The Model from Senegal
A very short story
Copyright © 2017 Vincent Gray
Shakespir 2017 Edition
This book is a work of fiction. All the characters developed in this novel are fictional creations of the writer’s imagination and are not modelled on any real persons. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Dedicated to my wife Melodie and my daughter Ruth
The story of my life is the story of the restless heart that Saint Augustine writes about in his Confessions. I have a queer woman’s heart beating in my breast and it is desire and passion that makes it restless. The heart is the wellspring of desire and passion. At Vilanculos I felt the same kind of excitement being churned up by the restlessness of my heart. Now at Jan Smuts a full hour before our flight to Madrid I feel the awakening of my restless heart. To kill time before boarding we wondered about in the departure lounge. I struggle to contain my excitement. This was the first time that I would be embarking on an aeroplane flight. I was breathless with desire and passion, I suddenly want Kate to make love to me in the women’s toilets.
I felt as hot as hell with lust and feelings of sensuality. Like Kate I am a sensual person. Kate literary oozes sensuality. Now I am so hot that I am panting like an animal on heat I want Kate to fuck me. I am a wanton woman, I feel like whispering my fantasy of my desire in her ear: ‘I want you to fuck me in the public toilets.’ Instead I follow her into the Central News Agency, she says that she wants to buy a book or two to read on the flight and on our holiday. She is oblivious of the state that I am in. I gaze at the shelf stacked with classical fiction. The title ‘A Thief’s Journal’ catches my eye. I flip through pages. I am surprised, I am stunned and I am amazed. What is this book doing on a bookshop in South Africa, how did it escape the surveillance of the censors? The book by Jean Genet is dedicated to Jean-Paul Sartre and Sartre has composed a foreword to the novel. I decide that I will buy the book. I scan the other titles, thinking that maybe there is book written by Sartre. I know about Sartre, his name has been dropped in conversations that I have inadvertently eavesdropped on while quietly drinking coffee in the student union’s cafeteria from its high perch on the ridge overlooked the lush leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Now suddenly the name SARTRE jumps out among the titles. It belongs to the novel called ‘Nausea’. I decide to purchase the two paperback books. At the cashier Kate looks at my two books. She has never heard of the authors. She pays for her two murder mysteries. I find pulp fiction boring. I make a pretence of interest while remaining silent about my personal opinion regarding her literary tastes.
The boundary between the human and the animal is artificial. It can be breached. Language and textualization cannot fix the boundary between the human and the animal.
There is something that it is like to be a particular living creature. Every living creature has its own peculiar kind of unique experience of the world in which it finds itself. Living creatures have conscious states, they each have their own kind of awareness, their own kind of mental states.
Insentient matter. How did conscious arise from insentient matter?
Humans are fallible. So we are all indeed capable of sin. It was in our nature to be sinners. Kate as a practicing Catholic was also fallible as I soon discovered. She suffered from all the human foibles. Her greatest character flaw was her vanity. My parents thought I was going on an overseas tour with fellow students. Instead I was going on a secret honeymoon holiday with a woman in her mid-thirties with whom I was having a clandestine affair. They wanted to see me off at Jan Smuts Airport. Having much to hide about myself I insisted that it was not necessary. Anyway I was an adult, I was grown up even though I was still nineteen. I had experienced stuff with Kate that most adults could not even imagine in their wildest erotic fantasies. And going overseas with an experienced traveller would be a walk in the park compared to going to Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. Anyway Kate was one of my lecturers, how I was going to explain my relationship with her to my parents? As I said, I was only nineteen years old at the time, and I was having sex with an older and more experience woman. Our relationship had to remain a secret, it was best for both of our sakes.
As our plane circumnavigated the edge of Africa flying at high altitude offshore over the rolling swells of the Atlantic Ocean I imagined that the lights I saw were the lights of various seaside cities of African countries including those of Luanda. After the military coup had removed the Portuguese Marcello Caetano regime in Lisbon Portugal the sun was now fast setting on the centuries old Portuguese colonial rule in Africa.
In three hundred and thirteen years I have become the first Zeeman to leave the African continent after our families three century sojourn on the continent. My grandfathers who had fought in the Second World War did not leave the continent, they did not go beyond the Sahara Desert. As a nineteen year second year BSc student Europe was a foreign continent. I did not know what to expect. My excitement was contagious. Kate felt my breathless excitement and was as radiant and flushed like a teenager on her first date. I could see that she had spent considerable time and effort on her makeup. Her perfume was expensive and she made an extraordinary effort to dress as youthfully and stylishly as possible for an academic. I sensed her vulnerability and I felt a sudden surge of love for Kate. I kissed her on the cheek and whispered intimately that I loved her so much. As an older woman it was exactly something that she wanted to hear not once but a thousand times from me. She held my hand tightly. I had window seat as she had promised. I pressed my forehead against the cabin window and stared at the night sky and then down at the Continent clothed in darkness. Africa lay supine below us, she lay waiting for her lover, she lay reclined in exotic and mysterious splendour, and she lay in erotic repose somewhere below us at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. To me Africa was a beautiful black woman, her loins fertile, her strong thighs parted in enigmatic anticipation of pleasure and her breasts full like ripe fruit, her lips like honey, her breath like the scent of an orchard in full blossom, her eyelids like butterflies. I also felt a surge of love for this continent which was my home. The home of Hannah Zeeman. I was one of Africa’s many wayward daughters. I had lied to my parents. My own audacity astonished me. My parents would not have guessed in a thousand years that their daughter was going on her first honeymoon with her lover and would be enjoying four orgasmic weeks of European summer, European sunshine and sex and sex and sex.
Shortly after sunrise we landed in Madrid. I had no idea of our travel itinerary. It was all rather vague and up in the air. During the flight she had said that we would hire a car at the airport and travel down to the Mediterranean and follow the coastline to Barcelona. After Barcelona we would travel across the border to France. From France we would go to Italy, Greece, and Switzerland. From Switzerland we would travel back to France. After spending some time in Paris we would return to Madrid. She said we would be criss-crossing many international borders during ours travels across vast large chunks of European countryside.
Getting through the early morning peak hour traffic and finding the main road from Madrid to Valencia took some time. Being the navigator I sat with the map on my lap. Travelling in the bright summer sunlight across the vast open plains of Spain we reached Valencia by midday.
Irreducibility of the being to knowledge. Irreducibility of lived reality to knowing. And we have a question of priority, consciousness or being. Truth supervenes on being.
It was past midday, feeling famished we found ourselves on the outskirts of Valencia driving through the suburbs in a seawards direction. We continued driving seawards until we found a restaurant that spilled out over onto a stony beach with the Mediterranean Sea lapping languidly onto a sleepy shoreline. I realized that it was a Friday afternoon. Chairs and tables had been arranged in a scattered sprawling fashion on the uneven sloping surface of the beach. Sitting down at a table I felt the back legs of my chair sinking into the sand. Kate suggested that we order paella and a bottle of red wine. Two or three metres from our table sat five young men, possibly in their late teens or early twenties, lounged around their table, leaning back in their chairs drinking wine and talking. They had finished their meal, which seemed to have been paella. Having removed their shirts they sat bare chested in their jeans enjoying the summer glow of the warm Mediterranean sun on their bodies.
Like the boys sitting across from us we were in no hurry to go anyway. The meal, the wine and the sun made me feel pleasantly sleepy. We felt completely unburdened of care and worries. Falling under that contagious and liberating sense of seaside holiday freedom we felt no urgency do anything or be anyway. Eventually after coffee and vanilla ice cream we set out to look for a place to spend the night. After travelling for thirty kilometres or so we found lodgings in a suitably modest and cheap beachfront establishment in a small town. We booked into a single room with a double bed and balcony overlooking the ocean. Even though it was the peak of the European holiday season we managed to find similar kinds of lodging in small towns or villages along the coast away from the popular tourist beaches and hotspots. Every morning at six before breakfast Kate insisted that we go on a run. Kate was obsessed with exercising. We ate breakfast and we ate supper, and we ate nothing else in between. I lost a bit of weight, not that I was bothered about losing weight. While I was generally fit from swimming, all this other daily physical exercise left me feeling as strong as a lioness. But being with someone like Kate also made me feel as randy as bonobo chimpanzee on heat.
In Europe for the first time I became aware of the existence of pornography. My gut reaction against pornography was that it misrepresented and possibly displaced the naturalness of human sexuality whether it be homosexual or heterosexual. For me personally homosexuality was not unnatural.
As a lesbian I have often swam against the current. I am conscious of the fact that writing about my own life experiences in the so-called spectral realm of lesbian love and romance has been unavoidable. I say spectral realm because historically speaking lesbians have mostly lived hidden lives as ghosts who are plainly invisible in the midst of life. We are like Naiads of Greek mythology, nymphs or female spirits, inhabiting niches associated with water such as springs, streams, fountains or ponds, and water is a feminine symbol.
Kate as a feminist was vehemently critical of pornography. I agreed with her that pornography represented a degradation of women. But later in life as a Marxist I came to view pornography as the commodification of sex through the economic exploitation of the female body, this form of sexual exploitation necessarily entails the degradation of women under the rule of the patriarchy.
