioral therapy mode of thinking, any destructive interpretations of those memories, what can the subconscious/unconscious do other than literally emit into conscious thoughts that which has been rather crammed into it!?! Thus, it makes sense to me now why I feel such disgust and anguish at the sight of my face. And now…now, I can begin to acquaint myself with my face in a new context, a new paradigm, a new set of predominant thoughts.
 First of all, I wish to distinguish, clearly, the difference between the psychological act of demeaning a woman by considering her, primarily, an object of lust and sex and the psychological experience of FEELING sexual attraction (as such!). I spoke to some sex positive women about this and they have helped me REFRAME my view on my own experience of sexual attraction, by placing special emphasis on the concept of CONSENT. And even still, it is genuinely hard for me to articulate, in my own mind, my thoughts and feelings, in the midst of experiencing sexual attraction. This, I suspect, is one reason why I crave experiences of rich sexual communication that can help me understand how to treat a woman in sexual contexts. (I’m talking about the miscellanea AFTER consent occurs. Some women like a man to say how hard and rough he’s gonna fuck a woman. Some women, in the contexts of the consensual sex act like to be called a dirty little slut whore, be gangbanged and have men cum on their faces. Some women find all of that offensive, denigrating, disgusting. I suspect then, one key point is… when the consensual sexual relationship begins, to say “I fantasize about ___” or “I love it when someone ____” or “I would love you to ____, if you’re comfortable with that.” So, I can assuage much of my sex-related anxiety simply by holding into focus what consensual, respectful sex looks like. But I still never manage to cope with the overwhelming feeling of initial sexual attraction as I both want her to see in my eyes and facial expression that I think she’s… I love how this one model put it to me…I asked her specifically, how do you like a man to express when he finds you very attractive without it coming across in a tasteless way, and she said a man can simply say “you look very lovely!”….so…I both want a woman to be able to see that I think she looks lovely (both personality and exterior) and NOT see, because I don’t want a connection to be altered simply on account of my lust.
 The answer is not apparent to me. Abstract questions about abstract questions, especially with respect to very introspective matters can be– even for me (I tend to be a very abstract person)—TOO ABSTRACT. So let me start on fundamental concretes of the context! I was on en route to Columbia University to meet my favorite personal essayist, Phillip Lopate, who, after corresponding with me via email over a few months agreed to offer me some of his time. I actually considered this to be one of the greatest experiences of my life! As I told Dr. Lopate when we spoke face to face later that day, I felt essentially just how I imagined I’d feel if I was meeting Bob Dylan instead; (God, I made such a fool of myself, mouth dry, mind not functioning, feeling a weird sort of stigma about the power of the name COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, as if I existed so low beneath it, which is not true, but I couldn’t help but FEEL it!– One professor once told me I could “NEVER” be admitted to what our culture might refer to as certain type of college…she spoke specifically of Cornell but…perhaps you get my point here….so that was on my mind… oh, also, I saw Leslie Jamison in the graduate program office. She approached me and asked me if I was being helped. My mind turned into a cloud of smoke. I felt this awful mix of immediate attraction and inferiority or smallness,– there she was, a successful, brilliant (her essays tend to resonate with me and hearing her read them on Audible I slip into false impressions of somehow sort of knowing her with a few degrees of intimacy) published writer and director of the Creative Non-Fiction program and not but a handful of years older than me, while there I was, star-struck, and feeling so drastically unsuccessful compared to her, and I thought she looked so lovely so…. I did my best to avert my eyes as quickly as possible.
Though I didn’t yet have the words for it, I believe one recurring thought that persistently struck me throughout that day, was that I knew (though I wouldn’t have used the word then because I wasn’t in fact familiar with it) I was polyamorous. Forgetting briefly, the lovely young lady on the train, and the lovely Leslie Jamison…to consider it all more introspectively-psychologically, I was experiencing the projection, (was I not?) of my own deep desire to experience an intimate connection with more than just one woman. And that scared the hell out of me.