Wu Wang, Innocence (The Unexpected), fifth and sixth lines
Many dark things begin in the mind of a sixteen year old boy staring into a glossy catalog of women laid out like a buffet table. The girl on page thirty? The girl who for him, and just for him, has undertaken lengths of grooming and costuming seldom seen in any high school classroom. She looks out of the page, waiting with parted lips and dilated pupils, but he knows in his rational brain that she doesn’t want him, a beanpole rope-armed little boy. No. She wants the handsomest man in the world.
According to the dictionary, handsome does not just mean replete with manly beauty, a mistake made by many. It also can mean adroit or capable, or charitable. It doesn’t matter when the dictionary tells us, though. In this world, it means acceptance and is interpreted as personal charm, a kind of outer badge proclaiming the wearer beautiful on the inside, too. Funny, that.
Ko, Revolution (Molting), third and sixth line
My dreams…the dreams of a solitary, reject highschool student turned college recluse and thereafter into the tedium of adulthood…made of the same stuff. I wanted alpha females with doe eyes and plush hips, skin like sweet cream, deliciously antiseptic, with all of the realism taken out and replaced with mahogany furniture and mauve silks. But underlying these dreams that woke me to soiled sheets was the nagging realization that they would not want me: John Q. Average who likes to read and tinker with appliances, who more than occasionally trips over his own feet. A John Q Nobody perhaps. A goal, so much sweeter because of its impossibility, to be more handsome and then (why not?) most handsome, took shape, and I lifted weights and made penny wishes and even prayed, though to whom I don’t know.
Then one morning, with no warning whatsoever, I woke up to find myself staring at the reflection of the handsomest man in the world in my own mirror. I looked myself over, and, thinking of the collection of wonderfully positive and superlative adjectives which might now be used to describe me, said my thanks, flexed my muscles and for the first time was satisfied with the man looking back at me.
Meng, Youthful Folly, third line
Just in case I’d been mistaken, I attempted to and succeeded at bedding down all seventeen of the women who lived in my building. It was at first pleasantly easy. I asked a few out, and happily found myself being propositioned midway through movie or meal. After that, word got around, and women were, for the first time in my life, asking me on dates, which furthermore were all concluding with enthusiastic and energetic sex. Then, it became startlingly easy. I learned that the new me could flash a smile so loud that you could practically hear the light glinting off teeth. My new body could stand just so at a barstool, ensuring that it would be seconds later filled by a gorgeous example of womanhood. It was a truly amazing time.
When I ran out of women in my building and in my office, I picked up women each night at local bars, women that would have been heretofore out of my league. My nights were spent in the exploration of the hills and valleys of the feminine form, like an explorer in no rush to find treasure and more concerned with the adventure. I tried different races just to ascertain whether their tastes would vary in predictable ways. I let myself be blindfolded and I bound wrists, had two girls at once, and I never had to call the next day or remain faithful, and that never struck me as strange because I hadn’t known anything else.
Ming I, Darkening of the Light, sixth line
A small animal when confronted by a predator will often freeze, or, in extreme cases, they give themselves up, walking straight into danger’s path, all will having been sapped away, eyes blank. Imagine seeing, for the first time, that same shiny-eyed stare on the woman in your bed. I noticed that joking agreement to my humorously twisted suggestions wasn’t really joking at all. The answer to the question of 'do they like me for me' was unavoidable, but I denied it for as long as I could. And then I tested it, my hypothetical queries growing more and more outlandish. I kept notes.
Jenny, 22, blonde, agreed that being fucked so hard that she shit herself would be exceedingly erotic, begged me to do so.
Arina, 28, dishwater brown, asked me, after I’d danced around the suggestion, to carve my name into her left breast.
An unnamed hooker said that she was more than willing to let me punch her in the face during intercourse.
An unnamed hooker watched, mesmerized, while I sliced a long straight line down my cheek using an exacto-knife. She cooed that the cut made me look "rugged".
That night, horrified and bleeding, I delivered myself to the local emergency room where I made up a story about getting into a bar fight over a girl. The doctor who stitched up my cheek laughed and said something about a good woman being hard to find. "True love," he said and I thought no, I don’t need to find it, it keeps finding me.
Kuan, Contemplation (View), third and sixth lines
On an idealized level, being the superlative notion of the female’s desire is a wonderful thing. Philosophically I could only imagine that I was fulfilling some sort of Greek fantasy of a pinnacle of manhood which fostered an amazingly unexpected loss of identity. I had all the accolades I might have ever wished for, and some I hadn’t ever felt a craving for, but they were seasoned with the mindless stares and the constant agreement. Yes, yes, oh yes! It was like the discord created by the note that goes on just a little too long, never balanced, until one loses interest. Which I did, rather quickly, perhaps more quickly than I might have had I not been attempting to make up for lost time. I began fantasizing about the impossible: rejection, contrition and unwillingness. I dreamed of rape, of forcing and convincing, until I even disgusted myself. Of course, it didn’t matter in the least, because I was the handsomest man in the world, a monstrous thing, inerasable in its complexity. I was trapped.
Ku, Work on What Has Been Spoiled (Decay), sixth line
There’s nowhere left to go, or so I thought as the notches on my bedpost began to run into one another, obscuring each other until sex-sex-sex just became (sigh) sex, another word for nothing to do. A chore. Seemingly ridiculous, but no. An integral part of any game is the fear of losing, which I could no longer trick myself into having, and thus, no matter how many times I played, I never really won. I had caught myself in a web of boredom that allowed only movement, but no escape. Movement, a deft duck and parry, leaving an unexplored avenue open to me. I could not change but there would still be sport to be had with women, and plenty of it. After all, there are infinitely more ways to fuck with someone’s head than to just fuck them, especially if you’re the handsomest man in the world.