Kate was a fashion-conscious feminist. She was critical of the stereotypical view that lesbians dressed like slobs and did not worry about their bodies or appearance. Kate was conscious of her appearance. Like her I was also appearance conscious. If I looked good, I felt good. I enjoyed feeling sexy, and to feel sexy you had to look sexy. I have always been interested in the erotics of the visual pleasure associated with the lesbian gaze. There is a definite non-heterosexual or homosexual specificity to what excites the erotic visual pleasure of the lesbian gaze especially when it comes to female fashion magazines. Lesbians do in fact enjoy same-sex visual pleasure when looking at heterosexual fashion magazines such as Elle or Vogue. Lesbian fashion has not really undergone any creative developments mainly because the female garment market sees the lesbian consumer of clothing a bad and risky financial bet. Hence the neglect of lesbian fashion consciousness and the intrusion of heterosexual femininity into the lesbian same-sex gaze. The feminist political agenda has not helped lesbians in their natural quest and desire to express same-sex queer eroticism and sexuality through clothing, dress and fashion. Lesbian feminist activists have made heavy political and social investments into anti-fashion politics. Even as a budding Communist I could not support feminist anti-fashion politics.
Lesbians as a community have much to learn from gay men who have led by example in their creative expressions of ‘sartorial savvy’ when it comes the gay discourse on taste and the visual pleasure of the same-sex erotic gaze. Clothing, fashion and dress function as essential visual and erotic codes with regard to queer identity and recognisability.
It is impossible and also unnatural for a lesbian not to look narcissistically at a beautiful woman without experiencing the erotic desire to look like her and to possess her sexually. And this happens when a lesbian looks at a women’s fashion magazine. There is a profound paradox and irony to the lesbian experience of visual pleasure when looking at female fashion models in women magazines. Very often all the erotic codes, symbols and imagery which animate any women’s fashion magazine become visually apparent within a textual context that is characterized by the conspicuous visual absence of any form of male iconic or pictorial presence. Yet from a Darwinian perspective the fashionably clothed female body exists only as a sexualized and erotic ornamentation for the visual pleasure of the male gaze. While the female body is a familiar topography and terrain of erotic pleasure for the lesbian this is not the case for men since they are incapable of experiencing or knowing what it feels like sexually to be a woman. To men a woman’s body and mind are terra incognita.
Lesbian homoeroticism or same-sex eroticism also inadvertently animates the pages of women fashion magazines. The lesbian gaze excites the twofold goal of erotic desire, and that is the desire to be like and the desire to possess. In this sense the males gaze is forever frustrated in a state of alienation, because to truly possess the object of desire one has to become like the subject of erotic desire. ‘Being’ in this sense is possessing, and possessing is becoming, which constitutes the homoerotic experience of knowing what it must feel like to be a woman in that state of erotic excitement and erotic ecstasy. In this since queer sex attains completion or ‘Totality’ in a way that heterosexual sexual experience can never attain.
For me lesbian homoeroticism rocks! And sex can never get better than sex between two women.
Freed in minds and bodies forever from the phallocentric construction of our civilization so flagrantly described in the sexual antics of Val the hero in Henry Miller’s ‘Sextus’ we travelled in a state of unabated arousal from Barcelona through the night by train via Nice to the French Rivera. Submitting to the pleasures of our bodies on the white sheets of those warm moon lit Mediterranean nights in Spain the sheet became damp and clinging with the intensity of our erotic passions for each other. In the bright sunlight of a hot summer’s morning we arrived in Nice still basking in the radiation of our voluptuous emotions, we were in love. From Nice we hired a car and travelled to Cap d’Agde’s world-famous naturist resort for a two days of nude sun tanning. After Paradise Island on the Bazaruto Archipelago I was comfortable with being naked in the presence of others. We experienced at first hand the well-known phenomenon of the banality of nakedness which in all its fleshly excessiveness and abundance satiates the voyeuristic gaze, quenching it of its libidinous excitement, even when hidden behind the uncensored view of sunglasses. However Kate broke the numbing spell of banality and stirred a constant ripple of lustful interest as heads turned in the vortex of her sensuous turbulence, heads possessed by both male and female. There was no doubting that Kate had a magnificent body, something which seemed to be foreign on European shores. Naked she was breathlessly spectacular and she was aware of this. Topless we explored the beaches of the Rivera, lingering in Saint Tropez for a day and a night before departing by train to Italy. From Turin to Milan and via Verona and Padua we traced the rail route across Italy to Venice. From Venice via Bologna we travelled by car to Florence.
In Florence we visited the Loggia dei Lanzi on Pizza della Signoria where we spent some time in the arena of rape and decapitation. A monument of sculptured forms celebrating the capture and violent subjugation in marble and bronze of the erotically voluptuous feminized bodies under the eternal order of patriarchical power. Pio Fedi’s Rape of Polyxana. Giovanni Bologna’s Rape of a Sabine. Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus and Medusa, with its slain headless feminized body laying sensual and erotically supine with legs and arms bound to the pedestal under the feet of a triumphant Perseus. The message is that rape makes women the weaker sex.
And in stark contrast to the patriarchical infliction of pain and death on the feminine body we have the discordant intrusion of a misplaced anomaly in the sculptured form of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes which destabilizes, and threatens to cancel and erase and make impotent the subjugating reign of the masculine over the pacified and supine feminine body. Does this confrontation of opposites symbolize the politicization of the sexual identity, the feminine versus the masculine? Kate had bought Henry Miller’s ‘Sexus’ at the station in Barcelona. She could not put down Henry Miller’s ghastly and horrid book as she called it. On the drive to Florence after flipping through the book which seemed to be borderline pornographic I asked her if she ever had sex with a man. I was surprised when she said that she had had sex with men on several occasions, the first time was when she was eighteen. ‘How was it?’ I asked. ‘Bloody awful, I won’t recommend it,’ she answered. ‘Did you ever want to have children?’ I asked. ‘Yes there were times that did think seriously about have a child, a girl or a boy, I think I would have made fabulous mother. I suppose the ideal situation would be have a child while in a permanent lesbian relationship,’ she said.
I had finished ‘Nausea’ and ‘The Thief’s Journal’. I liked Jean Genet. I liked the fact that he was both male and female. But I had a problem with Genet’s view of the feminine as being passive and submissive. With Kate this may have been true in the beginning with me. I was the passive and submissive partner. She would initiate sex with me. She was more experienced, more confident and she knew how to bring me quickly to a climax, she could do things to me that were exquisitely pleasurable. But my confidence as her lover was also growing, I also learnt what she liked, I was learning about her body too, I was learning fast on how to please her. In fact I was a very fast learner when it came to sex. In lesbian sex there is no intromitting sexual organ which can function as the instrument of power and domination as in heterosexual coitus or male homosexual simulation of coitus. In heterosexual coitus the politics of sexual consent reinforces the asymmetry of male versus female distribution of actual power. Asymmetrical sexual consent is the foundation of patriarchical socialization, and Val in Henry Miller’s ‘Sexus’ is an exemplary model of this socialization phenomenon based on engineered or contrived sexual consent. In this sense Henry Miller’s literary oeuvre is paradoxically politically conservative rather progressive or radical.
We heard a loud speaking American recommend to another American tourist that they should go view Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith slaying of Holofernes. Later in Naples we did go to the Museo di Capodimonte and viewed the painting of Judith decapitating Holofernes. On Paradise Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago I became with a bit of practice quite skilful at abusing my expensive diving knife by throwing it into the trunk of a coconut palm tree. It was quite a big double bladed knife, with very sharp blade on one side and also a serrated edge on the other, and I wore it while diving and I am sure I could easily decapitate a man with it. I had witnessed the slaughtering and butchering of goats and sheep, so I knew that a man’s throat could be easily slit in a flash with my diving knife, despatching a man in this fashion would be much easier than slaughtering a goat, severing a man’s carotid artery with a well delivered vicious slash of my diving knife would drain away his life in seconds.
After a celebratory banquet Holofernes the commander of a great Assyrian army waits in anticipation for the imminent arrival of Judith, he waits alone, secluded in the privacy of his tent, he has stripped off his armour, his sword, helmet and shield now lie in a heap on the ground next to his bed on which he now lays prostate in comfortable repose. In response to his expectation that she is going to have sex with him, and in a parody of heterosexual femininity, she first performs the ceremonial bathing of her body in a nearby stream. While waiting his eyes have now grown heavy with the wine and he falls into a deep dreamless asleep, his drunken body sprawled out on his bed. In the rendition of the Midrash aggada for the festive celebration of Hanukkah the story line for the dramatic fiction of Judith avenging Dinah’s rape is inescapably ‘queer’. The decapitation of Holofernes by a woman is a symbolic act of castration. The general of the Assyrian army is reduced to a eunuch, a feminized man. Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith is depicted as strong and powerful and she is as determined as a lioness in the act of pulling down a struggling bull, and for the occasion of decapitation she is beautifully and splendidly dressed up in drag, she and her slave are lesbians, that much is clear to the discerning and knowing eye. With the strength of their arms and bodies they quickly subdued the panic stricken general in his bed, holding him down with their bare arms, Judith first slits his throat with his own sword and then severs the head from the body. Judith and her slave woman carried the severed head of Holofernes covered on a platter. With a donkey loaded with the war booty that they have looted from Holofernes tent she and the slave set off for Jerusalem. At the gates of Jerusalem She presents the head of Holofernes. With the help of her slave, she has otherwise single-handily liberated the men of Israel and now she too sets her female slave free before taking her to bed and making love to her. Mythos and Logos bended together in unveiling the truth.
