We’ve all got things that we fantasise about which, were they to happen in real life, would disgust or annoy us. Things that might get our genitals throbbing but which cause the moral part of our brains to rebel, and give us a post-fantasy stern talking to.
My most embarrassing fantasy isn’t sexual – it isn’t even exciting. But it’s the one I have spent the most time on in the last week. I close my eyes, block out all the things I should be thinking about, and spend a few minutes on my idle dream.
What’s my most embarrassing fantasy?
I dream of being saved. Not in a knight-in-shining-armour way: it’s far more tedious and practical than that.
I retreat to this shameful fantasy when I’ve had a bad week and everything seems to be going wrong. When I end every day miserable and exhausted and knowing that the next day will be the same. When I sit at my laptop, babbling nervously into a to-do list and panicking about all the things yet to be crossed off, I dream that – corny as it sounds – my prince will come.
He won’t marry me and whisk me away to a suburban idyll, he’ll just come to hold me, let me sob dramatically and unnecessarily on his shoulder, before making a few phone calls that melt all my troubles away.
When I’m down, and sad, I dream of a man who can do all the things I just don’t want to do. Ringing insurance companies, rewriting my CV, replying to emails that have languished unhappily at the bottom of my inbox. My prince: the pragmatic multi-tasker.
Because of all the things someone could ever give me – money, power, a nice thick cock and a regular eye-rolling fuck, the most valuable thing they could ever give me is time.
Why is this an embarrassing fantasy?
I am a capable, reasonable, competent human being. Honestly. Last year my boiler packed up and I managed to get a replacement without either
a) getting ripped off
b) leaving it so long I had to shower in freezing water or
c) sobbing wildly on my kitchen floor shouting “why won’t you just WORK you dogshit arsewipe pile of metal bollocks?!”
OK, maybe I did a teeny bit of c).
I’ve made it twenty nine years so far with only the occasional need of outside help – someone to show me where the stopcock is, the odd spider that I just can’t handle, that sort of thing. And yet despite my pathetic pride and determination to do nearly everything myself, I occasionally let my mind wander off into dreams of men who’ll do these things for me. Bleed radiators, clean kitchen cupboards, instruct solicitors and other such tedious bullshit.
I feel dirty and wrong for this, not because it’s sick or unusual in the way that many of my fantasies are. Not because it’s demeaning or degrading, but because I feel like this makes me a bad feminist. I mean, it’s not very independent, is it? The Suffragettes didn’t go through hell just so I could get a man to deal with my paperwork when I get too flustered. It goes against principles that mean a lot to me, and much of what I’ve worked for.
But still. When things get tricky, and I find myself wading through the mountain of DIY, admin and “please hold for an operator who can explain to you why we’ve suddenly doubled your gas bill” I’m not wishing for more internal strength, but for someone who’ll be strong on my behalf.
Fantasy vs reality
I’ve voiced this fantasy a few times – usually over a pint or two of gin and one of those terrifying crying attacks where your friends either cuddle you so no one can see the state you’re in or push you into the toilets to ‘get it out of your system.’
And occasionally, when I confess my fantasies of being saved, people have commented on the fact that it’s at direct odds with what I actually want in life. That if a guy came through for me on this kind of fantasy – if he cleared up my messes and cleaned my to-do list and took hold of the reins of my life, I would scream blue murder and banish him forever.
To which my reply is: of course. Of course. It’s a fantasy. Just as I don’t really want guys to beat me – I want them to spank me in a very specific way, with a very specific degree of pain, to the point where it’s hot and sexual but no further – I also want them to support me to just the right degree without ever taking away my own agency.
The most enjoyable thing about many fantasies is that if you really wanted to, you could make them come true: as with this one. But I haven’t made it come true – I just like to wallow in it. I like to sit and think and dream of my practical prince, while eschewing any kind of assistance that might make me look less than competent. So by thinking this I get to find out what my little heart actually desires – the difference between what I actually want and what I think I want.
He can still do the washing up though. There’s no shame in letting him do that.