“I don’t get it,” she said. “Why do all that? Sex, just good plain normal sex is wonderful. Why would anyone need to do all that weird stuff?”
My friend M was of course talking about kink. M was an academically brilliant young girl, a devout follower of the Baha’i faith. Even disregarding the fact that she’d pledged her chastity for spiritual reasons and had barely shared a kiss with the member of the opposite sex (or the same one, for that matter) and was therefore operating on hearsay regarding sexual relations, hers was a statement I’ve heard many times over the years. M was taking a class on the Master/slave dialectic in Hegelian philosophy (a class I was auditing for fun) and had no idea of my personal views on the matter, simply tossing it out there, as though she were expecting me to agree with her, her tone indicating she expected no challenge and was simply unaware that there were any other valid opinions on the subject.
I find it ironic that she was the one who taught me how to properly sweat silvers of onion in olive oil with curry powder, intuiting the precise moment when saturation would crest, and the onions could be disturbed. I still remember that look of concentration she’d get, caught up in the ritual. Slices of peppers. Eggplant. In the cramped dorm kitchen, I shadowed her perfect execution of Persian cuisine, a gift from her mother.
Later, I’d sit around the table enjoying what we’d cooked with other friends and neighbors, moaning together in unison at her mastery of flavors, textures, heat.
Well, M, I don’t get it. Why do all that? Food, just good plain normal food is wonderful. Why would anyone need to do all that weird stuff?
Why seasoning? Why spices? Why finesse?
What? You wouldn’t want to eat gruel for every meal?