Slut & Sensitivity (That Idiot Heart)

The first time I masturbated, it was a revelation.

I don’t remember how old I was or how I knew to do it, but it happened in the middle of the night. Between the delicious folds of blanket and darkness, I learned that a body could make itself feel good. A body could experience relief.

Growing up, I was never told that it was okay for me to be me. I was spoken at but never with. And although I was deaf, it seemed like I was making more of an effort to listen in than those much vaunted hearers around me. They required zero hearing devices in order to hear, but they also gave zero fucks about what anybody else was saying, least of all me.

That was how I learned to save my breath. If none could be bothered to listen, then it was pointless to speak. So I became proficient in the art of passive observation, dwelling deferentially at the fringes of social interaction. I’d close my mouth and lean in, vainly trying to discern individual voices within the cacophony, and reading body language for further clues as to what was being said. I learned to react to mannerisms, facial cues and perceived emotional states with little more than inference and favour currying nods. But really, I had no part to play in any of it. I might as well have been a no-show, for I was invisible.

And so it was that I became the unseen fluffer at the gloryhole of egos. I made myself utterly compliant, inoffensive—bland even. However, being so attentive and doggedly amenable meant that I was only hurting myself in the end. I was enabling others to self-medicate and preen at my expense. I ‘gave good head’, but I was also complicit in losing track of who I was and could have become. Still, none of this prevented me from feeling inside. And I would continue to feel everything.

I felt so much that I learned to hide it out of shame. I hid my face which is horribly asymmetric—that’s why I grew my hair long. I also learned to hide my deformed hands—that’s what pockets are for. Then I learned to hide my voice in silence. And if I absolutely had to speak, I made sure to drape that in shame too. On no account was I ever to feel good about me. And nothing was about me unless others deigned it so. If I wasn’t outright ignored, I was bullied, pitied or used, and tossed aside.

This made me a prime candidate for religious conversion, I think. When I was willingly recruited into the christian subculture, I thought I’d finally found my tribe. I hadn’t, after all, found it anywhere else, not even within the relative normalcy of my own family. I’d made myself complaisant in the extreme for anyone who’d stop and take notice, but this hardly mattered when all was said and done, and it hardly improved my lot. I still simply could not manage to fit in—not anywhere—to find a meaningful foothold within the swell of humanity to which I was desperate to belong. No wonder I was drawn to christianity’s promises of unconditional love and acceptance!

But even in church I’d not belong, for the qualities that supposedly made me special soon became sin that had to be rooted out. It was classic bait and switch. Reel me in with what I’d hoped was real only to find that I was inhabiting the worst place possible for dignity to thrive. I wasn’t to have long hair. Black clothes were an issue, as was my taste in heavy metal music. Oh, and no more wallowing in depression for I had nothing to be legitimately sad about. Salvation was mine, so what exactly was the problem?

I became painfully aware that my innermost thoughts and feelings were nothing more than a nest of demons to my better brethren. And my desires? They were a definitive no-no. I was allowed to be everybody else’s fluffer, but no masturbation for me. I could literally gag for christ’s coming but I wasn’t permitted to seek relief at my own hands. Feel good and burn in hell, or be in emotional agony and somehow ascend to heaven. The choice was mine.

So, like the dutiful fluffer I was, I knowingly participated in this dehumanising game of being shammed and shamed. I dropped to my knees and gave them my all. It was more than mere lip service. It was the full performance. I even spoke in tongues for them. I swallowed absolutely everything—not a dribble or drop was lost—but when it became clear that I wasn’t working out, the true believers zipped themselves up and ditched me on the side of a road less travelled.

It feels like I’ve been hungry since the dawn of time, gobbling to be seen, wanted, explored. But none can keep up with this voracious appetite for connection. It isn’t possible. For as long as I can remember, I’ve necessarily been made an option at best, a non entity at worst, but usually something to be avoided somewhere between. It’s had to be this way. People simply don’t last long in my presence. How could they?

I recall a childhood friend telling me one time—outside the main school gate—just where on his impossibly long list of buddies I fell. Towards the end as it happened. That wasn’t good enough for me, and so we never spoke again after that, opting instead to occupy different parts of the playground at recess. Everyone leaves. Or I leave first so I won’t be the one who gets hurt. But this never works. I’m always getting myself hurt, and I’m always hurting others. I don’t mean to.

