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Archive for the ‘Unknowable Longing’ Category

I am listening to one of the first CDs I ever bought. When I was 13 my mother took me to the newly opened Borders in the town. I selected two CDs to buy with my allowance that remain among my favorites in my now considerable collection. Exultate is a Vienna Boychoir CD featuring soloist Max Emanuel Cencic.  Only one track does not have him as a soloist, and only two tracks actually involve the choir. The rest are purely Max solos (or duets). I didn’t know that when I bought it, but I was pretty happy about it when I realized it. When I initially brought them home, Exultate was my preferred CD. I didn’t much care for the other after giving it a thorough listen.

That other is The Music of Westminster Cathedral Choir. Many of the tracks are 20th century works, and my 13-year-old ears didn’t care for that music. A few years later, however, my preference switched. I guess I matured enough and learned how to listen enough to enjoy the more modern music.

As I listen to the music tonight, the Unknowable Longing is in full force. Listening to those sublime boys’ voices, sweet clear, gentle or forceful according to the demands of the song, that familiar, almost friendly melancholy overtakes me and I race and struggle to put a name to it. (The power of the name.) All the usual suspects are considered and, as usual, set aside but not dismissed.

I love the music. The glorious, perfect beauty of the Renaissance polyphony. The exciting, exhilarating power of the 20th century compositions. So many different types of songs from different eras. I want to sing them, yes. I want to hear them life. But that’s not quite it. Hearing kjese songs, or performing them with women’s voices would be wonderful, but wouldn’t fulfill that longing. The boys’ voices are very important. Singing the Mendelssohn “Ave Maria“, I would feel this longing even in the middle of the performance. Yet when I consider singing it with boys, I still can’t conceive being satisfied.

If I were to go to London and join the Westminster Cathedral Choir I’m sure I’d still feel this way.

One last possibility occurs to me. One I hope is not true. Maybe this longing isn’t to sing with boys, but as a boy. To be a cusping 13-year-old (alas, my voice changed at 11, so I never had that pleasure) whose voice would soar through those Palestrina motets and Britten and Martin masses. If that is the answer, then I can never fulfill this need no matter how long I live, how much I accomplish.

However, if the name has as much power as it is said (I suspect is does) I feel that simply speaking (or writing) that desire would give some modicum of satisfaction. It doesn’t. It should be a relief just to know what I want. So it doesn’t feel like the answer. So along with singing the music and singing with boys, wanting to sing as a boy goes in the category of “true, but not the answer.”

It also occurs to me that how I feel has nothing to do with boylove. I think I mentioned that before. That, too, doesn’t feel quite true, but it’s worth considering. Maybe this feeling which manifests so deeply, primally, is the nature of music. Maybe music is an expression of a feeling that has no name. Do non-boylover-music-lovers experience this Unknowable Longing when they hear the music they love best? What half-formed imagery flits through their minds, ungraspable?

Sometimes I wish I could speak to a psychologist. Someone who knows how to poke around in the subconscious to help me name my desires.

 


 

Sometimes, when I feel this way, it makes me think that I should never listen to this music again. Save myself the pain. But writing about it really helped today. The Longing is still there, but it has its pleasant bittersweet quality now. Pen and paper. Cheaper than a shrink.

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Sometimes I find myself daydreaming that I can talk to someone.  I can be quite articulate and eloquent in my head.  But I’m not often that way face to face.

I’m feeling depressed today.  Last night I saw and English men and boys’ choir perform at a local church.  They were pretty good.  I had some criticisms, but the lasting impression was a good one.  So I spent two hours watching and listening to a large group of cute boys with lovely voices.  One soloist in particular.  He sang the greater solo in “I waited for the Lord” by Mendelssohn, and the last verse in their encore, “Drop, drop slow tears” by Gibbons.  He had a beautiful, even, polished sound, and he was beautiful himself.  Some of the boys were probably nearly six feet tall, but I’d guess this soloist to have been no taller than 5′ if that.  (Not that height is the primary factor is beauty.)  Yet one could see he was no younger than 11.  Probably 12.

I wanted to speak to him after, but there didn’t seem to be a reception of any kind.  So I don’t even know his name.

After the concert I drove up to The King’s house to spend time with him and My Friend on the Facebook.  I wanted to talk about the concert, to talk about this boy, but when I got there I couldn’t say anything.  Even when MFotF asked, “How was the concert?” all I could say was, “good.”

