It’s Just Lunch – A Perversion of Prostitution

Fourteenth in a series [gs *]

So, I’ve sent the go-away email a few hours ago and we’re still doing TK, [gs TK] ferretting out what blocks me from preempting those goo-bombs.

We’ve established that I flip my body-awareness switch to off when faced with an ego-incongruity, but not always. It’s not like I go through my days mommy-ing everyone – no-one would accuse me of that (fat chance! Ms. Nice is merely a self-shaming ideal, not an actual accomplishment).

The muscle testing says it’s much more specific. So we yes/no? yes/no? yes/no? some more and come up with the word ‘Attack’, – this bodyshutting-out occurs when I feel under attack. Yes, that feels right.

Now, it may seem a stretch to classify standing in a cafe line making goo-goo eyes as an attack, but combine it with a kind of male-ego-incongruity that I’m hyper-sensitive to and certain power tactics, and suddenly a whole lot more stuff makes perfect sense. This isn’t simple, generic care-taking, and it has nothing to do with the lunch-guy.

Paulo Friere says, in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed that oppressors confuse being with having, therefore, if you threaten what they have, they react as if you have threatened their being. They respond as if to violence – that’s how a tax hike becomes vitriolic class ‘warfare’.

I extrapolate (albeit unconsciously), based on my experience, that men (and some women) raised in male-privileged hierarchical paradigms also confuse being with having achievement, authority, power over, status, and control of people and assets. Thus if you threaten their identification with any of those characteristics, you threaten their being, and they react as if to violence. Take away those psychological assets and they feel like naked infants (and well, in fact . . .), which is perfectly understandable (I’ve felt that way myself). When you put your whole being into acquiring those things you can’t afford to lose them. Threaten people at that level and it gets ugly.

The problem is that these ‘assets’ are all interpersonally constructed, dynamic and immeasurable. They don’t exist unless verified by others.

Practically speaking, this means that the predominant type of man (and some women) successful in civilized systems requires nearly constant affirmation that he possesses those assets. A refusal to affirm this constructed self-assessment is tantamount to a declaration of war. And they’re always challenging others, on some level, to either affirm or deny their emperor’s new clothes.

This challenge and surrender happens at a very subtle level – like eye contact. And due to my personal history, I am extremely sensitive to that challenge, that demand for affirmation of superiority.

So, in our continued yes/no? yes/no? yes/no? muscle testing, we discover that I experience an unspoken masculine demand for ego affirmation as an overt systemic patriarchal attack. I feel like the whole of civilization is explicitly challenging me to deny it’s power-over status, attacking all of who I am.

Because frankly, at this point in my life, whatever I see in any moment implicitly undermines everything about that masculine hierarchical separate-self paradigm (to me, it’s all a grand delusion). So if I’m going to affirm a dominant male’s ego-self-assessment, I have to put away all of my own beliefs,  insights, and bodily wisdom. I have to put away my strengths in order to do the affirmation-dance.

It’s like when you walk in a room, get patted-down and have all your weapons taken away, while the other side’s guns remain pointed at you – nothing more needs to happen, you know you’re under attack. I experience it as a challenge, a dare.

This demand for ego-affirmation is even more true with an immature man’s assessment of his sexual prowess. In that instance, the guy doesn’t even need to have some formal power over you, the ego-demand is an implicit threat.

For how many women does this resonate with men who have pursued you?:

They think they’re Don Juan, and they’re really a buffoon? They think they’re the great communicator, but they drone non-stop monotonously about nothing and they don’t hear a word anyone else says. They believe they’re great dancers & they’re total clods. They think they’re great in bed, and it feels like nails on a chalkboard at best.

This is where the threat gets visceral. Women all know that to confront a man’s inadequate sexuality is dangerous. And that danger is a reinforcing feedback loop. We withdraw from the clodhoppers and don’t teach them, because we don’t want to open ourselves to attack, which leaves them as inept as ever, but angrier – thus more demanding of affirmation.

This is where my conception of a Sacred Whore comes in – someone has to help these guys learn the truth. Someone has to teach them to effectively connect with women – because without that, they’re increasingly destructive. But this is a job for a pro, not a simple amateur looking for love. And it’s certainly not a job for an innocent bystander who accidentally happens into their reinforcing bozo feedback loop. The process of enlightening them is best done by someone who is experienced enough and has the motivation and sense of mission to help them grow up, someone whose needs are met elsewhere. Not someone not personally invested in the outcome, or lacking the necessary insights and strengths.

But that’s generally not how prostitution works anymore.

Nowadays, in most cases, it’s precisely about doing the opposite, doing the affirmation-dance, pretending through every aspect of our bodies that the guy has earned the right to be there. Nowadays, it’s about being mere fodder for the increasing destruction. But if a working woman tells you the opposite, if she says her work is healing – she ought to be venerated, not stigmatized (or, worse, defined as a victim by people who can’t possibly know) – because that’s the archetype’s purpose, and to be capable of approaching that in our society is a sign of grace. A grace I did not have, back when I could have used it.

