I’ve been around the block a few times. Not as many times as a throaty-voiced Brooklyn hooker puffing out a cloud of smoke before saying the same words, but maybe 16 times and I know sexual chemistry when I feel it.
Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, where a whiff of sexual chemistry is followed up by a brisk mounting-squealing-pregnancy cycle, lust in humans has no foregone conclusion. It can lead to marriage, a one-night stand, a simmering friendship or just a loaded smile across the bus. But the most maddening form of sexual chemistry is the one that has no conclusion whatsoever. This type of chemistry is fuelled by a species of homo sapiens, known in the scientific community as the ‘unobtainaboy’.
If the unobtainaboy were an animal he would be a peacock, spreading out his exotic and beautiful qualities, strutting around in front of you while winking (peacocks definitely wink all the time) and then, just as you’ve decided you would mortgage your left arm if he were to coyly suggest it, off he goes, feathers wiggling until they have shrunk to a bright speck on the horizon.
But this won’t be the last you see of him. Unobtainaboys are like boomerangs. They return to where you are, each time more resplendent. And because beauty has a hypnotic power, each time you greet them with new enthusiasm, knowing that crushed hopes are nothing beside the great optimism their presence inspires. Keats understood: ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all/Ye know on earth and all ye need to know’.
A key feature of unobtainaboys is that they are not the misogynistic assholes found in Neil LaBute scripts. They’re good people, just a little gamesy – the magicians of the dating world. Reality is too trite for their tastes so they jazz it up with flourishes that leave the audience guessing. If audiences got wise to the man beneath the peacock suit the act would be over. When this happens, unobtainaboys cry.
So, what to do if you find yourself in thrall to an unobtainaboy? Warning: advice may contain metaphors:
1. Enjoy the show
2. Find a straightforward animal
3. Train as a magician’s assistant
Image by jonny2love courtesy of Flickr