Often after concerts of this sort, that is to say concerts with prominant boy performers, I crash emotionally — sometimes as soon as I walk out of the venue — and fall into this depression.  And I wonder why.  It’s the Unknowable Longing rearing its head yet again.  It’s been a while.  These concerts, and similar situations, remind me of something.  Something I want but can’t have.  Hard to have it when you can’t name it.

Sometimes this feeling is bittersweet.  I sort of savor it; the closeness to the idea behind the Unknowable Longing.  But not today.  Today it just sucks.  Hurts.  Days like today I wonder if it is worth torturing myself like this.  Maybe…  Something about the boychoir, the combination of boys and music, calls to me.  Entices me.  But I’m no closer to figuring out what that is today than when I first felt it.  So I could keep persuing it, or I could walk away and save myself the anguish.

When I put it down on paper like that the answer jumps out at me.  My idealist heart sees the choice between hard or easy and immediately chooses hard.  CAPrime would disagree, I’m sure.  Now if only I could get my Idealist Heart to do the dishes…

To change the topic, last week I was a little hot headded and over dramatic.  CAPrime and I are still speaking.  Our friendship will never be what it was at its peak, but it doesn’t need to end.  He just wanted assurances.  I thought I had given them to him, but it seems he needed more.  But he and I disagree on too many things, and CASecund believes whatever CAPrime tells him to believe.

Writing this down really does help, for some reason.  I don’t know why.

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I called off from work tomorrow.  They’re not going to be happy about that, but I must get better.  My voice is almost completely gone and I have a rehearsal tomorrow, a concert the day after, and then a service, another concert, and a singing-social event on Sunday.  I can’t take chances.

I remembered something as I walked back from my car the second time tonight.  (I left my phone.  Again.)  It’s raining.  Two days ago I called Jess and left a message about the melancholy feeling I get when it rains.  That elusive want isn’t the need to be needed that I talked about before.  I apparently have two unknowable longings.  This second one is more nostalgia than the other, I think, but not completely.

What I remembered was sitting on the front stoop of my house when I was a child (think 7-9, or maybe more like 6-8) with an umbrella propped against the wall, huddled underneath it in the rain.  I was making a tent for myself and enjoying the gloomy weather.  I’m fairly certain that the feeling I feel now when it rains is the same basic emotion I felt playing then.  This is significant because it proves my assumption about the rain-feeling’s origins wrong.  If I felt the same feeling that young, then it can’t be nostalgia for some forgotten adolescent event associated with rain.  It likely has nothing to do with boys.  I think I’d just come to assume it did because a) common layman’s understanding of psychology leads us to assume that all things stem from sexuality and our parents and b) boys are generally the only thing that can get that deep and strong an emotional response out of me.

But maybe it still is about boys in some way.  First, the feeling can’t be exactly the same now as it was then.  I’ve matured and evolved and had new experiences that have added to my associations with rain.  And I certainly experienced a lot of rain and tents with boys in boy scouts.

Or we could consider the possibility of an early sign of my sexuality.  (A dangerous and often misleading course of action, I have come to believe.)  I’m sure I ran fantasies of children caught out in the elements, despondent, needing rescue.  I think I remember thinking of that, playing that “game” with me as the distressed child.  (I remember being particularly fascinated with stories like Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match-Seller.)  I don’t recall that leading to rescue fantasy.  Only the helpless situation.  Only when I was old enough to cast myself in the role of rescuer did my fantasies take on that element, I believe.  But I’ve been fantasizing that general situation my whole life.

And I think this fantasy is likely familiar for most boylovers.  It goes back to the need to be needed thing.  We fantasize about children and distress not because it’s attractive, but because it creates a need for the rescuer.

Perhaps that very fantasy – which is often featured in BL fiction – could be the root of what makes some pedophiles turn violent towards children.  The fantasy has an undeniably dark aspect.  It isn’t inconceivable that a young man experimenting in his mind with the rescue scenario could become fixated on the first half to the exclusion of the rescue portion.  Especially if he pays too much attention to the opinion of society at large that people who feel sexual attraction to children are monsters by “virtue” of their attraction only, and not their actions.  If he obsesses too much on the fantasy child’s distress it could eventually become attractive to him.  Especially if he comes to embrace that self-loathing that viewing yourself as a monster leads to.  Young men often try to live up to expectations.

Coming from someone as inexpert as myself, this may all be a load of bollocks.

In any case, the rain makes me feel melancholy in a sweet way that I want to nurture, while making me long for something unknown and lost.

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I just rewatched Dear Frankie.  I’d guess it’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve watched it, but it’s been a while since the last time.  I wish I could come up with words to truly describe how the movie makes me feel.  But the emotion is too raw, too primal, too pure to be accurately intellectualized.  I’ll try my best though.

