Andy Nowicki’s latest memoir, Confessions of a Would-be Wanker is a collection of reflections and personal anecdotes about a man’s struggle with the sexual. Filled with quotable maxims, I found myself laughing out loud to several of his painfully awkward-but-wonderful self-conscious observations that beset this coming of age manifesto-of-sorts.
Describing in great detail the dynamics of the high-school social pyramid, Nowicki proudly admits to being an outcast. Where most teenage boys will tell themselves that they just need to become ‘cooler’ in order to enjoy the forbidden fruits of adulthood, Nowicki rejected this premise. So much so that for him, the narrative of the beer-swilling, pot smoking, virgin deflowering rebel is in fact the inverse; by abstaining from what is expected by everyone, he defies the Zeitgeist:
“Coolness,” I grasped in some inchoate way, was a form of social control by which conformity was regulated and noncompliance discouraged. The very genius of it was also what made it so repellant: namely, its insufferably hypocritical nature . It confused what was ordinary for what was audacious, and vice versa.
Nowicki leads you into the depths of his own depraved mind. What makes cheerleaders, skirt-wearing office girls and out-of-bounds school-uniformed temptresses sexually appealing? What is this power that the nubile young female wields over all but the most cynical, basement dwelling neckbeard?
Nowicki has a knack for articulating that which men think but cannot say. He demolishes the apparatus of the ‘sex positivistic’ mindset pushed by the sexual revolutionaries:
..sexualization IS degradation. To be pre-sexual is to abide in innocence, but to be immersed in carnality is to be tainted by corruption[..] There is a reason why the sight of a man with an erection is disconcerting and unseemly for others around him; likewise, there is sense behind the revulsion felt by onlookers when an amorous couple becomes overly intimate in public, prompting some to mutter, “Get a room, already!”
While the Catholic-guilt trope has been done to death by Hollywood, it rarely scratches beneath the surface of what it is or why ‘it’ is interpreted as such by the mainstream. One of the oft-neglected differences between the Protestant and the Catholic is that of Grace. It is not a bible-thumping, fire and brimstone, ‘the rapture is coming’ Puritan fear of sin that forms the basis of Nowicki’s revolt against the sexual revolution.
Like the Indian in Brave New World, Nowicki harnesses the words that give weight and meaning to behaviours that have become meaningless: corrupt, depraved, debauched, degenerate, words scarcely uttered or found in any modern context. This interpretation of ‘the fall’ of child-like innocence into corrupted adulthood is as old as Adam and Eve, and no amount of railing against ‘the man’ has changed it.
This is not the kind of book that you can skim though, and if you don’t have a darker side of your own it may miss the mark entirely. Let’s just say I won’t be buying this for my mother’s birthday.
In a world of sexuality unleashed, Confessions provides an insight into its casualties.
Click here to buy Confessions of a Would-be Wanker.