Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Madness: the Five Senses of a Man

Yes, I'm the idealist who wrote an article (the first one of the blog) lambasting “chemistry,” but even I know what physical attraction feels like. In fact, I’ve lived through the most beautiful of experiences—falling so hard for someone that you wonder what kind of new, horrible mental illness has possessed you. Such a feeling probably only comes once in a great while, often with a guy that might not particularly astonish the rest of the world like he has struck you.

In my case, I’m thinking of one person in particular. I've mentioned him before in this blog by the name of Farid. He's not the hottest guy in the world, but man, he might as well be-- he sure took my breath away. Something clicked in me the first time we got together, and a year and a half later I'm still wheezing. Let's just say, it was so painful it felt amazing! Then, with time, it just became painful (more on that later). I didn't understand it, I thought he was just a close friend, the best of friends, even a brother. But just under a year on into my friendship with him, I realized that what I felt for him was altogether different--not a crush, not an infatuation, and certainly not so innocent as my myth of a platonic friendship/brotherly love. Nothing but pure, hot, sexy, sultry attraction and chemistry toward both his body and soul. Even with the passing of months and years, none of his many very visible faults could sway me--it was maddenning, heady, juicy romantic passion, at least from my end.

We can all go out on a date being “open” to starting a relationship with someone, enjoying the date and the conversation that ensues. But there is a difference between being “open” to a relationship in such a setting (accompanied by a personal willingness to get to know him better) and being entirely swept away by him, touched by his kind demeanor and physical presence from the very beginning, captivated by his every word and utterly speechless upon first seeing his face. I have enjoyed this attraction, and now I feel like I’ve been more cursed than blessed by the experience. I often feel guilty about it. This is not a typical infatuation/crush or relationship I'm talking about. Of these (romantic infatuations) I've had plenty, two of which lasted well over a year and were quite moving, but they felt nothing like what I'm about to describe. The topic of this posting is a deeper connection, a feeling that comes along probably only once or twice (maybe a few times) in a lifetime. It shakes you to the core and leaves you reeling for months if not years, fundamentally altered, and it never really leaves you. Yes, even us sedate, unattractive people have passion; the only difference for us is that it is unlikely to be reciprocated. The good news--unrequited love can madden us to the point of being creative, which can have its own rewards.

I described him one day, back during my relatively 'quiet' period on this blog, in a conversation with a friend. While my words sound rather melodramatic, they were entirely true to how I felt: “When I see him in front of me, it's like the world's greatest wonder is before me. Part of me can't believe that he's real each time I behold him. Sometimes when I think of him, I feel so much pain, because I know he can't be mine. We’re probably both better off that way. But something is there, in the way he makes me think; it simply sets my soul on fire. This infernal joy possesses me, a joy that I can't distinguish from pain. It feels so sad, yet I delight in it; I'm addicted to it. Part of it is our differences, which I relish as much as the personality characteristics that we have in common. He keeps me always learning and growing in the way he challenges my world. The way he makes me think, it’s just so beautiful, so incredible—after our (often hours) of conversation each time we see each other, new thoughts pulse through my mind for days, and exhausted, I can't concentrate on anything else. And I can't stop thinking about the way he makes me feel and how he brings out the best in me. I’m entirely taken by the beauty of his heart and his mind, which he's opened up to me (but to so few other people; I am among the lucky ones). I try so hard to move on (in terms of looking elsewhere for romance), to try to achieve something for myself, something real. But I just can't; I have no enthusiasm for it. The most intelligent, handsome, charming man in Montréal could walk up to me and ask me for a date, and I'd just look for some excuse to avoid seeing him. All this in an attempt to save myself for one guy who certainly doesn't have the same feelings nor would care to save himself for me. I know how crazy this all sounds.”

The majority of the text of this blog entry was taken from a letter that I wrote to a different friend and discusses ONLY the physical side of my attraction, which was perhaps the most inconsequential aspect of what I felt. My aim is to write a series of articles which mounts Plato’s ladder of love, from its base physical aspects to spiritual bliss. First the sensual, and I must say that being with him was as much a sensual as a celestial experience. I was entirely overtaken by what I beheld, stimulated as I was to be in his presence as if I was experiencing an amazing work of art. In fact, never has any artwork echoed through all of my senses in the way he touched each and every one of mine. At the same time, it was only admiration from my part. Yes, I admit, I am massively attracted to him, to his incredible thoughts, to the way his entire face smiles at me. Travelling with someone is always an intense experience, this one being particularly so considering that, for me, getting to spend time with him was the greatest attraction. Perhaps I should go through each of the senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste--as I describe what I mean.

First, sight, and what a visual splendour he presents! He looked good in everything he wore. It was a little annoying, actually, in that he never not looked good, never even a little dishevelled. When he was waking up in the morning, he looked flawless. He always wears jeans that are flattering to his figure and tucks his shirt into his pants. Even in just a plain white t-shirt (which he says that he likes a lot), he looked amazing. When I was with him in the hotel room, he was often shirtless and wearing nothing other than some black shorts (or sometimes his jeans during the day), sprawling like a river god on the bed with a book or his computer. Every time I looked at him half-naked like that, I had a hard time concentrating on anything else (although, being respectful, I was well behaved and didn’t look too much).

