My husband of 16 years and I have never made an official list, but it’s always been accepted that were we to have, in some fantasyland, the opportunity to sleep with a certain few adored famous people, the sin would be exonerated. (I should mention here that over the years both of us have had our indiscretions with plain old normals, and while the aftermath has never been fun, we’ve discovered that the occasional infidelity isn’t really a dealbreaker for us.)
Well, five years ago, I actually had a totally unexpected and baffling encounter with one of the people on my unofficial list. I told my husband about it, and he was unhappy, but reluctantly conceded that he understood.
In the years since, this Famous Person and I have exchanged the odd email and text, mostly merely friendly, occasionally rather dirty, but I honestly didn’t think anything further would ever come of it. Until, this last summer, he contacted me out of the blue, saying he was going to be in NYC, where I live, for a few days, and wanted to meet. I went to his hotel, and we spent close to six hours together, fucking and talking and drinking and eating and making each other laugh. It was scary, because it was way more than just screwing a celebrity. It felt intimate, and I felt understood and seen by him in a way that had until then been the sole domain of my husband.
But this was never going to go anywhere. I love my husband. Also, shamefully, it matters that Famous Person kindly, but frankly, made explicit that no relationship was going to happen. So I erased his 310-area-code number from my phone, and endeavored, somewhat successfully, to cease all contact with him. I have tried to do the right thing and put it past me and commit to my marriage.
The problem is this: this particular Famous Person is extremely prolific, and I can barely get on the internet without seeing some article on Gawker or Hollywood Reporter or some such about his latest project. I honestly admire and follow his work, have for more than a decade, and can’t see how I could or would want to give that up. And now, each mention of or quote from him brings me back to that afternoon in that hotel, and makes it impossible to let go. What I find myself entertaining is a total fantasy, and going nowhere, I know that, but his constant presence is like a loose tooth needing to be worked at. How do I flush this guy from my system?
~ Sad Lil’ Star Fucker
Dear Sad Lil’ Star Fucker,
You say you can’t see how you could give up following his career but you can stop following his career, you just don’t want to and I totally understand not wanting to because it feels too good to stop which is the whole friggin’ point here. You have to stop doing something that feels good and that’s no fun.
It’s no fun but its doable, not like landing a spaceship on an asteroid. You don’t want to because it’s a pleasure and I get that but here’s the thing: It used to be an unalloyed pleasure but now it’s alloyed. It’s an alloy whose good old reliable tensile strength and stability have been altered by the addition of something volatile. It’s been changed. You can’t use it for what you used to use it for. You’ve gone and changed it.
Can you catch yourself before you check out his next post? Can you? If you can, you can stop being re-triggered. You pretty much have to, just the same way you know you have to stop short of doing a million other things that you could imagine doing but you don’t because you’re married and it isn’t worth it.
You have to stop enjoying this dude is what it comes down to. He’s off-limits. He’s crack cocaine and now you’re a person who’s developed a problem. You have to stop or it just gets worse.
How worse? Oh, hell: Every every pleasurable moment itches to be reborn; every taste itches to reach farther down the tongue to lick and tickle molecules sleeping since the Pleistocene age; every come-hither blue-eyed call to your baby maker seeks to reproduce not you but itself, because every nerve and cell is seeking glory all its own, pleasure and ecstasy and more more more, grow, grow, grow because everything is holy and everything is living and everything is hungry just like you and I, hungry to multiply and hungry to expand, and every itch for laughter is an itch that never ends, and every tingle memory says, “Replay me again, tingle, replay me again,” because this is the sublime beauty of our world exactly: All we see and all we believe ourselves to be are nothing but the clumsy craft of some god’s passing fancy, and all the glories we see around us are nothing but the projection of our dreams onto the darkest screen of space, and all our highest deeds are nothing but doodles to fill the emptiness (pleasure is a filling of the existential hunger).
Therefore, be it resolved: This automatic triggering of six lovely hours in a hotel room, the eating and fucking and laughing, will continue as long as you allow it to be triggered by reading Gawker. Furthermore be it resolved: What we are and have been since the beginning is some random god’s answer to its own emptiness, its grand yet half-baked scheme to populate its stars and be amused. And what amuses this god? Our pleasures and our folly, at which we keep, like fools, for the amusement of our gods.
Just put this thing on the list of things you can’t do because you’re married and it isn’t worth it.
Along the lines of, “Was there another Troy for her to burn?” we suggest: Find some other star to follow.
p.s. OK, so Yeats was a little harsh; but it’s just such a great line.