Answer the Companions, Part 2: The Seed of Lust

they look like they're reading the same thing, don't they?







“And here we go, the bottom of the barrel or the cream of the crop, depending on which cliche you prefer.”






“Kind of hoping someone sent something edible with this batch.  That’s a thing, isn’t it?  Getting food in the mail?  If it isn’t, it should be.”


I’ve been married to the same wonderful woman for almost 14 years. But I am at a loss as to what to get her for Valentine’s Day, and I’m on a budget. What can I get her that says, ”Thanks for still having sex with me!” that won’t break my bank?






“Being the only man to have read cover-to-cover Saang Makh-Mei, The Gentlemen’s Guide to Carnal Aptitude in Mediums Physical, Textual and Spiritual and subsequently completing the trial of the Seven Palms of Silken Prowess, I’ll field this one.”












“Your motives move me, Paul.  I imagine many men quiver in envy at your spiritual endowment.  In fact, if I was possessed of such a wealth of goodness, I suspect a good many of my problems would be solved.

“And thus, I would find myself bereft of any kind of quality that makes me who I am: enigmatic, mysterious, timidly erotic.”






“Timidly…what the hell are you—“






“And thus, I would have no sex, either, and I’d have the same problem.  Do you see where I’m going with this, Paul?”






“No one can or should see anything you’re talking about.”






“No one was asking you.  See, Paul, while the men who possess the discipline to turn the act of carnal intimacy into an art form, women are capable of summarizing this sort of power on a day-by-day basis.  While we are amused by fleeting stories, tales told in the glances of a bare bosom and the shudder of a breath drawn between soft lips, women require stories of substance.  Plot.  Dare I say…intrigue?”






“I dare you not to.”






“Too late for that!  Now, Paul, to really capture your wife’s gratitude, you must involve her in such a plot.  Consider faking your own kidnapping and leaving elaborate clues from a sadistic pseudonym (may I suggest something classically villainous, like ‘Professor Erstwhile’) as to your location.  Disappear for a few months, driving her increasingly more mad with grief.  Occasionally send her a disembodied toe (it doesn’t have to be yours) to prove that you are quite serious about this.

“When she, weary from sleepless nights and terrorized by visions of your bloodied corpse lying in the bottom of a place most cold and dank, discovers that you are actually alive and possessed of all your toes (though if you decided to use your own, I am impressed with the depth of your commitment), she will be relieved both to find you alive and by your investment in her gift!

“And that, my friend, is the key to a proper gift.  Did you have anything to add, Kataria?”








so, here goes; my best friend of five years recently brought up the subject of whether we would work as a couple at 3am when we were both half-asleep from packing (he was moving house the next day). Half-asleep, I never really gave him a definite answer, and in the confusion next morning we never had time to discuss it.
Thing is, I like him, I really, really like him, and I’d love it to work, but he’s no good at talking about feelings, and I don’t know how to bring it up. It’s driving me nuts.

At the same time, just to make things more awkward, one of my workmates, a good 18 years my senior I might add, has recently divulged that he has had a thing for me since we started working together 5 years ago, and is now bombarding me with texts, and constantly at me on nights out. I want to let him down gently, and I’ve tried hinting about the situation with my best friend, but nothing’s working.

I guess in short my question is; which do I pick, and after that, what the hell do I do?

Your reading this is much appreciated,







“Well, if it were me—“






“This one can’t be solved by toes.  I’ll take it.

“What you are dealing with is two men: one unused to suffering, one used to.  The former is a man who does not bleed, who does not pine, who does not sit and contemplate the meaning of a brook running over stones.  He enjoys the taste of flesh, but not the taste of the chase, so he does not pursue.

“The latter, likewise, obsesses over his cuts, counts time as a round-ear counts coin.  The chase is nearly everything and he pours everything into the frenzy of it.  The problem being, with everything going into the hunt, there’s nothing left for the kill.”






“How is this any less vile than mine?”







