nolongerinbetween

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I’m always on the lookout for smart people. But when it comes to sex intellect is immaterial to me. I don’t need my partners to be smart for a simple roll in the hay. If they know what the law of the excluded middle entails it’s all great but, at the end of the day, I don’t care if their inferential machine is completely out of order. They are not there to trade in logic, to recite from Dante or to talk about the distinction between induction and deduction in epistemology. They are there because they have a body I happen to like. It’s great if all that comes with a nice personality and a smart brain as well but it’s not a requirement whatsoever. A nice body will do just fine.

More and more people nowadays pretend to be sapiosexual. In most cases they are not. They might be drawn, admittedly, to smart people and have an appreciation for brains, amongst many other things, but that, in itself, doesn’t make them sapiosexuals. Just finding intelligence sexy is not enough. You need to always value mind over body, brain over looks, spirit over matter. You need to fall for someone’s mind and turn all that brilliance into eroticism. You need to transcend your bodycentrism that evolution installed at the core of your sexual drive. You need to transcend your inherent somatocentrism with its privileging of sight over other senses in constructing your reality to qualify as one. Looking from such a narrow perspective I don’t think I have ever met a genuine sapiosexual other than a girlfriend I had recently and myself when I was a teenager and engrossed with brilliance.

However, like I said, that is a thing of the past. Having sexual intercourse with Einstein is no longer my thing. You can now be a complete moron and I will still have my way with you, providing I like you physically. But there is a catch and this is the reason why my last sexual encounter turned into a disaster and why I’m rambling over it now. I don’t have a problem with someone being stupid as long as I don’t have to witness that stupidity. I don’t care if you think the Earth is flat if you keep that to yourself and take your clothes off. It’s none of my business how smart or stupid someone is and as long as you don’t make your stupidity my problem we are cool. Keep your mouth shut and everything will be fine, the birds and the bees will go about their pollination business. Open your mouth, in a non-sexual way (blush), and it’s quite likely you’ll kill my sexual mojo. And this is what happened with my last date that went south. He opened his mouth trying to prove his worth. He wanted a bit of chit-chat over a glass of wine and ended up feeling threatened by my confidence and cogent argumentation. I knew I wasn’t there to burst his bubble but I’m done being apologetic for outsmarting people around me. He then started talking nonsense in the usual passive-aggressive way people use when challenged, digging himself into an even deeper hole trying to find a way out. And boy, did I roll my eyes like a broken doll. Properly harnessed that could have been used to generate electricity and power an entire village. At some point it did cross my mind to spare him, to curb my perplexity and save the night but the genie of his inanity was already out of the bottle. No matter how great was his body I could no longer ignore his defected mind and his nonsensical discourse. He made his stupidity my problem. I threw my hands up in despair, packed my things and saw myself out. There I was, in bed with a hunk who wanted me, being screwed by my brain instead. Fuuuuck my brain. If I had known when I was a child that smartness will ruin my sexual life I would have dropped school. What’s the point of being smarter if we reproduce and multiply at a lower rate than our idiotic counterparts. No wonder we are outnumbered. We are outrun at passing our genes.

And now what? Do I need to date only smart people? Do I need to date speech impaired ones to avoid the warming-up conversation? Do I need to shush them when we meet up? Do I need condoms for my ears as well? Do I need to get stupid to get laid? The amount of trouble and compromise smart people have to go through for a shag is staggering. Aaargh, another reason not to be smart – it ruins your sexual life. It causes coitus interruptus before any foreplay even starting…

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( “Foreskin’s Lament” – Shalom Auslander – 2009, Picador )

When I was a child, my parents and teachers told me about a man in the sky who was very strong. They told me He could destroy the whole world. They told me He could lift mountains. They told me He could part the sea. It was important to keep the man happy. When we obeyed what the man had commanded, the man liked us. He liked us so much that He killed anyone who didn’t like us. But when we didn’t obey what He had commanded, He didn’t like us. He hated us. Some days He hated us so much, He killed us; other days, He let other people kill us. We call these days “holidays”. On Purim, we remembered how the Persians tried to kill us. On Passover, we remembered how the Egyptians tried to kill us. On Chanukah, we remembered how the Greeks tried to kill us.

As bad as these punishments could be, they were nothing compared to the punishments meted out to us by the man himself. Then there would be famines. Then there would be floods. Then there would be furious vengeance. Hitler might have killed the Jews, but this man drowned the world.

