A case for lust
Feb 07 2014
One imagines love sitting sedately by a side, plucking red roses, self-righteous in its nobility and respectability, soaking in both Shakespeare’s take on it and Karan Johar’s, examining its ring finger from time to time. While lust is writhing somewhere, being all naughty, unbuttoning buttons and pulling down hems.
Over time lust has been advancing and love retreating, we are told, going by the surveys and research on mice and men. The seven-year itch has officially gone down to two years. Which means men and women could hook up with other women and men, respectively, within 24 months of getting hitched. The attempt to stretch a happily ever after to all of eternity is stumped by the new fairy tale on the block — the carnal quotient in relationships.
Even the most diehard matrimonially inclined confess to the inability of finding everything in one person. To tick all off the wish list one needs to date 20 different people at the very least. So, in essence, settling for a single person implies selling out. Monogamy triumphs over multiplicity with its inherent ability to go on and on and on; better a long-term lie then than a short-term truth is the general wisdom.
But if the whole chicken or egg what came first question is applied here, love comes a cropper. If two people had not gotten all touchy-feely at some point in time long, long ago, and had just confined themselves to sighing over each other and carving syrupy poems in their respective caves, where would we be? It is to those honest-to-goodness hormones, their freewheeling speed and enterprising spirit that we owe our origin to.The idea is to mate and propagate the species. What you do after the act — stay together, play house-house or go your separate ways in search of more mates — is nothing to posterity.
How did the very word ‘love’ come about? Who started this rumour, this myth, this lovely lie? That things can go on the way they are, that moments can be frozen with a predetermined commitment to freeze them thus. Isn’t it just something to say before, after and during? Its origin perhaps lies in the first awkward encounter between the sexes when the need to say something, anything, arose? When a clearing of the throat was mistaken for a word. In turn giving rise to a whole vocab around it and then a whole industry around it. Days dedicated to it, greeting cards, movies, books, songs. A frenzied festive cover-up for your average, pedestrian, everyday sex drive.
And somewhere along the way libido became just another inner garment to be tucked under the larger overflowing coat of love. Anything to keep the eye off its impending expiry date.
Mankind is often defeated in its quest for personalised attention, giving up in the face of frequent assassinations of the heart, of reaching out and being rebuffed again and again. The trick is to work side by side, along parallel lines; perishables like love and lust are best refrigerated in marriages.In a flash of self-preservation we devisedlifelong shackles and dungeons, a polite way to demand fidelity — with a ring — through menopause and erectile dysfunction. There’s a beast in every beauty, say advocates of marriages dismissively about erotica.
And, just like that, a powerful chap like lust got tucked into love, as if a tiny, tiny detail of the larger picture, as if not deserving of an independent identity. As if left alone it can only corrupt.It is a wonder then that lust has continued to thrive, its survival assured so long as men and women throw each other covert glances in crowded places.
A case for lust? It is as honest as it gets, 100 per cent, 24 carats. Is clairvoyant in a blink, not to mention self-reliant; finds a bed for itself. It is a private company, without a public listing. True, all the world loves a lover; but it surfs porn more.
(Shinie Antony is a Bangalore-based writer and author of When Mira
Went Forth and Multiplied)