In some ways the movie seems perfect to me.  Perfectly told, for one.  It follows my old acting teacher’s plot model.  Stasis-conflict-stasis.  It starts with Lizzie, Lizzie’s mother, and Frankie moving yet again, continuing to live in limbo.  Suspended fear.  With the discovery that Frankie’s fictional father’s ship is about to arrive in the town they just moved to, Lizzie suddenly has to produce the man.

With the introduction of the stranger hired to be Frankie’s father, things start to change.  Well, they started to change with the epiphany earlier.  The introduction is the change.

I don’t feel like continuing the plot analysis.  It’s not what I started for anyway.  Watch the movie.  It’s good.

More than being a perfectly crafted story that ties up all its loose ends while still leaving delicious questions, it feels like a perfect picture of boylove.  It’s odd since the stranger isn’t a boylover, but in a way that adds to the perfection.  It’s a story of a man and a boy who are unrelated and don’t know each other, yet still the man comes to love the boy.  Adding even more to the story’s relevance, the relationship is born out of a lie.  Beauty out of ugliness.

I think that the…not really emotion, but…it’s a word used in the sims…motives!  The motive that…motivates is need.  Both for the movie and for boylove.  Needing, being needed, and needing to be needed.  Frankie needs a father.  He has love.  His mother, grandmother and even neighbor love him.  So does the girl in his class.  But they’re all female.  Frankie has been exchanging letters with his “father” for years, and is partially satisfied in that, but he needs to connect with him in a more real, concrete way.  He probably doesn’t even realize this need until he faces the possibility of it being denied.  Of the ship coming in but not being visited by his father.

Just like the classical love story has a damsel in distress and a hero to save the day, a boylove story has a boy in need and a man to fulfill it.  A boylover responds to that hunger for love.  We need to be needed.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Gerard Butler, the Stranger, is needed.  Or rather, Frankie has a need.  Lizzie recognizes his need and so employs a man to fulfill it.  The Stranger also recognizes the need ans so reluctantly agrees to participate in the duplicitous arrangement.  The offer of money doesn’t hurt either.

Up to this point it’s a story about a mother struggling to give her son what he needs.  It tugs at the heartstrings of boylovers (and probably mothers, and I’d hope everyone else as well) but it doesn’t really become a boylove story until the Stranger and Frankie meet.  Frankie’s need has been building up the whole time, and when it becomes greatest as his “father” stands before him and he perceives that it’s safe – it won’t be snatched away.  It isn’t a dream or a trick – he rushes forward and throws his arms around him.

At that point, the Stranger stands in shock, hands held out in the air away from the small body clinging to him, and I sit in front of the screen in agony, the words “just touch him” screaming through my mind, physically tense with the desire to act.  To fill that need.

Finally the Stranger comes to grips, truly, with the boy’s need and with the fact that he is needed.  And he commits to it, placing his hands on the boy’s back gently giving him that physical gesture of love.  The tension drains from my body and I smile, fulfilled myself seeing the boy’s need fulfilled.

The Stranger is no longer just standing in for written words.  He has started to fill the boy’s need, and having tasted that ecstasy, has started to need it himself.

That’s when it becomes a boylover story.  When the stranger finds himself needing to be needed.  It is subtle at first, but becomes more obvious at the end of that first day.  The Stranger sees in Frankie that one day isn’t enough.  Frankie still needs more of him, so he sets himself against the wishes of Lizzie and her mother.  That’s dangerous.  he’s fulfilled his agreement, he’s going to get his money, but he chooses to fight to continue fulfilling Frankie’s need.  Maybe that doesn’t yet show his own need.   One could argue that he doesn’t plant the idea of one more day for himself (and he doesn’t really.  He does it for Frankie) but his own need could certainly add to the motivation to defy the rules.  At the very least it shows he is willing to fight for Frankie’s need at cost to himself, and that shows love.  Not just showing love to the boy, but loving the boy in himself.

His own need becomes strongest and clearest right at the end, when he asks to say goodbye.  Frankie has had two great days with his “father” and is now asleep.  If he’d woken up the next morning to the story, “you fell asleep and your father carried you home but had to go back to the ship,” he’d have accepted that without much sorrow.  In a way, that would have been the poetic thing to do.  Not to mention the parental thing.  Let the exhausted boy sleep.

But the Stranger doesn’t.  He asks if he can say goodbye.  That’s his own need.  He doesn’t do it for Frankie.  The Stranger needs the boy’s love.  He needs to be needed.  He wants to see the boy’s longing for him, and for Frankie to see his own longing.

