A Fetishist Theory of Love (A Short Story)

She does not mind being called a fetishist. But what bores her stiff are theorists of love. Eroticism is the only word that excites her—the way rosemary or oils would excite others, she clings to simple French phrases like ménage à trios (in her more athletic moods), Où puis-je acheter la gelée de lubrifiant? (when the normal amount of lubrication just won’t do), and in her more vulnerable moments she likes Je bande pour toi (this one is better left to the imagination!).

Expository work on the part of a lover she equates with infidelity and impotence. Silence she thinks better of.
She likes when people tell her that she looks like Brigitte Bardot, because it means she and her potential mate have already had prior meetings through magazine covers and movies and that the man is already disposed to fantasize about her. She is the French equivalent of a Marilyn Monroe, or a female version of James Dean. The translation is not quite perfect however because Bardot stands for liberation and female self-assurance as well as sexuality.

The man she talks to on her way back to her apartment gives her this compliment and she can’t help but think erotic thoughts and sleep with him, but also because he leaves the need to expound on the bedside next to his cloths and has come prepared with a godemichet (dildo!) a supplement to his already large bitte (penis!).

In the historical novels she writes, Paris is the capital of debauchery. Love exists in every café, peasant’s flat, market place, noble estate, fairground. Love is the nineteen-century version of the black plague in her novels. Young schoolboys find their first sexual encounters with prostitutes who have wonderfully exaggerated features; hearts of gold; they are bountiful from their bosoms to their sense of humor to their love for the amorous (tautologically taut as the back side of a young Christopher Atkins); but she knows the romantic tradition is a literary one only.

The man she is with has a pension for revolutionary thought, which seems to complicate the more erotic moments with him. Keen on Women’s Liberation, his lips talk with an upright élan that his loins cannot keep up with. And her frustration grows from one purely sexual to one that is slightly political. The French history of debauchery is rooted in this tendency to confuse love with politics—but she is not confused. What she wants is dictator who will emasculate those whose libidinal interest lay solely in the need for revolution.

When she writes her historical romances she refuses the need to make her characters share her frustration for political men. Instead, she writes her men as she thinks they ought to be, and not the way they really are, which is: oaf-like, incompetent, disposed to say phrases like “I want above all else a woman who is clean” in the company of others (even when man himself is not a clean animal). These so called men are so far from the ideal that she often questions how a woman can maintain one for more than a day or two.

Even the men who compare her to Brigitte Bardot have their shortcomings; but usually not, if they can restrain themselves to these kind of flattering analogies, clean themselves regularly, and if they can avoid the need for revolutionary speech.

This one does not. Besides being a revolutionary, he smells bad.

On the other hand, the dilettante across the street is no better than the revolutionary, for he has no idea of French culture but instead nurses himself on the musings of western civilization’s cultural capital America. Although they both live in small flats located squarely in French territory, his imagination is routed in America. The American cinema is his Mass. And his missionary work is a crude imitation of Donald Duck. His charm was not so much of the erotic as it was of convenience. Proximity was his charm. Still, he talked too much: on the nature of love or whatever else was floating in his head. He talked of an American cinema that, to her, had become imperialistic over the last half-century. Above all he was missing the je me’en foutisme’ of the revolutionary on everyday matters. Buttering a slice of bread was this man’s revolution, watching television or comparing his early struggles in life to the gritty urban reality of Black Americans when he was born in a relatively well-to-do Paris family. And where the bed was concerned no cannons roared for the greater good of sexual liberation.

After her second book in so many months, she begins to have an aching sensation in her fingers from the typing. She meets the doctor’s son by accident on her way out of her appointment. He is a seducer from the beginning: handsome and athletic, puerile and naïve about the ways of the world. Esoteric interests are of no concern for him, but in lovemaking he is an eccentric. So when he claims no great cause, and makes no foolhearted attempts to woo with the sounds of Donald Duck, she finally accepts him as her own and makes a fetish out of his figure: hair, fingers, nails, curvatures, all. Brigitte Bardot does not enter his lips, nor does he speculate about things that are above him. Without knowing it, he is an Erotic. And thus she keeps his body close by, because, without it, she fears she would write more books in the language of American cinema and suffer from dreams of the revolutionary speeches of conservative lovers. As she was apt to say, she always enjoyed being a fetishist, and above all she enjoys reticence from her lovers; that and a big godemichet.

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