Friday, July 02, 2010

desire & recognition

How does desire take place between us? How do we become aware of it, in one another, for one another? How does desire arise – as eruption, disruption, constituted meaning, expression? How can I recognize desire in your look? What is shown to me in your look? How does your gaze, your face, your posture, even in concealing itself, reveal desire? How do I know how to look for it? (Why do I look for it? Why do I look for it in your gaze, your face, and your posture?)

[The following is based on a true story. The names have been - well, omitted - because it's not really relevant to the story. You can use your own name and the name of your sweetie, if you like, and see if this works for you. I'd like to know, either way, because of what I'm trying to identify. Those who know this story about me, personally, and know who was involved, will know who was involved and what happened next. Those who don't, won't. So there.]

[This also deals mainly with the visual aspect of recognizing desire. I think mutual desire of sighted people very often begins there, so I think that's an okay place to start. Caveat: the gazing, looking, etc., of this description should be taken as metaphorical. We also recognize desire in gesture, in words, in scents, and of course in touch.]

[Oh, and the next post will probably be about whisky.]

I caught sight of something in your eyes, something that momentarily paused my scanning gaze. I was looking for something, scanning inquiringly, but asking a different question. That’s perhaps what I noticed – that something else was expressed in your eyes, in your face, than in others, or in the space around. That moment of pause founded a space, itself, between and enveloping us.

And then, another time, I saw that something, or something like it, again. And again, as our gazes crossed one another, that space was founded. Again, and again. I started to wonder about this expression and this space between us, asking about its meaning, and whether the meaning that I seemed to find there was real – that is, whether it was a genuine and shared meaning, whether how it seemed to mean to me was how it meant to you. My look began to ask that question, to propose it as a meaning, tentatively suggesting to you: “Are you not, just a bit, like me, charmed?” (That’s how I recall this feeling. I recall also that it felt like something shockingly intimate was happening. Other people were around. Did they see it too? Or was I only imagining it after all?... But I know that I wasn’t imagining it; the facts are in by now.)

This meaning, this charm, how did it get there? How was it founded in these crossing looks? I suppose I could get at this by asking who looked first. I’m suspicious of that move, though, because I think it’s a chicken-and-egg question. The looks took place, is the more appropriate description of my experience. Still, where, in the looks themselves, or elsewhere, beyond, behind, beneath, and how, and through what auspices, was this mutual affection founded?

I know now, also, that our affinity grew, that succeeding looks, succeeding words, became more meaningful. The look became, as we sometimes say, “knowing.” Then, I think, it started to become evident to others. (I know it did. The facts are in.) They saw it, too – this shared emerging meaning between and enveloping us, that we both made efforts to conceal. Our efforts were clumsy, too cautious, posed indifference that was obviously affected.

How do we come to desire one another? How do our individual, inquiring looks become the shared meaning? I want to say, our expressions meet one another and find their partner in expression, find an expression to attach to or join with. I looked for your eyes to ask me what I was asking with my look, and couldn’t help my eyes widening at the sight of yours, couldn’t help myself being caught in your gaze – and for that instant, I forgot everything.

Even though, at the time, neither of us was sure, nor even really believed that we were heading this direction, we continued to express our inchoate, tacit, inquiring, tentative desire for one another: “Is this pleasing to you? Do I present to you a lovely aspect? Do you see what I would give to you?” The look asks: slightly wider eyes, which turn brighter from reflecting light, and thus shine or twinkle at one another (which is also, of course, charming); our faces open, and perhaps our lips part, just slightly. We seem to catch sight of these expressions of inquiry, and imagine, or guess, what they are asking. Meanwhile our own faces also ask.

Turning our regard turns us as well, toward one another. When we face one another it is not only as faces, after all – we turn embodied looks to one another, and the space of those looks envelopes our bodies. The space of desire has its own field of energy – so we call attraction “magnetic” and the energy of desire “electric” and so forth – a field of meaning whose energy is produced through our expression and perception. It is also uniquely our energy, which I think we also know from being with various couples and feeling the energy they themselves produce, and being able to distinguish it from others, from our own, etc. At first, too, this new energy is jolting, just because it is new, or because recognizing desire shocks us.

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