That’s boylove.  Needing to be needed.  Dear Frankie tells a story of that need and tells it perfectly, making me feel happy/sad, hot/cold, excited/depressed, energetic/lazy.

I’m not needed.  Maybe that is the ever unknowable longing that seeing boys makes me feel.  Or part of it, anyway.  Maybe I have, in trying to understand how the movie works, identified my own elusive need.  I need to be needed.  But I’m not.  Not like that.  There are plenty of boys out there who have great need.  Even great need for nothing but love.  And I am very able and willing to meet that need.  But they don’t need me.  Not yet.  But I am now on the road to changing that.  And that gives me hope that has taken the edge off the depression that usually follows a movie like this.

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About 11:45pm.  My evil plan failed.  I think I waited too long.

After the pretty horrific show tonight, I went back to the room to change and go to the toilet.  Along the way I committed myself to try my evil plan.  Place myself in a hot tub on the main patio (not the adults only area.  Ick!) and wait for the pre-teen boys to come and crowd around me.

Epic fail!  Well…There was one pre-teen boy, but he was black.  (Nothing against black people.  I’m just not usually attracted to them.)  Plus he had his younger cousin with him who was uber chatty.  They both liked to tell tall tales.  Like how the older of the two fell off a boat into the ocean and was rescued by a dolphin because he made a dolphin noise to call one to him.

Other than those two, I was joined by a couple in their twenties, three middle teen cousins (1 boy, 2 girls) and two young teen girls who were somehow related I’m pretty sure.  I do believe my downfall was the hour.  I went too late.  Pre-teen boys are in general not allowed to swim at 10:30 at night unsupervised, and their parents have other things they want to be doing that late.  Perfectly reasonable.  Just inconvenient.  If I try earlier, there wil be no room to insert myself to begin with without losing my deniability to the accusation that I was actually seeking that company.

Anyway.  Maybe there will be boys on my excursion tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

I just really want a relationship with a boy.  I miss it so sorely.

Many boylovers would like to be boys again themselves.  And I certainly wouldn’t say no to the opportunity.  I’d jump at it.  But I’d also like to be 15 or 16 again.  Something about that age where it’s just so easy to hang out with younger boys while still being the mentor.  The leader.  Setting all the precedents.  Teens that age are just a magnet for younger boys.  I thought about this twice today.  The first time right after the cousin trio got into the hot tub.  The two black boys who had been talking to me latched onto the teen boy.  They followed him around for ther rest of the evening.  Not that I minded.  But it did make me think of that.

The second time was when I got back to my room and took my third shower of the day.  I dropped my swim trunks in the bathroom and it sort of reminded me of boy scouts.  Not because I ever exposed myself to the younger scouts, but because I always wanted to just take the lead, show no shame, and encourage them to do the same.  Trying to lead the younger boys in confident body image and get myself a show to boot.  I never did though.  The only time I dropped my trunks in scouts was when I was one of the younger scouts, in front of a fellow 11 year old.  Still trying to not be ashamed.  Still hoping my friend would follow suit and give me something to look at.  (He didn’t.)  Even at 11 I was trying to see penises.  I ended up being the one to give a show though.  An older scout came into the shower room at some point while I was naked and my friend was fully dressed.  (We were both in the showers though.  Weird kid.  Showering in jeans.)  He sat down on a bench facing the bank of showers and waited for us to finish.  I was made a little uncomfortable by the situation, mainly because I didn’t feel free to talk to my friend in front of this person I didn’t really know, but I didn’t think much of it, and it didn’t really bother me.  In thinking back I always wonder about that older scout.  I can think of two possibilities.  Either he was far to shy himself to undress and was unwilling to shower in his clothes, or he was enjoying the show I was putting on.  Wish I could remember his name…

Anyway, that desire to return to an earlier point in life when I was closer to boys is a part of the elusive feeling/desire that haunts me.  That feeling of incompleteness that I can never fully grasp or define that drives me to seek out some sort of contact with boys.  Many other boylovers I’ve spoken with know exactly what I’m talking about and are equally unable to put a name to the feeling.  I’ve understood parts of it, but whenever I understand a new aspect of it, I lose my grasp on another part.  Or more accurately, I lose my grasp before I have a chance to understand the new.  Maybe it isn’t actually knowable.  Maybe there are no words, there is no thought to parallel the emotion.  Maybe it is truly outside the realm of reason.

Or maybe, whenever I think I understand part of it, I’ll rush here and write it down, and eventually have all the pieces, just needing to be put together.

But then, surely, if such were possible, it’d have been done already.

Maybe it has.

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