Thursday, May 03, 2007

Doctor Love. Or, how to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.

She is an ephemeral Creature of the Night. I wouldn’t have met her but for my habit of working late nights while listening to an FM station. When she first went into the business of giving advice to the lovelorn several months ago (I don’t exactly remember when), she used to have a full and busy schedule with the phone ringing often and lots of advice being sought. Then I stopped listening to Radio Mirchi for a while – not on purpose, somebody changed the setting on my Sharp World Receiver and I didn’t notice for a long, long time. Now that I’m back at the Doc’s headquarters, I’m surprised by the change in the situation. There don’t seem to be so many appeals for advice as before. In fact, she keeps repeating resignedly and patiently, “I’m waiting”. (Maybe, summer is a slow season for the lovelorn though this goes against all the wisdom of the ages and the mythology of popular culture.) Also, we don’t get to hear the caller’s voice and problem live anymore. Her current advice seems to be as down-to-earth and romantic as before (she has to live up to her name, after all), though. If the advice is truly off the cuff, she seems to be doing quite a competent job. But sometimes I wonder if she could not be completely mistaken in her assumptions about the situation. For instance, I just heard her advising a guy who said he didn’t believe in love and was feeling lonely that he should start believing in love. Although the good Doc did not mention it in so many words, the drift seemed to be the right girl would eventually come along if only the lonely advice seeker started believing in love. My question is: suppose the lonely guy is a latent homosexual and does not know it or admit it. In fact, his emphatically insisting that he does not believe in love gives me every reason to suspect his sexual preference. Because our culture and Bollywood condition us into thinking of only a heterosexual “relationship” in terms of “love” and “romance”. Tricky, eh? P.S.: Or else, the advice seeker may have been looking for Erica Jong’s “zipless sex”, i.e., “no-guilt, no-baggage sex”. This has been described by Cristina Nehring (‘Zip It: Erica Jong's Stunning Self-absorption’) as the “fantasy of elated anonymous sex – sex without strings, preambles, or consequences; sex with a stranger on a train, an itinerant Romeo who comes, sees, conquers, and disappears into the mists of the station.” She cites from Fear of Flying, the whole mythology of which is based “on the availability – and ecstasy – of the zipless fuck.” "The zipless fuck was more than a fuck," intones Isadora. "It was a platonic ideal. Zipless because when you came together zippers fell away like rose petals.... Your whole soul flowed out through your tongue." "And," she adds abruptly four pages later, "I have never had one." It’s a mine field out there, Doc. Be very, very wary about what advice you give and what it may all lead up to.

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