As I have said, my grandfathers never made it out of Africa, they got no further than Egypt in the North Africa desert campaign against Rommel during the Second World War. They did not manage to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italy. I am the first Zeeman to leave the shores of Africa since the first Zeeman settled in Africa, he was one of the first Dutchman to set up home in the Cape of Good Hope. Now I find myself in Italy, and I am only sure of one thing and that is that I am queer. Apart from God I am not sure about anything else. I am not sure of my race, and neither is Kate sure about what I am. She laughs at the darkening of my pigmentation under the dazzling Mediterranean’s summer sun and jokes that I could be North African or maybe a Phoenician woman. A Phoenician woman! She found her own joke very funny and laughed until the tears ran down her cheeks. Objectively speaking I am an Afrikaner if I really have to define my ethnicity. But I speak mainly English. And now in Italy I feel half-Catholic. And I have become a Phoenician woman to boot.
So now I am living my own myth.
I am a dark gentile Hellenic lesbian woman at home in the homoerotic atmosphere of Mediterranean. Across the ocean lies the great continent of Africa, my home and place of my birth. Africa has always been part of the Mediterranean cultural and social milieu. The blood of Africans has mingled over thousands of years with the people that lived on the shores of this ocean. And like my ancient Hellenic lesbian sisters who were the very first Christian converts of Saint Paul I am joined by faith and confession to what has been characterised culturally and socially as the Orient and the Semitic. Culturally I am a fusion of the African, the Hellenic and the Hebraic. I am from the Old World. Ironically Saint Paul was the real liberator of the gentile women in the villages and cities along the coast of the Mediterranean.
I identify with the great sisterhood of Hellenic and Hebraic women. The paradigm of heterosexual marriage was not the essential defining attribute or the inexorable destiny of the female mythological and historical figures who populated the crowded and dazzling galaxy of heroines and goddesses who carried the torch of hope for all womenkind. Mythos and Logos becomes welded together into the great narrative of women breaking the chains of chattel slavery and bondage under the patriarchical regime of men. Again I am comfortable in my nakedness under the Mediterranean sun, minimally dressed up in the symbols constitutive of being in drag, a parody of masculinity and femininity, wearing only sheer stockings and shining stilettos, my double edged sword sheathed in its scabbard fixed to my leather suspender, strapped over my shoulder I carry a quiver of arrows, and in my right hand I carry a bow, my lips painted bright red with lipstick. I am all things Greek. I am Penelope weaving, I am the maid servant from Thrace, I am Demeter the great mother, I am Diotima of Mantinea the woman who is wise in matters of the erotic, including love and sex, I am Hestia the maker and sustainer of the home. I am home in my Hellenic sisterhood.
I am reading now Kate’s Henry Miller book. It is bulky volume of a book.
I am not like Val in Henry Miller’s Sextus who can only speak of his prick. Instead I am the alpha female Hyena with powerful jaws capable of great violence, and a giant clitoris that is constantly erect, on the brink of an orgasmic eruption. All males quiver in submission before me, I mount them with impunity to show off my dominance as the female, the great matriarch. They cower castrated before me as my clitoris hangs heavy between my legs.
Under the Mediterranean sun I have become black and lovely. I am a Hebraic woman. The patriarchy lays decapitated in passive supine repose, now laying headless at my sandaled feet.
Judith cut off Holophernes’ head whereas, contrary to the writings of the Zohar, Esther laid with Ahasuerus, using sex to acquire benefits for herself. In contrast to Esther, Queen Vashti refusing to debase herself before Ahasuerus even though he was her husband, emerges in the Book of Esther as the real heroine. According to the Mĕgillāh which is read during Purim Esther was one of the four most beautiful women, and the four women of surpassing beauty were Sarah, Rahab, Abigail and Esther. On her way to Ahasuerus’ bed Esther recited Psalm 22 in which she referred to herself as the ‘hind of the morning’, meaning her vagina was tight and narrow, and would remain tight and narrow for the pleasure of Ahasuerus every time he mounted and penetrated her. On each occasion that Ahasuerus had sex with Esther it was like fucking a virgin for the first time. If certain mitzvot should never be transgressed then why did Esther enjoy sex with a non-believing heathen rather than choosing martyrdom? The ‘Tractate Sanhedrin’ recommends that the betrothed girl should rather be slain than ravaged by a heathen. Well such are the paradoxes that emerge in the creative weaving of Mythos and Logos that goes into the creation of literary fiction. And is this not what literature should wrestle with in its narration of things, in its struggle to say something of ultimate significance about something. Can any serious literary endeavour to escape from addressing things of ultimate concern, can it escape the reach of Mythos and Logos and still be able to say something about something? To say something significant about something involves a transubstantiation because all meaning represents the incarnation of the Word of God, the Logos. This is my body, this is my blood, eat and drink all of it.
In terms of the Hebraic I am Judith, I am Deborah, I am Tamara dressed as a harlot on the side of road, I am Ruth.
In the cased of the Greek goddess Hestia, the word sustainer used to describe what she does is a deeply theological term. God is the ultimate sustainer of all things.
Sitting naked on the hotel bed in Rome I am beautifully tanned, dark as a berry, and my hair which shimmers in the Mediterranean sun is now glossy, long and shines raven black after Kate has brushed it. Kate is in a state of saintly rapture. As devout Catholic she joyfully confesses that to really find God one has to come to Rome. Saint Paul came to Rome, Saint Peter came to Rome. We are in the City of Saints. Kate speaking passionately in a tone filled with missionary zeal, confiding urgently that every true believer eventually takes the road to Rome even if it is only metaphorically. Finished with my hair she tells me stand up. Kate has become my mother, my sister, my best girlfriend, my lover. I stand up and she applies creams and lotions to my naked body. Her hands caressing every crevice of my body brings me to state of arousal. She mutters like a mother that I have been exposed to too much sun, and I tell I have never been sunburnt in my life. She whispers that she has never felt such a beautiful skin in all her life. I burst out laughing. Now standing behind me she puts her arms around me and she pulls me tightly against her body, I feel her hands caressing and fondling my breasts while rubbing in the lotion. She feels my arousal in my erect nipples. She rubs my swollen and engorge vulva and clitoris is erect and ready for her mouth. She kisses the back of my neck and nibbles my ear lobes. Her hand slips down again to my vulva which has now become moist. She forces me down onto the bed, while lying on my back she is all over me with her mouth and she makes love to me while the warm morning sun shines down on us through the open window, and the bustling sounds of the Eternal City filter into our small modest hotel room.
Inside the cathedral it is cool. I have lost count of all the cathedrals that we have visited in Spain, the south of France and now in Italy. I have lost count of the number of candles that we lit at the feet of the Virgin Mary. I now also whisper before the Blessed Virgin who has also become my Mother: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen’.
What pathos: ‘pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death’. At the hour of our death Mother Mary will meet us and point to us Jesus, to our Lord, the God who died on a Roman Cross on Golgotha and rose on the third day and left Jerusalem on foot to meet up with the disciples on a beach in Galilee.
I think I am going to become a Catholic. As an Anglican I am halfway there.
Dear reader you have been my faithful companion on a long and tortuous journey. Male or female I view you dearest reader as my romantic partner. We have got this far together. On a quiet day when the wind blows in a particular direction I can hear the flow of traffic in Rome like the coming and going of the tides or like the distant sounds of crashing surf. At after making love with Kate I fall asleep thinking about artificial intelligence and machine existence in which sex and desire no longer featured in that timeless state of machine existence. The absence of sex and desire is the essential feature of timeless or immortality, and idea that goes back to Parmenides’ poetic critique of Hesiod’s Theogony. Beyond time, beyond becoming and beyond sexuality we have immortality. Shadowless the day becomes night and the night fades imperceptivity into day disappearing in plain sight in the unremitting glare of the tungsten 100 watt light bulb that burns from in hotel room before we sleep. In Spain and on the French Riviera with the break of each dawn I woke up hearing hear the distant sounds of surf rushing up the beach. The echo of the percussion of the rolling swells reminded me that I was still on the shores of the Mediterranean. I have bought a note book and I am keeping my journal, early each morning before our mandatory run I write notes, my mind is fresh, the recollections of yesterday I rework in my mind like Penelope reworks her tapestry each day. What I have woven during the day I unweave at night in my my sleep. Having finished reading ‘Sexus’ which I read late into night, the only English book I could find in Rome was a English translation of the drama Plato’s Phaedo was set within the walls of a prison cell, where Socrates was left to languish on the shores of infinity with nothing to do except to drink the hemlock. Under the spell of Rome I often found myself wondering about existence beyond the body, beyond the material, beyond the physical. Why else believe in the resurrection of the dead. There were times I found myself praying to God and realized that deep down I was a true believer and I could not understand why Father Francis Digby let it all go so easily. In Rome on our last day in Italy Kate made the sign of the cross in the Sistine Chapel. Following the graceful movement of her hand I too signed myself with the sign of the cross and Kate looked at me in surprise and I too wondered for what reason I had never signed myself before with the sign of the cross. I was still only half-way to becoming a Catholic.
