After my first two dreams of this sort, coming only two nights apart, I indulged in some amateur Freudian self-analysis. I thought of the phenomenon as a potential symptom of, or at least guidepost to, some hidden part of my psyche that might yield up its secrets under more conscious proddings. But the more obvious symbols seemed incorrect, and the less obvious tended to result in speculations so divergent as to escape any hope of synthesis. Still, I wasn't overworried. My nocturnal heiroglyphs could remain entombed for a while still.
After the third dream I bought a notebook to keep by the bed, in which I wrote down as many details as I could remember of the past dreams, disguising some embarassing details from the possible prying eyes of my current lover, who, if she had half of the busybody in her that I have in me, would rape the notes with eyes and fingers as soon as she heard my car pull away. I asked her if I talk in my sleep, and she said that I don't, except that I sometimes seem to be talking without any sound coming out. The clicks and breaths of language are there but nothing from the vocal cords. In any case, she can't understand anything I'm saying. Which is good, because I'm not sure I'd want anyone to hear my dreamtime conversations.
Still, though, I was not worried. The dreams were in some sense disturbing, but also in another sense enjoyable. I reveled not only in the pleasant sex of dreams, which otherwise in my sleeping life has been infrequently summoned, but also in the crystal clear memories (and I still thought them nothing other than memories) of my past that returned for me to inspect and compare with my dimmer daytime reminiscences.
I even speculated in a hopeful way about which me I would seduce this night, or what acts I could commit that I was denied in real life by morality, fear of physical harm or embarassment, or lack of a willing non-phantasmic partner. I am a monogamous person by nature, but as a bisexual, I am prone to the "grass is always greener" phenomenon impinging on the erotic hemispheres of my life. These dreams, I reasoned, allowed me (among their other niceties) the advantage of enjoying a female body before I fell asleep and a male body after.
And until my recent dream of seducing the young El (pedophilia, despite my otherwise cosmopolitan sexual tastes, does not, I assure you, occupy even one small portion of my waking hours), that was the attitude with which I approached slumber, slipping with anticipation even from the post-coital embrace of K----- into the arms of Morpheus, my perverse mistress.
I had even taken to trying to bring the image of a specific younger self into mind just before falling off into sleep, in the perhaps superstitious hope that this effort would influence my dream visions. Once I succeeded, although I have never been able to do this since, so I am tempted to label it coincidence.
I wanted to visit myself when I was still a virgin; old enough to have fully grown into my sexuality, but young enough to still be beyond those first clumsy touches of A-----. I wanted to steal from her the credit of supplying my most poignant memory. And, in whatever sense it could be taken, I succeeded -- in any case the memory of the virginity-stealer is almost as powerful in my mind today as the former memory of my virginity lost is. I didn't know even then if I became any richer by the trade.
The young me I met walking out of a pizza pub in downtown M-----, clutching a bag from a record store (my first hint of anachronism in the dream was the fact of the recordings, whose outlines I could discern through the bag, being bulky LPs instead of compact discs) full of Boston or Chicago or Kansas or some other geographical band of the time trying to evoke with a name the excitement of metropolis or state which their music alone could not summon.
It was a bright day near the end of Summer, and I was doing what I sometimes did on such days, not wanting to waste a day of vacation, not having any specific plans, but with most friends visiting relatives or boy scout camps or such -- I was wandering aimlessly through the open-air shopping mall that was downtown M-----, buying one or two things as a way of memorializing the day and making it larger than just another pause in the countdown to slow fall days of algebra, cafeteria cheese sandwiches and 50-50 bars, and (finally) drivers education.
In only weeks, he would return to classes, fall in love, learn to drive (first rushed into, then held back in kindergarten, I was slighty old for my grade and was the first in line in drivers education), and lose his virginity in the reclining front seat of his mother's Toyota station wagon.
But now he was free, on foot, and unloved by anyone outside of his family. He could not have looked the part of a virgin more completely, and would probably look so for months after such an impression would be inaccurate. The leather jacket he wore (uncomfortably in this late-summer heat) was the expensive result of much pleading and bargaining on a very recent back-to-school shopping trip with his mother and sister, part of a masculinity-reinforcing fashion project which would be abandoned in a year and a half or so, when, less insecure but no less a victim to phases of mood, he would renounce leather clothes and become a vegetarian for several weeks.
