I didn't enjoy An Education but I relate.
When I first came here I was not wide-eyed but extremely porous and everything was radically beautiful and depoliticized and every step outside was a breath of fresh air and a slap in the face. Every street corner was the first line of a poem I couldn't finish. And each new man was an entry-point into understanding the streets. You're fucking him but you're thinking of the city and it gets you off fast. And I was like a jittery wet kid just learning to masturbate, my body stuck at the front at concerts, vibrating against the speaker. My eyes permanently damp and closed really tight so as not to breathe and each song got me close to climax that released itself like a swell, not a bang. Becoming an adult is learning how powerful people are and the terror of desiring bodies all clenched and holding themselves in. And I learned about the obligation of being an object and I learned that men coerce and pull. Romance is not a well framed sepia toned print with soundtrack and a clear foreground, romance is abandonment on an empty street in chinatown at four AM so drunk the city looks like sticky wet paint. Learning romance is realizing the cruelty I am capable of showing myself.
"It is the possession of a role which provides the impetus to go out in the world, to act at all. The more numerous roles, the greater the number of excursions" - Susan Sontag from The Benefactor