“The solution to both is the same way: there’s an arrow in your leg and it has to come out.  You need to do so firmly, but quickly.  Let the former know of your feelings, and do it honestly, but don’t throw it down like a challenge.  Let the latter know that you’re not interested, and do it gently, but make sure he understands what you’re setting down.

“Everyone acts like feelings are supposed to be the simplest things, so everyone adds such ritual to it to make it unbearably complex.  The truth, of course, is that feelings are about as simple as an arrow in the leg: it’s there and that’s fact, but getting it out isn’t always easy.

“But come out it must.”






“That was…almost beautiful.  Like a poem spit from a frothing mouth.”


I’d prefer a cantaloupe over flowers… is there something wrong with me?






“Nah.  You can do something with a cantaloupe, at least.  But if someone gives you either of those over, say, a good knife or something with practical application, you’d do well to think real hard about just how much they means to you.”


Dear Kataria, I know how you feel about humans, so let me start by saying that I suspect I might just be in an inter-species relationship. The object of my affection is definitely female–take my word–but her psychic makeup is a strange labyrinth. I could ask any number of questions about her, but I’ll come to the heart of the matter (even if it exposes me as shallow). Sensual arousal for my beautiful friend always requires at least one (but preferably two or three) of the following: nutmeg, saffron, plum wine, the tolling of a brass bell, a mesquite campfire, the croaking of tree frogs, or rumours of an earthquake or other natural disaster. CAN YOU PLEASE ! tell me the common thread, and how I can spark a flame in her without recourse to such props? Desperately yours–Robert R.






“Huh.  I’ve seen this before.  Do me a favor, Robert, the next time you’re…intimate with her, check behind her ears.  Are there any gills there?  Take her fingers gently in yours and search the digits gently, see if there’s any extra knucklebones there.  You might also search for the vestiges of a tail or something similar.

“See, I can get the whole ‘ritualized sex’ thing, but you’re basically describing a woman who requires a number of bizarre components and an element of human suffering to become aroused.  My experience with demons is a little limited, so she might just be something else entirely weirder.  In which case, maybe that’s her…culture or something?

“I don’t know.  If not, I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a woman who enjoys elaborate sexual ritual.  It’s like food, you know?  You get it all the time, it all starts to taste the same.  But if you’re starving, you chase it down yourself, you build the fire, you wear its skin as a hat…well, that meal tastes pretty good at the end, doesn’t it?”


Dear Denaos,

Some months ago a woman of my – unfortunate, but distant – acquaintance got in trouble. I was blamed for her state, though I had had nothing to do with any part of the incident. Following her insistent, disturbing requests for aid, my father – the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire – ordered that she be disposed of.

Gossip being what it is, the rumours circulated that *I* was the one involved in this affair. And my betrothed is convinced of the validity of these lies.

How can I get her to believe the truth and restore my honour in her eyes?

Awaiting your advice, I remain

Yr. obdt. servant,







“What is it with you people and elaborate political set-ups and lost cities?  Don’t you have regular problems, like not knowing what kind of flowers to buy?  Not that I can’t help, of course, but it’s getting a little suspicious.

“Now, if anyone can appreciate a good frame job, I’m sure I fit.  And indeed, the fine art of shifting blame has its place in love as it does in life.  In fact, the act of marriage is composed mostly of trying your damnedest to avoid scrutiny and getting others to suffer for your mistakes.

“But I’m getting philosophical.  What you see as a crisis is actually good practice for your impending (congratulations, by the way, assuming you don’t get beheaded) wedding.  What you need to do here is to shift the blame entirely onto someone else.  First, find someone between your life and hers, a maid that was just too friendly, a servant that knew too much.  If they don’t exist, invent them: make up some evidence and plant it on them.

“If you really want to be dramatic, you could always just pin it on your betrothed.  I mean, sure, he might get executed, but if he’s acting all high and mighty for thinking you’re adulterous, framing him for murder would make him mighty humble.”


Dear Denaos, I hope it’s not too late for this question but it occurred to me during a conversation I had today.

