"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Rounding The Sexual Corner–Not Going Gentle Into That Good Night

“Friable”, said Peters when he thought of his sexual future.   “Bruised a bit, knocked about, fragile, but intact.  Which is all that counts at my age.”

Of course Peters Bingham was far from sexual limbo, still quite vigorous and attractive, but closer to the end of days than to their beginning.  Peters was married and had been for decades; but that had never stopped nor deterred his alliances.  He had sworn after a difficult divorce from his first wife never to divorce again; and so he managed his marriage to his second wife and his cinq-a-septs carefully.  His wife either never seemed to notice or had accepted infidelity as part of the unwritten contract with a successful, attractive entrepreneur, patron of the arts, and admired socialite.  It went with the territory as many women have concluded.

To be fair, Peters never denied his wife the same sexual options and opportunities; but to be honest he knew when he married her that she was a woman who would forgive his dalliances and would seek few of her own.  It was a marriage of convenience but not a deceitful one.  Men have known all along that women, having attracted and caught a good thing, are quite reluctant to give up him, and the life he brings; and women have long understood male ego, its particular blindness, and vulnerability.

This marital accommodation had gone on for years.  No sooner had he been married than he became involved with a Pakistani beauty who promised him the delights of Scheherazade if only he would marry her and move to Lahore.  Tempted as he was, he honored his own contract – two marriages were more than enough for anyone – and after a year of demurral and postponement, left the Subcontinent for good.

Indian woman beautiful

“I should have married her”, he thought soon after.  Life in a palace fit for Shah Jahan or Nizammudin – servants, rose water, bougainvillea, court musicians – was tempting.  Divorce from Wife No. 2 would have been a formality, a no-fault procedure with little financial settlement; no children, and certainly no life-long, blood-line, irrevocable emotional commitment.

Yet he hesitated.  The binding bonds of marriage would be no less tightly placed with her than they were with any wife.  A marriage to a princess or Pittsburgh debutante was exactly the same - the same contract, the same rules and regulations, the same predictable satisfactions, and the same inescapable troubles.
Few friends understood his demurral.  Usha Feroz-Bhartiya was wealthy, from a family with a history that dated back to Persian and Moghul times, and a runway model of stunning dark, Turkish looks.  What was he thinking?

His demurral  and final refusal of marriage had nothing to do with moral rectitude – he had come to terms long ago with Christian fidelity; nor was it a sense of sexual fatigue.  Peters was simply tired of sexual enterprise altogether.

See the source image

His diffidence, of course, did not last long. Men the world over are never sexually satisfied, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and better to make hay while the sun shines than suffer a wet, poor harvest.

The thing of it was, Peters Bingham loved women, and could no more give up their pursuit, their love, and the stolen moments in Ahmadabad or Georgetown than he could his fortune.

Of course he was aware of the temporality of it all – no love affair ever lasted, and more importantly no love affair ever mattered all that much.  Short-term delight meant little when looked at within a longer perspective; and he, like every older man before him, would have to square all this before it was too late.  It was not simply a matter of sex or sexual retirement, but life and death.

Peters had his ins and outs – comfortability with a good book and a faithful wife; frustration and irritability with both.  Perhaps it was  both a time to finally settle down and deal with matters existential. He banked his fires.   His was a time of sexual interregnum, the period between satisfaction and settling.

Lisa came along at just the right time - before potency had withered entirely and, more importantly, before interest waned.  There is a point at which men look forward rather than back, consider death and eternity more than than they do allure and sex- a time to finally let go.

So Peters had his last fling.  Most importantly he knew it, knew  beyond a doubt that this would the the last love of his life, and that what remained was companionship, camaraderie, sharing,  and comfort.

Lisa was young enough to ignore or be unconcerned about any  of these things, and  so was the perfect lover. What did he care if she was ‘youth’ and ‘life’ in principle?  The perfect existential sexual concubine? A meaningful whore?  When they parted, he back to his wife and she to some 30-something marketplace, neither was resentful, both were satisfied.

Men, no matter what their age, think of sex all the time.  Cherchez la femme is hardwired, permanent, and unavoidable.  No matter how older men would like to get rid of the nagging, niggling images of soft lips and full breasts, they cannot.  God’s ultimate irony – creating men with sexual desire which lasts until their last breath but pulling the plug on sexual energy and performance long before – is its own Purgatory. 

Image result for images dh lawrence

Nietzsche concluded that the only validation of existence was the expression of human will; but Lawrence was closer to reality when he suggested the pure, complete, complementary sexual union was the only real and final human expression in a meaningless world.  Peters Bingham was a Lawrentian through and through and never gave up until that particular story had come to an end.

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