As I traveled back to my coastal city this afternoon, I listened to a podcast called Clare Chambers on the Unmodified Body. Things were passing by my window when I took a trip down memory lane, to the day I had my ears pierced. Perhaps it’s the only radical change I’ve made to my body, if losing weight or shaving my head is not counted. Never have I ever had a tattoo, or worn make-up – except for those pre-adolescent days. Gotta say I knew how to do drag even at the age of 9: sneaking into my aunt’s boudoir and using her lipsticks and eyeliners. It was great until a neighbor saw it and said something about it, and I knew – for the first time – that it was a taboo for a boy to wear make-up.
There was a time I was so obsessed with cosmetic surgery, and I read all kinds of books related to it. I was specifically enthralled by Hideo Yamamoto‘s Homunculus, Taejun Pak’s Lookism, and the Korean movie 200 Pounds Beauty, and I wrote this short story [Đi qua những phóng túng hình hài]. I tried to read Lacan as I thought he would have some interesting things to say about how you see your body image, but he was too difficult to read.
Now, body modification to me was just an abandoned practice, just like my long lost “teen spirit”. I’m not sure if it still matters to me anymore. Strangely, no mirror is installed in the school where I work, not even in the bathrooms. Sometimes I wonder if it was a deliberate means of a certain character building methodology, like the administrators want both teachers and students to care less about how they look and more about what they do. And yea, it’s been years since the last time I immersed myself in the endless consideration in front of the mirror.
The boys in my senior high, who used to be so lean and fit, now in their thirty all turn beer-bellied. One of them, the last time I talked with, showed me his medical check result that detected numerous issues. We now fall under the same situation: struggling to resist midlife spread alongside a full-time job and family stuff. Not everyone can be that lucky as Chuando Tan who seems to never age.
And I was like, “shiet, after all these years, I have never been with anyone”. I did make out with many guys, though, whom I met via dating apps. One of them, to the best of my recollection, was in his forty-something the time we hooked up. And I wonder whether I’ll be that fortunate to be with a junior when I reach his age.
These days, I get used to the lack of condensed milk in my cup of coffee and gradually feel at ease with the sourness of the coffee bean.
Feel sorta grateful that I’m atheist, for I assume that a faith that might guide me through depressing moments isn’t worth the time I might spend on all the religious drama over the Internet.