She used to say there would be no more orgasms for her (if she had ever had one in the first place). Apparently, the last one occurred while driving a car somewhere between Wangaratta and Melbourne - her left hand on the steering wheel and her right hand shoved down her crotch - the car slewing drunkenly the breadth of the single lane highway. No more orgasms- no sex, a steadfast creative and political stance.
“All my sexual energy is channelled into my art,” she would say. “It can’t be both ways. You won’t develop the feel and creativity for a piece if you’re wasting that energy somewhere else.” I hesitated to tell her that one of the greatest painters of all time was a raving sex maniac (that little bald guy, Picasso). Needless to say I don’t think she had quite reached the pinnacle of her career. But, you know what they say- art becomes great art after the artist has carked it. I’m not sure what would be the worse of two evils, her dying or, her art being famous.
If there is a negative epitome or stereotype of an artist, she was it. Impulsive, scatty, moody, a borderline personality type, egocentric, demanding, childish and unreasonable - yet, charming, flirtatious and I must admit, creative. She used to say that we fitted like pieces in a puzzle. I was the zag to her zig. Like everything else in her life, our friendship was romanticised. I was supposedly her soul sister, I complimented her eccentricities. She alluded to an affinity with women and her distaste for the antics of men, particularly her long suffering partner (that would be his act) whom, was buffeted from pillar to post by her wants and desires.
The no sex ploy was a wedge between them. Her political stance against his continual defaulting with financial requirements such as mortgage repayments She was the ideas person, the making things happen person, albeit at very short or, no notice. He was the lackey, the do it boy, the fixer. Quite often he was the, “do it now or I’ll thump you one” boy, or, the “why haven’t you done this you pathetic excuse for a man”, person. When I got involved in their lives, they apparently hadn’t had sex for two years. He would often confide to me with his sad, poor me, “look what I have to live with” demeanour. On our morning walks she would proudly boast about, “the removal of sex as punishment”, for what she believed were his “financial sins”. This was a proudly repeated political stance brought out for special social events. The little rescuer in me would empathise, suggest and advise, but what I didn’t realise at the time was that both of them were firmly rooted in their co-dependence albeit firmly unrooted in their bedroom.
They were reasonably attractive people and were horrible flirts. This was very dangerous territory for a little rescuer who was hell bent on saving them. She flirted in a look at me, “I’m a little social butterfly”. I’m elusive and evasive but, “I’ll flaunt myself at you just so that you won’t forget me.” I first thought that he flirted in an underhanded suggestive way but with hindsight, it was quite an overt, sleazebag style. The, “oh, something’s down the front of your shirt” type of flirting - the destruction of personal space type of flirting - brushing past your nipples or being generally inappropriate. If I rang their house I would be addressed as ‘lover’. “Oh, your lover’s on the phone” or, “hello lover.” The undercurrent of repressed sexuality, the art of sexual tension, with its constant sexual innuendos, was to be the downfall of our friendship.
Extract from 'People I Have Known' (c)Ajanta Judd 2003