At the time, my estimation of the chances of losing my virginity in some conventional way were close to nil, and so my fantasies on the subject were positively bizarre, ranging from post-apocalyptic trysts in bomb shelters a la Twilight Zone ("well, you are the last man on Earth..."), to robotic seductresses a la "Weird Science," to women who would either mistake me for their husbands in the dark or sleep soundly through my surreptitious penetrations, to various household items molded into some form of artificial vagina, to my own sister deprived through drugs, alcohol, or extortion of her normal feelings of repulsion toward me.
An older version of myself returning from the future to tutor me about sex was probably not a fantasy too far off the beaten path from one or another motif of erotic preoccupation, and I decided to pursue matters straightforwardly in that vein. I approached him on the sidewalk: "Hi; recognize me?"
He studied me for a moment and then bluffed: "Yeah! How are you doing?"
"You don't recognize me? I'm you from the future, come back to your time to talk with you." I sounded like a B-movie, but I couldn't think of anything better. Trying to capitalize on the shock value and improbability of my statement while he studied my face, I said "C'mere," and ushered him back into the pizza joint.
My first thought was to find a mirror of some sort so I could compare our faces and convince him, but then I added to that thought the idea that the bathroom, if it locked from the inside, might be the only private place within several blocks. I walked him over to the door, told him hurriedly that we should check a mirror, and then nearly pushed him inside. Finding it otherwise unoccupied, I latched the door.
Sure enough, there was a passable mirror above the sink, and we stood side-by- side and compared faces. Mine was hairier; his smoother. He looked much younger (although only a couple of inches shorter), but was unmistakably the same person.
"Now," I said, feeling rushed, "I'm going to teach you about sex."
"Yeah. Is that a problem?"
"Could you come back tonight maybe?"
"Nope, sorry. This is your big chance."
I had to hand it to the dream playwright. The dialog looks silly written down like this, but it seemed perfectly natural in delivery. It was as if somewhere, in the back of my head, I had been preparing for the day in which an older self from the future would show up to give me sex lessons, and the only thing to catch me off-guard was the location.
The sex itself reveals little of interest, actually. I hurriedly knelt to yank down his pants and encouraged him to jump up on the sink ledge and lean back against the mirror and sucked him to a quick, intense orgasm that had him bouncing all over the place. Then I jumped up and asked if he would return the favor. While he was getting the knack of things, I talked to him, giving him an older me's perspective on love and sex.
What really interests me about this dream was this conversation. I remember it completely, as vividly as if it were a discussion I'd been having with a friend yesterday, maybe even more so. It is a peculiarity of these dreams, yet another aspect which divides them from the rest of the nocturnal meanderings of my imagination, that I invariably remember them in detail upon awakening.
"Let me give you some advice about women. You're going to sleep with lots of women in your life, El-boy, and you can start real soon now if you just keep a few pieces of advice in mind. Are you ready? Are you paying attention?"
"Okay. First thing. This may seem like common sense: Honesty. Be completely and totally open and honest about your feelings. Are you scared? Say you're scared. Are you horny? Say you're horny. Are you falling in love? Tell her so. Are you angry? frustrated? sad? Did you cheat on her last weekend? Do you think she's pretty, sexy, overweight? Would you prefer if she brush her teeth? wear skimpy underthings or none at all? talk baby talk? go down on you while you drive? Just come right out and tell her exactly how you feel. Got that?"
"Okay, now get rid of it. It's all bullshit."
"Ease up on the teeth a bit."
"There's only one game on the block and this is how it's played. If you think you might be falling in love with a girl, act like you don't care whether she lives or dies. If you're horny as all get-out, act like sex is the furthest thing from your mind. Don't ask me why, but that's what women go for."
"Yeah, it sure seems like that sometimes."
