2.46593 is, according to Kinsey, the average number of times per week that the average American makes it. (Make. Definition 25 in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language is to go or travel at a particular speed.) some of us now, we travel faster and more. That figure is likely for 1990 or 2010. Probably not 2020. Certainly not 2052.
Would it be sophomoric to suggest that the. 46593 might refer to oral-genital contact without penetration? No doubt.
But to things poetic:
Against the haloed lattice-panes
The bridesmaid sunned her breast;
Then to the glass turned tall and free,
And braced and shifted daintily
Her loin-belt through her cote-hardie.
–D. G. Rossetti, The Brides Prelude
Talk about soft-core!
“She’s delightfully realistic and appealing. Needs no batteries. The doll that actually plays with you. She never gets tired, you can play for hours. She ‘comes alive’ when you blow the magic bunny-locket whistle. Put her on her bouncy bunny and blow the whistle–she sways back and forth, stops all by herself. Take her off and whistle–she waves her arms and legs, rocks from side to side like a lively tot. she has a mind of her own! Put her in her chair and show her the pictures on her magic slate. If she likes something she jumps up and down with joy–if she doesn’t. she shakes her head ‘no’ “
Good girl, Shirl.
If you’d lived before the sixth moon landing, could you have imagined anything more bizarre than what I’m about to discuss? Well, unusual. No? Confused? What the hell, it was a natural extension of the marriage manuals, an infinite variety.
No, clown, I’m not talking about the sixth moon landing. The sixth could have been the nine hundredth for all it arrested the imagination of the man on the street. Besides, a man with sickle blades welded to the hubcaps of his Volkswagen had just killed eleven people in California. You had to expect popular distraction.
Now, the natural extension of the marriage manuals, etc. imagine a couple together on the bed. Assign faces if you wish, the more familiar the better. Let’s maximise identification.
Though they haven’t been to church since their parents took them instead of sending them, they’ve assumed the missionary position. (Got the faces yet? Come on! Top or bottom–exercise your favorite fantasy.) king of the daisies, Mr. M. was–not ten minutes ago–fertilizing the tiger lilies in the backyard. Mrs. M. was slightly starching Mr. M.’s shirts. The article said passion was to be spontaneous.
“Oh. Ohm . . . Uh.” Mrs. M. feels it’s expected of her to vocalize her passion. She is naked.
Mr. M. wears a lightweight wireless headset. Adapt your eyesight to electromagnetic spectra. Trace the waves back to the transmitter plugged into the electrical socket behind the bedside table. Track further to the CD player humming erotically. Listen in.
“The clitoris is the homologue of the male penis. As you feel it now, the shaft may measure something over one inch in length. Move your index finger along the inner surface of the labia minora, ending each digital stroke against the clitoris. Bear in mind that this is completely normal activity, eventually terminating in . . .”
Can you appreciate the quality of the recording? Note the vibrant measured cadence, the dis passion of a newscaster announcing this week’s body count in some small third-world country.
“Ohhhh.” Mrs. M. screws her eyes tightly shut, except when she glances up to check her husband’s depth of involvement.
Mr. M.’s eyes are also closed, except when he glances anxiously down to reassure himself of the height of Mrs. M.’s ecstasy.
Enough, enough. I hate this Dickensian feeling of drawing you ahead like the Ghjost of Christmas Future.
“Tain’t even Christmas, Carol.”
Just imagine–this doll’s so talented she can do something most people can’t. Just clap your hands! Does other things too: picks up her bottle to drink, raises her arms to come to you, even plays peek-a-boo. She’s sixty-two inches tall with fully jointed body, has big blue eyes, rooted hair, and lif-like vinyl body. Wears . . .”
False hair for the female pudenda. Merkins. It was a seller’s market among the Southern California survivors after the nuclear plant at San Onofre went.
On the read-out console of a third generation IBM 6040. Where else would you seduce a cybernetic sub-systems analyst (B. S., M. S., Michigan State University, 2045-46: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2049: and her eyes are smoky green of Brazilian topaz)?
“I never saw you before,” she murmurs. “What the hell are you?”
Gallantly I fold my jacket to slip beneath her hips. “I’m a writer,” I say. Truthfully, I’m an advertising copywriter employed by the largest toy manufacturer in the Midwest. I’m on hand whenever your kid has a birthday or is anticipating a Christmas. “One of the many Leisure toys, have you played with all of them?”
