The following piece was written on December 1st, 2017
Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Sebastian Tellier Sexual Sportswear
 Thomas Newman Arose
 Sebastian Tellier Sexual Sportswear (Reprise)
Who doesn’t like a nice bit of intimacy? Forget for a moment that the above couple are likely to run out of breathable oxygen in a few seconds and drown locked together in embrace; focusing instead on the act itself and how blissful their collective ignorance is. The art of intimacy is not an easy one to master and, like most tangled trails, is fraught with tremendous peril. Whether a kiss, smile, wink of appreciation, or hand job in the stationary cupboard – it is all the more intense when shared with another party. You ever attempted to dance the tango solo? Precisely and there are few exchanges more intimate than that, aside from the obligatory smear tests and rectal examinations that is. In the immortal words of Lyn Collins – it takes two to make it out of sight – and I happen to make the old girl right. It’s many years since I graduated from the school of thought that suggests “together is better”, with flying colors no less, and not a day goes by when I don’t feel hugely grateful for my education on this count. I guess I’m just not cut out to be a loner.
One of the first phrases I taught my little boy was “sharing is caring” and I hard-wired this little wisdom nugget into his mental circuitry at the soonest available opportunity. Then years later, when he reminded his daddy of this very fact when I least expected it, this intimacy had been delivered full circle. Indeed, there’s not a second I’ve spent basking in his glorious rays that wouldn’t qualify as deeply precious as his innocence reminds me rather a lot of a certain other wide-eyed rapscallion I know who had a similar outlook on life. Given that I see a lot of myself in Jacob Nathaniel; intimacy is never less than an absolute given. It seems the most natural gift a father can bestow tooling their child up for the long road ahead with the ability to love and be loved in return. It’s something that should be felt from its very source, something not to be taken lightly under any circumstances whatsoever and, above all else, something to cherish. It also means a helluva lot more when you mean it.
I should know as the words “I love you” play a regular role in my vocabulary. Indeed, some people don’t know how to take me when I inform them of this early doors as they’re so often spoken without sincerity. Personally I prefer to address the elephant in the room before it takes a massive dump on my shag-pile rug, and what’s more, I damn well mean it. I see no reason to be cagey when it comes to laying those cards on the table and always start as I mean to go on. Whether or not this is reciprocated matters not in the greater scheme of things as I’m never fishing for a response when I say it. Like the dreaded sequel, it’s seldom as meaningful second time out and when prompted. I’m a strong believer that it’s better to give than to receive and this kind of generosity reaps its own rewards in the long run. Granted, it has been known to backfire on occasion and be misconstrued just as often, but when there’s weight behind those three little words, there’s always a chance of hitting pay-dirt.
Curiously, I’ve spoken to ex-girlfriends in the past who’ve likened me to a closed book and I respect them enough to appreciate their views. That said, it has never once been my intention at the offset. To say something, I truly have to mean it, and will find myself frightfully short of words if I feel the same basic rules don’t apply elsewhere. Gradually I regress and begin to play my cards closer to my chest, not out of one-upmanship, but because love means so much less without passion. It’s desperately unfortunate when you think about it, that one so open at commencement should feel the need for self-preservation. But nobody ever said love was easy and meant it; the question is – need we really make it so hard? Without intimacy, distance is inevitable and it’s that much harder bringing it in for a hug when it has to be arranged via UPS. If my book has become closed, then that just feels like such a tragic waste of good literature. Lord Byron would turn in his plot to learn of such wistful endeavor. According to him – adversity is the first path to truth – and I get that. But it needn’t be the only route.
One thing I pride myself on is my ability to remain impartial and make no secret of the comfort I find in strangers for this very same reason. For all our best intentions and efforts, it’s no easy feat remaining unbiased once emotions come into play. There’s also a tendency to mistakenly believe any information is being shared because the other party wishes to hear a handful of home truths and this is often woefully inaccurate. If a problem shared is one halved, then perhaps I just needed to put mine out there. And what was my prize for opening up? Tough love. Now I’m not suggesting this is a worthless pursuit, but like everything else in life, there’s a time and there’s also a place. Said spot is not necessarily the moment I gush and, should I come away from the conversation more frustrated then when it began, then I’m less likely to return for comfort next time my temple vein bulges. Needless to say and with more than a hint of irony, this in turn leaves one person feeling the stranger.
