The Nutty Nut and the Wild Slut (3)

Posted on June 25, 2017

The Second Act

The phone keeps ringing for a long time. Then it goes into answering mode.

Phone: I cannot answer your call now. Please leave your message after the beep. BEEP.

NN is making frantic attempts to get near the device, but it is in his jacket, and the jacket is out of reach.

Long silence.

Phone rings again. Again NN attempts to reach it, but again he fails.

Phone: I cannot answer your call now. Please leave your message after the beep. BEEP.

Long silence.

Phone rings again, but NN has given up on reaching it.

Phone: I cannot answer your call now. Please leave your message after the beep. BEEP.

Female Voice: Hello John. This is me. Please call me back whenever it is convenient for you. Love you.

Silence. Then WS comes back, carrying an open bottle of wine and two glasses.

WS: What was that noise?

NN: Oh, nothing. A message on my cellphone.

WS: Your wife calling you?

NN: It doesn’t matter.

WS: If it was your wife, then maybe it does matter.

NN: Never mind.

WS: So it was your wife. Do you want me to uncuff you, so you can call her back?

NN: No. It doesn’t matter.

WS: You don’t want to be uncuffed, to call her back?

NN: Never mind.

WS: Your decision!

NN: No matter, really.

WS: No matter. Never mind. Sounds like the answer to the question What is Consciousness?

NN: When I was young, I wanted to know what moved the stars.

WS: You gaze at the stars?

NN: I used to do that a lot, as a boy. Not so much anymore, now. Studying physics killed some of the poetry, for me.

WS: It’s love that moves the sun and the other stars. Divine comedy, Dante. You can’t see that anymore. Human tragedy, modern physics.

NN: I wanted to understand what was behind all that. And I believed that science, physics, was the key.

WS: Did it make you feel small?

NN: Small?

WS: Gazing at the stars, I mean.

NN: Small, yes. But not insignificant. It felt pleasant, to be unimportant. And I marvelled at the possibility, for us humans, to understand all that.

WS: And you do not marvel anymore? How sad.

NN: The faculty of science. Maybe that was the wrong track.

WS: And now? Do you still want to find out?

NN: Find out what it all means? I have come to believe that that is impossible.

WS: What if there is no fixed answer? Why should there be?

NN: Because we have science. Because science is all we have. Or so I thought.

WS: What does science tell me, about love, about intimacy, about destiny? About the tingling feeling in my belly? About desire, about fulfilment?

She starts singing a song, with long pauses between the verses:

On my way through the valley
I’m all alone on a sally
through brambles and bushes
with my body that pushes.

I don’t know how I went
all my money got spent
but my step is still light,
and my face is so bright.

If my plans do not tally
There’s still sun in the valley.
I might frighten some hare
but then, why should I care?

NN: What is that song?

WS: Nothing. I am just making these up, really.

She goes on singing, all the while looking intently at him.

Splendid man, catch my smile
and walk with me a while.
For my step is so light,
and your face is so bright.

You can’t see on the telly
all that stirs in my belly.
Sun and stars shine above
I teach lessons of love.

NN: What are you, some kind of geisha?

WS: No, I am a postdoc who dropped out of science. And now I am an intimacy coach.

She finishes her song.

Cannot give up my longing
still believe in belonging.
Come here, brother, let’s start
wake up, open your heart.

NN: Dropped out after your PhD. Yes, you told me about that.

WS: The professor who hired me started to make passes at me. Sexual harassment.

NN: I am sorry to hear that.

WS: I also quit because I got tired of studying from the outside what I wanted to experience from the inside.

NN: Some years ago, I experienced a shift. Call it mystical. Now the stars are in me. And now I want to know about consciousness. That’s why I contacted you. One of the reasons.

WS: Nothing can beat first-hand experience. (Teasing.) Do you want to drink some wine, dear professor?

NN: Please call me John. “Dear professor” is for mocking pedantic nitwits.

WS: Which you are not. Would you like some wine, John?

NN: How can I drink wine when my hands are tied?

WS: No worry, I can give you to drink. Your life started for you with your mother giving you to drink.

WS pours wine in two glasses. She very gently puts one of the glasses to his lips and lets him drink.

NN: Hmm. That’s very good wine. Very good indeed.

WS: Not bad, isn’t it? (Raises her glass.) Here is to intimacy and understanding. (Takes a sip of wine herself.) How do you feel about your wife wanting to reach you?

NN: We had a nasty argument this morning. I am aware that I am not an easy man to live with.

WS: Living with each other, really seeing each other, is never easy. Intimacy is not about having it easy together.