"Really. Let's say you're at a party with your friends and some new chick walks in and she's drop-dead gorgeous and all you want is to jump her bones and as soon as possible. Chances are most of your pals are thinking the same thing. Now, if they're idiots, and chances are they are, they'll try to get close to this lady, spend the evening smothering her with attention, flatter her, tell her how nice her clothing looks on her. This seems to work at first. The young lady listens attentively, soaking it all in, but after a while, you realize it's set match game and she's won and is moving on. She got what she wanted out of the encounter and there's nothing more she can gain."
"Don't get silly on me. We are animals. Don't you believe in evolution yet? We are animals and we mate like animals. If an animal wants to mate, he's got to know the mating dance. And if you want to know about the human mating dance, you'd be much better off watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom than listening to Dr. Joyce Brothers or reading `Tween Twelve and Twenty and all these sappy New Age theories about how human beings ought to mate if only they were moulded out of God's own clay instead of having evolved from apes."
"So what, I've got to flap my arms and jump up and down and dance around in circles?"
"Sounds like a sock hop to me."
"No, man, we don't have big colorful plumage; we have a big, colorful forebrain. It's all in language and social interaction. When a girl on the prowl meets a guy she sizes him up in a matter of minutes, asking the question `Does he want to sleep with me?' What the man wants out of the encounter is sex; what the woman wants is to know that she is sexually desired. She can usually find out in a snap if the answer is yes. If she can't find out quickly she starts to flirt, hoping he'll fall for it and show her his cards. Then she wins and goes on to the next man. The only way to break out of this cycle is not to show the cards."
"You meet her and your teenaged dick goes up like a stepped-on rake, you drool, you stutter. Okay, let's just say you excuse yourself to the bathroom at this point, splash some cold water in your face, maybe masturbate. She's distracted with the other Toms, Dicks & Harrys stumbling over one another to demonstrate their desire to her. You emerge from the bathroom a model of nonchalance. Okay, if you're with me so far, you know what the next move is. She starts to flirt with you -- nothing obvious to start with, but then getting more and more blatant. At this point, you're tempted to say `wonderful! She likes me!' and respond in kind. Don't jump the gun here! It's very delicate. Don't completely ignore her. She may just get frustrated and run away. You can flirt with her a little bit, but don't push it. A good rule of thumb is to only flirt with her at a level of plausible deniability that she has already gone well beyond."
"Well, let's say that flirting goes on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 might just be a casual expression, like lowering the head and looking up at you from the top of the eyes, and 10 might be something like saying, `wow, I've always wanted to sleep with a guy who wears a leather jacket.' In the human mating dance, the female will have a goal in mind -- for instance that she wants a certain guy to go up to level six with her, to demonstrate to her that she is sexually desirable. Now many guys will just come right out and throw her a level-six without getting anything in return. But if this doesn't happen, the female will toss out a level-one flirtation as bait to try to prompt a level- six in return. If she doesn't get it, she'll go up to level-two, and so on, and so on, until she finally gets that level six she's been waiting for."
"Now, here's the thing. As she starts to rise in how much bait she gives out, her standards change. Let's say she's working on you to try to get a level-six out of you, but she's had to go all the way up to level-six herself to get any serious feedback. All of a sudden, a level-six response isn't good enough for her anymore -- she needs a level-eight or so. Do you see how the game is played? So when she gives you a level-six, you give her a level-five. Then when she gives you a level-seven and you give her a level-six the game isn't over yet, like it would be if you had just given her a six from the start."
"Now at this point, she's given you a level-seven, right. She hasn't given anyone else in the room a level-seven. So the other guys go ape. They're pissed. They want a level-seven, too. So they throw level-sevens, level- eights, all sorts of things at her to try to get one. She loves it. She takes it all in. Maybe throws some level-fives back, maybe even a level-six or higher, depending on how rattled you've got her. In any case, she's distracted from you for a while. This is the jealousy card. She's hoping that by briefly ignoring you in favor of these self-destructing cads, you'll get desperate enough to leapfrog her and go up to level-eight or whatever, at which point the game is over. It may seem like you've lost her to one of the cads, but don't drop your guard yet. If you can get over this, it's all downhill from there."