In my perpetual quest for intimacy, I have found the Crimson Quill a rather delightful staff of enlightenment. There’s a bona fide rush of blood when I scribe, from some place deep to a canvas that is blank, and there’s no question it is my soul that fashions the finest brush strokes. My imagination is broad enough for the splash-happy stuff, my heart effortlessly beats out those random speckles, but I know where the true artist inside me resides. Why be left scrambling around for inspiration like a crab on a cross trainer when all it takes to fire up the kiln is a quick glance within? David Copperfield eat your heart out and replace it with a bunch of daffodils; I know precisely where my magic gathers. In many ways, souls are much like cute fluffy bunnies as they’re just as content rubbing their tails together. Thus I root around in the top hat for a rabbit to pull and yes that is a carrot in my pocket, in case you were wondering.
There’s so much more romance to words when you mean them. Through prose I’m a pillar of truth, disinterested in telling tall tales or leading anyone up the primrose path. My flaws don’t define me, but neither do they disgust me – so I hold nothing back when stepping beneath the spot light. There’s actually something deeply liberating about laying yourself bare for your readership; revealing your vulnerability as opposed to tucking it away like a dirty little secret. Should this be misread as a sign of weakness, then so be it, but I’d argue it’s precisely the opposite. How can we be ever hope to find comfort in others, when we haven’t yet found such in our skin? The quest for perfection is both unreasonable and arduous, while it’s a far shorter jaunt to the defect lounge. This is where we banish our birthmarks and blemishes, for fear of being branded freaks, when it would be far more chic to swap that out with unique. I wonder what Lord Byron would say. Actually hold that thought for a jiffy, let me just try and channel the old geezer through verse.
It’s insane to go pointing the finger of blame; when imperfections are simply part of the game. Some view their flaws as a crying shame, but wherever is the shame in crying? Tell me if I’m prying but what I’m implying is that life is too damned short to waste time denying. Wire me up to your truth machine and you’ll see I’m not lying.
Lord Byron xoxo
A little rusty perhaps but the sentiment still stands I feel. Moreover, I do believe we just shared something truly intimate together. You see, my inner poet doesn’t know it, or at least, I’m far less inclined to show it. The fact that I feel cosy enough in your presence to bust out one of my wonky limericks speaks volumes for the company I keep and acceptance I feel. Suddenly I’m the furthest of cries from a closed book and open to the point where it could easily be deemed excessive. I’ll always rein it in where necessary, of course, as there is such a thing as too much intimacy. But I want every last address to feel personal, like it was written for you and you only. It just feels right given that I’m at my most luxuriant when writing. Whatever distance is between us dwindles when I put pen to paper; making a mockery of suggestion that your dearest must also be nearest. Perhaps this would’ve been true back in the days of dial-up internet and walkie-talkies but I’m thrilled to report that we’ve come rather a long way since then, at least technologically.
Social networks may seem like the last place on earth to be intimate but the majority of my closest friends have been amassed from these platforms and some of my most cherished interactions have played out on the likes of Twitter. My case in point is this – the other day, while feeling some way less than chipper, I happened across a tweet from somebody I’d never met before purely by chance and it reminded me that there is no such thing as an accident. The stranger in question was requesting prayers for the family of her dear friend Jerica, who had taken her life barely four months previous, and I hit retweet the very second I’d finished reading this short, sweet sermon. Before I knew it, we were engaged in conversation and this glorious soul then made an observation that instantly returned my glass to half full. After commenting that she’d seen my light and confirming it to be bright, she proceeded to drop some science.
“Til my dying breath I will raise awareness for those who have lost their way in the darkness also for those who are still here but lost in the dark as well. Don’t lose your light, keep shining it.” Ashley 🌹
There were numerous reasons to feel cheerful upon receipt of this response. Firstly, this mission statement matches my own to a tee, as I swiftly went on to inform her. Secondly, the timing couldn’t have been more impeccable as my flame was indeed in mid-flicker at the time and it was like she had sensed this and rushed to my aid. Thirdly, I’d fashioned a complete stranger into a bona fide friend and I’ll never reach capacity in that department. And last, but by no means least, the dense fog around me had now lifted as if by magic. But it was the fact that my new friend had channeled her sorrow into a gift so utterly precious that had my fins flapping this day and I don’t need to have met Jerica to know that she played a key role in the transaction from her heavenly perch. That night, just before bedtime as I’d pledged, I lit a solitary candle in her honor. Then I strolled out into the garden, looked up into the night sky, found the one star that twinkled brighter than any other, and renamed it Jerica.