NN: Being together. What is it about, really?

WS: Opening up. Surrender to another human being. Finding out who we are, together. Exploring together. Discovering our true desires.

NN: What about commitment? Social structure. The construction of social reality. The institutions that make up our shared space.

WS: The construction of social reality?

NN: Stuff that John Searle wrote about.

WS: That other professor John. The one with the mock learning.

NN: What if it is not mock learning? The social institution of marriage was invented to solve a problem.

WS: And that problem is?

NN: Making sure that men commit themselves. Without marriage, it is too easy to keep running away when the going gets rough. Marriage was invented to keep the one man one woman show running.

WS: Well, my business is thriving. Without the support of a man. I support myself. That’s not where I need male help.

NN: Marriage is about keeping families together.

WS: If a relationship is not working, then the marriage vow will not save it. I know. Have been married myself. I have two kids, but their father and I decided to go our separate ways. Much better for us, and for the kids too, really. Mind you, we are still friends. Still intimate, even. Intimacy is my core business now. I am offering workshops.

NN: Courses in intimacy.

WS: Exploring intimacy together, yes. I’m fully booked for the next few months.

NN: (Sarcastic.) I am very glad you could fit me into your busy schedule.

WS: You know, there is still some desire in me to take revenge on you, professor John.

NN: As a representative of that world that you left in disgust.

WS: As a representative of the gender that suppressed us, from time immemorial. As a privileged male.

NN: As a definer of our culture, maybe? Science, modern science, was created, mostly, by privileged white males.

WS: By priggish white male eggheads.

NN: But that does not make it bad. Still gives us a true picture of the world, or at least the truest picture we have.

WS: A tool for dominating and conquering nature.

NN: Or so we thought. It looks like nature is taking her revenge now.

WS: The crave for dominance. Male agression. What is good about that? Hunter gatherers forming tribes, with the men, always the men, grinding their axes and swords, in eternal preparation for combat.

NN: There was always a reason for taking revenge on other men, men who had raped our women.

WS: So what could you do? What else but attack their towns and villages in turn? Kill them or get killed, in an orgy of blood. Slaughter the men and the boys. Then take all the women and all the girls. Line them up in rows. Put your lustful eyes on them. Then fight about who gets first pick. Next take them to your huts. And then rape them at your leisure.

NN: (As if in a dream.) Why did we have to kill the boys, too? We used to do that, yes. But I cannot quite remember why we did it. It is all so long ago.

WS: Their mothers would keep telling and retelling the narrative of the gruesome fates of their fathers. With the boys still alive, the mothers would have a motive to keep their hatred alive too, their desire for revenge. They would pass their hatred on to their sons. And one day, these sons would be stronger than their stepfathers. And on that day, they would turn against them for a terrible further round of bloodshed.

NN: So the boys had to be killed.

WS: The violence.

NN: The horror that goes on.

WS: How can we stop it? Women do not want to be raped. We do not ask for it. We want to be left alone. And treated with respect.

NN: I understand.

WS: Dear John, please tell me. Tell me honestly. Did you ever make passes at your students?

NN: I don’t understand.

WS: Is there something for which you deserve punishment, perhaps? Please tell me. First, make full confession to me. Next we can discuss appropriate punishment.

NN: Punishment?

WS: Punishment, yes, if you deserve it. I will be delighted to mete it out. Then absolution, perhaps.

NN: You sound like a high priestess.

WS: Which is what I am. And not the only one. A circle of powerful women is forming right now. Organizing itself. Every fearless woman you will encounter is part of that circle.

NN: Churchmen and scientists fear you.

WS: Call us witches. Condemn us in mock trials. Burn us at stakes. But our circle is getting stronger.

NN: Being part of that circle empowers you.

WS: We have drunk the holy wine. I am ready to hear your confession. Now answer me. Did you ever have an affair with one of your students?

NN: None of my students ever filed a complaint about me.

WS: That’s not an answer to my question.

NN: My behaviour towards my students has always been appropriate, in keeping with the situation.

WS: Did you ever have an affair with a student, or did you not?

NN: Why should we talk about this?

WS: Because it matters. To me. Why should we not talk about this?

NN: Because it disturbs me.

WS: Well, embrace your disturbance. It is OK to be disturbed. Just observe that you can still confess.

NN: It happened once, yes. But that was a while ago.

WS: I get a sense that this is difficult for you to talk about.

NN: It almost ruined my career. And it almost drove me mad.

WS: How I would have liked to ruin the career of the pig that gave me the postdoc job, only because he lusted after me.

