He breezes into the kitchen, grins at me in a self-satisfied way and proudly tells me “look!” before whipping out his cock. And I think ‘Ahh… my muse.’ My beloved muse. My weird, nerdy, playful, dodgy, nervous wreck of a muse.
When I think of muses I imagine marble statues. Women held aloft on pedestals, and the men who stare up at them. I think of all the muses who have existed – silent and uncomplaining – in the physical world, as their shadow in the artistic world soars and glitters.
I am not entirely sure that a muse is a good thing to be. Those who can never know you as well as you know yourself get to paint pictures of you that they show to the world. In the pictures you take on all their passions and pain and insight and insecurity.
I don’t know if a muse is a good thing to be, but reluctantly I have to admit that he is probably my muse.
My muse doesn’t stand still, or sit on a pedestal. He plonks himself down at one end of the sofa and asks me what I fancy watching tonight on telly. He grips my hips and looks deeply into my eyes when he thinks I’m getting anxious, and pours out reassuring words that calm me down. He farts, loudly, then announces that we should both probably leave the room for our own comfort/safety.
He is human.
This ‘muse’ thing: I’ve never used the word ‘muse’ before, and I probably won’t again. It was prompted by a discussion on Twitter about the idea of a ‘muse’, and how this romanticisation (especially of muses who are women) often serves to detract from important artistic work that the women themselves are doing. The ‘muse’ is a passive role, never active. Someone who sits and looks beautiful and serves as a screen on which the artist can project their own ideas, never a mouthpiece for any ideas of their own.
Is it good, then? To swap the roles round like this and have a male muse for a change? Or is it just as damaging – as unreal – as hefting women onto pedestals and projecting our own ideas onto them? A better question: is there some way you can temper the harm caused by making someone your inspiration, and allow them the opportunity to carve their own marks into the marble statue of their public self?
I don’t know the answer, but I’m getting into one of those navel-gazing moods where I could easily disappear entirely up my own arse in pursuit of grand answers to a question no one except me cared to ask.
And usually when I get like this, he helps to puncture my self-importance. He’s not just a silent muse, waiting to be carved into stone: he’s got a hammer and chisel of his own, which he uses to hack shapes into our shared lives. Sometimes into me. So I ask him.
‘How do you feel,’ I nudge, as we stand in the room we’ve recently swiftly vacated, ‘about being my muse?’
‘No: muse. Like, the person who inspires art and all that stuff. How do you feel about being written about and shared with strangers online?’
‘Gassy,’ he tells me. ‘Right now what I feel is gassy.’
Why would I put him on a pedestal when he’s far more fun on the ground?