what a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy. traditional impulses all; this is what your "traditional man" should be, i suppose. i'm a feminist; i'm not supposed to care about how tough, strong, etc. a man is. and yet, that's the one thing i seem to want above all else when i look for a man: alpha-male bona fides.
he's got them in spades. he's so cocksure. he knows he's the smartest guy in the room, no question. (he's not wrong, either.) it's nowhere near the traditional definition of BIG STRONG MAN, though. he's not a fighter. he's no one's concept of a tough guy; he's not in "shape," not at all a physical specimen. and yet, i simply cannot get enough of him. he's got a way about him that just oozes sex appeal. he's snarky, he's confident.
but it's more than that. he twins this cockiness with an equal measure of devotion. i know full good and well that he dominates me in part to show his power, but in part because he knows it serves my wishes. that's the bargain we've struck with each other, there in the dark. he gets to be the boss, the master... but we both know that we act in service of one goal only, and that's my pleasure. he says it low and slow in my ear: "i love to see you come for me." he claims that this is all about him, what he can do, and how addicted i am to him. he's part right; i am completely at his sexual mercy and he knows it. but that's not the whole story. as much power as he has over me, i have that much more over him. i hold him in my hands, literally and figuratively, when we're together.
maybe that's how these things square up, how two liberal feminists can have such a viciously retrograde sex life. it's a game; it's all a game with us. we play at these things. he holds me down and keeps me pinned under him, knowing full well that my struggles are nothing more than a charade. when he growls in my ear, ferocious and triumphant, "you can't get away from me; i can do whatever i want and you're totally fucking powerless," he knows that there's a limit to how true that actually is. he uses the language of the subduer, the attacker, but it's enclosed in this context between us. he forces, he strikes, he imposes his will. but all of this power only comes to him through my grant to him. without my suggestion, none of this happens.
so who's the strong one, the tough one? it's not so clear, is it? i've heard it said that the woman in every relationship holds the reins. i'm not sure that you can reduce this to such a strictly definable gender construct. what i do know is this: the structure between us exists at my insistence. it's based on years of carefully-earned trust, on both sides. it's interesting that the only way such a starkly violent, hyper-patriarchal sexual existence could possibly exist is because the relationship that undergirds the bruises, the scratches and the vicious words is so grounded in, for lack of a better description, love and respect. he honors me in ways i can't even articulate. it's because of that honor that he can debase me, objectify me, rule me. it's exactly what i want from him.
what a good boy, indeed.
Letter 70: Be Louder
5 days ago