When you’re on the train at 6am reading an essay by a writer about the pleasure she derives from fucking married men (“I allowed myself to sleep with men for whom I felt just the right level of contempt”) and the guy sitting next to you keeps spreading his legs a little too wide so that you would have to sit slightly bowlegged if you let him continue, so you give his right knee a brief but insistent tap with your left knee and then look into the window facing you, and in the darkness of the tunnel you see the dim reflection of his face and think you may know him, but you keep reading. “I do not mean to say that the contempt we contain, which flares in us, need always be visible to others and acted upon, but I do know that its existence can be of use. The kind of contempt I am praising is but a sliver, a powerful small thing, which holds a space, preventing inappropriate enmeshment.” The man is looking at you, but you don’t feel like talking to him, figuring out whether you know him from a party or some past overlapping life or whatever, but you enjoy the sense of sharing space with someone you might know and choosing not to interact with him—you enjoy this so much that you think this might be your most natural state, a body in space, perhaps sharing a commonality or two with the other bodies sharing this translucent moment, warm packets of constant, sloshing motion encased by membranes so thin you can almost see what’s inside each of them as they bump and jostle on their respective ways like spermaceti, like metastasis, like sun rays.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

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AuthorJohn Proctor