It costs me to get back to the normalcy - if any normalcy exists, will ever exist in my life. I've spend the last days between Andalusian music, religious content and erotic dreams. Looking carefully into what I dream of, since they are likely to bring issues into my life, realities shaped by the colour, texture and quality of my dreams. Can I dream better? With deeper insight and greater intelligence?
I started to appreciate Tinder, after all, and I'm musing how lives could have been different, if it existed. My mother's life, for instance, or my own early life. How lives could have been different with these two blessings: contraceptives and Tinder. And the culture of using smartly the opportunities they provide.
It's time to return to my books, my studies. To write again. I want to take up my things where I have left them, send articles to distant journals, live in the world, in those open, global horizons that tempt me so much. But the Andalusian shadow is hanging over my life, and it doesn't dissipate.
Admitting that with God nothing is impossible, for what should I actually pray? What should be my munājāt, the whispered intimate prayers?
If I went to a psychologist with my problem, I suppose he or she would say that I suffer from the prince-on-the-white-horse syndrome, blocked and frustrated in my dreams of some sort of impossible encounter. Certainly, there are women who, confronted with just 10 average men, would be happy and glad if they could get the best one among those 10. There are women who would be glad if they could chose the best among 100. A vast majority of women on this planet chose just inside the narrow limits of their village. I've gone global many years ago. Meanwhile, I suppose that my ideal partner would exist as a single individual among perhaps 10 or 100 thousand. This is just the result of many superposed requirements. (If the sufficiently rich are 2% of the population and the sufficiently handsome are 10%, the men fulfilling both requirements are only 0,002%, i.e. 2 in 1000, if my mathematics are not too rusty, and I'm just at the beginning of my requirements - even if there is a sort of cumulative bonus: the rich are usually more handsome than the average in the general population, and it is redundant to ask if they are sufficiently educated, because usually they are). Yet this is why I put God in this calculus; otherwise I would never get out of the infinitesimals. I believe that in the uttermost, the real thing wouldn't have nothing to do with the statistics. The real thing would be just a 1 to 1 encounter.
So the first of my prayers was to get out of my village, of my nation. Not to be reduced to those men close at home who whisper that they would like to penetrate me at all fours "like a real bitch" and count, fascinated, a porn in which a guy was making love to a Labrador retriever. The first prayer is to find myself away, very far away from the vileness, from the bad smell of those things. It is a prayer for purity. To purify my mind, to be above such things, images, associations. I laugh at them, perhaps a healthy laughter, but I would like to see them at a greater distance from me. It is a game of beyonds.
The second prayer is to get out of the statistical and to enter the miraculous.
The third prayer is for faith, patience and perseverance.
I've been trying to see how long does it take to run out of cards on Tinder. I put my finger on the red x and just kept it there. But as the cards flew and flew, I got even more and more persuaded that everyone is there. Literally. Everyone.
But I should delate my account and open a new one, without indicating my age. In a way, it is more misleading than indicative of anything. And there is a work in culture to be done, just to find place for women like me. As I think about it now, it is only very logical, because we live longer; those old stereotypes are not valid any longer. I am not a Shakespearean queen, tragic and destructive in her autumnal desires. But I also delve in quite perplexing musings about other women from my family, my mother, my grandmother. They were not quite Shakespearean ruins long before they even turned 40. My grandmother became an invalid with a stroke that happened when she was barely in her 50. My mother got cancer when she was 53. Were my life to fall into the same paradigm, any money spent on clothes, make-up products or hair styling would be truly money lost.
Do I actually have 2 to 5 years in front of me before I turn into a pitiful invalid? Where is the difference? In the effortless nature of the work I've been doing? In the material things I have at my disposal? Better food? Less stress? Better quality of sexual life?
I actually don't feel much less attractive than I was at the time when I knew my husband and got married, i.e. between 35 and 36 years of age. No abysmal change happened between then and now. It is indeed a remarkable thing that I did not feel attractive when I was in my 20ies; I was wearing the size 36 without any particular sense of pride. I was living very much at the mercy of men, on the emotional roller-coaster they chose to build for me. Were it today, I wouldn't accept to have a sexual intercourse with any of them; certainly, no regret that they are gone. I started to get things on my own terms when I was in my mid-thirties. But still, at 36, I remember having prayed to have an orgasm; today, there is certainly no such item in my dua, which proves how ungrateful we are towards the Creator. Whatever I might have lost in my appearance, I compensate in skill and receptivity. And sometimes I think the real difference is this. Men don't have me at their mercy any more. And this is where I lost my sex appeal; at least in such places as Poland. Where skill and receptivity tend to sell very poorly, since they represent the menace of the authentic, unconstrained eros. I became a thread to the patriarchal order. And to individual egos.
