What is most challenging for you at the moment?
At the moment, I think that the biggest challenge I face is the quasi-absence of surprise. Without external influences, the chances tomorrow will resemble today, yesterday, or even the day after, is high. I’m not a man of routine and usually, I’m relying on the unpredictable side of life and people to shake my certitudes and routine. Now, I have to be that for myself since nothing will come and disrupt my too tranquil quarantine.
What helps you stay positive?
Luckily enough, I have a garden which receives the first blessings of spring. I’m a huge fan of plants in general and lately, everything is blooming (that’s some kind of surprise to an extent). I catch myself looking at flowers for a solid 20 minutes sometimes.
Or, since I’m in a countryside, I also often go outside at night to try to study the constellations, how they move, recognize the stars. I found that it’s one of the only static things that doesn’t bore me. All of that plus a good dose of music, painting, and psychoactive drugs.
What are your most common thoughts these days?
My mind tends to wander an awful lot and it’s getting worse these days so there’s quite a range. I’d however say that the crisis we face makes two big questions arise in my mind. First of all, since we are forced to be isolated from one another, I question a lot my relations to the others, the “other” in general, but also every particular relation I have. Since quarantine prevents my relation with others to truly fuel me, I have a clearer idea of what makes them unique, discover some toxic ones, and how complex some others are. It’s simpler than usual theses days. Craving for something or someone is the best compass, you know what matters when you miss it. The second main thought that often cross my mind is less abstract. I’m thinking of our system as a whole. To be honest, I’ve been fighting a lot against it through associations, parties, political writing, and publications… And this crisis reveals all the flows that many predicted. I’m getting ready to fight harder so that all those past years of bad decisions we now harvest the consequences of are not left unpunished.
I am also very concerned and scared about domestic violence that may rise quickly during this crisis, and my thoughts go to those women. It’s kind of linked to my previous point to an extent.
How do you stay connected? To yourself, to others?
As weird as it may seem, I’m calling people way less since the quarantine started. I’m not sure of why, though. I’d say that my main way to connect to myself and the other now is the solitary act of painting. I always vividly think of somebody when I paint (even if I am drawing something completely abstract). When I create something, I feel some sense of balance, equilibrium and harmony that connects me to the deepest parts of myself, as well as to the world. A canvas is also its own world, of which the painter is the god, dictating what’s in it, what the laws are, how gravity is functioning. And at least in my paintings there is no quarantine and, to some extent, I’m surrounded by everyone I love in it.
What changes did you notice in online dating these days? How does COVID-19 affect engaging on apps, if at all?
It seems to me that we all tend to get more cynical. We know there will be no meeting, no “real.” What we get from a Tinder profile and conversation is just a tiny fragment of what a person is. Since there is no “real,” it loses most of the appeal to me. I always thought the conversations on apps are so mundane but necessary to discover what’s underneath, in real, with all the informations: body language, touch, promiscuity, live reactions, alcohol, hitting. But now we have to stick with the mundane conversations, as interesting or boring may they be. Some argue that COVID-19 just postpone the meeting, but realistically speaking, I don’t think any of my conversations on Tinder will outlive the quarantine.
How much room is left for unfulfilled desires?
Well, a lot. I would say that desires piles up without any possibility to be fulfilled. Again, I think I exorcise it by painting (as I noticed my paintings are getting kinkier as days come by).
Is sex on the menu? Is it shaped in fantasy of the outside world or are you receiving sex in new ways?
Sadly no, sex isn’t on the menu. In fairness, it hasn’t been for a while (too long for my liking). I’m balanced between thinking that I unintentionally had a good training for the quarantine and thinking that without the COVID, there would be a good dozen people in bed with me right now. When it comes to fantasies though, I’d say that they are much more abundant now. Although, since I’m not meeting new people anymore, those fantasies are excavated from previous experiences (and I catch myself being turned on by things that I stopped being attracted to a long while ago) or my mind just creates new ones from scraps of what I know (or that I thought I knew).
Have you ever virtually fallen in love? Maybe it’s the only way now?
Falling in love is difficult for me and as I said earlier, our virtual image is a pale copy of who we are. I think that the very least I need is to feel the intensity of reality, touch, smell, taste, look. To me, virtual love is 2D and not enough to fill my expectations. I am not a “falling in love person” unless something exceptional enough happen between me and the person. I don’t think virtual contact would ever be able to provide that to me. And knowing that my texting skills are extremely poor, I don’t think I’m a good virtual love material.
Do you feel vulnerable, sensitive, more emotional talking to other guys? Maybe more open and accepting?
I am a very sensitive person without being emotional. Vulnerability depends on the person I guess. All of this didn’t change much. Being more open and accepting, yes. It started a bit before the COVID but the crisis magnified it a lot. As I said above, I do not call much, start much conversation for some obscure reasons. I guess that I am consequently much more open to the ones who come to me then. I am also much more curious and want to talk to a wider variety of person, with different backgrounds physics, bodies, stories. Maybe to slash a routine I hate and because I miss that opportunity I had in Paris to meet unique peoples, who behave, look, and are like nobody else. My countryside is dry when it comes to this.