Saturday, 17 April 2010

Geisha: An Essay On Orientalism in Three Parts

Part One: Servant

Some hipster boys in Parkslopes, Brooklyn, are planning a party. It is springtime in New York City, and they are celebrating the arrival of the cherry blossom, Japanese style. They love the way the delicate pink flowers scatter on the sidewalk like silk confetti. It contrasts with the dark slabs of the brownstone buildings where they live. Actually, they don't really give a fuck about the cherry blossom, but it makes a good enough excuse to get wasted and chase women. One of the hipsters thinks they should hire a 'geisha girl' to serve drinks and greet their guests. It would add some Oriental authenticity to the proceedings. He saw a Geisha porno a while back, and couldn't take his eyes off the beautiful porcelain face, painted exquisitely with make-up, eyes down as she 'served' her master. She was so goddamn ... compliant. So the boys put up an ad on Craigslist, asking for an actress who wants to be a Geisha girl for the evening. They are hoping she will be Asian, but a white chick could probably do the job just as well, if she dressed and acted the part. They offer cash, plus a free photoshoot, sit back with some cold beers and wait for the replies to flood into their in-box.

Part Two: Whore

He rings the little handbell and she silently appears. Her head is bowed but he can see how beautiful her face is, painted like a china doll's. He tells her to kneel and she does. Her hands fall instinctively behind her back. She clasps them together and looks up at him, her crystal eyes shining. He returns her gaze and takes it over, fixing her in his stare. 'I have you' his eyes say. 'You are mine for the taking'. Slowly, he places his hand on her head, gently touching her hair, pushing it to one side. Suddenly he pulls his hand away and she gasps, anticipating what is to come. But he is not going to hit her. Not now. That will come later. In this moment he is satisfied just to stand there,to watch intently as she holds herself still, offering her body for him to do as he pleases. Soon he will take the rope piled on the floor and bind her, Shibari style. The rope will tighten round the silk of her dress, showing the curves of her perfect form. He will notice her nipples, poking through the thin material and he will take one between his thumb and forefinger, pinching it hard. She will gasp again, this time in pain. 'Does it hurt?' he will ask. She will nod slowly. 'But you like it, you little whore-your nipples are like bullets'. Then he will lift up her dress and shove his hand between her legs, roughly pushing them apart to find his quarry. She doesn't wear knickers on these visits, and her juice will already be dripping down from her cunt towards her thighs. 'Good girl' he will say. 'My good little geisha girl'.

Part Three: Wife

I used to be friends with a couple, Josh and Midori. Josh was an academic, something in social science. Midori was Japanese; they had met at university. She worked in Market Research. I was fascinated and a little in awe of Midori. The way she would write her name in Japanese, as if it was a painting not a word. She was so tiny that she had to buy children's clothes, or get them made specially for her. Josh always went on about what a great cook she was: and Midori was a great cook. It was one of the reasons I hung out at their place so much. So when she came to stay with me on her own, I was worried she wouldn't like my food, but she was happy with vegetable curry. She taught me how to add a dash of fresh lemon juice, just before serving, to give it an extra kick. We stayed up late talking, about books and life, suddenly free from the constraints of Josh's domineering presence. Midori asked me about feminism and I told her my stories. When she'd gone I sent her a book: 'Introduction to Feminism'. The next time I saw Josh in the pub he told me he'd taken the book and thrown it across the room, saying 'fuck that'. We laughed but I think he was serious. I haven't seen them in years.

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