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DATIN' DEMON

Dreamed 1989/12/3 by Chris Wayan and Mark Varitz

THAT DAY

I go see Disney's version of "The Little Mermaid". Hmm. Anyone else notice that gaping hole in the plot? She's literate: has a book in her treasure cave, reads music, signs her name on the octopus contract--so why can't she warn her prince in writing? Her deal with the Sea Witch gives up her voice, not her brains!

Still, I like it, over all. A Hollywood happy ending, but Hans Christian Andersen's ending (she dies, but becomes a spirit of the air--not soulless after all) is not only painful but hollow for modern audiences who are skeptical about an afterlife, and would rightly feel angry about a "pie in the sky" reward for meekness, even though it's true to Andersen's own painful love life... and mine. But "Ariel, keep your mouth shut and die inside of longing!"??? No, I can see why they've changed it. Despite the holes, this Little Mermaid fights for her happiness, and rightly so.

I go home and read comics by (and about) other losers struggling in stormy seas, in a zine called Weirdo #25. Inside the back cover is a black scratchy woodcut of the televangelist "Tammy Faye Bakker and Her Hoppin' Shoppin' Demons." She's so blank and creepy, but her demons seem to be having so much fun tugging her every which way... Hee hee. I never enjoy shopping. Maybe if I were a demon...

MARK'S DREAM

My friend Mark calls and says "I had the vividest lucid dream in my life... There was this sort of living black hole swallowing everything. It flew around raping/devouring/sucking in people. I BECAME this monster. I was swooping around enjoying the pure evil pleasure of swallowing a couple of women... I shuttled back and forth between this personality and my usual self which feared this black hole. I suspended myself half way between dream and waking consciousness and stayed lucid for a while, building up my strength. Then I rolled up that strength and THREW myself deeper into the dream than I'd been. But I threw myself too hard! I BOUNCED--bounced back out to the waking world. I woke up."

The vivid part for me isn't the extraordinary shuttling of consciousness but the encounter with the shadow-figure. Instead of confronting or befriending what he terms evil, he actually becomes it! Jungian shadow work. Brave!

THAT NIGHT

I've become my own demon, as Mark did. But mine is different: I go out to clubs and parties trying to pick up girls. My basic rule is "Am I having fun?" I want to get laid but not suffocated. I'm driven, and often ambivalent, but always honest about it. And advertise my honesty! My Demon openly uses honesty as a lure for women, as a calling card. Most singles lie to impress dates, so I stand out. A selling point! But not only a lure: the Demon thinks I'm a liar, for hiding my sexual attraction to women I know. Not just dishonest, it's rude, even cruel: I'm nonverbally telling hot girls they're ugly or boring. How insulting!

My Demon sees me as a demon. A repressive demon of ice. Of nice.

A friend teases me about a girl I act shy with. Old shame/secrecy about sex kicks in, and I lie, cover my attraction to her, my frustration--and feel a wave of sorrow and helplessness. That's what my hiding and lying create! Like a hangover after drinking. Takes time to really feel the link, but I do, at last. And HATE it!

Thank you, demon. Sharp lesson.

I try something new. Say "I don't want to talk about that. It's private." And I feel much better! Then joke about being single and frustrated--don't want to tell specifics, but make it clear my reluctance has to do with uncomfortable sexual frustration--and that I do want her. And I FEEL BETTER. I deflected the hangover I get from repression! A perfect experiment.

I run into my ex-housemate Liz in her coolest T shirt. I say "I love you" not meaning I want to live with you or anything--but I am both turned on by her (when she's at her best, as she is now) and I feel loving and protective, and I wish her well. Then I kiss her, enjoying the sexy feel of her--though I get an erection and don't hide it, I don't intend to fuck her since experience has taught us both that we're not right for each other--at cross-purposes--and my Demon is perfectly aware of all that--just enjoys touching her and won't hide that I'm turned on AND don't want to go any further.

Liz sees the wedge of my erection inside my loose pants. She colors up and yells "You don't care about me, you just want to fuck me!" and starts crying.

And I stay honest. "You're wrong! You see men that way. I told you the truth. It's not up to me if you reject it--that's your problem."

And I leave her to work out her anger at men, and go dancing!

And then wake to my shy little life...

THE EIGHTFOLD LESSONS OF MY DATING DEMON

  1. What my Demon wants is: happy, affectionate sex, but not too much commitment, certainly not living together. I need brief light affairs to learn how to build and maintain a relationship--and how to break up without being broken up.
  2. My dating demon's immune to the put-downs I dread most: that my sexuality, indeed all my self-interests, are dishonest and dishonorable (Liz's accusation--love must be total commitment, or else sexless.)
  3. My demon is immune to attractive women who I don't have enough in common with. I get guilty, especially when I feel a woman isn't smart enough for me; but my demon's immune to this. Immunity comes from being open about (a) sexual attraction (b) knowing we don't match (c) the fact I have limits to my giving--I dump people who are no fun, and sexual frustration is no fun! My Demon won't stay "just friends" with someone who frustrates me.
  4. My demon is scrupulously honest! And sees mousy me as the dishonest one--as the real demon.
  5. Honesty is a selling point. It's a real virtue, highly prized--because, sadly enough, it's rare. I have a right to show it off.
  6. Shyness harms me. My embarrassment pushes me to lie out of shame, to cover things. This lying feels demonic, to my demon.
  7. When I cover up my real feelings, I feel sad and helpless. So when I feel sad, check to see if I've lied or hidden things. Either express them, or invoke privacy, instead of just hiding.
  8. When I express impatience with my shyness, even if I don't override it, I feel better than when I hide.



LISTS AND LINKS: mermaid dreams - Mark - dating advice - demons - Jungian shadows - guilt - joy! - honesty - healing from abuse - another Hans Christian Andersen dream: Egg River - Disney dreams - frustration dreams -

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