Silk and bones
It is hard to know how you feel about Timothee Chalamet when you are 27 and he is 23. This age gap isn’t grotesque and yet, there is a distance between his face and limbs and your appreciation of them.
If lust is what happens when hope and curiosity collide, and if beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, then who and what you are is just as important as the subject of your lust.
There is a gap between his silhouette and your longing because deep down, they can never meet. He exists in the way a painting does; full of life but somewhere else, a remnant of something beautiful that happened before you stood in front of it.
If there is one thing you know, it is that this attraction would feel more tangible if you also happened to be 23. It would be in your bones and your flesh and it would be real, not quite stuck in a confused half-life, fading but present.
Beauty is eternal but what we want to do with it is not; it can be touched and grabbed and prodded, or it can be admired from a distance, a totem to the quiet alienation of desire.
Longing means dragging yourself into the picture, taking someone and draping yourself around them like a snake. It is looking at the silk they wear and wanting to know what it would feel like under your fingers; it is choosing to bring yourself in.
Can you long to have met someone when you would have yearned to touch the silk on their skin? Can you yearn for a time when you would have brought yourself into the picture? Is it lust if it doesn’t feel immediate?
You often see and hear of men older than you are longing for women younger than he is. Does that gap not exist for them? Does that gap not exist for everyone? Is there no river between their flesh and the eyes and skin and mouths of those they recognise to be beautiful but inhabiting a world that is not quite their own? Do they not feel the distance or has their yearning simply made it vanish?
Or perhaps the yearning is for the distance itself; lust happens when curiosity and hope collide, but desperation can look like anguished hope if you squint hard enough. Part of you wonders if you should envy them; sometimes you look at Timothee Chalamet, his eyes and skin and mouth, and you wish you could want to grab them, wrap yourself around them.
But then you aren’t sure if this longing would be worth it; you’ve not quite grown to appreciate the distance yet, it is quite a new feeling to you, at the age of 27, but you are starting to feel comfortable with its sweet melancholy.
It isn’t quite lust but the knowledge of lust lost; a sense that time has worked against you but you must make your peace with it. You look at those men, drenched in sweat and despair, and you know you will learn to cherish that gap.
Your bones can survive without being drawn to the bones of those who are out of your reach; there is skin and silk not meant to be felt by your fingers. You hope there are other hands out there, longing to grab their flesh; they were yours once, and yearning is a pleasure to be cherished.