"This takes finesse, and it doesn't always work in the real world as well as it does in theory, but in most cases, once you get some practice, it'll work like a charm. By the time she's trying to get a level-ten out of you, she'll pretty much have to promise you a night of loud rutting -- and the thing is, she'll mean it. She'll really want to go all the way with you, because you're exactly the guy she's been looking for. She really wants someone who can dance the mating dance the best. By the way, the same sort of techniques work for those back-seat maneuvers, except that you'll be under a little more pressure to take the lead because women your age tend to be very squeamish about that sort of thing. Just do it incrementally. They very much want to know how far you want to go with them, but if you let them know right away that you want to go all the way, they'll balk and just go home to cherish that knowledge alone with their stuffed animals and unicorn posters and Wham records. If you go incrementally, keeping the doubt in their mind as long as possible, by the time it's gone too far to deny any longer, they're so horny that their whole game plan goes out the window."
"Now I know this is going to be difficult for you. You've got to be patient. It'll take some practice to get it down right. There will always be the temptation to rush things, to jump ahead, to take short cuts. And even if you understand how the game is played, they still have some advantages over you, just because you're a teenaged boy and when you get horny your brain shuts down. It'll take a couple of bad losses before you start to get that longer- term perspective. Just don't get discouraged. Pick yourself up and start over again."
"A couple of other things that might help: Be a good listener. If you want to impress someone, saying interesting things and alluding to your achievements and such is a tempting course to take, but it's much better to just sit tight and ask questions and then give them your complete attention when they answer. The best way to get on someone's good side is to just be interested in what they have to say and to care about whatever problems they're confronting at the moment. Also, be casual and friendly. (Oh, that's nice. Do more of that) Don't try to dress up all impressive-like or have fancy manners. Just smile a lot and accentuate the positive in your conversation. Don't talk about the movies you hate, talk about the movies you love. That sort of thing."
"Oh, and I almost forgot. The next day. After your big night. The game may or may not be over. There's a chance that she'll try to fool herself into thinking that she really won the game, so she'll come up to you and say something like, `oh that was really crazy last night, I was drunk, the phase of the moon was wrong, something like that,' you know -- don't get any ideas. Just agree with her, and start all over again. She wants to feel like she was in charge and you were the demanding one rather than vice versa. Tell her that maybe you should just be friends, pretend it never happened, we should get to know each other better first, etc. Before you know it, she'll be jumping up the levels with you at record speed. Do this once or twice and then you can finally relax, and it's either going to work out or it isn't, just depending on how compatible the two of you are."
"Uh. Well, isn't this all kind of sad? All this lying and stuff, it makes it all sound like politics or something."
"Just think of it as a dance. Remember, deep down at the reptile brain it's what we love the most and find the most attractive. You know what it's like when a woman looks at you with that sort of wink-wink nudge-nudge look, right? It makes you turn to jelly. It feels like you've just been given a mainline shot of Good Juice. Now she may or may not have any intention at all of following through on it, but you're suddenly very attracted to her. You are extremely attracted to her part of the dance -- that's because you're a male animal. For all we know, she may feel totally stupid making funny eyes at you, making promises with her eyelashes that she has no intention of keeping. But she knows that it's what you want, so she gives it to you. You have to feel the same about your side of the dance. You may think at the time that it's totally dishonest and silly, but it's the kind of display that the female of the species appreciates, so make it a good one. It's really a way of showing how much you care."
"What ever happened to asking a girl to dance or on a date and getting to know them better and dating for a while to see if you're compatible and all that."
"Well, you're welcome to try that for a few years and see how it works out. No skin off my nose. You might get real lucky. Things like that are really neat. That your current gameplan?"
"Well, sort of."
"Except that you aren't really dating anyone yet. Well, maybe it's time for plan B. You make the call."
"Uh huh. What's it like, really, to have sex with a girl?"
"Oh, you have no idea! What's the name of the girl you have your eye on right now?"
"Oh, yeah, J-----. I never did end up getting anywhere with J-----. Maybe you'll get luckier; I'm not sure how this whole time thing works. She was a babe, that's for sure. Anyone else?"
"Well, there's M----- and A-----."
