Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Powerful poem: "And The Men" by Tony Hoagland

Garrison Keillor - sometimes I love him and sometimes I hate him, but I love the fact that he reads a poem aloud every day (even though sometimes I hate the way he reads it, and sometimes they work so well). Today's was one that worked so well.

Absent permission, some excerpts form Tony Hoagland's "And The Men":

And The Men

want back in:
all the Dougs and the Michaels, the Darnells, the Erics and Jos├ęs,
they're standing by the off-ramp of the interstate
holding up cardboard signs that say WILL WORK FOR RELATIONSHIP.
Because being a man was finally too sad—
In spite of the perks, the lifetime membership benefits.
And it got old,
Always holding the fear inside
like a tipsy glass of water—

The whole thing might be archived at The Writer's Almanac for the week of September 18, 2006

I've been thinking a lot recently about the relationship between self-esteem and femdom and service. Paradoxically, the more I think about service, and the more my beloved and I play our little game (I don't really know what to call this chastity thing otherwise), the more (I think) my self esteem improves. And the less the "worship the Goddess" "all Women are superior to men" capitalization thing and all, the less it makes any sense to me.

I'm actually a little relieved at that because it conflicts with some of my deeply held values, which talk a lot about the inherent worth and dignity of every person. And while I could twist a "female superior" ideology around so that it seemed consistent with that, it always seemed kind of tortured (pun intended, I guess...)

I think maybe this also opens up possible lines of communication about this with my beloved, who believes in that stuff even more fervently than I do, and for whom I know that has always been a barrier.

As I've gotten older I've ended up looking kind of distinguished - especially if I dress up. I mention this only because I have definately noticed that it creates a set of expectations in people, of how they think I expect to be treated and how they expect me to treat them - expectations that are usually quite at odds with who I am. So Hoagland's lines about "being a man was finally too sad — in spite of the perks, the lifetime membership benefits. And it got old..." really resonated. Fortunately for me, I've never identified (much) with those expectations that people create for me, at least around the older white male part. But if it was your identity, I can see how it could be very painful to realize it's limitations.

On the other hand, "Always holding the fear inside like a tipsy glass of water" - as good a simile as any I've seen for knowing what I want, yearning for an explicit power dynamic in a relationship, and not being able to have it, and being afraid that it would "get out."

I'm enjoying this experiment and its subtle, and not so subtle, effects on my "real life."

1 comment:

Mistress Laura's boy said...

Hi Jamie. On Cancace's blog, you wrote:
If I'm so unclear on what I want that I can go from wanting to be a hot-club-night pain slut to a tea-party attendant/servant, then that has to be very confusing for my partner.

You want both. What's so confusing about that? You can probably be a pain slut (masochist) and a servant oriented submissive... There's no real contradiction there.