Another way of saying all that is that in most public organizations (and certainly in business), male preferences still define the benchmarks women have to meet in order to be included, and ‘inoffensive and non-threatening to delicate male egos’ is at the top of that list. A mark I still have to exercise a whole lot of self-restraint to achieve – I have to turn my flame to almost off (and tamp my libido/erotic awareness way down).

I wasn’t a Sacred Whore back in the day, but neither was I great at the ego-stroking, delusion-affirming type of modern-day prostitution norms. It was a behavior completely alien to anything I’d known beforehand. The ability to easily make insincere compliments was something I had to make a conscious effort to acquire.  Yet, the further I get from daily contact with those kinds of affirmation-demanding men in the corporate world, the more I realize that figuratively, I’ve been engaging in that perversion of prostitution ever since I was a whore. This is a dance I’ve been doing with men who had power over me (like bosses, colleagues, clients) for decades. It’s not literally sexual, though now I see why it always feels that way to me, why it always feels like a visceral violation. Because that’s the place where I first learned this dance – literally while being fucked.

This is one way the whore metaphor extends beyond prostitution. We all do it. We believe it’s a matter of survival.

It’s a dance made necessary in a hierarchical world. Everyone I’ve worked with takes the Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome for granted.  Everyone knows the hazards of pointing out the truth, even when it would save an organization.

Anyway, through this [gs TK] discussion, we discover that this is why, when standing at the counter locked in intense eye-contact, I didn’t just feel like turning away would be raining on his parade, I also felt like we were playing chicken – as if the first to turn away would lose. Because turning away would have gently pushed him out. It would have left him alone to examine his belief that we were exchanging deeply connected pure love. It would have made him experience a moment of doubt that he was big enough to have anything to offer me on that level. Even though my eye muscles were bunched up and aching with the restrained need to turn away, my defense-mechanism-with-male-demands-for-ego-affirmation told me that his ego was rapidly creating a false assessment of himself in relation to me in that instant, and that destroying that assessment would trigger an attack.

I can see now how that was absurd in that context. He had no possible way of hurting me – I was reacting reflexively to my own ghosts, not to him. But in the process, I made him into a new attacker.

Having learned to fit in, in a masculine world, my mind (stupidly – but how would I know this ahead of time?) thinks it knows the proper self-defense tactics from that particular kind of attack. My mind believes that since men fight with their minds (their logic, rationality, lack of emotion, dissociation), my mind alone should handle the problem.

My mind, pompously swaggering through the male-ego world as if it knows what it’s doing, believes that my body is just a noisy distraction. Like, if you’re arguing in Japanese, it doesn’t help if you keep thinking in Urdu (which may be a logical assumption, but it may or may not be true).

My mind reflexively tunes out the wisdom of my body when I feel under male-ego attack. It acts from my masculinity, tries to fight like a man. But in fact, I don’t fight like a man as well as a man does, and my body is the most powerful place for me to act from.

So, this is dangerous on my part. A man waves around his silly limp pencil (I’m being figurative here), demanding that I admire and desire what he imagines as his monster-big cock (yes, still figurative), and I drop my guns and stand frozen in the headlights – but only so long as it’s a subtle male-ego attack. You have to be sneaky to trick me into this complicated mode. Make an overt threat and all my nicey-nice flies out the window. Threaten me directly and I will rip your throat out.

My [gs TK] friend knows my thinking about Sacred Prostitution, and partway through this exploration she says ‘its a perversion of prostitution!!’ and my arms (of their own) fly up in the air then slap down on my thighs and ‘YES!!” I say – yes! That’s it!

No wonder I’m so pissed! The fucker’s not even paying me, and I’m still doing the bimbo girly-dance around his fragile inflated self-image. How long will it take me to grow up?

Part of my purpose, in tattooing the P-word back onto my forehead is to surface assumptions about women and sexuality and the body and so on. But of course, if I think I’m surfacing anything effectively here, I’m as delusional as he was! All I’m doing is getting sucked (by my own mental habits) into ooky, deer-in-the-headlights, mommy-mirror, girly-dance, let-me-suck-your-monster-dick caretaking.

The yes/no muscle testing unearthed and confirmed all that as we went along – amazingly guiding us to information in an hour it would have taken months of talk therapy to uncover. We then did some more weird balancing, I made some funny noises, we developed a little voice-ritual I could practice whenever I thought I might be facing a future potential for attack-flavored goo, designed to keep me in touch with my body and let it’s wisdom guide me through the muck.

I felt a whole lot better, confident in my ability to keep this particular brand of goo out of my life in the future. I felt like I really had the answers now.

Then I checked my email, and found a brief response sent to me about an hour after I sent my long email of the morning to him:

I’d like to talk to you about your email, please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Really, I thought, this is getting absurd.  Who the fuck does he think he is? He’s starting to feel like a stalker.

To be continued. . .

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"For a woman to explore and express the fullness of her sexuality, her emotional and intellectual capacities, would entail who knows what risks and who knows what truly revolutionary alteration of the social conditions that demean and constrain her."

-Louise J. Kaplan - Female Perversions