Kate had beautiful hands, her fingers were elegant, whenever we laid together her fingers found their home in my vagina where they explored the familiar spaces unseen. She crooked her fingers and pressed them towards my pubic bone against the base of my clitoris while her tongue caressed the swollen protruding hemisphere that had emerged shining with the lustre of a large pink pearl from its bed of soft folds, at the same time she began to move her fingers inside me, overwhelmed with intense and uncontrollable excitement my pelvis rose, my vulva with unremitting urgency pressing, pushing and thrusting against her lips, my thighs spread wide apart, my feet and calves writhing on the sheets, my toes curled, my chest heaved, my arms splayed out and my ears filled with the most unbelievable voluptuous moans as I gave myself over like an animal once to more to the depths of a bottomless orgasm. Kate also in a heighted state of excitement brought herself to a climax with her left hand between her thighs she rubbed, stroked and fingered herself while bent down over me. Cuddling in each other’s arms, awash with tenderness and lips pressed together in soft kisses, breathing in her fragrance, with her moist silky skin against mine we fell asleep naked in our embrace.
It was a hot Sunday afternoon when we arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris from Zurich. Like a child I kept on asking Kate if could we go up the Eiffel Tower after sun set. She agreed but only after having an afternoon nap. At the station I bought a French phrase book, a street map of Paris and a Paris tourist guidebook. I was now equipped to conquer Paris. From the station our taxi dropped off in the Latin Quarter by the Hotel du Levant Paris in the Rue de la Harpe.
While Kate had her nap I decided to go for a walk. It was with some reluctance that she allowed me to go. It was the first sign of her wanting to cling to me and control me. She was hoping that we would take a nap together like we had often done so far and afterwards feeling fresh and amorous we would make love, shower, get dressed and go out until past midnight. She had got into a routine and of how we would spent our days and nights. She tried to plan everything to death on what we were going to do next. So it was a relief to be alone for a while and free to do what I felt like doing. Going down the lift I flipped through pages of the tour guidebook. Getting out of the lift I continued to browse through the guide while walking through the foyer to the hotel entrance. The name of Sartre and a café called Les Deux Magots caught my eye. I had just finished reading Nausea and I had become an instant fan of Jean-Paul Sartre. From Rue de la Harpe I walked to the intersection with the Boulevard Saint-Germain and within minutes I was standing on the pavement outside Les Deux Magots. The tourist guide book said that not only Sartre, but also Simone de Beauvoir, Earnest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Bertolt Brecht and James Baldwin among many others had frequented the now famous café as their chosen rendezvous and place of literary labour. In the bright light of a Parisian summer it felt as if I was standing on holy ground.
A day after my last exam and a few days before I left for the overseas trip I went home to Hotazel. At dinner it was just mom, dad and myself at table. It was then that she raised the issue that the most money had been spent on me. My holiday the year before to the Bazaruto Archipelago had cost a fortune and now my trip to Europe was also costing a fortune. My dad just smiled at me when my mom was not looking. I did write a long letter of thanks to my parents from Spain and I sent it to them by airmail, I also sent Elsabe and Malcolm postcards almost every day. This did help a bit to salve my feelings of guilt.
Now a year later after my Vilanculos trip I am standing outside the Les Deux Magots in the Latin Quarter of Paris, I am nineteen years old and I am in a love relationship with a woman in her thirties her who is also one of my lecturers, lecturing mycology and crytogamic botany. Once again I felt highly educated and very worldly in a wanton fashion especially after reading Nausea, The Thief’s Journal, and Henry Miller’s Sexus, and also because of the fact that I was being fucked by Kate at almost every opportunity. I don’t think any girl has ever had as many orgasms as I have experienced on a daily basis while being on holiday with Kate. Having perpetual sex has become a way of life it seems. Henry Miller’s Val has nothing on us and we don’t even have pricks.
Paris was another universe compared to the innocence of turquoise seas, palms tree and white beaches of Santa Carolina Island. Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago was a holiday of beautiful innocence and perfect purity. Now light years away from Santa Carolina I was alone, less innocent and less pure, on the streets of Paris for a few hours on a glorious summer’s afternoon while Kate was getting her beauty sleep. Compared to last year when I was still very young and naïve first year student I have now become a young woman of the world, experienced in the ways of the world thanks to Kate’s prodigious appetite for sex.
I sit down at one of the tables on the sidewalk and quickly open my French phrase book. I open the book by the section on ordering beverages in a restaurant, and I read as fast as I can through the different ordering options:
Waiter!… Garçon! ( garhsawn!)
I’d like…je voudrias ( zhuh voo-dray)
A white coffee…un café au lait ( uñ ka-fay oh lay)
The waiter arrives at my table, he sees the map of Paris and notices my French phrase book. Obviously I am a tourist, but a very young tanned and sexy tourist with nice legs and a nice sensual body, and a pretty face, dark long glossy hair and bright red lipstick lips. I am one of those very feminine lipstick lesbians, but he does not know that.
I smile the most flirtatious Parisian smile and say as sweetly as possible:
‘Je voudrias un café au lait….’
His face breaks into the most beatific smile. It is the first time in my life that I have ever flirted with a man.
Kate has made me her confidant. After we have made love we lie in each other’s arms. She is vulnerable, she tells me I am so young beautiful and she confesses that she loves me with all her heart and cares for me deeply. She wants to hear that I love her and so I tell her that I love her. I do love her. I have ‘feelings’ for her and I care for her. At the same I also wondered whether one day I will be like her clinging desperately to the body of a younger woman as I too began to feel my fading youthfulness slipping away with the creeping onset of the autumn of my life. Kate spoke a lot about her struggles with her career ambitions. She was a senior lecturer and had submitted in her ad hominem application for promotion to become an associate professor.
I hear the percussion of high heels. I turn and see an attractive woman possibly in her late thirties wearing a summers dress. She sits down by the table across from me. After she has ordered coffee she lights up a cigarette, she draws and exhales, we exchange curious glances, our eyes remain fixed on each other and I smile at her, she returns my smile and cocks a questioning eyebrow at me as my smiling gaze remains fixed on her face. We both know that we are queer. She quickly sizes up the situation, seeing the French phrase book and the map of Paris. She asks me in perfect but French accented English.
‘Are you on holiday in Paris?’
‘Yes,’ I answer.
‘Where are you from?’
‘I am from South Africa.’
She is surprised. She asks if I would like to have another coffee. I join her at her table. I feel my knees pressing against her knees, she does not move her knees away. We talk and her hand soon covers my hand. She asks if I like sex and tell her I like having sex. We go to her flat which is in the Latin Quarter close to the Sorbonne, close to our hotel. In her flat I explain that I don’t have much time because my family expects back soon for supper. We make love. She wants to use a dildo on me, I resist explaining that I don’t want a dildo in my vagina or anus. She understands. I feel her fingers in my vagina and anus. We lie naked on her bed. She lights up a cigarette and we speak. She is a writer and a journalist. I tell her that I am a student and I am studying to be a zoologist. I also tell her about my new found interest in Sartre and Genet. She laughs good-naturedly and then tells me bluntly that Sartre is now passé, he is a senile old man, and that no one thinks much of him anymore. She explains that there is a new generation of philosophers, and she rattles off the names of Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze. She asks if I am a Marxist. Without thinking I say yes and she chuckles. You are such as a sweet girl she tells me. She then says: ‘I suppose you going to tell me that you are also a Communist’. Again I say yes without knowing why, and she laughs, her eyes are dancing with humour.
‘You are a sweet, innocent and pure girl, do not ever change, the world can only become a better place with people like you.’
She then held me tightly in her arms and whispered in my ear saying that she wished we could be lovers forever.
‘You better be going, my partner will soon be coming home from work,’ she says, releasing me and getting up from the bed she slips on a night gown.
It was seven-o-clock when I left her flat. When I got back to the hotel Kate was in a state. She was extremely angry, verging on the brink of hysteria. We had our first serious fight.
‘Where have you been, I was worried sick, I am responsible for you, and why do you smell of cigarettes?’
I shouted back at her: ‘We always just do what you want to do and you never ask me what I would like to do. Everything revolves you and what you want.’
‘You know that that is not true! Tell me now what you would like to do for the rest of our holiday.’
She then burst into tears, sitting down on the bed she began to sob. I sat down next to her and put arm around her shoulders and kissed her on the neck and cheek. I felt bad and said that I loved her.
‘I love you too,’ she answered as she turned and embraced me tightly.
‘I love you so much,’ she repeated, as she pressed her hot tear soaked cheek against mine.
It is our first day in Paris and the day shows no promise of ever ending. After a quick shower and a fresh change of clothes we step out into the streets of a city that was still bathed in golden light. In the space of one hour I have made love to two women before the sun had set. Paris the city of lights and the city of love seems to have lived up to its reputation. And neither of the two will ever know of the existence of the other unless we bump into her. I hope not, but I would like to see her again, the French woman. Her name is Monique Brouillet. Was I going to fall in love with Monique before nightfall descended on Paris?
We debate whether to have supper now or later. Kate is careful to let me decide what we should do. We are both famished, I think it would be good idea if we eat first before walking along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. I open the Paris tourist book. I suggest we go to the Café de Flore. What if Monique happened to turn up at the Café de Flore? Kate meet Monique. Monique meet Kate. Who I am? What kind of person am I? I am a mystery to myself.