I desperately wanted to date, but never did. I didn’t have the balls. I wasn’t a real man; my face was all wrong, and I had nothing else with which to impress the girls. Youth and possibility were flowering everywhere I looked, damn them, and I was a withered old bud before my time. I was going nowhere fast. So, I learned to stand still and be alone, and loneliness would become the theme that underpinned my life. I was never an introvert by choice. Genetics and circumstance forced me into that mould. It’s one that I’ve tried—unsuccessfully—to break out of since.

This is why I’ve had to discover pleasure on my own. I never did quite understand what it was I was feeling. No one guided me through this. I only knew that it felt good, that it made me feel human, and that I shouldn’t be doing it. For reasons that no one ever adequately explained, masturbation was branded a highly transgressive act, and yet… I couldn’t stop. Not even when my mother caught me in bed making love to my pillow. She never could look at me the same after that, and we sure as hell never talked about it. I wish we had. I might have found some answers. Some guidance perhaps. And I possibly wouldn’t be so fucked up now.

So, I grew up, a burning hot hormonal mess that wanted to fuck every girl in every room. But suicidal ideation, unrequited horniness and acne would be my only bedfellows. I never got used to girls, and I became the teen that time forgot. It was left to me to make myself feel good, to do more of the thing that only I could do on my own, to self-medicate. The world outside would make me feel truly utterly awful, and when I finally couldn’t take any more, I’d retreat to my room and masturbate. And then the shame. And then the crying. Where did I learn that seeking relief was so bad? Why was it such a crime? Why did I always have to feel like shit? Why was that the law?

The number of women I’ve been with can be counted on the hand with no thumb, with fingers to spare. I know well enough to be grateful to them. They were loving, sensitive, and they took great care with me. I, unfortunately, was crap and needy. I just wanted to feel good, and I wanted them to feel good so that I wouldn’t feel like I was just taking. I hope they felt good. I’m not adept at feeling pleasure—sexual or otherwise—in the company of others, so it can be extremely confronting when I see others sharing pleasure so freely.

The sad truth is, I fail at lovemaking. There is no getting around that. One of the most intimate connections I could ever share in life quickly becomes an onerous task that I simply cannot deal with. When the women I worship most willingly open themselves to me, I can scarcely believe it. My mind simply will not accept that this good thing is happening. I cannot possibly deserve this, so I choke up, I go numb, and my dick goes down. And they’re left genuinely wondering if the fault lies with them. (Is this why I prefer foreplay?)

Neediness is the engine that drives me. I’m empty on my own. I need other egos around me, spilling themselves over me, filling me up like I’m a one dollar whore. Hell, they can degrade me if it means I’ll have their attention for a while. (Can you see how fucked up I am?) Show me a little kindness and I’m tempted to fall in love with you, for mine is not a monogamous heart. Nope, my heart is a glutton and an idiot. It’s a total starving slut. And I will be your slut… if you let me.

I still masturbate, though this no longer enchants as it once did. The shininess has rubbed off, one could say, and relief has left the room. I’m not permitted to be a burden on others, but I am required to be the graveyard for all that imbues me, for I am a dead end. That is my function. Naturally, my idiot heart doesn’t comprehend this—or desperately doesn’t want to—and so it continues to inhabit the fringes, waiting, hoping, hungry for a tidbit of connection.

I’m ashamed of my emotions. I’m ashamed of the things they make me want to do just to connect. I’m ashamed of being a fluffer and a slut. A sexless masturbator. An echo of a dream. Am I just a thing pretending to be human?

Idiot heart, your narrative needs to change.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

GUEST POST // If the Tables Were Turned by Jane Paterson Basil

Please tell me, what would you do
if you were confined in a zoo
and all of the animals
from lizards to camels
strolled around pointing at you?

Now tell me, how would you feel,
if you were encased behind steel
while the chimpanzees
watched your antics with glee
and laughed at you eating your meal?

So, what if the tables were turned?
It’s time the corrupted ones learned
just like human beings
those creatures have feelings
and all of us should be concerned.

Inspired by the Government’s recent faux pas (how’s that for an understatement?) over the sentience of animals.

