Sede Vacante

The light is on but no one is home.

The lover’s arts…


Near the tail-end of an otherwise flawless evening, the strangely enchanting girl blurted out to me; “my god, you’re borderline gay.”

What is going on in the world?  Since when were otherwise gentlemanly arts relegated to the province of gayhood?  Strangely, these were all arts and faculties that I always felt were supposed to **add** to a gentleman’s appeal, rather than detract from it.  So what are men supposed to do?  On the one end, we are constantly accused of being little more than speaking apes; lazy and smelling like mushrooms.  Apparently, when one deviates from this, one runs the risk of giving the impression that one plays for the wrong team.  Sigh.

For what it’s worth, and for the sick and simple pleasure of peering into my deviant little brain, here’s a quick and dirty list of skills I think every gentleman should learn.  I’m not saying I have all of these in my pocket; that would be too immodest.  These are simply the marks I’ve always thought were worth having simply because in a life so short, the only true crime is to be uninteresting.  In no particular order, after the jump.

  1. Dancing. I find nothing more strangely erotic and yet tantalizingly innocent than dancing with a woman.  I don’t mean standing in front of each other and moving every joint other than your knees to the incessant droning of an over-loud bass drum.  I mean flitting around a wooden floor on heels and toes, hand-in-hand and cheek-to-blushed-cheek.
  2. Cooking. There is perhaps no more primal way to talk to someone than to feed them.  My preference is simple earthy food, elegant, but with a definite streak of rawness and boldness.  Grill an excellent cut of beef with fresh pepper and fleur-de-sel, serve it with some hollandaise and a side of herbed potatoes and salad.  It’s like making love on fresh cut grass.
  3. Penmanship. I don’t know.  Perhaps I’m just too old.  But I remember a time when one wrote real letters with ink and paper.  What better way to profess ones love, after all, than with the mark of your own hand.  Ideally, with a real pen.  The kind you can dip in your own blood…
  4. Letters and poetry.  If one can use a pen, one should have the words for it.  I don’t care if you can’t speak English.  Or Filipino for that matter.  But know one language well, and use it well.
  5. Visual arts. Behold as much beauty as you can, and be comfortable in talking about it.  That’s pretty much it.  This is important because, life is hard and we are surrounded by ugliness.  What more do we want for the ones we love, than to surround them with beauty.  How else do we recognize and express how beautiful a woman is, if we don’t understand that which we so admire?
  6. Massage. When paired with the discipline to do it for its own sake, as a way of loving someone with one’s hands, I don’t think you can do any better than giving someone a massage.
  7. Music. I think music is important.  Hearing it can evoke primal emotional responses.  So I’ve always thought it made sense that any gentleman worth his salt should be able to play even a little bit of music. Ideally on an instrument one can play solo, like piano or guitar.  You may never get the chance to play for her, but if you do, it would suck if you sucked.
  8. Manners. This goes without saying.  I know of too many guys who seem to revel in their barbarity.  Guess what kids, most of your friends are probably guys.  Being cultured and refined isn’t a sign of weakness, in my mind.  It has nothing to do with one’s strength of character.  All it is, is a mark of one’s appreciation of how far the human race has gone.  These are traditions that remind us that we are no longer animals.  It doesn’t hurt to know them, even though they may seem silly.

The list goes on and on… but I’d better stop here for now.  Lest you think I really am gay…

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