Dear reader you may feel inclined to judge me harshly regarding my infidelities with Kate. Have I not expressed strong views on the foundations of morality and responsibility as something that concerns the conscience? Have I not hinted that morality or moral action or moral agency is actually caused by the awakening of conscience when gazing upon the face of the Other? I do not wish to excuse myself. I did feel bad at the time given the facts of the situation. In a way I did betray Kate. I can imagine just how shocked she would have been if she knew what I had done behind her back while she was napping.
You may think that I have no conscience, that I have been sluttish and immoral.
But the operative word here is ‘cause’. The expression on the face of the Other causes the awakening of conscience and having gazed upon the face of the Other we feel compelled to act responsibly as moral agents to uphold what is good and true and beautiful. Was it uncontrollable lust or was it curiosity that drove me into Monique’s bed? Was it a lapse of conscience? I don’t think it was mere lust or desire. Ok then, I do admit that I did find Monique desirable, I did feel the awakening of desire, I did entertain the prospect of what it would it feel like to be with her in bed. Maybe she could sense it. Maybe my face was filled with unmistakable lasciviousness. Women don’t feel lust. It is men that lust after women. In a way I was acting out curiosity and not lust. I did not give in to desire. I just felt like having sex. I was in the mood for a sexual encounter and wanted to be fondled, kissed and caressed and brought to an exquisite climax by a beautiful and interesting woman. I also wanted to feel what it was like for me to make love to this woman who was a perfect stranger in a strange city. I was ready for adventure. And I suppose was hot. I was a bitch.
But still, as I write these journal entries I cannot help thinking about the operative words that are key to understanding the drama, or in other words the dramatic event which took place one afternoon in Paris, and the two specific words that I happen to be thinking of are ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ and the role they play a role in explicating the relationship between consciousness and the body or the mind and the body. My act of adventurous infidelity with Monique was a mind-body problem that needed to be solved. Other thoughts begin to intrude, I must write them done. There is the issue of empathy, empathy can be viewed as a faculty, the faculty which makes the experience of conscience possible. The experience of empathy and conscience are themselves forms of consciousness. And still more thoughts intrude themselves into my mind, new thoughts which I know are somehow all interconnected with the drama of my little Paris adventure.
Also in terms of the mind-body problem I can say for sure from my own experiences that many women enjoy being touched, felt, ‘fingered’, fondled, kissed and caressed by a woman. I love being brought to a climax. A woman’s body is designed for pleasure, it is superbly adapted for the physical experience of pleasure, ecstasy and orgasm, and it is for this purpose that the entire body of a woman, every part of her anatomy has been adapted, adapted to experience erotic pleasure and in this sense a woman’s body is the perfect sex organ, it is erotic in its entirety from head to foot, especially for a women who happens to be lipstick lesbian like myself. A woman, and especially a queer woman, is the full and perfect embodiment of a sexual being, of an erotic being, of a being seeking erotic pleasure and ecstasy.
In his Theogony, Hesiod expounded on the myth of Pandora. It was through Pandora that the race of women brought both sex and death into world of men. Pandora the first woman was not born she was crafted from mud by Hephaestus the master craftsman of the gods. The unborn Pandora came alive from clay, from matter as it were, as an artefact, as an artistically created artefact, shaped into a sensual being who was not supposed to become an erotic body for mere sexual reproduction. Before Pandora there was peace and harmony on earth among men. But then Prometheus stole the fire from the gods, an act more audacious than the building of the Tower of Babel, and Hephaestus was instructed to make Pandora the instrument for the punishment of man. With the coming of Pandora humankind became divided into two races, divided into two different kinds of separate beings, man and woman. And sexuality had entered the world through the agency and being of women, it was this which also brought about an asymmetry into the world of conscious beings, resulting in the difference between the self and the Other, creating a rupture between the self and the Other. The asymmetry of sexuality resulted in the dualism of identity and difference which in turn transformed humans into a divided beings, and the self from this event could only become self-identical with the Other through LESBIANISM. So while man represents mankind women represent only their own sex and it was through this self-recognition, this self-representation, this self-mirroring in the face of the Other, that women overcome the dualism of self and Other, and identity and difference, and being and difference. Difference vanished in women with the being of women becoming self-identical to itself through the recognition of self in the mirror of the Other. And so, only women can fully know the body of women when it comes to the pleasure of sex. For men the women’s body as an artistic creation from the formlessness of mud remains forever a terra incognita. As terra incognita it can only be ploughed like the conquered and domesticated earth and sown with seed. This is how man punish women for dividing humans into male and female.
Travelling through Europe and coming to Paris the idea of the city has caught my imagination. As child I became aware of the notion of the City for the first time when we were stranded in the city of Springs and slept overnight in its streets. Yet I was born in the city. What is a city? As a child I was surprised to learn that Springs was a city, but it was a city that died every day when the sun went down, as night fell its streets, the City became empty. I remember saying to my mother that real cities don’t die when the sun goes down. In a very interesting Evening Song sermon Father Digby when he was still a priest spoke about the first city rising up phoenix-like from the collapsed ruins of the Tower of Babel. From the domesticated earth and the ploughed bodies of women the post-Palaeolithic City rises from the ashes of Babel as an edifice of man’s subjugation of women and earth and of its creatures. Dialectically a vibrant feminism emerges from ancient myths of the Greeks and the Hebrews to reclaim the rightful status of women in God’s Universe as supreme and wonderful beings. But women still need to conquer the City.
As a young child I did not know that the golden age of ocean liners was on the brink of coming to a sudden end. Standing on the quay of Durban harbour less than ten meters from the towering moored hull of a gigantic metallic ship with its row of tall smoke stacks was an awe inspiring experience. In my mind the Union Castle was majestic beyond belief and I envied all the waving passengers looking down on us from the deck. As the tugboat towed the ship to sea hundreds of passengers crowded on the deck above and began to throw thousands of coloured paper streamers overboard which rained down over us as we stood on the quay watching the ship slowly slipping away from the dockside into the deep still greyish waters of the harbour. Across the harbour beneath the dark looming densely vegetated buff filled with chattering monkeys a whale lay dead on the slipway. And a gulls’ flight away a sly Indian gentleman in the Victoria Street Market would wink and whisper at passing teenage boys and young men: ‘I have good price for genuine Spanish Fly, guaranteed to work’. One little pinch of the aphrodisiac in a girls tea or soft drink would transform her into a randy nymphomaniac allowing you to give her urgent relief to her hot and itching vagina. And the myth never seemed to die as generations of teenage school girls and young women were secretively fed with heaps of Spanish Fly. As a pre-adolescent and adolescent girl who spent several July holidays with her grandparents in Durban I was never privy to the secret male dream world of Spanish Fly which was sold at the Victoria Street Market. My childhood and adolescent holiday memories of Durban are stilled filled with white colonial perceptions that are still deeply etched into my brain. I have vivid recollections of the image of the bright red neon Coca Cola sign at night on the Fairhaven Hotel which stood across the road from Addington Beach. I can still smell and taste in my mind that wonderful and very unique aroma and flavour of the ‘Durban-beach-ice-cream-cones’ sold by Indian vendors who patrolled the hot sands of the coloured umbrella crowded South and North Beaches with their white ice boxes packed with dry ice that puffed clouds of cold whitish grey smoke when the lid was opened. And in my mind I can see parked along the Marine Parade and Snell Parade the sight of the coloured beaded ornamented rickshaw carts pulled by Zulu men wearing fantastic beaded head gear adorned with large white elegantly curved horns of Nguni cattle.
In nature nothing is cut and dry when it comes to sex. In this regard we need to distinguish between two types of difference. There are quantitative differences in degree along a continuum and there are qualitative differences in kind. In nature we see relative differences in degree along a continuum rather than as absolute differences in terms of kinds. To repeat with some elaboration, in nature because of evolutionary descent from common ancestors with modification, everything differs quantitatively in terms of degrees of relative differences along a continuum and never qualitatively in terms of sharply distinct kinds. In nature everything is related through the sharing of genetic and phenotypic homologies. Humans differ from the rest of the animal kingdom only by differences in degree along continuum of differences and not in terms of a dualism of different kinds. The same applies with sex. Reproductive systems differ in degree along a continuum.
We can view isogamy, heterogamy and oogamy as sexual reproductive systems which differ only in degree along a continuum and not in kind: isogamy → heterogamy → oogamy. Sexual reproduction in Chlamydomonas can be by way of isogamy or heterogamy or oogmay, so we here have an exemplary or paradigmatic example of different sexual reproduction systems in a collection of species belonging to the same genus but varying by degrees along a continuum of differences. The oogamous sexual reproductive system evolved from the isogamous reproductive system.
To complicate matters further sex change in nature is also a natural occurrence in many species especially among the gaily coloured coral reef fish. In protogyny, egg producing female fish change into male sperm producing fish. In protandry, sperm producing male fish change in egg producing female fish. So the same individual fish can be both male and female in its lifecycle.
