A Thousand Loving Thrusts

Rachel Ang examines the face as a threshold, a portal and a point of exchange.

'A Thousand Loving Thrusts'
'A few years ago, I decided to switch focus'
'and instead of spending all my money on therapy, I would spent it on expensive haircuts and facials. In some ways it seems to have improved my life, and in others,'
'it seems to have the same result.' (In quotation, 'Have I told you about my mother?')
'Last week, I was at the beautician and their playlist pulled up a woeful acoustic version of Post Malone's "Congratulations".'
'I was just lying there and I started crying.' (Face says 'Jesus Christ, not again')
Illustration of a person walking side-on, a scribble above their head.
A scribble.
'My mother's sister is in her late eighties and does not have a single wrinkle. True story.'
'The secret is Oil of Olay, day and night, and good genes. Unfortunately, she did not extend the Olay down to her neck, so she now has an extremely wrinkled neck.'
'As if her face is impervious to time.'
'And it merely trickles downwards.'
'This has given her a turtle-like appearance.'
Illustration of a swirl of water.
Wave-like scribble.
'All eyes are almond-shaped. Any other nut shape (wal-, brazil, pea-) would be freakish.'
'My partner and I are the same colour, but we are different ethnicities.'
'I don't know what to say about this, but all illustrations I remember from childhood depicted people like me with piss-yellow complexions. So I think I have internalised the idea that I am … '
'… literally an alien colour.' (Drawing of an alien shadowed over a woman, with an arrow pointing from the text, 'this is the real me')
'Also, whoever came up with the idea of using the word "olive" to describe a skintone has never seen an olive.'
(Circular figure.)
'I am on the tram when I overhear two men discussing the new and widespread use of facial recognition technology in China.'
Illustration of two men on a tram beside a woman. One man says, 'I'm surprised it would work! Don't they all look the same?'
'I pretend not to hear.'
(Illustration of an ear.)
'My mum once asked me'
'why I draw myself'
'looking so ugly.'
'But this is how I really am.'
'Have you ever seen your face reflected in an old painting?'
'The ancestor peeking out from the past'
'To say, hey, how are those genetics'
'holding up?'
'I once saw my face in a puppet theatre in Hong Kong. It said, "hello".'
(Side-on curly parenthesis.)
'It's a bad time in history for those of us with a phobia of getting our photograph taken. I'm considering paying a handsome young (but troubled) artist to paint my portrait from life, and then …'
'… using this as my author photo.'
'I then have a passionate (but short-lived) affair with the young artist, through which all my flaws are revealed.'
'But I get my revenge.'
'It is absurd to get a tattoo of a face on any body part which is not your face;'
'However, you probably shouldn't get a tattoo of a face on your face, either.'
(Quote mark.)
(Illustration of clouds.)
'My lover has a tattoo of an eye on their hip.'
'Sometimes when I look at it, I feel light-headed. So yonic, such an unflinching gaze. In the heat of the moment I'm utterly absorbed.'
'But later, I recall the gaze and wonder why it turns me on.'
'Is it because it's like a vulva adjacent to a dick?'
'I kiss the eye and try to imagine'
'If I would like having a tattoo of a dick on my hip.'
'Certainly not! How repulsive!'
(Semi-colon mark)
'A quick kiss for Janus,'
'The God with'
'two faces.'
'The body is like a house in a city of other houses and buildings.'
'The body is full of thresholds for ingestion, for excretion, for eroticism.'
'For feeling.'
'The face is the entrance off of which there are many portals to thrillign rooms in other houses.'
'A Taoist manual of intimacy offers the following advice for pleasing a woman: Thirty minutes of arousing activity,'
'followed by a thousand loving thrusts.'
'I agree with the gist of what they are saying but it seems a little prescriptive. Maybe both parties could enjoy a little thrusting.'
'That's all I'm saying.'

(Animations by Jon Tjhia.)

Portrait of Rachel Ang

Rachel Ang is a comics artist from Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been published by the Lifted BrowGoing Down Swinging, Meanjin, and The Lily/Washington Post. Her first book, Swimsuit, won a Silver Ledger Award for Excellence in Comics and Graphic Novels. She is the winner of the 2019 Woollahra Digital Literary Award for Fiction. She has a Masters Degree in Architecture.

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