JE SUIS

I feel as if I should emblazon a tee-shirt with the slogan “Je suis Kipnis .”

I can’t, really, for many reasons, some stupid, some not. There’s the issue of political-incorrectness, not to say flagrant tackiness: it would be interpreted as making light of the Charlie Hebdoe murders. (In fact what it would make light of is the absurdity of solidarity-by-tee-shirt.) And then there’s the pushiness of conscripting Ms Kipnis herself as a figurehead, which I’m guessing she wouldn’t want. But I’m pissed off. Seriously pissed off.

By my wizened age, one has had a number of sexual encounters with a gamut of accomplices. Some have been outright crap, most merely forgettable (by all involved, one hopes). A few, maybe a very few, have been wonderful. Among these latter instances I would count two weeks’ worth from my earliest period of what was otherwise hapless, anxiety-ridden fumbling. I was nineteen; she was fifty-something. I was a student; she was a professor and a novelist of considerable fame, whose reputation for lubricous, polymorphous aggression was, as the cliché goes, legendary. I placed myself willingly in harm’s way; she made the move.

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She promised nothing (indeed she was exquisitely clear about the limitations, the protocol), and I was given to understand, going into it, that I would amount to no more than a relatively anonymous conquest amid the “swath.” So although it didn’t last long, it was tremendous while it did.

At a time of life when a lad’s every other self-anointing thought is “God’s gift,” my experience with this person was very informative and clarifying, about a lot of things — from anatomical etiquette to the discomfiture of trite adoration.

Not that I would never again lapse into stupidity. Arguably stupidity would be the rule rather than the exception, and some of these asinine moments will continue to haunt me till my dying breath. One in particular, from not so long ago, pops into mind literally almost every day: in the tumult of getting dumped, I implored my then-beloved — with abject yet confident desperation — “How will you ever replace me?”

To which she responded, “You? I can replace you tomorrow.”


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