The Back Room

With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.

and the back room door creaks open

Writing on heavy topics has its merits.  I get satisfaction creating things more substantial than random thoughts of the day.  However, the emotional output can be overwhelming or the response to such an essay can be devastating.

Not wishing to whack my readers over the head with bricks, the following essay contains sexual frankness.

I’m still trying to figure it out at age 40.  Ten years ago, I had all but given up on trying to figure it out.  Oh please.  Five years ago I was still on the verge of hopeless.  Much of what drove me to this hopelessness was fear.  More specifically, fear of other people’s perceptions of me.

I developed physically late in life and was constantly beaten up in school.  Those two things alone had a huge impact on my self-image.  I turned inwards creating self-protecting personas.  This had an unexpected effect on my esteem when one of my personas turned on me.

Upon moving to London, a tough talking voice with an East End accent ran roughshod over my inner thoughts.  Teenage sexual curiosity often met with sneering derision mixed with light coughing (my Cockney Jiminy Cricket chain-smoked Marlboros).  As a result, I limited myself to solitary exploration.  Only in my imagination did my lust make any sense.

Traditional men’s magazines and Page 3 girls soon led to covert missions to “the upstairs section” of my local video store.  Arousing pictures on the video boxes of soft-core pornographic films led to trying to sift my eyes through the scrambled adult cable stations late at night.  A chance showing of The Name of the Rose with my family (my mother was a fan of the book and we both liked Sean Connery) including the graphic and sensational seduction of Christian Slater by “the rose” Valentina Vargas not only caused embarrassment for my parents ( “Cover your eyes!”  “”I think it’s too late for that.”) but led to repeated viewings and an audio taping of the scene including the voice-over introduction that I would listen to for hours until I had it memorized.

It was around this time my creative writing took on a more focused, and goal-oriented objective.  The scenarios I imagined came effortless to me, soon filling an unsuspecting cylindrical games container in my room.  Though I had already been writing dialogue in English class to much acclaim (bashfully uncomfortable from the attention) it was during the phase of this not-for-English-class- writing I began to craft dialogue that still makes me melt.

Scenarios I created found healthy companionship in my older sisters’ “novels” by Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz and Johanna Lindsey.  Dog-eared paperbacks pulled from their bookshelves perused in the bathroom found inventive hiding spots.  “How did one of my Johanna Lindseys get into my bathrobe?”

 Many of the sex scenes confused me and too terrified to have any actual high school friends, let alone the benefit of an older brother, the mysteries remained for years.  I lay awake at night wondering what exactly Dimitri Stanislopoulos had done to please Lucky Santangelo with his champagne-soaked tongue.

I was not at all ready for college.

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2 comments on “and the back room door creaks open

  1. hassanizzo
    November 20, 2014

    Where in London did you live?

    I went to an all boys secondary school and I remember there was a time when channel 5 used to show these softcore erotic thrillers on a Friday night that my friends and I still joke about to this day after it soon became apparent that everyone at school was watching them.

    I’m an only child so had no siblings to talk to about *that* kind of stuff although to be honest, I never really thought too much about sex or relationships. Everything just happened kind of naturally as I moved through college, my first crack at uni and then into work. Ironically I wish I had the same relaxed nature I had back then, now.

    Nowadays my feelings towards relationships and intimacy are a convoluted mess of contradictory emotions brought about by one small period of time in my life.

    I’m enjoying reading your posts about the films you are watching with your wife by the way. I will check out Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    Like

    • Andrew Davis
      November 20, 2014

      I lived in NW8 9EA. St. John’s Wood. in late 80’s early 90’s.

      Funny. As I near 41 I feel I am just hitting my stride. No looking back. Except to write about it of course!

      Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a bitter pill. An excellent bitter pill. And fitting since the director Mike Nichols just passed away yesterday.

      Glad you are enjoying the posts. I haven’t written this much in years.

      Like

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