NN: Why didn’t you blow the whistle? It is quite easy these days for a woman to ruin the academic career of a man. Just accuse him of sexual misconduct. True or not doesn’t even matter.

WS: I could have. But rocking the boat in a big way would have meant a lot of discomfort for me. And I had other reasons for quitting, too. In retrospect, I am thankful for what happened. It made it easier for me to take the best decision I ever made in my life.

NN: This wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like that at all.

WS: So what was it like? Tell me all about it.

NN: She seduced me. I just could not resist.

WS: Wasn’t it your duty to keep a professional distance, a professorial distance? You were her teacher. The student has a crush on her teacher. Happens quite often.

NN: It developed very slowly. She planned it.

WS: I bet she did. I bet she looked at you with her hazel eyes when she found herself alone with you. And you did not have the good sense to avoid these situations. Or break the tension with a joke.

NN: She had blue eyes. But otherwise true. How do you know it started like this?

WS: Experience. Imagination. Intuition. There are things foolish women do. Things that wise women can sense. What was her name?

NN: Fiona. What should I have done?

WS: You might have defused the situation in its early stage. “Fiona, when you look at me like that, you make me want to define the way we relate to each other. You are my student. You are doing well, you know, and I feel pride, the kind of pride I feel for my own daughter.” That would have done it.

NN: Trouble was, she did not behave like a daughter. Not at all. The first time she just looked at me, just looked, but in this incredibly lustful way. The next time we were alone together, she looked again at me like that. And then she asked me quietly “Do you find me attractive?” She looked absolutely gorgeous. And then: “I bet you do. I can see it in your eyes.” And then: “Would you like to fuck me?” And then slowly: “I bet you do.” And then teasingly: “But you shouldn’t, really, for I am your student and you are a professor. And professors shouldn’t even think about having sex with their students.” And I just looked at her, and smiled, and made a feeble attempt at a joke. She was right. I wanted to fuck her. That was true, so what could I say?

WS: (Teasing.) Yes, what could you say? You make it sound like there was only one way this could go.

NN: You disapprove of me? Aren’t you the one who is in favour of embracing juicy experience? Then why don’t you approve?

WS: Exploring what is possible together includes exploring what is right, for the two of you. I sense an imbalance in that woman. You could have sensed that too. Intimacy is not what you think it is. Your idea of getting intimate with a student is that it is all about sex.

NN: That’s not true.

WS: For highly strung competetive males, sex is about the only escape from third person to first person. The only way to experience deep togetherness with another person. But sex is just one of many doors.

NN: At first it was light hearted. We started to share sexual fantasies. I told her about my secret daydreams, in which she figured. At first it was just talk.

WS: Which you found exciting. Which you did not stop.

NN: I knew it was dangerous. In our academic community, relations between staff and students are a delicate matter. This was about teasing each other, getting more and more daring in the way we talked. Describing our fantasies of having sex with each other. That was long before we actually slept together.

WS: So you behaved like a silly fool. What was it about her, about Fiona, that you could not resist? Did she make you feel young?

NN: Young. Foolish. Irresponsible. Delightful.

WS: We have choices, you know. What would you like to experience with me?

NN: Maybe play it out in a different way? We did have kinky sex, Fiona and I, in the end, before it went out of hand.

WS: As you mentioned earlier, I could have been your daughter.

NN: I remember the first time that I felt physically attracted to a friend of my daughter. A beauty, she was. But she made me feel like a dirty old man, that day.

WS: And you could not accept that about yourself? Sounds very natural to me, an older man being disturbed by the exquisite fragrance of a jeune fille en fleur. Happens all the time. In literature. In life. Attraction is not the problem.

NN: Then what is?

WS: Lack of courage to embrace your experience. To own it, just as it is, with all its confusion, with all its pain. We must get ready for the next act now. I will paint my lips red, and kiss you so that it shows.

WS takes her lipstick, paints her lips red, and kisses him on the lips and on the cheeks. It is clear that he enjoys it. Lipstick is visible now all over his face. Then she suddenly takes her distance, pulls out her smartphone and snaps a picture.

NN: What are you doing?

WS: You are a successful man, a man on a high horse. The severest punishment, for a man like you, is to be dragged off that horse, to be humiliated. Whether you deserve that punishment, we do not yet know. But at least the instrument of punishment is now available.

NN: But… You cannot make that public.

WS: You still do not understand, do you? As I already told you, I can do whatever the bloody fuck I want. And now I am off to get us something to eat.

WS leaves, closing the door behind her. Then silence. Then the smartphone of NN starts ringing again.

(to be continued)