My dream last night was odd for me in that I was not myself. I could see myself as I am, but others saw me as another person entirely — a technique not unfamiliar to many a television show, I grant.
Others saw me as a wildly successful female burlesque sort of artist, whose videos and choreographed performances had elevated me to cult stardom. (even though there was no sex per se, just nudity).
A younger woman who wanted to match my success was suggesting to me that if we did a new film with my performances, and then added her doing more explicit content, it would be a huge hit, a best-seller. I felt the pang of silently recognizing that she wanted to use me as a way to make a breakthrough for herself, to use my platform to launch her own more fleeting sort of stardom. My eroticism to get people interested, and her blatant sexuality to fire the loins so to speak. I did not immediately say no, but spoke about how our usual investors expected a particular kind of film and we’d have to look outside our usual funding sources if we were to do that.
We were in a group: my usual filmmaking troupe, including a guy who I believed was the chief cinematographer, who was heavyset and had a bit of a beard, and managed to be completely non-sexual in the way that he was an important part of the group and had been so for so long that there simply wasn’t any issue. He sat on a piano bench of an upright black piano that was in this living room in which our group was decompressing. And there were other team members both male and female in this circle, production assistants I expect. They did not feature in the dream but I mention them to show that this was a team effort, even if I was the “star”.
The younger woman with the idea made an effort to be my friend, and in this dream I got to experience the sort of efforts that real-life lesbians have when they are entertaining the possibility of a relationship. (I hate that expression — “entertaining the possibility” — in fact it is precarious, not like hosting a party at all. More like clamoring along a cliffside looking for handholds among the rocks.) I knew the possibility that she wanted to be my friend because of my fame. I also knew that perhaps that was not a bad thing, that even if she was drawn to me because she saw it as a way to advance her own life, it implied a sort of envy or respect to want to emulate me. But rivalry too, wouldn’t there be, I wondered? She asked me what I did with my time when I wasn’t making movies. What my hobbies were, in a sense.
This was a difficult question because I was sort of visiting this person’s body/life. I could still see my own hairy chest where she saw a woman’s bosom. (Don’t ask me how sex would work, or even touching — it appeared the illusion was complete). And to answer her question, I didn’t know if I should search the mind/brain of this life (the life of the woman she saw), or if I could make stuff up on the spot. In short I didn’t know where my responsibilities lay — was I inhabiting a real person’s life, or was the person I was in this dream a fictional creation of my own mind? Different answers, different rules would apply. So I was vague, and I took her home or to a place I stayed, a futon bed with wine-red sheets and beige walls glowing yellow from floor-lamps, and we talked, and I wondered again about how starting a relationship with someone who also wanted to use my minor-stardom was probably sure to end badly.
The lines were also difficult because on one hand, we worked together (she in some minor, bit part, more costume than character), presumably emulating some sort of eroticism for the benefit of the artistic pieces I choreographed, the films I made. But in those, even with another actor, there was isolation as each person kept themselves within their own spaces of body and mind, even if the illusion was intimacy.
Frilly fans, 1920s period costumes, all sorts of artistry were the dominant way of eliciting impressions of eroticism in the mind of the film viewer. In contrast, if I started a real relationship with her, snogging with her, having breakfast with her, that would be completely different. A few steps from her in a room was a huge distance; by that I mean, if I were to walk three steps to her and hug her and kiss her, that would be a massive leap. I was taken by the contrast of how such a small distance of space could make such a huge difference in one’s lives. I was edging towards going ahead with this (as my taking her back to my place was evidence of my inclination.) In this experience I also saw how being a lesbian was no easier nor more difficult than any other type of preference. The same sort of stilted approaches applied.
The dream drifted, and we were driving over an overpass in some city I didn’t recognize …