“Toys?” She laughs. “Delightful.”
“I’m sorry, I was–”
“–thinking out loud.” She smiles as her fingers jig over the keyboard. “I was going to program Ravel’s ‘Bolero’. instead, I think we’ll hear ‘March of the Wooden Soldiers’ “
Do you realize how many dead soldiers are airlifted off the battlefield with hard-ons?
“Adorable baby puts her chubby hand to her lips and throws you a big kiss, with kissing sound! Just pull the string on her back: no batteries needed. She’s soft and cuddly, has a foam filled cotton body. Life-like vinyl head and hands, rooted hair, sleeping eyes with long lashes. Eyelet embroidered playsuit.”
“I’m a modular lover,” she says.
“No need to be egotistic,” I reply.
“Modular, you ass! I believe in modular love affairs.”
Shit. I don’t like to talk while I’m doing it.
“I plug lovers in. I take them out.” she bares lovely teeth and moves faster around me.
Instant circuits overload and I–Ohhh-Holy–
Ever do it on horseback, Doris? Swinging to Branbury Cross?
“Susie with twist’n’turn waist is an all-action fashion doll with wonderful mobility. She twists and turns from the waist to pose in many different poses. She has eyelashes, bendable legs, rooted hair.”
I watched my niece and her little friends playing on the carpet. Six toy soldiers were gang-banging a girl doll. It was not pleasant. The doll’s boyfriend might have done something, but he was occupied with another female doll..
Out in the backyard, my nephew was almost finished. The toy soldiers had killed the last of the civilians. He scooped them into a mass grave beneath the rosebush with his toy bulldozer.
It’s only a toy, Joy.
Brown-haired woman with caramel nipples lies quietly for the moment, nascent liquids boiling beneath the skin. She unplugs me, gentle disengagement, but handles my softness with firmness. “I’ll want it again soon.”
And I’ll want hers again soon.
“Tell me poetry.” she had no time for it before.
She flops over on her belly, a soft brown otter stretched luxuriously. “Love poet.” she contemplates the blank read-out. “No Lawrence, no Levertov, no Kandel or Patchen. No McKuen.”
I say, “I know. One of my favorites:
“I caught this morning’s minion, king-
Dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn falcon
In his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and
High there, how he rung upon the rain of a wimpling–”
I protest. “it’s not about love, but it feels like love–”
Fearful of next minute’s denial, I try again:
“Yet, love and hate me too.
So, these extremes shall neither’s office do;
Love me that I may die the gentler way;
Hate me, because thy love is too great for me;
Or let these two, themselves, not me decay;
So shall I live, thy stage, not triumph be;
Lest thou thy .love and hate and me undo,
To let me live, O love and hate me too.”
“That feels like love,” she says. “Continue.” she demands with her thighs.
2052. 4.46593. Who says there’s no such thing as progress?
In the old days it was:
· Premature ejaculation
You’ve heard of them?
· Light aluminum alloy skeletons
· Flexible plastic skin
· Stainless steel stroke arm
· Ten centimeter thrust along the plotted arc
· Stroke cycles per minute
· Depth of penetration gauge
· Appreciable frontal shut-off switch
· Degree of lateral tumescence control
· Lap counter
· Angle of thrust
Holy M & J (that’s for Masters and Johnson, Bubbie), they’ve even got a model that ejaculates flavored yogurt.
No doubt for the .46593 trade.
Don’t you hope to live to see it/feel it?
Sometimes I feel like a coelacanth. Got that? A crossopterygian fish–Latimeria chalumnae. Take the pronunciations carefully. Seal-a-canth. Very good, baby.
All the scientists thought the coelacanth disappeared 70 million years ago. They were wrong. A live one was caught in 1938 in the Indian Ocean off South Africa. Another one in 1952. It’s a priceless link between the old and new, between water-living and land-living animals.
Look at the fish, kiddies, ain’t it ugly? But check it closer. Don’t those fins look like legs?
Once upon a time, unhappiness was having dead batteries in your vibrator.
“baby Tender Love makes little boys feel like they’re real daddies! Vinyl-form doll has skin so soft it feels like a baby’s. Can be twisted and turned. Baby Tender Love can also be bathed and washed just like real. She drinks and wets, and has shiny blonde hair made of modacrylic. Dressed in a lace-trimmed pink top and panties. Comes–”
When I was a baby, did my parents never hold me?
