Between decorum and action

Between decorum and action

Text and digital photography. (2004). An exclusive.


Who does she think she is? Uma Thurman or Botticelli’s Venus?

There she is, dancing as if it were the most natural thing in the world and tossing me sidelong glances. I should stop looking at her before she loses interest in me. The strategy is to act like you’re uninterested in what you actually desire. There’s nothing bad about desiring. My friend Angel Mollá says that more than a collection of organs governed by a ghost, we’re desiring machines We just don’t notice it…Alright…nice place. The music’s fucking great and the lighting’s cool. Let’s hope they get rid of the strobe. It makes people look like automatons. Ah, here comes Christian with the drinks. –Have you seen that chick? Shit! She caught us eyeing her. But that oblique smile…Jeez! What a shitty gin tonic. It’s certainly not Bombay or…Tomorrow the shakes…See? She’s looking again. Hold on a bit and act bored (…) Now she’s not looking, it’s time: hmmm, nice legs, like two Solomonic columns. How crude you are…According to Deleuze, the function of sight is to double, to redouble and multiply; pure reflexive vision. Whose only aim is to renounce personal identity, for the person looking as much as for the person looked at. To become a dissolute ego. The truth is, I’m beginning to feel a bit dissolute from this drink. Now she’s talking to a friend. And she’s deliberately turned her back on. Ha, ha! She turned to see if we’re still staring at her. Don’t even think about looking up from the bar. It’s disgusting! I’m gonna get fungus on the elbows if I continue like this. They caught Christian gawking. You could care less. “If you advance, pretend to retreat. When you’re gaining ground, pretend to be withdrawing.” Fucking Art of War. Until now I’ve shown her the image of a shadow. Wasn’t it Ángel who told me that in Greek and Latin, image, ghost and simulacra are all the same? Well, if the image condemns us, the word redeems us, so there! –Hey, Christian. Do you like the one in the miniskirt? Should we go over? –And what do we say? –Wait here…Now I’ll go over and say, “Hi, I think you’ve taken an interest in my friend,” (she won’t go for it) –Hi, I think you’ve taken an interest in my friend, but he’s reluctant to come over so as not to seem like the typical…”(she won’t go for it) –Hmm, okay! (Did she go for it or not?) Gestures to Christian. –Alright, Christian…–Laura. –Nice to meet you (kiss, kiss) –I’m Miguel Angel (kiss, kiss) –This is Sofia (kiss, kiss. Kiss, kiss). What an absurd situation. We’re pathetic. What would it have cost her to come over and speak to me if she likes me? I suppose she’s using my strategy, or I’m using hers…Anyway, she got us to show her what we’re really made of. Idiots. Now, watch.


“First observe the formation of the enemy and apply your strategies only afterward.” Let Christian speak. Luckily, he’s talkative. You, to your business. Act insecure, uncomfortable. Let him make her feel wanted and in control of the situation. “When they’re contented, prepare to do battle with them.” –Yeah –Ha, ha. –He, he. We’re really pathetic. Sofia’s nice. We’re talking a lot. Well, more like she’s talking. Now two couples have formed. Ha, ha! She’s glancing at me from the corner of her eyes. Every time Sofia and I really get going, she intervenes in the conversation and tries to look bothered. “Use anger to confuse them.” Once, when our eyes meet I shoot her a I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know look. Bingo! I’m in luck… –what’ll you have? You’ll go, Christian? Will you help him, Sofia? We’ll stay here so we don’t lose our places. Silent, now. Don’t stare at her. You’re a good boy and you’re not going to get involved with your friend’s date. “Show them a small example of the benefits in order to attract them, and then vanquish them.” During the next drink…–Wow, that was fast! The gin tonic is mine. Now that’s a pitcher: going directly to the hangover. The next one, the next one…Let’s both go to the bar and then… “Strike them when they’re unprepared and make your move when they least expect it.” Now the four of us are talking. Show as little interest as possible. According to Nietzsche, in betrayal, the deceiver is possessed by a self-confidence that attracts the attention of those around him. Let loose a couple of clever phrases. It’s risky, but…She laughed! She listens to what I’m saying with an oblique smile. Christian’s noticed. And Sofia also. Now the couples have mixed. Conversations and looks get crossed. Great! Perfect. The girls are talking and we nod, exchanging malicious glances. I think I read about it in La Vanguardia: “The gaze, gesturing…a number of elements intervene in seduction to support the message.” Also that when verbal and gestural communication coincide there’s a better chance of producing an illusion. Our glasses are almost empty: it’s the moment. –One last drink? Now it’s our turn (looks of complicity). Don’t lose our places. She’s in front, her mind made up. –Two gin tonics, with Bombay, rum and coke, and a vodka with orange. Just look at her, what eyes! Sinful smile, complicitous. Now I have to quit insinuating and speak clearly. Luckily they’ve turned off the strobe light, so I can see her better. Isn’t that Christian and Sofia? Are they leaving? Better. She didn’t see them. Now it’ll look like it wasn’t me who forced the situation. Shit! They’ve turned up the lights. Here come the drinks. What now?


Miguel A. Pascual, The Ruses of the Unnamable (fragment).