Why can’t men just say what they want? I don’t mean like “Hey, I want Sex!” but more like “I’m interested in you, do you want to go on a date with me?”. There is this special guy I met at work. He’s a customer and today (Valentine’s Day is nearly done now, in Europe) he asked me about my plans for the evening and when I asked back he told me he hadn’t anything planned, either, and no girlfriend. Then he fell quiet. Was it my turn to ask him out? I don’t want to be the one to ask. I’m the girl. So was he just trying to be polite and not flirting? If so, why can’t he just talk about something different than Valentine’s Day?

I do not understand the males. But you’re a man and though you seem more like an outgoing type who would say what is in his mind, I believe you could tell me what he is thinking. Any piece of advice for me?

Don’t let anyone rip your head off.






“Well, Stephanie, I can’t exactly testify as to whether you are a particularly scary lady or not, we’ll go ahead and discount the idea that your queries were laced with the baring of teeth, the flaring of nostrils and a deep-throated, chest-borne sound that signifies desire in most hoofed quadrupeds and some women…”






“Oh, ONE time that happened.”






“Suffice to say, I feel you’re looking at this the wrong way.  You’re putting far too much emphasis on what he wants, what he does, what he is capable of.  What about your wants, hm?  What about your needs?  Do you possess two hands?  Do you have a heart?  Do you not quake with the need to express yourself?

“Then why wait for him?  Why put his needs for comfort above yours for companionship?  Why not take the initiative, be forthright and honest?  After all, if you don’t understand something, the usual path suggested is to learn about it, isn’t it?  Consider it a hands-on experiment in which you discover the male psyche and, perhaps, learn more about this special guy in the process.

“But don’t actually put your whole hands on him.  He might actually be a little afraid of you and think you’re trying to strangle him and soil himself in fear.  Then no one will look good in that situation.”


Dear Quillian,
I don’t know you, you don’t know me, you get the idea.

I’ll cut to the chase – if you went on a date with myself, how would you like me to dress? Formal, casual, school girl, formal school girl, casual school girl, cheerleader or barbecue sauce?

But that leads to my other question – why do people even bother to dress up for dates? Chances are you’ll go home with your spirit crushed or you’ll go back to her house and rip her clothes off regardless of whether it’s a simple dress or fourteen skirts and a corset. Why not just turn up naked and fuck during dinner?

Yours faithfully,
A certain perpetual virgin with a strange interest in BBQ sauce.






“It took me some time to track her down, and then a little more time convince her I didn’t want to fight her, and then a little MORE time when she decided she wanted to fight me, but I finally got this into Squiggy’s hands.  Her reply is as follows.  Just imagine it in a real throaty voice and frown so that the corners of your mouth point to the floor and you’ll get a good idea as to how this sounded.

“’If you are a student, then it would be inappropriate to see you in any setting.  But garbing yourself appropriately is considered to be, by many, a signifier of demonstrating one’s worth, valor and statements.  I have seen very little point in it, to be honest.’”

It’s worth mentioning that she only ever wears the one thing, so she’s probably not the best person to ask.  Anyway, she added this…

“’Ideally, the goal of such ritual is to slowly alter one’s garments, piece by piece, until your physical appearance mirrors your desires.  Thus, the point is not to be dressy, but to reach the stage where you can comfortably wear anything from a dress to filthy leather breeches and be happy with yourself and your fellow.  Or, you could just be like some scandalous shict and wear half a shirt all the time and never even wash it, despite everyone telling you how awful it smells.’

“I’m not quite sure why I told you that last part.  I think she was talking about me.”






“And there you have it!  Another week of ritualized obligation has come and gone.  Best of luck to you people who had the poor fortune not to be born me.  We hope to see you again next year.”






“Hope is too strong a word.  So are ‘next’ and ‘year.’  If I’m still alive in a decade, we’ll see how I feel about this.”

Thanks for writing in!

2 Responses to “Answer the Companions, Part 2: The Seed of Lust”

  1. Kathryn

    *Snorts and giggles*

    Finally, some good advice!

  2. deniz

    Shifting the blame, of course! Denaos, you’re a genius.

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