In October 2012, the Canadian Senate approved a bill to allow the cull of 70,000 grey seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The intention of the cull was to replenish dwindling supplies of cod, on whom grey seals were purported to feed. Resistance to this plan came from biologists, whose data suggested that grey seals, having a preference for fattier fish, only seldom feasted on cod. Furthermore, the biologists warned that such a cull might have the opposite effect, even further depleting cod supplies.

Nevertheless, as is often the case, science lost out to the vociferous bellows of political dogma. The cull went ahead. Armed with hakapiks; bi-faceted wooden instruments with a blunt head on one side, to crush the cranium of a seal, and a hook on the other, to haul the resulting carcass; hunters set off to the Canadian gulf.

What ensued was an orgy of inhumanity. A massacre of untold proportions, of incomprehensible cruelty, forged from the seemingly rational machinations of man’s mind. Man, who conceives of exposed flesh dragged mercilessly across tarnished floor, sullied by the ruptured harmony of wails and thumps. Thump. Another thump. It is almost rhythmical, but this is lost on the de-shelled brains, mired in the transition from consciousness to unconsciousness, seemingly unaware of the horror that is unfolding around them.

The paragraph above is an accurate description of seal clubbing. It is also an accurate description of clubbing. Human clubbing. The type that occurs in Dante’s Tenth Circle of Hell – the nightclub. God, I fucking hate clubbing. There are myriad reasons for this and Charlie Brooker documents these brilliantly:

Yet, there is something beyond the inability to converse amidst the loud music, the cloying entourage of inebriated twats and the rancid veneer of superficiality that underlie my hatred of nightclubs. Rather, it is the feeling of paralysis, but not the alcohol-induced paralysis of the aforementioned twats, that I hate. I am paralysed by sexual impotence.  An impotence that is not treatable with Viagra, but, perversely, poses a hard problem.

Wherever you go, nightclubs are hotbeds of sexuality: an arena for peacocks to brandish their feathers, a market for baboons to flaunt their swellings. People dance and grind and stare, dizzied by the pungent fumes of pheromones. This is attraction, physical attraction, parsimoniously stripped of the bulky weight of personality, intellect and kindness that goes beyond procuring a drink to stun your prey.

So, why don’t I join in? The accustomed perils of fucking-up inter-gender conversation are surely mitigated by the universal inability to hold coherent conversation suffered by everyone else in the nightclub? Moreover, people, girls, are probably expecting (although not necessarily happily expecting) some male to hit-on them. God forbid, some girls may even be there to actively seek out males themselves. The game of attraction is unfolding before my eyes. Women and men gravitate towards one another, and, to top it off, I’m not explicitly uninvited.

Unfortunately, I am subject to a different magnetism to the rest of these folk. Some unknown force prevents me from moving towards them. I’m surrounded by attractive women bearing perfectly choreographed flesh; testosterone is coursing through my veins. Alas, such chemical lust is insufficient to surmount the crippling inertia that immobilises me. I try to dance, but self-consciousness paralyses me further: my moves are stilted and unnatural. Furthermore, they lack the “variability and amplitude in the head, neck and trunk” that women apparently find attractive:

Well dancing isn’t going to work, let’s attempt conversation. The only conversation that follows is that with myself.

“Just go up to someone and talk to them normally!”

“I can’t, I can’t.”

“Can’t you see these hefty lead weights bound to my limbs?”

“No I can’t seem them, they must be in your head.”

Meanwhile the Brownian motion of drunken revellers continues around me, as they enjoy themselves and slowly pair off. For fuck’s sake, why am I so powerless? They’re taunting me, ostentatiously gorging on a banquet to mock the hungry prisoner. This prisoner, however, is not on voluntary hunger strike; he is bereft of the means to sup on the abundance of food around him. But what the hell are these means? Confidence? Good looks? The correct bottle of Lynx deodorant? There’s got to be a better way of meeting people and getting a girlfriend. Do they do meet like this in Iran? Western society seems to have canalised the emergence of sexual relationships into only two possible arenas: whilst chemically disinhibited in a bar or nightclub, or, whilst soberly autistic online.

Oddly though, even the world of online dating expects me to enjoy clubbing. Popular dating site OKCupid boasts a few profile questions to complete, including: “On a typical Friday night, I am…” The majority of girls’ answers involve something along the lines of “…in a nightclub with my friends,” or, “…out for a drink and dance with my gals.”

They’re all clubbing it seems, or at least maintaining the facade of enjoying clubbing. While virtuously honest, my answer, “masturbating and watching re-runs of Have I Got News For You…. by myself,” would probably go down as well as an arthritic escort with lockjaw. Contrary to Benjamin Franklin’s absolutist proverb, honesty is not always the best policy. To be fair, scores of unreplied-to messages suggest that this romantic impotence prevails in both the nightclub and online. The latter’s sting is less caustic however, so on I go up this online path, pushing the boulder of sexual ineptitude like Camus’ Sisyphus.

One response to “Impotence

  1. I stopped using okc a few weeks ago after one too many awkward dates lol. My coworker showed me and I’m a big fan of that over the others in terms of actually meeting people vs. just entertainment. It has a different approach that feels less sketchy cause you and your friends essentially act as “wingmen”. I like that it helps you find things to do too. Skout’s okay too, but still has it’s fair share of creepers

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