 

by JANE PATERSON BASIL
© All rights reserved 2017

As I Went Out One Morning

Thomas Paine tried to usher in the Age of Reason. Hippies tried to usher in the Age of Aquarius. Then came me. All I can do is age.

I am filled with false hope at the moment. This might be due to the fact that the day is still young and nothing bad has happened yet. I feel like I’m trying not to be fucked up. Really, truly, I do. And I’m trying not to fuck up by fucking others up.

On any given day I feel like I’ve smashed myself on the rocks of indifference, like I’ve lashed myself to the wrong mast with the wrong sail and then headed off in the wrong direction. I’ve crashed into a lonely desert island, and am about to slide from the brine-slicked crags to vanish over the waterfall at world’s end. But today? Today, so far, I feel pretty alright.

It was in my teens that I made a terrible discovery. I discovered that a man could cry. That man was my father. His tears were for my mother’s brother. I’d entered the room to find him laid out on his bed, hands pressed over his eyes as if to hold them in. Really, he was only trying to hold in the pain. It seemed an unconscious act of self preservation, as if to prevent pain itself from seeping out and consuming him. But it was already too late. My father’s face was wet with tears and loss had clearly eaten him up from the inside. It was a powerful moment that unearthed deep, unspeakable things within me. I became afraid of dropping into that abyss at the edge of the earth.

Johnny Cash once sang about a man who couldn’t cry. The man had been like that for as long as he could remember, and when he finally did cry it rained for forty days and forty nights. Then he dehydrated and died. Then his family, friends and associates began to fall victim to horrific happenings and in some cases met a tragic demise. Is this really how it is if a man dares to cry? The world falls apart? Everything comes undone?

Okay, now it’s beginning to feel like the last days again, and hope is waning… but of course it would. It’s false. And time marches on, goose stepping like a hateful Nazi over the memories of once held dreams, over my carefully buried hopes and fears. I’ve learned not to cry in the presence of others but it isn’t always easy to be so scrupulously contained. Sometimes you cry in the worst place at the worst possible time. We’re not all machines. It just happens and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Let’s face it, the older I get the more emotional triggers I find. Take right now for example. I’m walking past a church sign that says we’re ‘too blessed to be stressed’. It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a gun. Not that I’d use it. Not really. I’d just think about those self-righteous godomites and get myself all twisted up and spiteful inside. And then I’d slink away to take a Pepto-Bismol or two. Or three. Hell, guns make me nervous anyway.

No, it’s far better to dwell on other things. Happy things. Like puddles. Look, there’s one now. My very own sky hole in the ground. I could just step off and drop through to the clouds beyond if I wanted to. It’s the lure of transcendence. I fall for it every time. Who needs to get on a boat to disappear? Just do this. Only… well…

…I can’t.

Not really. Damn reality in all its bloody-minded literalness! God fucking damn!

Sigh.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016

Oops!… We Did It Again (up-sell me)

Erm… hullo there. (This is rather awkward…)

Dear Reader, the stuff that was originally posted here has been removed.

We have done this because said stuff has since been included in one of our published books. We hope you’ll believe us when we say we’re not trying to be stingy. No, this has been done to honour the people who have already spent their hard-earned money on our eBook creations.*

If, however, for some reason you’re unable to buy one of our books, and feel you’ll die without seeing this piece of writing, then please contact us via admin@unbolt.me. We won’t allow our Dear Readers to fade away in the dark. We’ll send you the piece in question, and it will be absolutely free. All you need do is ask.

* Of course, we would be like two happy puppies if you too decided to buy one of our books.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016-2018

Bob Dylan and the Crabs of Fortitude

Bob Dylan opined once. Hell, lots of people do that but because it’s Dylan everybody listens. Actually, he’s opined quite a few times in his long life. He’s probably still doing it now—Dawkins bless him—into a cup of warm cocoa by a roaring fireplace. (Fireplaces roar apparently. Fuck knows why.) So, anyway, what did he specifically opine about once upon a specific time? I’m getting to that. Just gotta find these quotation marks first. Ah! Here we go…

“I change during the course of a day. I wake and I’m one person, and when I go to sleep I know for certain I’m somebody else.”

