She’d leaned in close, clearly no longer wanting to only listen to records that evening in my college dorm room. Her lost-kitten eyes intent, she airily half-whispered, simply, perfectly, “Love me…”
My first naive thought: “But… I already do!!!” As I rejoiced to imagine my deepest secret feelings actually sought, perhaps even shared, her gaze held fast, unreleasing. Suddenly, her meaning crystallized…
A surreal rush flooded me, equal parts disbelief, anticipation and full-on anxiety. In that singular moment, I knew I had to confess. Even if it changed her mind.
“But,” I hear myself blurt out, “I’ve never made love to a woman before.”
I’m death-groaning inside, aghast at how supremely stupid I’d just sounded, beyond certain I’ve disappointed. Undistracted, she smiles gently, then sure and matter-of-fact, replies:
“Just do what comes naturally.”
Still 40 years later, it almost echoes in my mind: “Just do what comes naturally… Just do what comes naturally…”
Here’s the thing. I’m still trying to figure out what that even is… entirely.
What comes naturally to someone culturally socialized since childhood to know that, owing to gender alone, he’s sexually valueless and suspect? What springs naturally from a once-young, budding psyche, trained and pained to feel somehow innately awful, clearly designed the far less worthy gift than the fairer sexes and better halves?
“Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another,” Madonna purrs in Justify My Love. For all its ring of truth, Madonna’s “poor” man, in my case, wears an indoctrinated, unnatural poverty, lacking illumination to honorably shed and transcend. Just where was the inhibition exit again? It’s all but lost in the shadows.
I recall like yesterday feeling so shamed by an otherwise kindly old kindergarten teacher. Lying on the floor, I’d shifted a bit for a peek up a classmate’s dress in natural curiosity of any possible physical differences (since confirmed).