"Aaah. A-----. Yeah, there was some woman. Get back to work, and I'll tell you all about what sex is gonna be like. Okay, cut through all of the courtship stuff and go straight to the heart. Set the scene: It's dark but you can still see. There's some sound coming from somewhere but it seems like it's not even coming in through your ears, like it's playing in memory or on the tracks of a smaller cousin to hearing. The light is coming from one low angle so things are coming into view and disappearing into shadow again. You feel the skin of a breast under your fingers or kiss a nipple -- the skin of a breast is unlike the skin anywhere on your body or anywhere else on hers, the way it gives and the way it moves and the way the breast moves under it. And when it moves, you move with it inside, and you want to sink your head into it, whether it's a big one or a small one (I like the smaller ones, myself) like a beanbag seat and listen to her heart beating -- fast -- through the warm smooth perfect pillow. She's wearing a button-down shirt, one she borrowed from you maybe (that's another part of the mating dance. Once you've done the courtship thing, she signals that it's over and you're a couple by borrowing a shirt or sweater of yours to wear), and it's unbuttoned all the way and it's fallen off to the sides and you see the collar and buttons reflecting in the light and then an arc of light reflecting off the side of the breast, or a long shadow from a nipple, and you just want to die because your brain is coming up bar-bar-bar and you've never felt a jackpot like that before. (Hmmm... That's nice. Keep going. Do that tongue thing some more). At some point she pushes her hips up and pushes down the waistband of her pants and panties and time slows down and there's so much room between her thumbs in the waistband and the shadow of her navel as her belly arches up into the light that you just want to pitch a tent right there on that real estate and live out the rest of your life. Or maybe she's wearing a skirt and she reaches under or you reach under to drag the panties down and there it is and in spite of everything you've known and read and all the girlie pictures you've seen you're still not sure what to think. It's half like a loaf of fresh-baked bread that's been rising or cooking all day, filling the house with that fresh-baked bread scent and you've been not eating a thing all morning because you want the first bite you eat that day to be that home-made bread. And it's half like coming home from vacation and finding that your house burned down and there's nothing there between you and the backyard but ashes and a blackened refrigerator. And you don't know what to think, and you don't know what you're feeling, but you know you're feeling it like nothing else you've ever felt before and you're not even thinking about your hard-on anymore or anything else but her. You want to be inside of her, completely, head to toe, you want to burrow up inside and hibernate, you want to be wrapped up in her until there's nothing exposed to the air, your legs wrapped up in her legs, breathing through her nipple or her mouth, surrounded by breasts like water wings holding you up (ummm... don't stop) and now you're lying on top of her, skin on skin, your pants around your ankles and you can't get close enough even though if you got any closer to her you'd be on the other side of her. Then she reaches down and grabs you, if she knows what she's doing, `cause you sure don't, and guides you into place, and you nudge in just a bit instinctively and it's like another world, it's like Alice looking through that little doorway at that magnificent garden, and it's wet and it's very very warm, warm that doesn't get hotter the more warm it gets but just more warm, and you pause there for a minute and you're both breathing hard but you're not really moving and you think, `how can it feel so good when we aren't even moving?' and then you push in a little more (ummmm... I'm close) and (ummmm...) stop again just to make sure everything's okay, and it feels good just like before but just multiply it by the increased surface area of contact. Then that last thrust and you're going further (aah...) than you thought you could, I mean really it stretches out like the road to L-----, and she's arching her back and trying to get that last millimeter out of you and whammo (oooohhhh...), there you are, and (ah...) it grabs you right under the heart and squeezes, you'll feel it, and then that squeeze pushes something right up your spine from the bottom to the top (ooooooohhhhh....) and into your sinuses and all that wanting to be inside her and breathing through her is all over and you're totally one-hundred percent content, and she makes a sound and you think to yourself "did I do that?" because it's the sound of what gratitude sounds like before it turns into gratitude and you didn't know (oooohhh...) anything like that had a sound and if it did that it would be so loud and if it was that it would be right there in your ear, and you never want it to end, you hardly want to move you just want to (Aaah!) fill out a change of address form and stay right there for the rest of your life, oh god, oh, Ah! I'm coming. Don't stop..."
And of course, that was the end of that dream. Don't know what happened on his end. Did I disappear in a cloud of smoke and jism? Did I fall unconscious and he snuck out? Did I finish the story and make my exit? I'll never know. The new memories I have don't address that question.