It felt good gazing skyward as opposed to between the pavement cracks as has been way too customary in the past. Better yet, I’d achieved a level of closeness with another that I simply hadn’t seen coming. We have a tendency to search for ulterior motives in such circumstances; when it’s far more rewarding an exchange if we just trust our guts and roll with it. I’m still of the opinion that the good people of this world far outweigh the bad and this unsolicited interaction is living, breathing proof that my theory holds weight. Sincerity really isn’t all that hard to spot, particularly when your own intentions are kosher. Only recently, I almost came a cropper when lending myself to the cause of a London-based events company in the process of expansion. Things were going great guns until I met one of the shareholders in person and sensed the deceit in his tone. Instantly my passion for this project dissipated and, a few days later, I very respectfully bowed out of the operation. He never even sent a response.
If money was any real object to me, then I wouldn’t be midway through “The Lost Art of Intimacy” and preparing to let my pretty fly free and for zero monetary gain. Let’s not heckle the heathen just yet, I wish this young entrepreneur and his team well in their future endeavors and feel stronger as a result of overcoming such a bitter disappointment at a critical time during my recovery. But I’m not about to become an impenetrable fortress of suspicion on account of one bum steer into the brambles. When all is said and done, we were the wrong fit for one another and I appreciate my work ethic is considerably different from your average go-getter. Being a creative by birthright, there has to be intimacy and I’m way too far down the rose trail of absolution to place my eggs in some young rapscallion’s get rich quick basket. Roosting ain’t easy you know and I have a duty to ensure that any proceeds go to a good home, not some Cockney Herbert’s back pocket so he can perish in a freak jet ski accident in Barbados before he’s even reached his mid-twenties. Jog on Junior, I’ve got real intimacy to be getting down to.
Would you raise objection if I were to dim the lights at this point? You see, it just occurred to me that we haven’t actually got up close and personal yet. How can I possibly rattle on about intimacy without taking things to the touch? While I find the notion that men think of sex every seven seconds utterly appalling (not to mention ultimately unfounded); it took me less than that to appreciate that sensuality would eventually cum into play in a rant about feeling. Two to tango remember and this also happens to be the requisite for some good old-fashioned headboard thwacking so I say we get straight to those shivers and quivers. Of course, I can’t and won’t be leaving it up to Barry White and a Rohypnol chaser to set the mood, not when shit is so set to get intimate. If we’re going to make some sweet sweat together, then it seems only right that the first move comes from yours truly. And if it’s true what they say discharging around 4.3 trillion sperms in their lifetime; then I’ve got a fair few fuck sessions to catch up on.
With 2017 currently preparing to draw to a close, I’m not altogether thrilled to report that my copulation count for this calendar year is sitting on a big-boned zilch. This entire twelve-month period has been one long arid flat. As far as statistics go, there’s a decidedly dour one for you, and it’s not looking good for Team Intimacy if a sexual no-show is all I can muster. This isn’t to suggest that I haven’t felt the slow burn of desire during that dry spell; so much so that I’ve come across light-headed and began gurning like an infant. But real intimacy doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual or our motives geared towards ulterior. Indeed, I’d take a warm cuddle over hot sex nine times out of ten and it’d be a clean sweep if I had any intention of pronouncing myself a eunuch. We’re not there yet but, if there’s one thing this year has taught me (other than the ancient knack of tantra), then it would be the true value of friendship. Have you ever ejaculated mentally? It only takes one random act of kindness to get my toes curling and there’s nothing whatsoever sordid about such transactions. Oh good grief, I am a eunuch aren’t I?
Fuck it (or not to fuck it as the case may be), I don’t need notches on my bed post to tell me intimacy is very much alive and well in my neck of the woods. After four straight years of seemingly terminal numbness, I can honestly say that 2017 has been positively jam-packed with feeling. Granted, life has offered a number of gentle reminders that it still sucks for a living, but I know approximately 3 trillion unspent sperms who will take gladly this news on the chin. As long as I can carry on doing what I do in 2018, then intimacy will be an absolute shoo-in. And if that doesn’t get those knees trembling, then I’m evidently in the wrong hole.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017