It’s been three weeks since the United Kingdom entered the lockdown. Feels a lot longer though, doesn’t it? Time has taken on a strange quality, seemingly stretching out and compressing in one instance. The length of a day has become a fluid, uncertain thing.
For many of us, it’s been about a month since we started to stop socialising, radically altering our normal regimes. One month ago today, I had plans to attend an orgy, the organisers holding out until almost the last minute before cancelling it. The idea of an orgy now seems completely alien, an illicit concept which I don’t even want to think about, in case the longing in my body becomes too much.
The great Tennessee Williams wrote, “time is the longest distance between two places”. I’ve felt this distance so keenly, in the last few days. It feels like a chasm between my current existence and the life I was living, at once very near and very far away. I ache for a return to normality.
On Friday, I removed my manicure, soaking my nails in acetone and slowly buffing off the polish. It’s a cliche, but it felt very significant. It’s been a while since I’ve had bare nails, and I won’t deny it’s a strange feeling. A manicure makes me feel ‘done’, put-together and ready for anything. I wouldn’t dream of going on a date without having had my nails done, and now, looking at my bare hands, they seem like a metaphor for this absence I feel so strongly.
I’m not someone who likes sitting around doing nothing, and luckily I’ve had lots to occupy myself with, given that I am no longer working. But God, I miss it!
I miss the small things about dates with clients, the sense of anticipation, the scent of someone new, intoxicating and heady. I miss the seemingly insignificant gestures, barely noticeable to anyone but the two of us – the look in someone’s eye, the touch of a hand on the small of my back. I miss the attention! Sure, I can put on lingerie, do my hair and make-up – but if there’s no-one there to have their breath taken away, no-one to let out a slow sigh of longing, where’s the fun?
In the words of the wonderful Marina O’Loughlin, “I miss Lunch. I don’t mean lunch — that would be a ludicrous thing for a restaurant critic to say — but Lunch: that full-throated, gloves-off, indiscretion-encouraging, untowardness-enabling, calorie-denying, third-martini-ordering, cheeseboard-diving, daylight-losing, trouser-loosening hallelujah of a meal. The extended Lunch is so much more wicked than dinner: stolen time when the rest of the world is working — when you should be working — makes everything exquisitely delicious.”
I miss champagne before noon, whisky at midnight, long slow syrupy afternoons which stretch out, full of sex and bodies and soft sheets.
I miss waking up with no idea what my day will be like, the sense that I could do anything, or anyone, with my time.
I’m a creature of a connection, and it’s been hard having that ripped away from me. Thankfully, I’ve found new ways to maintain my relationships, and create new ones. Keeping in touch with my lovers via email, text, phone call and video chat has sustained me, and it’s been a joy to discover new ways of interaction, new modes of erotic and authentic connection. If you want to join me, please do.
My last date before I stopped seeing clients in person was, thankfully, one to remember, featuring not only my darling Ivy Grace, but also the magnificent Valerie August and one of my favourite gentlemen. I’ve been sustained by the memories for a while now, but they are starting to fade.
I know we’ll all make new memories, vivid and clear and alive, and I am sustained by this thought. I am sustained by imagining the passion and fire which will emerge once we are released from the lockdown. I am sustained, but I am ravenous for it.