*

I wonder sometimes if we suffer from a metaphysical form of Stockholm syndrome. Held captive by this Man for thousands of years, we now praise Him, defend Him, excuse Him, sometimes kill for Him, an army of Squeaky Frommes swearing allegiance to their Charlie in the sky. My relationship with God has been an endless cycle not of the celebrated “faith followed by doubt,” but of appeasement followed by revolt; placation followed by indifference; please, please, please, followed by fuck it, fuck it, fuck it. I do not keep Sabbath or pray three times a day or wait six hours between eating meat and milk. The people who raised me will say that I am not religious. They are mistaken. What I am not is observant. But I am painfully, cripplingly incurably, miserably religious, and I have watched lately, dumbfounded and distraught, as around the world, more and more people seem to be finding Gods, each one more hateful and bloodthirsty than the next, as I’m doing my best to lose Him. I’m failing miserably.

The teachers from my youth are gone, the parents old and mostly estranged. The man they told me about, though — He’s still around. I can’t shake Him. I read Spinoza. I read Nietzsche. I read the sacrilegious National Lampoon magazine. Nothing helps. I live with Him every day, and behold, He is still angry, still vengeful, still—eternally—pissed off.

I believe in a personal God; everything I do, He takes personally. Things don’t just happen.

I believe in God.

It’s been a real problem for me.

*

Running from God felt as if, under cover of night, I’d daringly escaped from Auschwitz, gotten past the guards, evaded the dogs, run for the woods, and clambered onto a passing train that two hours later pulled straight into Treblinka.

*

I thought of Moses, and of the bassinet in which he was discovered, floating among the reeds by the side of the Nile, and of the lifelong journey he made to a Promised Land, a land of God, a land he never quite reached. My Promised Land, the one I had been stumbling around looking for these past thirty years, would be one with no God, at least not with the God I knew, and I realized then that, like Moses, I would probably never get there, either.

*

I thought again about Moses, and I realized what had troubled me about that whole damn story; it wasn’t simply that God had crushed his life dream because of one lousy sin, though granted that would be sick enough—it was that He knew. God knew He’d never let Moses into the Promised Land, just as He knew that one day Sarah would laugh, but He still let him wander around the desert like a schmuck for forty years searching for it. Warmer, warmer, you’re getting warmer, you’re dead. God loves that joke.

*

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—I don’t understand, I say. You’d think I was sexually abused.

—You were theologically abused, says Orli. That’s much worse.

Theological abuse. It involves adults, known or unknown to the underage victim, telling them that an all-powerful man in the sky runs the world, that He’s spying on them, that He’s waiting for them to break a rule.

God is here,

God is there,

God is truly

everywhere!

So watch it, kid.

*

The stories I had been working on were about my life under the thumb of an abusive, belligerent god, a god who awoke millennia ago on the wrong side of the firmament and still hasn’t cheered up. Working title: God Walks Beside Me with a .45 Gun in My Ribs.

…We kissed, we hugged, we wept some more, and as soon as my wife had gone, I sat down at my computer, sighed, and dragged all 350 pages of my stories into the computer’s trash.

Are you sure, the computer asked me, you want to remove the items in the Trash permanently? You cannot undo this action.

I was sure.

Take my chances? Was I crazy? With this God? With Mr. Vengeance? Mr. Flood the Earth? Mr. Holocaust?

There was no need to provoke Him. In God’s casino, the house always wins—ask Moses, ask Job, ask Sarah. I’ve been on God’s chessboard long enough to know that every move forward, every bit of good news—Success! Marriage! Child!—is just another Godly gambit, a feign, a fake, a setup; it seems as if I’m making my way across the board, but soon enough God calls check, and the company that hired me goes under, the wife dies, the baby chokes to death. That would be so God. God’s pick-and-roll. The Rope-a-Lordy-Dope. God was here, God was there, God was everywhere.

I’m telling you, Mouse A says, that fucking cheese is wired.

Would you stop? whines Mouse B. You’re such a pessi-zzzzap.

*

I can’t help noticing that every time I begin to make some progress on my impious stories about God, attacks in Israel increase, and I feel guilty and stop. Am I causing these attacks?

*

When I was young, they told me that when I died and went to Heaven, the angels would take me into a vast museum full of paintings I had never before seen, paintings that would have been created by all the artistic sperms I had wasted in my life. Then the angels would take me into a huge library full of books I had never read, books that would have been written by all the prolific sperms I had wasted in my life. Then the angels would take me to a huge house of worship, filled with hundreds of thousands of Jews, praying and studying, Jews that would have been born if I hadn’t killed them, wasted them, mopped them up with a dirty sock during the hideous failure of my despicable life (there are roughly 50 million sperms in every ejaculate; that’s about nine Holocausts in every wank. I was just hitting puberty when they told me this, or puberty was just hitting me, and I was committing genocide, on average, three or four times a day). They told me that when I died and went to Heaven, all the souls of every sperm I wasted during my life would chase me for eternity through the firmament.

