Sunday, August 28, 2005
Voyeurism and Exhibitionists
I was tempted to title this post "Where the Dark Things Crawl."
My counter on this site tells me by server, not account, who visits my site. I like seeing that I get hits from Saudi Arabia and Iceland. Don't know why, but I do. I was a little less pleased that the Department of Justice stopped by for a look-see.
My first job out of college was with the government. If conspiracy theorists knew how much of a cluster fuck was going on behind the curtain, they'd sleep soundly. Since I've experienced it first hand, I have a hard time getting worked up enough to be paranoid. Still, seeing that DOJ server gave me a bit of a frission. Maybe because the link they followed was from a fellow erotica writer's blog.
Maybe I like being watched.
I wouldn't consider myself to be an exhibitionist, but I do write porn. I can't decide if that makes me a literary exhibitionist. In small ways, I sometimes catch my private lifestyle seeping into my public life. We can't help being who we are, after all. If I notice I'm giving myself away though, I wonder if people around me catch those clues before I sweep them out of sight. I really don't like feeling that my private life is showing, so I guess that makes me definitely not an exhibitionist.
My relationship to voyeurism is a little more complex.
Watching television or movies is an inherently voyeuristic activity. Through shows, we peer into people's lives. Even if the characters aren't real, or they're the pseudo-real cast of reality TV, we like to peel back the facade and see what's underneath. Most dramas are slow-motion train wrecks. The viewers can see it coming, but we don't look away, because the coming calamity thrills us.
Once, while stopped in traffic, I spied two grizzled day laborers eating lunch at a McDonalds in West Hollywood. Above the table: two guys eating burgers after a hard day of work. Under the table: a brief, but extremely erotic, squeeze of a muscular thigh by a dark, rough hand. That was probably the hottest thing I'd ever seen. I wanted to park. I wished I had binoculars to watch them. I wanted to see them kiss. I would have peeked through the curtains of their hotel room. Didn't wanting to make me a voyeur? The thrill I got out of seeing that surreptitious grope was definitely a voyeur's high.
Yet I watch very little porn.
It would be fashionable to say that porn doesn't do anything for me, but the real truth is that I rarely need it. When I do, it works for me. I don't use sex toys all that often either. I have no problem with anyone who uses visual or physical stimulants to get off though.
So I'm not all that comfortable with exhibitionism, but I am with voyeurism. They are opposite sides of the same coin. Hard to have one without the other.
I can't get over the uncomfortable feeling that DOJ flyby gave me, even though I have complete sympathy for their voyeuristic tendencies.
My blog is out there for anyone to read. Why do I care who reads it? Maybe it was a DOJ employee screwing off at work. In that case, I'm a tax payer too. Get back to work! But what if checking out my blog is his/her work? Thinking that makes me want to draw my virtual curtains. I won't though. After all, it's still a free country. Don't mind me. I'll be sitting here in the dark, working up a conspiracy theory.