It is perhaps time to pray for love again, differently. Very far away from that old world.
I have sunken into futility, hopelessness and inaction that must be the characteristic void of our times. I promise myself to read Huellebecque's Submission first thing after my arrival in France. I start to believe the alternative Islam or masturbation, so provokingly sketched by the writer, may be indeed a pertinent definition of something.
But at the same time, at the very bottom of everything, hope, aspiration, and action sprout somewhere deep in my heart. The will of change. And also the sense of harmony. I have been reckless in my youth, and bore all the burden of culture and milieu, and committed humiliating mistakes. I lived with a man at 23, and at 28 (not the same man). I tasted betrayal, and worse, silence at breakfasts and scheduled sex on Saturday mornings. At 35, I started to dream boldly, and aspire for luxury, travels, exoticism and romance. I got more than other women, as I believe, not only in flights and expensive hotels. Also a bonus of harmony. I have been married for 15 years now, that's rare. I experienced the specific taste of ups and downs, the high and the low, mountain torrents and lowland rivers, the patience of being with someone all over the years, of having memories to recall. At 48, I start to dream boldly again. Perhaps it is only a logic of growth that has led me to those new crazies. And what could that be, to dream boldly for a woman of 48?
It often crossed my mind that I might be with someone, a European, a Dutch man with something of his own. That after 15 years or more, I could live with a man again. The prospect makes me hesitate, nonetheless, and it certainly has no such power to make me run. Live with a man, how, where? If I'm in Paris for only 10 months now. Certainly, I could use this time to settle down. To get a partner for my house in Leiden. But these are not the crazies of 48. Perhaps of 58, or 68, but not 48, not yet. Their time will come.
Certainly, it might be a reasonable prospect, to settle down at 48. But it is totally opposite to the desire of my heart. I do not wish to be reasonable, I never did. ---Oh, no? And who became a university professor, after all? Well, it is a different story, we speak of eroticism now. But there might be a reasonable eroticism, as I think about it now. Perhaps my own eroticism has always been reasonable, i.e. efficient. Achieving its targets.
And as I think about it now, that bold dream of spiritualisation of eroticism might be a reasonable prospect of 48. A logical next step. New adventure. The rest, perhaps. is just reading Huellebecque and masturbation.
I've finally resigned myself onto creating a Tinder profile. I've spent two days trying to talk sex with Polish men (the matches are done locally, and they require payments to do them otherwise). I was about to pay, but I thought that when my location becomes Paris, there might be enough men for me to switch the cards to my heart's content.
The medium is simple, I would say primitive, compared to the ones I used many years ago. It's striking how few things changed since that time, and rather toward minimalism than otherwise. But it's true that those things became much more popular. At least as it seemed to me, the number of men, as for Poland, was significant. As I estimate, I must have switched some 500 or 600 cards; there used to be barely tens corresponding to similar area on Meetic.com when I tried it for the last time. Even if most of them were proclaiming shamelessly the intent of betraying their wives (did they actually have wives to betray, or it was just a way of cutting any woman's hope of decent and stable relationship down to the root?). I talked to some of them. Nothing changed since those remote times of Wirtualna Polska.
I wonder how many of them will actually find what they search for, and how bitter and sad it must be for any lonely woman actually searching for a relationship, let alone marriage. Or love. I suppose the great feminist struggle of tomorrow will be fought for the recognition of unpaid sex work to which many such women are reduced, just as it is today for the recognition of the housewives who toil for decades for no benefit whatsoever. For the abbreviation FWB hides a reality in which the benefit, whatever its definition might be, is very scarce.
Overall, I've been musing on what I actually look for, what is this piercing feeling of loss. Certainly, months and months have passed by since I made love to a living man for the last time. But the feeling of loss that is torturing me is not just this. It is a singular mix of erotical and spiritual that is characteristic to Sufism, that has interested me intellectually for many years, but that I've never lived as an actual experience. I've been interested in mysticism, but I've never been a mystic. I used to consider myself religiös unmusikalisch (according to the formulation of Max Weber); now it surprises me how I could tell such a thing about myself. I am indeed very musikalisch in this domain.
Obviously, what I'm looking for cannot be found on Tinder. I've left my e-mail address, just in case. But it is clear that I must search for direct, targeted methods, strategies of going for what I need at the source. In a zawiya?