Friday, March 19, 2021

A bit askew, yes, but touchable

Hygiene's not a major concern of mine. 

At some point I realized that boys and girls are taught differently about how to keep their intimate regions clean. My mother placed great importance on the hygiene of my pussy but none at all on that of my brother's penis. He's allowed to piss without wiping and to let the last few drops dribble into his underwear.

Washing your pussy is considered a deadly serious science in our home. It’s made out to be extremely difficult to keep a pussy really clean. Which is nonsense, of course.

You can't get to be this age (my age) and not have come to terms with the mysterious effluvia of the body, in pain or in pleasure. I have seen birth and death up close. Contact with young children, with ailing elderly — this is part of a full life. And sometimes, life is messy.

Helen Memes revels in it, yet Helen is not old enough to have had such a full life. The 18-year-old narrator of Wetlands, by Charlotte Roche, bears no resemblance to the 18-year-old currently living under my roof, or the one who once occupied my aging body. At least on the surface. Maybe that's why I find her so fascinating. Maybe that's why I find her so sympathetic.

I grow avocado trees. Besides fucking, it's my only hobby.

She is sexually experienced and frequents (female) prostitutes. She has little regard for parental authority; she had herself sterilized as soon as she was of age. Not much fazes her, but really, she's just a child. All she really wants is for her divorced parents to get back together.

Helen nicked herself while shaving her ass, complicated a little by her cauliflower-like hemorrhoid, and ended up in the hospital with an anal lesion requiring surgery. Wetlands spans her time there, prolonged a little by the antics she undertakes in a desperate ploy to bring her parents into the same room.

More than the story, I am stunned by the reactions to this book. In my view, it is neither revolutionarily liberating nor the most disgusting book you'll ever read. Is this the book feminism needs? This book has been called: Shocking. Disgusting. Extraordinarily gross.

It's not. And it's a bit sad that Wetlands shocks and disgusts so many. 

In fact, it's quite funny, sweet (in its way), and perceptive.

I'm fascinated by her face. She's unbelievably well-kept. That's what people say: a well-kept woman. [...] Well-kept women get their hair, nails, lips, feet, faces, skin, and hands done. Colored, lengthened, painted, peeled, plucked, shaved, and lotioned. 

They sit around stiffly — like works of art — because they know how much work has gone into everything and they want it to last as long as possible.

Those type of women would never let themselves get all messy fucking.

Everything that's sexy — mussed hair, straps that fall off the shoulder, a sweaty glow on the face — is a bit askew, yes, but touchable.

Despite the fucking, it's not a particularly sexy book. It's just tremendously honest.

There's something enchanting about Helen, about how she reveres her bodily fluids. How she sees people stepping in her droplets of pee and then carrying them on their shoes, marking her territory for her. She exchanges used tampons with her friend, to become blood sisters. She collects her own tears, to sprinkle on them on grapes that she offers to the nurse. Her saliva on a water bottle becomes a kiss when it passes someone else's mouth.

Like her juices have magic properties that will make avocado trees grow, will make her father love her, will make the broken world around her whole again. 

In reality we’re all turned on by the scents of pussy, cock and sweat. Most people have been alienated from their bodies and trained to think that anything natural stinks and anything artificial smells nice. When a woman wearing perfume passes me on the street, it makes me sick to my stomach. No matter how subtle it is. What is she hiding?

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