It’s Pride month, but I’m going to rewind briefly to April. My friend Eve, whom you might remember from the 80s Business Lady cake, threw a TED Talks-themed birthday party for herself. (Apparently “EVE Talks” were already a thing, but if it’s your name anyway, go for it.)
We learned about Google stalking us on our phones, how to make scrambled eggs properly, why penguins are assholes, and about disruption, which was literally 3 minutes of my friend P saying the word disruption. #avantgarde
My talk was on finding your true eros through katsudon, but before we get to that, let’s talk cake. Eve requested a Cake Wreck-y sheet cake, and trying to convey intentionally bad decoration is surprisingly hard! I went for uneven piping (with my new and improved cake decorating kit) and a misspelled text description of an image request: instead of drawing a lightbulb, I wrote “under neat logo light blub.” I couldn’t get a sheet-cake box in time so I used a box from Top Pot Doughnuts. The cake was a huge hit, as were the gluten-free brownies I made.
The cake was the dense af large batch “Madeira Cake” from Sprinkle Bakes (p. 42) in a 13×9 cake pan and the frosting was “American Buttercream” (p. 81).
Below is the transcript of my EVE Talk “Finding Your True Eros,” in which I discuss the necessity of freeing ourselves from the male gaze and cisheteropatriarchy in order to find our eros. (If you haven’t checked out Yuri!!! on Ice yet and are looking for that transformation power of queer relationships to heteronormativity and homonormativity, you’re in for a treat!)
EVE Talks 2017: “Finding Your True Eros”
What is eros to you? First, what is eros? Eros is one of four concepts of love, with the other three being agape, unconditional love; storge, familial love; and philia, friendly love. Eros is passionate, sexual love.
Close your eyes and think of something that makes you so overcome with desire you lose the ability for rational thought. You are so overwhelmed by this that you cannot form coherent sentences. You are overcome. You fall apart a little.
What does our culture tell us is erotic and desirable? Cheerleaders, school girls, strippers dressed as nurses, blow jobs, women in lingerie, firefighters, cowboys, Don Juans, or some combination thereof. Do you actually desire to be that, or is that what advertisers, pornographers, and other purveyors of toxic masculinities tell you that you should want or should become for your partner?
Accessing popular cisheteronormative fantasies that don’t speak to our deepest desires will not help us on our quest. To find your true eros, we have to be creative! Let’s keep it simple at first. Try starting with an object.
What about your favorite food? My favorite food is katsudon, a Japanese dish that consists of pork, tenderized, breaded and gently fried with gooey, dripping, lightly scrambled egg on the top, served over a warm bed of tender, fluffy rice. Imagine the entangling of the egg, the rich scent wafting from the warm bowl, the quavering of the chopsticks as you prepare to take first bite.
Let’s harness the power of the anticipation you feel as your run your eyes over that katsudon, or other favorite food item. Finding your true eros means finding what about you provokes the same reaction.
Write a story. The next level of finding your eros is creating a narrative. When you imagine yourself as alluring as the katsudon, what kind of backstory do you have?
Connecting with a narrative–and sometimes a costume– is ideal for getting into character.
However, I’ll warn you again against going for the “I’ll be the QB and you be the naughty head cheerleader,” or “I’m the playboy who comes to town and seduces the most beautiful woman, then leaves her.” Your true eros is something that’s uniquely yours; defining yourself in terms of toxic masculinity is perhaps the least sexy thing you could do.
As the narrative shifts from your desire for katsudon to the creation of a narrative with a gender expression that you own and feel proud of, you’ll start to discover your eros.
Perhaps instead you’re the most beautiful woman in town, and you seduce the playboy and cast him aside; he thinks he’s playing you, but you’re playing him.
Find a mantra. As you embark on your journey of finding your eros, come up with something simple to help you focus. “I am eros, and eros is me” is simple and general enough for most situations, but you might want a more specific mantra, like “I’m the katsudon fatale that enthralls men,” or “I’m the only one in the world who can satisfy Viktor–”
Keep it short and simple. Remind yourself who you are. And remember, it’s not about impressing a person who doesn’t appreciate you, but about finding yourself desirable.
In conclusion: The radical notion behind discovering your true eros, especially if you’re feminine of center, is that you have to destroy your concept of binary gender and the inclination to play to the male gaze. The male gaze is a tool of oppression to keep sexuality controlled by straight cis men and to stamp out the beauty of queerness and gender fluidity. But you have more to offer the world than what mainstream culture limits you to. No one in the whole wide world knows your true eros. It may be an alluring side of you that you yourself are unaware of.
See you next level!