What is the relevance of the evolution and the existence of a wide variety of sexual reproductive systems in nature to a critique of Patriarchalism? Patriarchalism is based on an ideology of male entitlement. It seeks to justify male entitlement on the belief that in the order and nature of things men are ontologically speaking superior to women. Given the nature of sex in the animal kingdom, and given the fact that man is part of the animal kingdom, differing only in degrees from all the other animals, there is no rational, logical or empirical foundation for the belief that men are superior to women and that Patriarchalism corresponds to a divinely ordained ordering of relationships between the sexes and that the nature of sexual or gender identity is governed by some divine ordinance.
Given that this is the natural order of things in actual reality, it is clear that homoeroticism is governed autonomously by its own system of queer ethics and morals and that homosexual acts between two consenting individuals is as natural as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Patriarchalism is based on the usurpation of power over women by men which was made possible when Palaeolithic systems of sociality broke down following the domestication of animals and plants which resulted in the global agricultural revolution between 10 000 and 12 000 years ago. There are no grounds for denying that sexual queerness or homosexuality existed since the dawn of human evolution and there is no rational grounds for claiming that sex between two women or sex between two men is immoral or sinful.
Kate was manipulative and overbearing, she could not help it, it was in her nature, she tried to change, but she slipped quickly back into being bossy. The status and age gap between us was too big, it was difficult for her to treat me as an equal. I think in her mind I was going to be her plaint and submissive little mistress or even her sex slave. With regard to sex because of this age and social status gap, I ended up being the submissive party and she liked that, she liked to overpower me and dominant me. But even though I enjoyed it, I was beginning to desire sex that would less asymmetrical, where one was not always top and other one always under on her back, being fucked all the time. I wanted something less masculine more feminine. When we first got to Spain insisted on shaving my vulva so she could trib her pussy against my shaven vulva while sitting on top of me while I lay on my back with my legs spread wide open scissor-like, my right leg held vertically in the air and my left leg splayed outwards on the bed. Even though she was hurting my vulva she continued wanting to hump me in this fashion, dominating me, always getting on top of me after she had climaxed me, then it was her turn to have some fun with me and tribbing was what she liked to do. She loved tribbing her shaven pussy roughly and vigorously against mine, she mistook the pain on my face and my cries as expressions of ecstasy. She was incredibly strong and fit with a hard muscular body and she enjoyed wrestling with me, and holding me down, and that really got her hot. But she underestimated my strength. I did not do weights but I was a swimmer and one evening she began to wrestle with me on the bed and she started hurting me with her rough manner and I began to get angry with her bullying, and we really got physical. To my surprise I managed to overpower her and I sat on top of her holding her arms do down behind her neck.
Anyway I was sure that tribbing could be fun and pleasant if done nicely, but it could also be unpleasant if done rough in the dominating and grinding manner that Kate liked. She spoke often about making sex an erotic adventure and hinted about exploring sadomasochism. She said that sadomasochism (SM) can be incredibly enjoyable once you get into it. In the end, in Italy I decided to give SM a try. Kate took out all the SM paraphernalia that stashed in the bottom of her suitcase. I was going to be submissive. She took great pleasure in the role of the dominatrix. After covering the bed with plastic sheet which was then overlaid with a large towel. She told me to take my clothes off and lie on my side on the towel on the bed. She gave me an enema. Afterwards I expelled the water into the toilet bowl. It was the first time in life that I had experienced having an enema. After expelling the water I was told to lay on my stomach on the bed and then she strapped my hands to the bed stand. She explained that she was going to whip my buttocks with a riding crop and she would incrementally increase the intensity of the lashes until I told her to stop. That was the rule. If I told her to stop she would stop immediately. I had a low pain threshold and was soon yelping in pain shouting for her to stop immediately after a series of sharp lashes inflicted painful red welts across my bum. Then I had to get on my knees with my buttocks in the air. She lubricated my vulva and when I felt all five digits pressing into my vagina I realized she was going to insert her entire fist into my vagina and I screamed for her stop. I insisted that she immediately loosen the straps from hands but she baulked. She asked for one more chance to do something, something which was not going painful and which I would thoroughly enjoy, even begging her not to stop. If I allowed her to surprise me while I was restrained she would then unstrap me. I agreed. That was when Kate rimmed me for the first time. I have to admit that it was exquisitely pleasurable. I have never again engaged in SM sex. That was the first and last time. I did not have sadistic or masochistic sexual inclinations.
Kate was not feeling well. She believed that she suffering from a virulent dose of food poisoning, but I had my doubts, I think it was a case of a bug that she picked up from me while engaging in some serious anilingus, kissing, sucking, licking and rimming me, she penetrated the depths of my anus with her tongue. Waves of stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea had reduced her to a miserable state of painful incapacitation. As the morning wore on I was getting tired of playing nurse maid. It was now ten thirty. She could see that I had become unsympathetic, quiet, sullen and moody as I sat in a chair next to the bed idly flipping through a magazine while a glorious summer’s day was rapidly drawing to a magnificent zenith stripping Paris naked of all her shadows and holding her in the warm embrace of radiant sunshine beneath an azure sky. Stuck in the hotel room I was going to miss out on a whole day of exploring Paris. It was hot and boring in the hotel room and the air con recycled the stench of stale, acrid cigarette smoke.
Kate loved doing the real kinky stuff with me. In this respect rimming had become a bone of contention, with Kate doing it to me it was an exquisitely pleasurable experience which I looked forward to in secret anticipation every time she went down on me, but I could not do it to her, I could not return the favour, even though the fragrance of her whistle clean rosebud was like a thousand perfume gardens filled with the sweetest nectar that would entice a thousand nectar seeking fluttering butterflies.
I made up my mind that I was not going to be bullied into rimming her. I was not going to give her the sadistic pleasure of forcing me to lick and rim her anus.
She said that I was selfish, she was doing all the work and I was lying on my back moaning, screaming, gasping and panting like a randy bitch on heat soaking up all the pleasure while she fucked me, and giving nothing of myself back in return. I was convinced that she saw herself as my mentor, I also felt she wanted to own me and control me, especially with all the subtle hinting that there was a lot that I could learn and benefit from her. She spoke about me going in the direction of mycology, becoming a mycologist like her. She wanted me to do honours in mycology when I had completed my BSc and then a PhD in mycology under her supervision, and that there were huge opportunities in the world for mycologists and she could really make things happen for me, and so on and on, like as if we were a married couple, or like lesbian penguins who had mated for life. She honestly believed that this was the case with us.
‘If you want to go it is OK, you don’t have to stay here with me, I am going to try and sleep anyway.’
After having a shower and changing into shorts and blouse I put on white ankle socks and the new pair of running shoes that I had bought. I decided to put on makeup, lipstick and perfume. In the back of my mind I entertained the possibility of visiting Monique.
I could not fathom Kate, one moment she was vulnerable and weepy, and then suddenly she would slip into the role of a dominating bully. Now she was sick and wanted to be nursed like a child. I couldn’t bring myself to play along. I felt indifferent to her suffering. But then again as I was putting on some lipstick I suddenly felt conflicted, I felt that I had an obligation towards her. But then I wanted to escape from her so that I could go and see Monique and enjoy an afternoon of lovemaking in her bed.
After saying to Kate: ‘Are you sure you will be OK?’ I left, grabbing my handbag with my tourist guidebook, closing the bedroom door behind me.
I was glad to be alone. The only person I would have really liked to be with in Paris was my father, he would have been the ideal companion on this holiday. It would have fun if it were just the two of us. Just thinking of not being in Paris with him made me feel melancholic. Suddenly I missed him terribly. He was my favourite human being. My mom would sometime say sarcastically that I was wife number one and she was number two. It was a terrible thing to say and it made me so mad. How could she make such a remark? It was disrespectful and horrible. How can a father not love his daughter? How could any parent not love their child? Why would she make something like this so ugly with her remark? Was my own mother jealous of my father’s affections toward me? It made me feel so depressed just thinking of it. It is a blessing to have a wonderful relationship with one’s parent or parent’s and she could not see that. This has bugged me my whole life. She always made feel me that I was choosing my dad over her, even as a grown woman she made me feel this way. I could never have a conversation with my mother without it ending in an argument. Yet with my dad we could speak to each other for hours about anything.
Kate said I was glutton for sex, I was always the one who took but never gave anything back. What the bloody hell I thought. She was the glutton not me!
Being a fungal person she did not seem to be too keen on visiting the National Museum of Natural History. Skeletons and bones did not hold any fascination for her. I had just finished a semester in comparative and evolutionary animal anatomy and I wanted to wonder amongst animal skeletons and gaze at bones. Now that I was free to roam the streets of Paris my first stop was going to be the museum. Heading down the Boulevard Saint-Germain until I reached the intersection with the Rue Saint-Jacques I took a slow walk pass the Sorbonne in the direction of Notre-Dame, and then turning right into a Quai de Montebello I walked along the Seine towards the museum grounds until I arrived at the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée, which is part the French Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle complex of museums situated in the grounds of the Jardin des Plantes.
How is the subject gendered? As a student of zoology I cannot see how the subject can be gendered independently of physical events which take place at the level of genes. And the gendering of the subject becomes a species of the mind-body problem whenever consciousness is assumed to have causal efficacy without even knowing definitely what kind of phenomenon conscious actually represents or happens to be. And this is the problem with any theory of gender formation with respect to the development of love-object or sex-object inclination that happens to be based on a reading of Freudian psychoanalysis. Freudian psychoanalytical theory is irremediably mythological with regards to its narrative of causation. Gender inclinations regarding the preferred object of love or the preferred object of erotic interest necessarily arises independently of the unconscious or conscious as a purely physically based gene expression driven developmental process.
