Unsupervised Pleasures logo

Ultimate Fantasy 76 NuANCE

Let me begin by telling you my ultimate fantasy. It is this and I will float free, eternally, as an island of my own made up of male and female fantasies. And you will never know what it is like to be with me or the others who call this place home, because no one has dared to ask such a simple yet profound question.

When I was a child I used to spend all my time in libraries, on bookshelves, frolicking among the piles of manuscripts. And one day I came across a title that immediately caught my attention. It was a book by a famous French scientist on nuclear fission. It was called Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, the author, an internationally famous scientist, compared the search we make for meaning in our daily lives to the search we make for meaning in the nuclear bomb. He then went on to describe the ecstatic feelings he got when he read the words “To beam, to shine” in the nuclear fission report. He called them the “anaerobic fissures of meaning.”

I suddenly had a surge of hope. I knew what he meant. I had felt it with so many people I knew, with so much of what so many of us struggle everyday to understand. I vowed to myself never to give up on anyone and set out on a quest to understand myself. I have since come to realize that there is something called “NuANCE,” something we can all identify with, something that is core to who we are. I have found it, and I call it my “pleasure center.” And in my quest I have come across a book that changed my life.

Queer Pleasure

Those of us who are truly curious and driven can discover our own joys and perils by simply following the examples set by those around us. That’s what queer pleasure is all about. You see, I was not the only one. Other students told me they felt the same way as I did. They said that they too often felt they were on the periphery of the college experience, caught in the vortex of the heterosexual conversation. They said that they felt pressured to present a “queer” image that would that would further alienate those of us who might otherwise…

I want to be clear about something. I have never pressured anyone to present a queer image. And in fact, there are very good reasons to encourage those of us who do choose to bequeath that image. As Stonewall’s famous saying goes, there are no blinders on. We, as educators, are answerable to the people we serve. We must not only educate the next generation of leaders in our fields, we must also inspire the very essence of their very being. As Harvey Milk said, the values we teach are not simply labels on a piece of paper. They are the very very very essence of who we are.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be labeled by anybody!

I am not your enemy. I am your friend.

That last remark was just the clearest sign that someone was listening. For the next twenty minutes, each of us took turns recounting the life lessons.


What does it mean for sexuality to be lived as oriented? What difference does it make what or who we are oriented toward in the very direction of our desire? If orientation is a matter of how we reside in space, then sexual orientation might also be a matter of residence, of how we inhabit spaces, and who or what we inhabit spaces with. After all, queer geographers have shown us how spaces are sexualized. If we foreground the concept of “orientation,” then we can retheorize this sexualization of space as well as the spatiality of sexual desire. What would it mean for queer studies if we were to pose the question of the orientation of sexual orientation as a phenomenological question?

Let me begin by telling you my ultimate fantasy. . .



Prompt adapted from Queer Phenomenology by Sara Ahmed

· queer, GPT-2, RunwayML