There were no caresses, no kisses, no hugs or ever being cradled in secure arms. Is that why I now hunger for flesh? How I hate the rub of plastic and the taste of metal.
And how I grasp–
She shrieks, more startled than in pain. “Don’t you ever trim your nails?”
“It’s tactile,” I say.
“Too tactile. Continue.”
“I want to know your name,” I say.
She raises her head, shaking it to clear taffy strands from in front of her eyes. Puzzlement. “So? I’ll never see you again.”
“I want to know anyway.”
“A name has strings attached.”
“Damn,” I say. “I’m not a camera stealing your soul.”
She smiles a few seconds before saying, “Karma.”
“It’s a joke. You get out of me what you put in.”
“Fair enough,” I say.
Plug in. plug out.
Did you like the idea of having roots? Like a cypress: anchors into your life. Into school and church and community and state and country. Into friends and family. And that was what I missed most. More than the flesh-touch alone, also the closeness of years.
But we moved. If we worked, we were transferred. If we had leisure, we traveled. Things and places became stale and we left and that was all right. But people were counted in our personal lives among things and places. They were as impermanent as paper dolls and rented furniture and modular buildings.
The intransigence of intransigence. Oh, shit, how I hate it.
The computer room is silent, so quiet that our breathing is the loudest sound. During “business hours”–that is when human beings are in the presence of the machine–the elevator music plays a background. White noise they call it. Sea sounds, surf rushing in over rocks. Wind-wrapped mountains.
We are our own white noise.
“Continue, oh, continue,” she cries.
Plug in. plug out.
“She’s the flexible, lifelike Teenage fashion doll who is jointed at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, shoulders, and elbows. This enables her to assume virtually every position of the human body–a doll that can mimic every action of her lover. Her hair is permanently rooted and styled fashionably to below-the-shoulder length. Perfect addition to your collection. Full selection of accessories. Order below.”
Charlotte, you wouldn’t have believed it. Not after having come from a school like Baylor, where girls still wore stiff formals and accepted scented corsages with a conditioned Southern disdain.
But imagine it. We were in Chicago. Here’s a boardroom. Grown men–eleven of them (oh, and a woman)–sitting around an ancient hardwood table. Then I got up and showed them the storyboards for the new campaign. They dubiously examined the displays of tiny aerosol cans. Cautiously they circled the mnemonically cued copy.
“Feminine deodorant spray for dolls?” ventured Weingarten, of marketing.
“Believe it,” said the woman. “It will sell.”
Always trust the instincts of a survivor.
“Do you know anymore poetry?”
“No. I’m sorry I don’t”
“That’s too bad,” she says. “I rather liked it.”
“Let’s continue,” I say.
2062. 8.46593. So it’s progress, yes?
“ . . . her to assume virtually every position enables . . .”
“ . . . to assume virtually every position enables her to . . .”
You know what’s coming? You even want to know? Strike the transition set. Forget prosthetics, alloplastic vaginas, electronically enhanced dildoids, aids, inducements, augmentations. It’s new, new this season. Total sensory experiences. Record, play back, buy off the rack. Masturbate yourself; punch a button, slot a disc. No romance?
Think of fine new words for the scene: sectional intercourse, homosensuality, psychlingus. You’ll love it won’t you?
Orgasm’s an orgasm. You feel it going in; you feel it coming out.
Can’t we dally, Sally?
Plug in. plug out.
Call me your module.
Darling . . . yes? Words that bind? Sorry.
“It has been lovely,” she says.
Between spurts: “Continue?” I say. “Continue?”
“What are you?” She laughs. “A tank circuit?”
And she rolls off me. “Pause. Need my breath.”
I remember smoking at times like these, but now it’s unhealthy. I recall talking, but that’s not done. I remember wishing to wash my skin, to urinate, to find food in the refrigerator.
She hums tonelessly. She is white noise.
“Continue now?” I say.
“Yes.” Skin between her eyes wrinkles thoughtfully. “Now different, though. I want to do it the old way.”
Dearest . . . Old reflexes jump synapses long suspected unbridgeable. Have I pretended too long, I, the coelacanth? Do I still swim?
I want to do it the old way.
I want to do it the–
Sheesh, sheesh, the desperate unreasoning panic of a shark lifted from the life-giving water; my internal organs, no longer supported, tear loose from inner walls.
Suddenly I wish, I wish, I wish . .
But I can’t.