How Literature Changed my Thinking 1 – Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman and Sexual Identity

The Plot

(From Wiki)

Kiss_of_the_Spider_Woman_(novel)Two prisoners, Luis Molina and Valentín Arregui, share a cell in a Buenos Aires Prison. It is estimated that the timeframe in which the story takes place is between September 9, 1975 through October 8, 1975.[15] Molina, an effeminate and openly transsexual window-dresser, is in jail for “corruption of a minor,” while Valentín is a political prisoner who is part of a revolutionary group trying to overthrow the government. The two men, seemingly opposites in every way, form an intimate bond in their cell, and their relationship changes both of them in profound ways. Molina recounts various films he has seen to Valentin in order for them both to forget their situation. Toward the middle of the novel the reader finds out that Molina is actually a spy that is sent to Valentin’s jail to befriend him and try to extract information about his organization. Molina gets provisions from the outside for his cooperation with the officials with the hopes of keeping up appearances that his mother comes to visit him (thus making a reason for him to leave the cell when he reports to the warden). It is through his general acts of kindness to Valentin that the two fall into a romance and become lovers however briefly. For his cooperation Molina is parolled. On the day he leaves, Valentin has him take a message to his revolutionary group outside. Little does he know that he is also being followed by government agents, trying to find the location of the group. Molina dies in a shootout between the police and Valentin’s group. In the end of the novel we are left in Valentin’s stream of consciousness after he has been given an anesthetic by a doctor following a brutal torture, in which he imagines himself sailing away with his beloved Marta.

The Talk

When we read this story in an all boys catholic prep school, it caused a riot.  At that age from 14 -18 psychologically adolescents  are in the process of cementing their identity, and of course sexual orientation, and ultimately sexual identity is very important. I would imagine that being gay in an all boys high-school must be a nightmare. The running joke is to call someone gay –

  1. Yo Faggot  how many dicks did you sit on yesterday.
  2. Is that chocolate on your face * not going to finish this*
  3. How does grabbing your ankles feel, is that why you are so red in the face?

What’s funny is that these comments are just used to joke around. No one actually means it, but I think it goes to show how young boys at a certain age assert their perceived masculinity. There is a lot of pressure socially for things to fall into neat little descriptions. Society is very much closed off  especially in terms of thinking and acceptance. Almost everyone I know has a gay family member or relative and in most cases would be very angry and offended if someone mistreated them for being gay.

I often think what kind of society would it be if we didn’t label sexual orientation. You just liked whatever it was you like. If one day you craved eating at the all the dick you can eat buffet so be it, just don’t tell me about it or shake my hand when we meet and still went back home to your lady so what? Whatever you enjoy in the privacy of your bedroom or orifices is your own thing. Whether you are a guy or girl and you like some risqué thing it doesn’t make you any less capable to  do your job. Liking anal doesn’t make you less capable of smiling and saying: “Would you like fries with that” (it’s a recession after all)

Conclusions and Shout-Out

Granted I am uncomfortable when I am walking through the village on the way to meet a friend and the LGBT parade rolls on through with guys wearing chaps and a tight tank top that says I heart with a picture of a chicken (cock). It’s great marketing. I don’t get the chaps the feathers, the dildo hanging from the necks. I don’t also get how I should reaction when some dyke tries to start a fight with me or asks my lady for her number right in front of me, I also don’t get why some gay men are very flamboyant and act more feminine than more females I know. Its just that I don’t get it, I don’t care what anyone  does I don’t care if you can taste colon in a kiss so fucking what.

No one has ever asked me of my orientation, I guess it says on my face that I like chicks, (those cursed crotch marks on my cheeks). For me  I never felt the need/want to experiment, I like girls, and though I was born into a Catholic household I’m not a fan of the missionary too much. I grew in a very old school sort of way and I accept that its not like that for everyone but I hate seeing people get hurt or beat up or denied some social privilege we all share because  unlike me their anus is an entrance as well as an exit. This book was an inquiry into the topic of acceptance and tolerance and it really challenged my thinking. I think love anywhere it springs up is awesome and shouldn’t really be labelled.

I read this kick ass post by my ever stunning and youthful Marj from the blog Bohemian Sentiments it was very well written but it reminded me of reading this book in HS. The post was titled: I Had A Deep Crush On A Girl Yet I’ve Never Been Gay . Check it out and leave a comment. Majorie  is MrMary approved.

yeah that’s it

You’re all cool, whatever you like, and Mrmary wishes you well

BTW the book is great, a gold mine if you are into understanding narration


  1. Never read the book, sounds interesting though so I’ll add it to my to read list… I went to an all boys catholic high school as well, the insanity of grouping 800+ young men in one place at the same time definitely created bizarre situations to say the least…. Marj’s story is great and definitely worth the read she’s wonderfully uncomplicated while being very complex…


  2. My dearest Dave,

    Although I haven’t seen the movie, I’ve heard so much about it and watched some of its clips during the Academy Award’s night that it was nominated. I look forward to watching it very soon, too.
    Let me just mention my most favorite lines from what you wrote above:
    “At that age from 14 -18 psychologically adolescents are in the process of cementing their identity, and of course sexual orientation, and ultimately sexual identity is very important.”
    “I often think what kind of society would it be if we didn’t label sexual orientation. You just liked whatever it was you like.”
    “I think love anywhere it springs up is awesome and shouldn’t really be labelled.”

    Sometimes I ponder, maybe I should have given in to my feelings then and anticipated the ramifications. Don’t you think? 😉

    I never fail to get the soundest philosophies from both your mind and the quotes/writings of various unique personalities you feature in this amazing blog.You consistently challenge my thinking, Dave. Always to a better degree. You’re that awesome.
    Thank you for the shout-out. Now I’m looking for a place to hide. You know I’m shy. 🙂
    Have a sumptuous, dandy week ahead of you.

    From ehem, your “stunning and youthful” pal


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