I have tried to fathom why I was homosexual or lesbian. I believe that science will eventually unravel the causal genetically based developmental processes which result in heterosexual or homosexual phenotypic orientations with regard to the gender or the sexual identity of the preferred loved object. At bottom of this there will a protein and protein-ligand binding interactions behind the formation of gender identities. In other words the gendering of the subject is the outcome of the physical or material effects of matter in motion under the governance of the laws of nature, independently of what is going on in the mind or consciousness of the infant or prepubescent child.
As a second year student of zoology I had an amazing epiphany. While deeply engrossed in the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée with the diversity of vertebrate skeletons on display I realized that nothing else other than chemistry and physics, that is matter in motion, was behind the mystery of my lesbianism, and I knew that I could not change my state of homosexuality. It was a wonderfully liberating experience. I resolutely reaffirmed who I was, I was irredeemably queer. Lost in thought it felt like I was awakening from a dream when I realized that I had been in the museum for several hours and it was already late afternoon. Standing on the floor above the ground floor looking down on the display from the balcony above I noticed that the light filtering into the museum was beginning to fade. Going down the stairs I stopped again to examine the mounted skeleton of the giant Irish Elk called Megaloceros giganteus. The size of its massive antlers appeared to be an exemplary textbook case of runaway sexual selection of secondary sexual characters. Like the peacock’s tail the elk’s antlers were hypothesized to be exaggerated examples of sexual ornamentation.
I walked slowly back to the Latin Quarter. Timewise on my watch it was late in the afternoon but in reality it was hours before sunset, the day was far from done, I could not get used to how late in the evening the sun set, the sun had barely moved, it seemed to be stuck high in the west. With all this northern hemisphere summer light stretching the day to an interminable postponement it was too early to go to back the hotel. One thing that I had to endure on the trip to Europe with Kate was hunger. We had been going on our regular early morning jogs and then after a continental breakfast we spent the rest of the day sightseeing which literally meant walking and after supper we would also go walking again, so all in all we were walking distances of more than twenty kilometres each day. I had lost weight, I did not have an ounce of fat on my body, and now walking past Notre Dame I began to feel the hunger pangs, my empty stomach started to rumble. It was the same hunger that I endured the year before on the Bazaruto Archipelago. Each day after an early morning breakfast we launched off and speeding across a tranquil sea in the dingy, the outboard motor roaring as we set off for the coral reefs, and it was before six-o-clock in the morning that we were at sea, and we would only return after three-o-clock in the afternoon. After midday while diving the hunger would set in, I could have eaten a fish raw I felt so hungry, what with the fact that we had been scuba diving, snorkelling or spearfishing just about the entire day. I had lavished my body with a deep layer of sunblock but unlike the others I still tanned as brown as a berry, my skin tone became a luxurious deep coffee brown, glowing healthily in the sunlight with an exuberant abundance of melanin. I practically lived in my black Speedo for days on end. Fresh water had to be rationed and we just did the necessary bathing. While drinking Laurentino beer at the hotel Dona Ana in Vilanculos the anomaly that I was the only female became apparent in a teasing but innocent remark about the male:female sex ratio. I can’t remember what led to me to disclose my sexual proclivities but I distinctly remember uttering:
‘I only like girls.
To which someone replied: ‘We also like girls.’
‘Well at least we share something common,’ was my response.
‘Well let’s say cheers to that,’ someone said.
And there was a clinking of bottles as everyone toasted the desirability of women. I was one of the boys from that moment onwards.
That was that, I was a dyke, and that was the reason that a girl like me would be wanting to go on a hazardous diving trip with a bunch of fellows. I came to believe that I was not really a girl in their eyes. At least the talk of liking girls never came up again as a point of discussion for the rest of the trip, even though I could not escape their libidinous gaze. It was impossible for me not to be seen naked given the practical logistics of the situation. I also saw their testicles and their hanging flaccid penises, circumcised, uncircumcised, small, medium and large. Being naked in each other’s presence was unavoidable, and we got used to it. I guessed that they had all fucked me countless times in their private imagination while masturbating whenever they had the opportunity for a quick wank on the island. Boys will be boys and they will spank the monkey out of primeval necessity.
And now in Paris my skin tone after countless hours of sunlight on the Mediterranean beaches had again taken on that deep melanin flavour of rich coffee. I had never before taken notice on how deep I could tan. Later that night the women I met in the nightclub, the women who wanted to fuck me asked if I was an Arab, and when I said no, they wanted to know if I was Egyptian or Algerian or Tunisian or Moroccan or even Senegalese. Senegalese! The word being used was noire. I had been mistaken for a black person, a lesbian Negress or an Arab lesbian in the dim lighted nightclub that throbbed to the rhythm of rainbow showers of floating light dancing in a sun dappled tropical coral reef. I felt hot and aroused like a rare and exotic orchid, with my wet vagina becoming a delectable nectar chamber, I imagined probing desiring fingers of women hovering over my vulva in a dance of exquisite excitation, their tongues unravelling and their fingers twitching in the anticipation of pleasure, like the prehensile proboscis of flower fertilizing moths that flitter through perfumed gardens at night. I imagined drowning in an orgasmic sea of pleasure. I will have more to say about this experience shortly.
Walking past Notre Dame, I crossed the road, feeling now extremely famished I quicken my pace as I headed for Les Deux Magots for something to eat and drink. Sitting at the same table as before I ordered a glass of water and a glass of orange juice. I can’t remember what I ordered to eat but it was something with ham. I gulped down my meal in what seemed to be similar to the nervous displacement reaction often shown by crabs when engaged in courtship. I was hoping that Monique would turn up at any moment. My state of arousal increased as I nervously glanced around searching for the face and figure of Monique among the early afternoon pedestrian traffic. I waited in vain. I felt the rising tide of disappointed, yet my heart continued to throb with the beat of desire. I was hot and ready for sex.
I had felt no shame, on this trip to Europe with Kate, I had learnt to succumb to the compulsions that had taken possession of me, and in a real sense Kate was to blame, and so I could no longer linger a moment longer at Les Deux Magots. I had only one thought on my mind and that was to be with Monique. I was gripped by an urgency which I could not resist, after quickly settling the bill I went straight to Monique’s flat looking neither left nor right like a wanton bitch on heat. The lift seemed to be stuck on the seventh floor, I run up the stairs, when I reached her floor I was out of breath and my mouth was dry, adrenaline was surging through my body. Standing in the shadows at the edge of the stairs I breathed deeply for a while, and when I had finally regained my breathe and allowed sufficient time for my racing pulse to slow down, I walked over to the door of her flat and knocked three times.
After the passing of several eternities Monique opened the door. She was surprised to see my excited and flushed face. Happy to see her new young friend again she invited me in. Her partner was away, she was alone and we spent the remainder of the afternoon in her bed. The day light began to fade and just before the falling of twilight she switched on the bedside lamp and asked if I would like to go out with her to a gay nightclub for supper, cabaret and dancing.
The fact that I no clothes or heels was not a problem, her wardrobe was overflowing and she was confident that some of her glitzy nightclub outfits would fit me. Well I had to let my family know about my plans for the night. Leaving her flat for the hotel I promised I would be back before nine-o-clock. At the hotel reception I left a note for Kate explaining that I had met some of my old school chums and that we had decided to go out together for dinner, to celebrate a reunion and catchup with the past and present. It was clearly a patent lie. Then there was the problem of a tooth brush and toothpaste. I asked the receptionist where these could be purchased as I did not want to go up to the bedroom and have to deal with Kate. I would do my toilet at Monique’s flat. Well before nine-o-clock after purchasing a tooth brush and toothpaste I was back in Monique’s flat and into the shower. She had already showered and had laid out a selection of outfits for me to choose from on her bed. I had never seen so many beautiful dresses before.
She recommended that I should wear the very short tight fitting body hugging black dress with a low top for cleavage display because she said I had a pleasing body to show off. In the end I put on the dress that she had chosen since I could not make up my own mind. Its fabric composed of a mixture of rayon, nylon and spandex felt sensual against my skin, and Monique pulled the back zip up. The thin light fabric fitted comfortably like a glove. I slipped on the black satin and lace panties she handed me from her drawer and then I stepped into the black patent leather stilettos that she had selected.
Now for the makeup. Monique insisted that a dark foundation was going to work best. And now for the blush, but remember Hannah, she said, we not doing heterosexual, we doing lesbian drag, and so we need to choose the blush that works best for that kind of look and the same goes for the eyeshadow and also the lipstick.
We breaking the conventions, we breaking all the makeup codes. Doesn’t my face look a bit too dark Monique? No Hannah you have a dark tan, your shoulders, arms and legs are dark, they are very dark and your eyes are also dark, Hannah you are a dark sensual woman. Maybe you should wear black stockings. Yes I think black sheer stockings will work. It gives me great pleasure dressing you up my darling, please indulge me. Monique don’t you think that I look too much like a slut, like a whore?
‘My dear lovely Hannah, you look a sweet transvestite, you look like a harlot, you look like a street prostitute, you look like a nymphomaniac, and tonight you definitely look like a teenage pornographic film star. You are the incarnation of the Eros, you are the daemon that has the power to ignite the most terrible desire in any woman.’
