Me: (reading the sticker in the back of our neighbour’s car) The harder the better. Is it just me or does that sound like a statement of sexual preference?
Arkem: I don’t wear my statements of sexual preference on my car.
Me: Do you wear them on your shirt instead?
Me: You barely wear your statements of sexual preference in your mouth.
Arkem: I don’t think that came out quite right.
Me: It came out exactly the way I intended it to.
Arkem: Well then you’re not quite right.
Me: That’s been true for some time.
I wish it was possible to just ask people deeply personal questions without coming across as disturbing or kind of skeevy and making them back away from you. I’ve pretty much inured my parents to it by posing creepy or startling hypotheticals at them until they stopped twitching and wondering if a question prefaced with, Hypothetically… is going to turn out to be the opener for my confession that I’d become a serial killer.
But most people you can’t just ask straight out about their kinks, or suggest that they speculate on what it would be like to strangle someone to death and if it would feel less personal if you were wearing gloves.
People have gotten used to the idea that I want to get shot, but they mostly don’t understand why. Don’t understand that while it’s true, it’s also a conceptual place holder for all the things I’ve never experienced and would like to understand the visceral truth of. I don’t want to know if your tattoo hurt, I want to know what it hurt like. How it felt and what went through your head. And if, in your memory, the high overwhelms the pain, if the blur of blood and ink melts together with the adrenaline, the tension, the frisson of satisfaction…
One of the very best things about having good friends is the trust that goes with the raised eyebrows. A lack of fear that I’ve gone completely around the bend, or the assumption that I was there already.
And sometimes they answer.