*

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I have very little sympathy for veal. According to the website NoVeal.org, Young calves are taken from their mothers and chained by the neck in crates measuring just two feet wide. They cannot turn around, stretch their limbs, or even lie down comfortably. Like a yeshiva or a madrasa or a Catholic school. Except for the “taken from their mother” bit, the lucky little calves; my mother put me in the box at the synagogue and made it very clear that her love was conditional upon my remaining in the box. To make matters better, nobody is standing outside the veal’s crate telling him that there is a some sort of Cow Almighty in the sky, and that Cow Almighty commands the veal to stay in that box, and that, moreover, the constraining box he finds himself in is a gift—a gift from Cow Almighty because veal are Cow’s chosen cattle, and if veal even thinks about leaving the box, or questioning the box, or even complaining about the box, well, Cow help him.

*

Exam in school. Jewish-law tests were the easiest—you simply picked the strictest answer:

  1. forgiveness
  2. pay a fine
  3. pray
  4. stoning

Whatever the question is, the answer is D.

*

My rabbis taught me that it was wrong to say God caused the Holocaust; that He had simply, in 1938, turned His head. He looked away.

-What? Huh? Geno . . . really? Shit, I was in the bathroom

 *

That’s the problem, I answered. You have to not want something for God to give it to you. I pressed the argument by pointing out that it made perfect sense—people wanting babies not having them, people not wanting them having them without even trying, people wanting boys having girls, people wanting girls having boys, people wanting one having twins, people wanting twins having triplets—if that wasn’t proof of the existence of a non-benevolent God, I didn’t know what was.

*

— If He really wanted to fuck with you, Craig asked, why doesn’t He just kill you?

I scoffed and shook my head.

—Killing gets boring, I said. A couple of floods and you’re over it. Why kill when you can slowly torture?

—I hadn’t thought of that.

—That’s why He’s so into this endless bullshit preputial sniping.

*

My relationship with God had begun to change. I was tired of the endless spiritual scorecard manipulation, and I imagined God was tired of it, too, tired of the tedious, disingenuous algebra of penance and sin. Maybe it was all those years of shame and fear. Maybe it was Rabbi Goldfinger telling me so long ago that I was like a forefather heading out on a dangerous journey. Hadn’t Abraham haggled with God? Hadn’t Jacob wrestled with him—kicked His ass, in fact? Hadn’t Moses, called upon by God to lead the exodus, told God to find somebody else? They argued, debated, questioned. I scowled, I called Him names, I uttered profanities. My sentiments may have been a bit more disgruntled and a bit less reverent than those of my forefathers, but they still seemed more respectful to me than the groveling adjuration of the believers around me; at least I was giving Him credit for being able to deal with a little criticism now and then. After all, wouldn’t part of being All-Mighty include being All-Self-Examining? All-Open-to-Criticism? All-Honestly-Self-Evaluating? Surrounded as God was by a universe of sycophantic yes-men, perhaps He would appreciate a little honest interaction.

*

So now we’re blaming God, is that it? You can’t get off and somehow it’s God’s fault?

– Yes.

*

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(It’s a classic, I know, but it was fun reading that letter again. 😀 )

*

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

The (…) passage above was cited by Laura Schlesinger, who dispenses advice to people calling in to her US radio show. Dr.Schlesinger said that, as an Orthodox Jew, she believes homosexual­ity is an abomination that cannot be condoned. In response Kent Ashcraft, a guitarist in Bowie, Maryland, wrote a letter to Dr Laura. When she failed to reply, Mr Ashcraft’s friend posted the letter on the internet as ‘An Open Letter to Dr Laura’:

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

  1.  When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord ( Lev 1:9 ). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?
  2.  I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7 . In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3.  I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness ( Lev 15:19-24 ). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  5.  I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
  6.  A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination ( Lev 11:10 ), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
  7.  Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
  8.  Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27 . How should they die?
  9.  I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  10.  My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? ( Lev 24:10-16 ) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? ( 20:14 )

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

(“The sexual rainbow. Exploring sexual diversity” by Olive Skene Johnson)

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The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.