Certain images I suspect will never escape my memory, such as on Thursday night when he was wrapped in the white duvet of his bed around his mid section, but sitting up with legs spread apart on the bed while he talked engagingly to me until after 2 am. He looked like he might have been nude under the drapery (although he wasn’t), with his amazing chest and legs sticking out from the sheets as he used one arm to press the drapery in toward his pelvis. It was like a scene out of a painting, but real and less than a meter from where I was perched (fully-clothed). He was so beautiful like that, his eyes wide and directed at me, his shoulders curled and in and relaxed as he concentrated on our conversation. That night we had been out late, but afterward we were discussing history for over an hour. I also remember the following morning when he got up. I think I heard him discretely, softly tugging at himself in the night, and he had stripped off his underwear and shorts. When he got up in the morning, I was already awake, but he waited to get up until he knew I was awake. Then when I turned around he greeted me warmly and leaned forward. He covered his midsection with a sheet as he slipped his underwear on, but his legs were outside of the bed as well as his upper body. I didn’t see anything, but I saw more of his legs than I had ever seen, all but the very tip of his buttocks. My mouth had to have been open at that point, and when I realized what he was doing I respectfully looked away.

He is well-proportioned, certainly with a ‘defined’ body that I wouldn’t necessarily say is muscular (but that’s ok, as I’ve never really been in love with overly muscular bodies). He’s got a pudge to his tummy, which rippled beautifully like a Doidalsas Venus when he bent over, the effect doing nothing to destroy the inverted triangle of his upper body. My eyes secretly worshiped his every feature, both perfect and imperfect. For example, the red ‘squares’ on his upper back, a couple of small pimples that I noticed came into being by the end of our stay. I was charmed by even those, the tiniest imperfections being so beautiful in my eyes. He wasn’t hairy like I am—only a light patch on his chest and another on his stomach and again on his lower back and legs. His body is perfectly balanced in that regard, hairy enough to seem masculine but leaving room to enjoy the lovely light tan colour of his skin. His beard and hair both blending into each other in thickly curling locks, hugging his lovely head, which is itself rather wide at the top (to house his intellect) and narrower toward the bottom--a symmetric trapezoid with a strong jaw.

At night, I had a hard time sleeping, often waking up around 3 am or 5 am. Laying there, I would look over at him. He always looked so calm and peaceful with his eyes closed, his face more radiant than ever, framed by the powerful profile of his bare shoulders. Watching him from this perspective, I couldn’t help but feel tenderness for him in his serenity. At night or taking a nap, to me he represented some strange combination of perfect beauty/harmony and the adorable. Occasionally he would breathe heavily, on the verge of snoring, but any snores were very short-lived and soft. I could have watched him sleep forever and never tire of the view, but I feel like people can sense when they are being watched, even in their sleep, and I didn’t want to disturb him like that. At the same time, I would lie there in bed awake, with or without looking at him, and a kind of energy seemed pulse through my body just by his very presence in the room. It was like the next step after being turned on, but not entirely sexual.

I ached to feel his body next to mine, but didn’t dare make a move. Yet, at the same time it was almost impossible to talk myself down from the state I was in, even imagining the sunny meadow of birds and flowers I use to calm myself down, as my thoughts would inevitably drift back to him. I was always well-behaved, but a part of me wanted to be fused to him physically, to feel his body against mine, and it would have been almost impossible for me to resist had he wanted the same thing. But we were both, as I said, well-behaved. He would have been hard-pressed to think I wanted him that way, and I definitely never got the impression he was interested in me. But in the daytime there was always something of a tenderness between us that is hard to characterize, probably because it was more of a masculine tenderness (the fuzziest, most indeterminable kind).

What I did do, however, is become more open with being semi-nude myself in the same way he exposed himself in my presence. He was beautiful to me, a beauty that I could not come close to matching, but with time I felt more and more comfortable with the limitations of his body and my own.

