Facing Faces

I’m bad with faces. For the last four years, I lived in a leafy suburb where I would see mothers, fathers, and children at school or around town, and I just could not remember if I’d met them before, or if I could actually remember meeting them, I would generally not know their name, or if I actually remembered their name, I had no idea (in the case of parents) who their kids might be. I found this to be a bit of a social liability. 

We’ve just moved to a slightly less leafy suburb, and I’m determined not to repeat this mistake. I do not want to be rolling the dice on whether to say “nice to meet you” or “nice to see you again,” for example.  Or to not know that their son was at my house 12 times for playdates, that my kid went to their kid’s birthday party, or that, in fact, we’d had their whole family over for dinner.

An even more compelling motivation for remembering people is that I’ve just started a new job, and there are lots of people there.  Not only do I need to remember names and faces, but I need to remember what it is that people do, and how they fit into the organizational picture.  In other words, is this person in the elevator someone whose ass I need to kiss, or not?

 So I’ve been trying really hard to remember people’s faces, and to connect those faces with names.

As I’m doing this, I’m finding something really interesting (at least to me) about how this problem arises in the first place. I see that I’m much more able to remember someone if I bring myself fully into the encounter — to really meet someone’s eye. I find it sort of scary to do that. Bottom line is, I’m uncomfortable looking for more than a moment into the face of someone I do not know.  I hide. I do not want to be seen. Yet I’m practicing trying to pull myself back, because I want to remember. And I want to show up this time.

And I find that as I do this — as I open myself to a stranger, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, without hiding — I can get flooded with sexual thoughts.  It’s like we’ve both briefly taken off our clothes and are letting the energy flow between us.  And I realized that it’s always been like that for me. Anyone who’s even remotely friendly, I want to sleep with them.  Generally that means women, but it’s happened on occasion with men as well.  My life would probably be much messier if the feeling was ever mutual.

What I experience is not sexual in the sense I’m used to. I’m not checking out her body, or letting my eyes caress her full lips, or imagining my hand running up her thigh — nothing like that.  It’s just like a little door opening, and it’s hot inside.

I don’t mind that this happens. It’s just something that I noticed, and I suspect that as I continue to “show up,” that this will continue happening. It’s not like I need to do anything about it, although I suppose that I need to watch out that I don’t go too far with it. I don’t want to be known at work as the guy with the boner.

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About David

Prone to musing and to being prone. Father to two, writer, engineer.
This entry was posted in musings, sexual energy, sexual thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Facing Faces

  1. EarthMother says:

    Hi, really enjoying your blog. I have some of the same issues and obsessions and it’s a real relief to find out I’m not at all alone.

    As far as the avoiding direct eye contact thing because of communing or attraction — yes, I experience this a great deal and find myself not looking directly in people’s eyes at times because of this.

    It’s odd, I have a friend with whom I share this phenomenon. One day I felt someone looking at me, I turned, and blammo. He was gazing at me. I allowed myself to gaze back fully and it was as if time dropped away for about 10 seconds. There was a sense of very deep “knowing” and attraction. It’s opened the door to a very deep friendship since and its something neither of us will ever forget.

    We have never acted sexually on it, though its crossed our minds. We do embrace, we do hold each other, and there’s this sense of swimming in each other. I think we’re both afraid to screw that up by having sex.

    And I really hate to wonder if it would happen like that with everyone I feel that “little door” with!

    • gammaword says:

      @EarthMother: I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. When it comes right down to it, it’s really true that “the eyes have it.” They really are windows into the soul, and when you open those windows together — whoosh! Such a rush of, as you put it, knowing and attraction. The “knowing” part is interesting — for me, it’s not that I’m knowing (in the active sense of the word), so much as I’m letting myself be known. It feels like a trust thing, a feeling of (almost literally) letting someone inside, of being really open. And that’s a very, very intimate experience, one that I always cherish. What’s REALLY amazing is being sexual with your partner and maintaining eye contact, especially during climax. I wonder if any sex researcher ever studied what percentage of the population keeps their eyes open vs. closed.

      Curious whether you knew your friend before “the gaze,” or whether he was a complete stranger. I once did a workshop in which we were asked to look into the eyes of another person, someone we didn’t know, for a minute or so. After doing that, I felt close with the woman I was doing it with, although not so much that it went anywhere. The usual social awkwardness crept back in, and the moment faded by the end of the workshop. I think that we *want* to be able to do that, to hold another’s gaze like that, but one party or the other usually chickens out. Anyway, it sounds like you’ve got something special there — and, well, do you really think you’d screw it up? I’m not so sure. I’ve only really had that “swimmy” feeling with people I felt I was meant to be with.

  2. gammaword says:

    Yep, I’ll definitely keep showing up cuz I like it when doors open!

  3. alphabetfiend says:

    Earth Mother has a similar “voice” to yours. Is she female you?

    I met this guy with face-blindness at The Toward A Unified Science of Consciousness conference. It was harder for him to see the faces of women than of men. Thus he was gay. Hair ade it easier for him to see faces so he only dated men with long hair, beards and mustaches.

  4. alphabetfiend says:

    I had a crazy eye contact thing with a gorilla once and it was so intense that he ambled over, pressed his lips to the glass and kissed me. I knew instinctively what he had in mind — it was a crazy mind-meld — so I stepped up on my tippy toes and fell into that kiss. It’s one of my top 5 favorite things that’s ever happened in my life. My whole body — my whole soul– feels tingly just to recall it.

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