Imagine if that second X had been a Y. Growing up, I could have been on the receiving end of a clenched fist had my sister been a mister. She was much kinder to me than a same sex sibling would have been. Of course, like anybody she’s not perfect, but if I list those imperfections here then I’m bound to get killed in my sleep. (Okay, not really.) Hullo, sis! (Erm, you can put that horse head down now…)

I’ve been surrounded by women my whole life. Well, to a much greater degree than men anyway. Back in my dim, distant, whiny teen phase, I remember being frightened by women, and wanting to be that rock that Simon and Garfunkel sang about so that their womanly charms wouldn’t rattle me. I craved a masculine kind of strength, a certain degree of stoic, macho immovability in the face of their distressingly compelling… well, womanliness. I wanted to be rooted deep in myself. (Boy, that sounds so wrong.)

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I didn’t become this ‘ideal’. Rather, I became a tumbleweed rolling from scene to bewildering scene, trying to figure out its place in the choking dustbowl of life, and tangling uselessly around the ankles of women who were infinitely more accomplished at life than I could ever be.

I’m what some might call ‘an oversensitive, mewling nancy boy’. As far as they’re concerned, I’m like a vegetarian spider pretending to be a real spider that’s secretly going by the drag name of ‘Bambina’ at the local titty bar. The fact is, they don’t have the measure of me at all. Sure, I’ve had people call me a fugly bush pig, but oversensitive? Come on now! Really, what they’re saying is, “You’re male. Don’t have feelings. If you do, you’re a girl.” But I have to ask… what’s wrong with being a girl, and since when did ‘girl’ become a pejorative? Oh, that’s right. Since always. Thanks, mankind. You’re progressive as all fuck. I’ll take my cues on how to live life from you, shall I?

Look, if having feelings—and, heaven forfend, showing them—makes me a girl then I’m proud to be so. At least female kind is in touch with its feelings. We men have missed a trick there. Women, collectively speaking, have got a rich, full, inner life going on that society by and large tries to quash. Fortunately, they’re more resilient than that, and are soft and curvy and bouncelicious enough to squeeze out of most attempts at subduing them. Yes, women can be subjugated but never ever subdued!

In this crazy, bizarro world that’s pathologically scared of them owning their own bodies and speaking their own minds, it’s still exhaustingly common for women to be treated as little more than brainless pommel horses to be ridden hard into the ground. Ugh! (And before anybody says I clearly must be a white-knighting, wowserish tart-arse who hates rumpy pumpy, lemme just say I’m no such thi… oh, never mind. I couldn’t be arsed.)

Frankly, I’m glad of all the women who have walked through my life. My best teacher was a woman. My best boss was a woman. My best friend is a woman. Hell, even my wife is a woman! How cool is that? I feel like women ‘get’ me more than most men. It’s that magical ‘woman’s touch’ that makes me want to be a better man. And although I’m not half the man I ought to be, I still wouldn’t be half the man I am now if it weren’t for that touch.

And that touch on my life continues. It reminds me that it’s okay to have feelings. It reminds me that I can cry when needed, that it’s not a peachy outcome when everyone sees me as an aggressive, heartless knob head. And, more importantly, it reminds me that demanding undying fealty from the nearest chick with an amazing rack and then bludgeoning her to death on the carpet when she doesn’t give me access to her vagina is simply not on. It’s good for us all to be reminded of stuff like that even though we shouldn’t need reminding.

So, yeah, this morning when I got out of bed Dylan’s words were doing a lazy little breaststroke through my brain. In fact, there would’ve been a spring in my step had I not been contemplating what a fraud I am by society’s warped standards regarding manhood. But then I considered what my wife would say about being a man. Actually, she has said it, and many times. So has Tati. So has any woman I’ve ever cared about and looked up to. So then I found myself becoming a little less clear on the not-really-a-man thing. No, I am indeed a man. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just a biological fact. I’m a little ambiguous about the details sometimes but at least I don’t ever have to be what somebody else demands of me.

One of my fondest memories is from when I was a small child. It’s as golden as the beach I stood on before a special something entered the scene. One moment there was sand. The next moment there were crabs. They roamed around me in their hundreds—perhaps their thousands—going who knows where. They scuttled with purpose. They weren’t afraid of me and I wasn’t afraid of them. We just happened to be sharing the same space and time.

I want to be a man like that again.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016