Jim Morrison's Sex Advice

My parents didn't care for the Doors. "Druggie music," they termed the band, with more than a trace of condescension. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were also conspicuously absent from the small cache of vinyl albums in the cupboards next to the fireplace. Bob Dylan was okay he had "intellectual" value. The Beatles were . . . the Beatles, and even in their most alarmingly bearded phase, just so damn cute. Simon and Garfunkel may have dabbled in psychedelia, but listen to them now and the only mind-altering substance you really start to crave is Prozac. The earnest folksiness of Crosby, Stills and Nash trumped their heroin addictions in my father's mind, and besides, none of them were so irresponsible, so hedonistic, so self-indulgent as to die young in their mid-twenties. And so early in the 70's! While there was still Vietnam to protest, the ERA to ratify, McGovern to campaign for! Who did these people think they were? Didn't they stand for anything besides hallucinogens and suede and the right to get blowjobs from nubile teenage runaways?

But oh, to have been one of those teenage runaways, crouched in a loft somewhere filled with bongs and smoke and pieces of fur as the Lizard King circles you very slowly, completely silent because he's so poetic, then kneeling beside you, looking deeply into your eyes and pursing his lips, and then slowly, slowly, reaching down inside his leather pants to pull out his... pet lizard? Is that right? These things are difficult to get just right when you are thirteen and having sexual fantasies about Jim Morrison. Jim Morrison, the perfect crush for the adolescent who's seen it all, or likes to think she has. Sensitive, sexy enough to suddenly make the frightening (acts involving fluids, or the removing of meaningful clothing) seem plausible, effortlessly cool. Jim Morrison was not a guy who would wait for hours in a Kinko's parking lot to buy a plastic bag of catnip or try to smoke his hemp necklace. Jim was the guy
everyone wanted, and everyone's parents hated.

I knew my place in the hierarchy of beauty, but someday Jim would look over at me, our eyes would meet, and well, I knew we always said we'd never let a guy come between us, but love is love, man.

Best of all in the early nineties, that age of competitive angst, he was dead, adding a certain depth, a dignity to our yearning, like a young war widow grieving for her martyred husband. Pining for Jim Morrison had pathos that a yen for Leonardo DiCaprio or Billy from Melrose Place somehow lacked (Kurt Cobain was still alive at this point.) We loved him; he was gone — such was our cross to bear. My compatriot in the world of Jim was the prettiest girl in our eighth-grade class, which made me feel prettier by association, as if together, we could actually be the girls plucked from the crowd and whisked backstage to service the band. I'd take the less attractive ones — Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger. I knew my place in the hierarchy of beauty, but someday Jim would look over at me, our eyes would meet, and well, I knew we always said we'd never let a guy come between us, but love is love, man. She'd be angry, but eventually, she'd understand. She and I would travel with the band to London, Paris, Amsterdam. We'd give breathless interviews about what it was like to fuck rock stars; we'd go on the record about how Keith Richards was really the sensitive one and how we were so mature for seventeen, and fifteen years later we'd become born-again Christians and renounce it all in our best-selling autobiographies. But we were trapped in 1993, so the best we could do was convene at her house after school, light some incense, and stare at the two giant posters of Jim Morrison that dominated her bedroom. One was the cover of The Best of the Doors, the black-and-white photo of Jim, Christ-like with his arms splayed and chest bare apart from a string of love beads, the pattern of which my friend had memorized and constantly copied in the necklaces she made for her many boyfriends. "He's so beautiful," my friend would say, gazing up at his face.
"Like Jesus and the Devil at the same time."

Sometimes, we would smoke a little pot she cadged off a male admirer, exhaling through an empty toilet roll with a Downy sheet pulled taut over one end to mask the smell. "What do you mean, the devil?" I asked. "Like, he's been to the dark side, you know? But he's still, like, good. He's just so . . . alive. Well, kindof. I preferred the poster on the other wall, a color photograph of a softer, gentler Jim in an unbuttoned shirt and aviator sunglasses stood on a beach, literally gazing at his navel. A piece of his poetry was superimposed over the image in large italics, something about inner freedom and the children of the sun in the infinite universe. It didn't make a lick of sense to me and suffered from what I found even then a debilitating lack of punctuation, but I was certain it would, very soon, once I had started high school and experienced a boy's tongue, among other things, in my mouth. And when that did finally happen, on an air mattress in the dark basement, Riders on the Storm egged me on. Girl, you gotta love your man, Jim entreated me, and I imagined extra lyrics: despite his sour breath and copious saliva and the fact that your beautiful friend is giving a hand job to the guy you really like in the next room. It was my obligation to make out with this boy, even though his skater shorts camouflaged hips of alarming width. A cause greater than myself depended upon it. Dionysus needed me to unzip his pants. You gotta take him by the hand.To gingerly remove
his penis from his underwear was to score one for the all the naked Indians.

To put it, gagging, into my mouth,
no less than total enlightenment

A couple of days later, when my mother saw the hickey on my neck and grounded me, by rights I should have run off to Venice Beach to be with the flower people and live a life of inner freedom. But I didn't. Instead I sat in my room, ate an entire bag of marshmallows, and thought, Fuck you, Jim Morrison! So I started to look past the man himself and at his influences, the list of which reads like an ur-canon for a certain kind of disaffected teen. There was William Blake (too spiritual), Rimbaud (too self-pitying), the Beats (why couldn't any of these people use a fucking comma?), all of which clutter your bookshelf and your knapsack until you figure out what you really like. It turned out I liked Evelyn Waugh and crossword puzzles and watching reruns of Taxicoul hang pictures of Stephen Malkmus or Wayne Coyne on one's wall, few people would know who they were and if they did (after all, this was Omaha in the mid-nineties) they were probably opening for them on tour that summer. The American voice of the sixties I most identified with turned out to be less Ken Kesey and more Philip Roth. I didn't want to take peyote and have visions in the desert; I wanted to marry a nice psychoanalyst or film critic, live in a brownstone in Park Slope with books and really nice rugs,
and send checks to progressive political causes.

I didn't want to die young. In fact, I wanted to put off dying as long as possible. So, Jim Morrison,
I salute you for setting me at a tender age on the path to the utterly bourgeois. For holding me up to the magnifying glass of Total Freedom and finding me wanting. Also, years later, having ingested many hallucinogenic drugs, drunk countless bottles of alcohol, traveled abroad, meditated,
and had sexual relations with many, many, people, I can safely say
I still don't know what the fuck that poem was about.

0 commentaire: