Friday, February 3, 2012

The Books: The House of the Sleeping Beauties

I am getting older. Even when you are in your twenties every day marches you closer to the grave, but now I am at that actual point when you are aware of your mortality more physically. I have thickened. My skin is less elastic. My metabolism has slowed to a standstill. My hair is limp. My eyes do not shine any more. I worry about my ability to enjoy sex, not that it is waning at the moment, but that the idea that it may one day lesson is troubling to me more and more. I am overlooked. I feel judged. I was asked once if my friend who is a handful of years younger than I am was my daughter. My image of myself does not match up to the body I am living in.

All this is with me every day. So then I read the novella by Yusinari Kawabata and I feel it like a slim plain dagger sliding straight into my heart.

I am not yet 67 as his protagonist is. I am not desiring the body of a teenager to hold and touch in my bed, but I do desire men and women in their twenties. I do still feel the sheer physical pleasure of touching an arm that is soft and buttery with youth.

This book has touched me more than most. I have always felt a sympathy for Roth and Marquez as they wrestle with masculine aging and its effects on desire. Where are the stories of women at the same moment in our lives? Our invisibility? Our inability to find desire in the gaze of others, even our own partners turn away from us at some point, showing us with their limp penises and their regretful gaze that they no longer feel a stirring when they touch our tired and inelastic flesh.

I put this book aside, refusing to re-shelve it. I will come back to Kawabata. I have other sex books to pursue but I will come back to you. You still hold a dagger in my heart and I am bleeding.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thank you for this reflection/confession of yours. Speaking from my early 50's and recalling when I was twenty, your words perhaps help me better understand an encounter I had with a lovely woman who was thirty. Yes, I remember how she enjoyed practically swimming against my skin.