Imperfect bodies needed: for kink and for life
During my freshman year of college, our biology class went on a trip to a medical school to examine dissected cadavers after the medical students had finished with them. This was a unique privilege, as our professor knew someone at the school and got us special access to these bodies so that we could put a hands-on approach to learning into action. Later in the semester, we also dissected cats and frogs and fertilized chicken eggs in different stages of development. We were looking for clues to life, death and the processes in between.
As I poked around in the body of an old woman and then an old man lying on the cold laboratory tables, lifting kneecaps to reveal metal and plastic, hip joints similarly unwrapped to expose replaced parts these bodies seemed a lifetime away from me. Totally foreign at first, not just because they were dead but old. Opening the woman’s abdomen, I saw her worn-out uterus, missing ovaries — on the man a similar fate had befallen his gonads. We lifted the skull and saw the aneurysm on her brain, opening his chest we saw the heart attack that felled him. Looking under the hood as it were, upon these vehicles which had served to transport them through this life I thought: this is not a contest to see who can arrive on the gurney with the best-preserved body.
You might not know it from our culture of constant aesthetic improvement, but I’m here to tell you: “Drive it like it’s a rental, baby!” to quote an ex of mine. He used to encourage me to step on the gas when I often too timidly attempted to merge onto a busy highway or entered an intersection. I remember him also saying with his dry and subtle humor if a drop of food landed on a shirt, or some other common experience of accidental sullying: “That’s why we can’t have nice things.”
We are here to receive marks upon us. We need evidence of our encounters with the world. After all, none of us is going to get out alive, so how shall we live? Timidly? Fearfully? Cautiously? Take away the layer of clothing to protect us from the sullying effects of life itself, and we are left with our bodies, the vehicles of our kinky experiences. Whether a physical bruise visible to the eye or a psychological imprint… we are in this to encounter one another. One body encounters another, and something will happen. On…