Professing * Reflecting

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Wondrous Strange

Can it be? I actually found notes--detailed notes--for what I am teaching in my three-hour seminar this week. Love my uncharacteristically organized last-year self who took actual, useful notes and carefully filed them away. Actually feeling intimidated by last-year self and wondering if I can live up to her standard this year. Anyway, I am now free to dither about and engage in my obsessions.

Obsession #1: Duh, blogging and reading blogs. Now that I seem to have readers, I not only read their blogs but also my own blog over and over again, in an attempt to see what they see (which is what a professional mirror compulsively does). This is sick, I know. The one thing that may trump the narcissism (a narcissism I claim to detest) is this weird inverse narcissism. Even more disturbing? I have decided that one possible reading of the whole anxiety-at-being-seen may lead to the idea that I am hideously ugly, and AND I feel compelled to convey somehow that I am good-looking. I even considered sly ways to do so, e.g. The guy at the falafel stand still can't believe that such a "hottie" is a college professor; I wish my students would stop looking at me like they want to bang me (except that beautiful kid from Spain); or I suspect my collegues don't respect me, because I don't look like a "typical academic." And then I would rail at the injustices of not being taken seriously, of needing to be plain or ugly to be considered "serious," of the stereotypes that demand that professors who are women must be sexless. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Who am I? Slow realization of just how much I depend on my looks: in my day-to-day life, I think I might need the first identifying characteristic to be "good looking." The "wow, she's smart/funny/cool/successful" must follow from that. I think I even EXPECT and LIKE the confusion that results from the contrasting stereotypes. But, I bristle (or do I?) at these stereotypes. The anxiety-at-being-seen problem is based on the fear that people will see NOTHING below the surface, that the space where smart/funny/cool/successful is supposed to be is really empty (which it is, ironically, when I am mirroring). I see myself as fighting to prove myself as smart/funny/cool/successful and therefore to show that beautiful/sexual/"hot" women can be those things. Am I just performing this fight, even to the point of fooling myself? If not, why do I feel compelled to identify EVEN my anonymous/pseudonymous self as not just "good-looking" but "sexy" and "hot"? Why do I feel like I can't continue until I establish that fact? Am I trying to debunk the myths or am I taking full advantage of them?

Obsession #2: Best-friend-turned-suitor-lover. Last night, he came by for drinks and, as I soon realized, a friendly game of mindfuck. Our Tuesday-night rehash of the weekend has been a regular thing, made slightly irregular last week by the (actual) fucking. The mind-fuckage became apparent when he starting talking about "this incredibly intense moment that I can't quite figure out" between him and this woman he was working with this weekend. So, he wanted me to help him to understand this "intense moment." Incredibly geeky explanation of this particularly event according to the specifics of this particular profession followed. (I am not going to reveal his profession. Suffice it to say that it is perceived to be ultra-cool, so there is nothing funnier than these people going all geeky about it.) After I made fun of his geeky jargon, he busts out with, "It was so strange, but so . . . intimate. Almost . . . sexual. She was trying to intimidate me, but I didn't back down. I could definitely be into fucking her." Heh. Heh, heh, heh. See, since last week's night of passion, I have been acting very casual, continuing to talk in a friend-like way about men I find attractive and men I've fucked (including my ex-boyfriend, who happens to be his friend and "colleague"). In general, I've adopted an isn't-this-fun-aren't-we-such-a-horny-incestuous-bunch attitude about that night (which really was quite intimate and sweet and very, very hot). Of course I--a freak and fully freaked out--have been doing this to push him away. But now, he's mirroring me! Doesn't he know you can't mirror a mirror? What can possibly result but endless deflection? But, this is where he is soooo clever. Because it's working. How is this possibly working, I ask myself? Duh, because I am totally into endless deflection. Checkmate.



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