December 9th, 2013 / 6:42 pm

Love me tinder

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I wish this were fiction, but about three months ago, having not had sexual intercourse for almost two years, I researched homemade fleshlights, found loyal demonstrations on youtube, and went out to a hardware store the next day. It’s pretty simple: wrap a latex glove in a folded hand towel, using rubber bands to negotiate and sustain tightness, insert folded towel into a large plastic cup for mounting stability, then squirt about 2.5 fl oz of lotion into the glove, whose “lip” is folded outward around the towel, creating a simplified vulva, and well you get the picture. This simulated a woman pretty well, save the cold lotion and useless banter, and I fell into consecutive relief of this contraption until my dozen latex gloves ran out. In 1998, the Department of Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh (Nature 391, 756) reported “an illusion in which tactile sensations are referred to an alien limb,” commonly known and repeated as the Rubber Hand Illusion, whose effect revealed “a three-way interaction between vision, touch, and proprioception.” Basically, test subjects looked at a rubber hand cloaked as if it were their own, while their actual hand (laterally blocked from view) was touched in non-corresponding ways. Results showed that visual perception of a false finger (e.g. middle) being touched would override the actual finger (e.g. index). This is a fancy way of saying that instead of looking at porn from a distant omniscient third i.e. the male “third wheel” cuckolded voyeur, planted in a room like a fern, I found life-size pictures of women’s faces looking into the camera, and displayed them on my laptop situated in correspondence to where a woman’s actual face would have been. The results were stunning, thanks to a fairly malleable ape brain. And yet, despite airbrushed perfection and a sterile brazilian wax, I missed — wondered about, as if assembling buried clues like an archeologist in a life after this one — some uniquely flawed person lying on me, a sack of fear who found repose, a quiet opening, in my own. We hold sad movies closer to us because they feel more descriptive, like morning breath and eye crust, acne and eczema, pube stubble you rake your tongue across, into the sudden flowering of your lover’s void.