The Virgin & the Whore Walk Into a Bar

Modern daguerreotype. Image courtesy thedaglab.com for The VIrgin and the Whore Walked into a Bar post by Malin James

Modern daguerreotype courtesy The Dag Lab

As you can see, I haven’t posted here in awhile. This isn’t from laziness or lack or commitment. Rather, it’s the product of a happy fact–I’m super busy with work on the other side of my career, (that would be the smutty side, for those who don’t know). Posts on this blog will probably be fairly sporadic for the next little while, or at least until I finish the massive project that is my novel. That said, they will pop up as I can manage. In the meantime, you can take a peek at what my erotica writing alter ego, Malin James, is up to here. Or not.. It’s totally up to you.

Which brings me to the virgin and the whore. I’ve always loved that paradox, mostly because I’ve always felt like both–the virgin and the whore, I mean. I am equally comfortable eating ice cream with my daughter and writing articles about the death of the Dewey Decimal System, (this is a greatly contested death, FYI), as I am doing and writing any number of things that I’m not going to mention here because my mother reads this blog. Of course, you can always check out the following to get a sense of what I mean: link, link, link. Click at your own risk.

There’s a common notion that a person is one particular thing–a mother, a teacher, a daughter, a parent, a slut, a virgin, a whore…you get the picture. I would contest this notion though. I think that, much as Meredith Brooks sang in her song, “Bitch,” (what a rockin’ good title), most of us are both sinners and saints. It’s only when we get too attached to one static identity that things get complicated and often unfulfilling.

Yes, I’m a mother and, I hope, a good one, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write things that would make my own mother supremely uncomfortable, (sorry mom–definitely don’t click those links). It doesn’t mean that I can’t have an identity outside of motherhood that many might find unorthodox at best, and somewhat distasteful at worst.

After years of wrestling and apologizing, the fact is that there’s a lot of dark in me–there’s anger and sex and rage and violence. But there’s also a lot of light. I’m nurturing and empathic. I’ve got compassion on tap. These things should be in violent contrast. They shouldn’t be able to coexist, and yet they do, quite naturally, in me, just as they do in most people. All you have to do is choose the two, (or three, or four), contrasting archetypes that resonate with you.

Of course, nothing is never as simple or easy as that. But that’s sort of my point–personalities aren’t static things. They are constantly in motion, acting and reacting. Really, when it gets down to it, personalities are simply a series of reactions, habituated over time. So, the virgin and the whore are part of who I am, and it’s only in cultivating both of them equally that I can truly be whole.

I wanted to give a quick, but very sincere thank you to Eric Mertens at The Dag Lab for letting me use one of his beautiful images in this post. You can see more of his work by clicking here. Mr. Merten does old-fashioned daguerreotype portraits in his lab in Oakland, CA. The work is gorgeous. Please, go check it out. 

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13 thoughts on “The Virgin & the Whore Walk Into a Bar

  1. i loved this from the title, and i completely agree what human being is so linear in personality as not to somehow have two very different facets of their personality that confront each other.? i think how you deal with it, is the important part so you can remain whole in a healthy way…

    • Yes, absolutely. A person’s relationship to their various facets really does seem to affect a person’s overall sense of self. I know that for some, integration is critical while for others the various facets can exist side by side. Either way, I think the most important thing is to develop a sense of acceptance and not force yourself to be entirely one thing if you are, in fact, many.

  2. My mother calls me on the phone the day she finished my vampire novel and says, “It’s a little uncomfortable reading a sex scene written by your daughter when you’re laying on the floor in your best friend’s living room. Made especially uncomfortable because it’s one of the best sex scenes I’ve ever read.”

  3. Anger, sex, rage, love, compassion — it makes sense that if you have one on tap, you have the others. After all, the opposite of love and compassion is not anger and hatred: it’s indifference.

  4. Of course we are multi-faceted. 🙂 I’ve always gone by the dictum of Lady in the Boardroom and Whore in the bedroom. 🙂 Most people I know in town would be appalled by the writings on my blog. However, my mom knows what I write and is cool with it. She also shares some of the best dirty jokes!

    Good luck with your writings!

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