Dream time: back to school

As the summer comes to an end, days shorten, and plants prepare for fall and winter, there also comes the beginning of a new school year. Local primary and secondary schools where I live are on various schedules, but most of them are now into the new year. Many colleges are already in gear; Stanford classes begin on Monday, September 23rd.

Then we find Andrew Carnie (at the Univ. of Arizona) reporting on Facebook today that

The beginning of the semester is always a time for stress dreams for me, and the most common stress dream I have is the packing dream. Usually there’s some combination of having too much stuff, not enough containers, and not enough time before the movers or the taxi or whatever arrives.

Aieee! I am unprepared!

Andrew is far from alone. I haven’t taught a class for years now, but the approach of fall still brings stress dreams with it every year. I had a particularly distressing one last night.

In my dream, I had painstakingly assembled a collection of friends as an audience for a concert of my favorite piano works, including compositions of my own — only to realize at the very last minute that my right hand was severely disabled and mostly non-functional (that disability is, alas, accurate) and I could no longer play the piano at all.

That is, I’m standing in front of the class, but I can’t talk.

This, too, has a grounding in reality. I’ve failed every oral exam by committee I’ve ever taken in my life — a fair number, including interviews for the eating clubs at Princeton, but most dramatically, the oral exam on my undergraduate honors thesis and the one on my PhD dissertation. Barely able to speak, and then producing stammering answers whose inadequacy was evident to everyone, including me. I got my A.B. magna cum laude anyway, thanks to the generous humanity of my examiners, and I got my PhD anyway, thanks mostly to Morris Halle’s tolerance. Alas, I failed on examination by a committee of my peers at Princeton. (Young men can be stunningly intolerant and cruel.)

These experiences helped me, I think, to be a better adviser and mentor to students in my professorial life.

But they formed the substrate on which my back-to-school stress dreams were built. Typically, I appeared in the dream in front of a class that turned out to be on a subject I knew absolutely nothing about or in a language I didn’t speak, and I was frozen in desperate speechlessness.

Nothing remotely like this ever happened to me. Like most of my colleagues, I was keyed up and somewhat anxious before every class — can I do this, do it well? — and this effect was strongest in the first meeting of a course, especially at the beginning of the school year. But the haze of adrenalin always carried me through, and I performed at least adequately.

If a student asked a question I didn’t know the answer to (and probably should have) or raised a reasonable objection that I couldn’t immediately respond to, well, I could just admit that and promise to investigate the matter and get back to them. And then I followed up on that obligation.

Last night’s dream was a new genre for me, constructed on one of the literal inabilities that afflict me more and more as I age, and I woke up weeping in shame. Still shaken by the experience. Jesus fuck, I hope that one doesn’t come around again.

Back to school porn. (Some readers might want to bow out at this point.) As I’ve noted on this blog in the past, Back to School is an occasion for sales by the marketers of gay porn. Sometimes just that and nothing more, as in my 8/19/18 posting “End of season”, with this jaunty Titan ad from 2018:

(#1) They’re still on the (rocky) beach, not back at whatever school they might be associated with

But mostly the Back to School porn genre is an excuse to feature attractive, sexually compliant young men (tending to the twinkish), either high school or college students. Often in combination with an older, dominant man in the role of high school teacher or college professor — a very rich subgenre.

Or with students enjoying each other sexually, as in this item from the “18 Today” series put out by the French Connection production company (which deals mostly in twinks):

(#2) No. 5 in the series, “Back to School”

There’s also a whole Back 2 School series (in German) from the SKU studio, offering teen twinks.

I know, I know, your school was never like this.

2 Responses to “Dream time: back to school”

  1. Tim Evanson Says:

    There was also a “Rites of…” seasonal gay porn series from Vivid Video in the early 1990s. Two of them starred soon-to-be murderer Tim Lowe.

    There is also a wide range of frat house-themed works, many of which involve hazing. Titles with “frat house” in them are almost too numerous to list. A whole adult film company is dedicated to “Fraternity X” videos involving non-stars (mostly young men who want to do three or four videos and then quit). Titles with the word “pledge” or “pledgemaster” (Falcon’s famous “The New Pledgemaster” comes to mind) are also somewhat numerous.

    Come spring, a whole new class of school-related videos become relevant.

  2. [BLOG] Some Saturday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky reports on dreams of going back to school, NSFW and […]

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