The Male Gaze

Recently I had lunch with a long time friend who I only see a few times a year who happens to be a woman. Both lovers of books we were discussing Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and how, although I liked it enough to get through all 700+ pages I couldn’t suspend my disbelief at the inauthenticity of a woman writing in the voice of a man. It’s not that such a thing can’t be done, although I’ve only read one other book with such a style, a man writing in the voice of a woman, and one thing in particular stands out to me as both a writer and a slave to my own penis, sex. The character of the woman written by the man was, frankly, a man. Mannerisms and voice were what I thought a man thinks a woman should be like. Cold, all business, sex as a weapon, etc. In other words- a man. In the Goldfinch it was basically the same problem. The protagonist narrator went from an adolescent boy to late twenties over the course of the book and as a boy I got how the author wanted to portray a boy under bad circumstances and how he survives. But as he grew into a man, the character has a one-way silent fascination with one woman, and that’s it. The character isn’t creepy enough to be so secular in the sexuality department so he comes off as almost castrated by what a woman thinks a man should really be like. Not the panty-ripping alpha male that feeds so many female fantasy suburban legends, but basically a little lapdog willing to stand in the background and remain the submissive by default. Anyway, this all came into the conversation with my long time woman friend (she’s about 19 years older than me) about the one distinctive reason why I had a hard time buying this character as authentic. SEX. As a gay man I’ve been able to talk much more freely about sex with other gay men and some women, without holding back on subjects like barebacking and my late-blooming power bottom awareness. One thing among many that turns me on

about a man is the caveman aspect of fucking. When it’s primal and raw and unapologetic and rough it’s all the more sensual. Sure I’ve had bad sex partners, even dated a few. Not all men are the aggressor. Not to the happy ending anyway. Yeah, I’ll fuck you in half! Then they kind of lose steam long before the sheets get stained. When it’s said that the penis has its own mind, no truer words were ever spoken. The muscle itself is hard wired to find a tight warm place to burrow and ejaculate. It’s a biological need. This is something that a woman can’t really understand fully. It’s not always obvious, but it’s an underlying unspoken scent in the abyss. If I had more time I’d do a small dissertation on the nature of testosterone, but alas this all brings me to the conclusion of a weekend on super queer fire island where I actually resisted temptation for whatever reason and chose to just enjoy myself without any fluids exchanged. Maybe next weekend or today at noon. I am kind of hungry…



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