While I was pleased by his stature, his enchanting profile, it is his face that I find the most mesmerizing. When we were together talking, we always seemed intimately close, his face right next to mine. I enjoyed this feeling of closeness during our conversation, which seemed to demonstrate to me how engaged and devoted he was to talking to me at any given moment. I could look into his gorgeous wide green eyes as he talked and listened, me concentrating carefully on his every word, my eyes dancing to his mouth, surrounded by that gorgeous, thick, rich dark-brown beard. Because I was often so close to it, I came to memorize even the hairs on his beard, the one white whisker to the right of his nose in his moustache, the charming splay of isolated white hairs at the centre of his chin, the occasional strand of red or light brown hair mixed in—what a visual splendour when admired up close. His beard is nothing less than golden in the sun. What haunts me the most are his eyes, a light green that seemed rather to glow like a star, seemingly guiding me to the beauty in his mind and his soul. They have such directness, openness, and sincerity, with a hint of sadness. But when he laughs or smiles, his entire face lights up and smiles with his mouth—even his eyes turn upward. He seemed to be smiling at me all evening when another friend, he, and I were out to dinner. I was the animator of our conversation, and I must admit that his constant smile that gave me my energy and charisma to carry on. All in all, there is little about his presence that didn’t please me. When he made a comment about seeing a hot guy, which he did often with a subjective expression, I would look, but I couldn’t help but think that the most beautiful man in the city was right next to me, and I was glad to have him there. Not so much because he was physically beautiful, although he is, but because he has a truly beautiful soul that I feel very connected to when we talk, more so than with anyone else. Even sometimes we didn’t have things to talk about, but when I’d look in his general direction, he’d look back directly at me, then I’d look directly at him (such as on the bus or walking), and I’d just smile at him without saying anything and he’d smile back. It was a nice feeling, to have someone there to just smile at me. That’s probably the best ‘sight’ of all.


I don’t know what the guy wears, but he puts something on him that makes him seem irresistibly fresh. I had a hard time characterizing it, but I told him I didn’t understand how he could always smell fresh like he did and resolutely insisted that he showed me what he uses. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery, and this is one way in which I would like to imitate him. In fact, he was just using various lotions from different hotels. Perhaps it was that, perhaps it was that and the deodorant, perhaps it was all of it combined with some element of his natural smell that I might find particularly appealing. I didn’t understand it, but I never tired of it, I loved getting whiffs of it along with a taste of his hot breath as we talked side by side. He told me: when you get older, you have to put more effort into these kinds of things. He was always refreshing himself with the lotions to make himself smell better, and each time we left the hotel he made sure his hair looked good. I didn’t have it in me to tell him, but I never saw him, even in his sleep, even getting up in the morning, look anything less than a Greek god. But apparently he could see his imperfections more readily.


Touch is probably the most delicate experience between men, but we seemed to be more open to it than most. I think it had a lot to do with my feelings of comfort and connectedness with him as a friend, and on his side his culture, which more readily encourages such gestures. He never recoiled or shied away from me whenever I would touch him gently (briefly) on the back or when our arms would be against each other (which sometimes they were for a surprisingly long amount of time). Perhaps our most tender moment of touch was when we discovered on our second sunny evening together a flowering Jasmine bush on our walk back toward downtown. He picked off a group of flowers and put it to his nose. I echoed him to also enjoy the sweet fragrance, and when I looked at him he had yellow pollen on his mustache. I told him about it, but he didn’t manage to get it off, so I reached over and brushed his nose with my fingers. He looked at me and smiled, in a way not quite like he has smiled at me before or since. Other times he would kindly grab my wrist or hold my waist if I was going to walk into the street on a red light.

Most of the time, however, there was no direct physical touching, but it still felt (to me) like we were touching in some deeper way. We were often sitting close together, a distance more typical for a couple, leaning in toward each other even when we weren’t looking directly at each other. I remember sitting this way when we are on various benches around town, motioning toward each other in our intense conversation, and even when we sat next to each other when he came to attend my speech. We also had other memorable moments of closeness, when I would be sitting on his bed (him often without a shirt) to look at something he wanted to show me on his computer, or he sitting on my bed with me when I was showing him something our last morning together.


I remember that I didn’t use to find his voice all that pleasing, but when we are together talking in a more one-on-one setting, I couldn’t think of anything more gentle or beautiful. He spoke to me in a rhythmic and face-paced French that I could understand perfectly and had a comforting quality. When we were in the hotel, he would also watch tv series that he was downloading, which I also found strangely beautiful (even though I normally don’t find his native tongue (not French) to be a beautiful language outside of song). When he speaks English, though, I get tickled to death. He claims not to know English very well, and perhaps he doesn’t (we’ve never really talked in English). I ordered for him for the most part in English (he really wanted me to), and I translated questions directed to him in French. But when he says things in English, it is always so perfectly (almost boringly) pronounced that I nearly always giggle and chide him about it.

Speaking of French, however, it was a true pleasure having him around not only for the amazing conversations but also for the quality of his French. I was talking for many hours a day in French, and I loved it. It was weird being in an anglophone city but speaking for hours mostly in French. But it was there where I realized just how playful and intricate I could get with my French and the ideas I expressed. And whenever I got stuck, I could explain what it was I was trying to say and he would give me the word or explain it to me. He was always so patient with me in that respect. That, I found, really added to the depth of our conversations. And I learned so much and other words/expressions were reinforced in my memory, just in talking to him. He thinks mostly in French, and he likes to share and live the language.


While something deep-down inside might have yearned to “taste” him (LOL), there’s really very little to describe there :). The only thing I really have to offer with respect to taste is that we did share each other’s meals from time to time, and he sometimes bought me dessert.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could identify with this post, I have never that way about anyone. But I do recognise that the five sense are quite a nuisance in our everyday lives.

    Surely we humans are more discerning, though I doubt so. The soul of a person matters most. The light within a person, what I would call his Holy Spirit