It was funny to hear this in her French accented English.
I have remained in contact with Monique and by December 1975 I had saved enough money to fly to Paris to visit her. On reflection both Kate and Monique had been important mentors in my life. They were older and more experienced women who in spite of their own foibles and various shortcomings they had each in their own way contributed to my understanding of queerness, especially with respect to the sexualization or eroticization of homosexual relationships between women, and also, more especially with regard to the erotic power of attraction between women, and the deeper appreciation of the experience of lesbian sex and sexuality strictly in terms of the female body and its capacity to experience erotic and sexual pleasure. The female body and its pleasures was something that feminists have generally overlooked in their struggle against the patriarchal oppression and repression of women. The simple human pleasures of sex has suffered considerable collateral damage in feminist theory and the women’s liberation struggle. Feminists who were also lesbian were not having any fun fucking each other. And if they were straight, they were celibate or dull sexless creatures, and were not even being fucked by men, so they were missing out on a deeply human experience.
Going back to Monique’s ideas about lesbian drag and lipstick lesbianism, there is much to say about the significance of this. It was about masquerading femininity. Pure and simple lesbian drag is a playful eroticized homosexual parody of heterosexual femininity. In this sense it breaks up the gender based binary schema imposed by patriarchical ideology regarding the nature and representation of female sexuality. Lesbian drag as a hyper-representation or exaggerated display of eroticized femininity destabilizes or undermines the view that lesbians are men trapped in the bodies of women, and thereby, challenges the binary butch/femme representation of lesbian female sexual identity inversion. Lipstick lesbian drag is a homosexual and erotically rich pantomimed-allegorization-parody of the mundane realities of female heterosexualized genders, performed to excite same-sex desire in women.
I put on some of Monique’s perfume, spraying also in the region of my pussy, between my breasts, behind my ears, on my neck and in the crevices of my buttocks. She raised her eyebrows.
She embraced me, her tongue probed the depths of my mouth. We were ready for nightclubbing the night away, she called a taxi, and soon we were speeding through the neon lit streets of Paris to our destination. We sat close together in the middle of the back seat holding hands like teenagers. It was strange situation. We had been physically intimate yet in reality we were still strangers who were enjoying a crazy romantic adventure without any encumbrances.
Kate had probably read my note. Maybe she was feeling a bit better. She would definitely be in bed waiting for me. I was not sure what time I would be getting back to the hotel and I didn’t even want to guess what kind of reception I was in for. Then there was the problem of the keys. She would have the keys for the door. Would the door be unlocked? If that was the case I could quietly slip in without putting on the lights. I would slip naked into the bed and cuddle against her back, she would wake up and say sleepily: ‘You back.’ Or something like that. I would kiss her on her neck, put my arm around her and whisper: ‘Love you Kate.’ And she would fall asleep again oblivious to the harsh hurtful realities of love and infidelity. I had turned out to be just like my father. Just like him I loved women. Was I a bad person? Was he a bad person? Monique smiled at me: ‘You look so pensive and thoughtful.’
‘I am OK,’ I replied.
The taxi turned into Rue Sainte-Anne, the street of gay Paris and stopped outside the club called Le Sept (Seven). We were hungry so we made our way to the restaurant. Afterwards we went to the nightclub in the basement. I was introduced to her circle of lesbian friends as Hannah from République d’Afrique du Sud. It seemed that the only word that stuck in their minds was ‘Afrique’. I was from Africa was all they heard, and I was an African. To my amusement they did not see me as a white person from Africa which would have been just another mundane expat or colonial. Instead they perceived me as someone truly exotic like a North African or Arab from Egypt or Algeria or Tunisia or Morocco.
Then someone wanted to know whether I was from Senegal. After that Monique joking starting introduced me as her Senegalese lesbian friend. And that is how I became a lesbian Negress that night, curtsy of the dark base that formed the foundation of my makeup. Monique laughed: ‘you are a truly beautiful black woman my darling young friend’.
My lack of French proficiency transformed me into one of those delightfully too-shy-to-speak-childlike-aboriginals, like one of those female natives from the old French African colonies, whose face in true aboriginal fashion, was drawn into a perpetual friendly smile, with a flash of white teeth breaking the impenetrably immobile mask of her face, and like an infant in response to the cooing of an adult, she smiled, as she always smiled when spoken to by a white person. Anyway the aboriginal lesbian danced the night away mainly with Monique, but she had to work hard to prevent me from being stolen away from her by a bevy of lipstick lesbian admirers who flirted openly with me, the smiling native girl from Senegal, and I played the role to perfection of a young naïve lesbian black woman, an African visitor from Senegal who was going to be a fashion model in Paris, well that was the storyline that Monique had concocted, and that it was her job to act as my chaperone until I had learned the ropes. I was her responsibility. Unlike Cinderella we got back to Monique’s flat long after midnight. I showered and put on my own clothes. Monique wanted to call a taxi, but I insisted that it was not necessary. The hotel was minutes away. When I got back to the hotel the doors were locked and the foyer was dimly lit. I rang the doorbell several times. Eventually one of the hotel staff opened the door and let me in. The bedroom was locked. I knocked softly on the door. Dressed in a short nightie a sleepy Kate opened the door. I expected to her start shouting at me. Instead, all she said in forlorn voice that she had been worried sick about me and that I had behaved very strangely and then sighing deeply she said that she was not sure any more whether she really knew me, and that I had made her feel so sad over the last couple of days. Sitting on the edge of the bed burying her face in her hands she began to weep. I went again through the whole ritual of trying to comfort her and telling her that I loved her and so on. It was a terrible situation to be in. I felt extremely rotten.
I slept fitfully next to Kate. I woke up feeling exhausted and depressed with the whole situation. For most of that day Kate remained docile and melancholic, she was a shadow of her normal forceful personality. Love hurts, and love lost can break even the most forceful personalities.
She said later that day that all my expressions of love were just empty words, and that I had never really loved her. I was hollow and unfeeling. I was selfish and was only concerned with my own desires and needs. Kate was a personality that you could not reason with. I failed dismally to exonerate myself from all blame. She twisted and distorted everything that I said in my defence. She did this in all our arguments always twisting and distorting what I had said. It was the same when I expressed a difference in opinion regarding some matter between the two of us. Everything always boomeranged back at me with a new twist. That was Kate for you.
In the 1980s the whole issue of sex became more and more complicated, contradictory and idiotic in the feminist movement. Feminists seemed to have lost the plot regarding sexual relations between women. I was not interest in heterosexual relations. In the woman’s liberation movement female and lesbian understanding of their own sexuality became increasing overshadowed and distorted by concerns with sexism, male construction and representation of female sexuality, sexual oppression and exploitation of women, gender construction and so on, to the extent that feminists began to appear grotesquely asexual and ‘erotophobic’. Feminists found it difficult to deal with sex, especially sex between women, and consequently they could not engage creatively and imaginatively with the realities of sexuality including desire, lust, eroticism, fantasy and the sweaty, hot, pleasurable, exciting, physical entanglement of sex. When I happened to be with these radical feminists I felt like a freak, none of them were into fucking anybody, they were not doing any sex, they were all so sterile, dried out, hang up and joyless, they were missing out on so much fun, adventure, excitement, and pleasure, and not to mention joy. There was an aura of sterile stern joylessness sexual repression that cloaked their minds and coloured the rhetoric of these de-eroticized radical feminists. They could talk passionately and endlessly without end about the construction of sexuality but they could not talk about erotic desire or the pleasures of sex. The feminist debate focused mainly on the oppressive nature of sex within the context of patriarchical power over women. This was all good and well, but in the process they had thrown out the baby (sex) with the bathwater (patriarchical power). Their suffocating and stifling sexlessness left me feeling very sad and depressed.
Now that Kate was feeling better we continue with our early morning runs. Before breakfast we went on long runs along the right bank of the Seine and in the evenings after 8.00 pm while it was still light and we went for our long evening walks on the left bank of Seine. It was twilight and Kate had become quiet and reflective. It was now our firth day in Paris and the next day we would be flying back to Madrid for a three day stay in Madrid before returning to South Africa. It felt like I had been in Paris for an eternity. There was melancholic expression on her face. When I asked if she was OK. She said that she loved me. I said: ‘I love you too.’
And then she said:
‘I will never be able to ever visit Paris and walk along the Seine ever again like this evening.’
I was taken aback and asked why.
‘Because it will without you and the memories of having been in Paris with you would be too painful for me to bear if I had to walk along the Seine without you by my side.’
Her eyes were brimming with tears of sadness. Then she tried to smile through the tears.
‘I am being silly, please forgive me.’
I said: ‘I will always love you.’
‘I know,’ she answered.
I put my arm around her waist and kissed her on the cheek. She sighed.
A few years later it was twilight and I was strolling again on the left bank of the Seine this time with Samantha and I began to feel melancholic as I thought about what Kate had said. I told Samantha about my holiday with Kate in Paris.
‘Well maybe it is inevitable that we will feel sad on our return trips to Paris as the past comes back to haunt us with forlorn memories and nostalgia, maybe it is our fate to mourn the loss of past love,’ she said laughing, her eyes bright with joy.