I've just been diagnosed with a newly discovered cognitive disorder. It's a version of ADD (attention deficit disorder) called FADD: Facial Attention Deficit Disorder. The problem is, I constantly get jolted, startled, taken with, disturbed by, obsessed with and dragged off course by beautiful faces of the opposite sex. Because my chivalry is not to stare, and because everything must therefore come in peripherally, it's a rare day when I can go out sightseeing and not walk into a post or a bully.
If I encounter a beautiful face, it's like being overcome by a wave of religious awe. To stroll the streets is to risk being swept up in serial unpredictable epiphanies.
When mystics go to their "timeless place," when meditators reach that "charged realm," they get like I get when I'm hit by FADD. Some kind of insane pilgrim enters me. I would be right-wing for this. I would gather roses and build missiles to defend a face like that. And as for "down on your knees," which normally nothing can drive me to, for such a face as I have just seen there is no other proper position.
It starts when I see a beautiful face from the side. There's an irresistible urge to see the full face, to "fix" the face, not to unravel its mystery but to take it in. To be properly stunned. I know I'm not alone in this. In fact, I suspect it was this same worshipful urge that begat all religion - the electrified all-charged apprehension of "the other." But what happens when "the other" is in transit, or covered or casting a gaze downward?
The more invisible a woman is, the more I want to see her. I can't tell you how many extra blocks I've run down in order to turn, come back the other way and sneak another look in passing.
In light of my recent diagnosis, I can now see why my education, which in its early stages was marked by singular brilliance and the highest grades, went into a sad decline. It was the onset of my ailment when I was around 15.
My mind, which had once retained small mathematical details effortlessly, could not take in the saddest single fact and retain it with any reliability. My neurons were maxed out composing absurd flatteries, hopeless to-the-woman prayers. I was multi-tasking on concurrent fantasies involving multiple women in overlapping environments. Impossible, yes, but tell that to someone with FADD.
Unable to truly connect with the reality behind the inflaming faces all around me, my sole strategy was somehow, in whatever peripheral ways possible, to get "close" to them. In school I wrote taunting, begging notes. I composed top-10 lists of fabulous faces of the week. My moves, my prayers, my dreams were all to get one to kiss me, to be a rug for one.
Of course, I am aware in evolutionary terms that it's necessary for the propagation of the gene pool that I be madly attracted to certain stunning, aesthetically misarranged faces. But you'd think that force might let you go when you yourself have been utterly got as I have been utterly got - by the face to end all faces.
No moth or magnet has been so caught or compelled as I am by the divine visage of the one I'm with, and by the beauty of spirit and sexual grace that continually emanate from that face. In short, I've got it good. I'm a lucky moth. I love a flame that doesn't burn me up quick in one big fluttering shriek.
The first thing I ever said to her was. "You're fucking beautiful." Which is as good a testament to the disabling effects of FADD as one is likely to hear, for normally I am smooth, unstuttering. I operate with great courtesy and on-the-edge elegance. As close to silly as serious can get and still be completely gettable. Ever since I first saw her, I've been like an ox stunned by a hammer blow.
So why the longing? Why the stupid hypnotization by all those other flames? Shouldn't I get to be invulnerable (at last!) to the power of beauty and the draw of sexuality, the lure of mystery, the utterly compelling curiosity of the face scientist?
The answer is no. Evolution won't allow it. There are more beautiful faces now than there have ever been in all of history. You just have to learn to live with the affliction. You have to learn to be still and calm before the beauty of women.
Falling off into trances, staring, gasping all day is not acceptable in our society, and rightly so. So one needs survival strategies. With persistence, the quaver in one's voice can be centred and stilled. You can train yourself not to write the love letters. But at what cost? I honestly believe I might have been an Einstein or a Galileo but for FADD.
Now I live with my ailment. My rambling praises, my obsequious come-ons, have been mildly useful as poetry, and therefore I've been able to eke out a very small living. But my life has been a little like that of a sailor in a world of sirens, tugged, pulled, snagged, dragged, deflected, detoured, dazzled. I picture myself as one of those disco balls, all facets, every plane a perspective, a screen to take in a face. And that is, perhaps, the appeal of so-called omniscience - not to "know" everything, but to see all that beauty. But that is the job of gods and goddesses - to both see and be Shiva and Krishna, dancing the divine dialectic face to face forever.
For a mere mortal to have such a godly hunger is nuts. It's insane. It's a disease, and I have it. I can finally admit it. I have FADD.