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Pregnancy is the weirdest condition

Rudi Nuss

The Love in the Convex, in Absolute Roundness and the Sluttification of All Men West of the Bosporus

Published: 07.06.2023


The male is a biological accident. (Valerie Solanas, Scum Manifesto)

…car tout ce qui est rond appelle la caresse. (Gaston Bachelard, La phénoménologie du rond)

A face contorted in agony, eyes twisted, whole body shuddering and writhing in pain. Hectic breathing—contractions. Offspring emerging from the male’s abdominal pouch, hundreds of miniature seahorses surging from the father’s belly. These are nightmarish images in Jean Painlevé’s L’hippocampe (1934), black-and-white horror recordings: bursting fathers, autopsied animals bisected all too symmetrically; a scalpel passing over dozens of eggs in the lacerated abdomen. When the knife touches grapelike organs, I shudder. In black-and-white contrast, these critters resemble helpless demons, aliens swimming vertically in water. “You can’t help but want to give these poor creatures arms and legs,” the offscreen voice narrates, while one sees the male seahorses post-birth, how they remain beset with afterpains for hours, their bloated empty, stomachs in which up to two thousand offspring had gestated. Space is created where there is none. The belly extends into the world—and “radiates a kind of smug autoeroticism: an intimate connection that is visible to others but resolutely excludes them.” (Maggie Nelson) Pregnancy is the weirdest condition; heterosexuality had to first be invented to normalize its extremity. And these are not normal conditions: These are delicate conditions. From the up to two thousand offspring born, only about ten survive—the animals are left to their own devices after birth and get eaten or are caught by the sea current and dragged into its black depth.


The seahorse is the chosen metaphor for pregnant trans men—cc: #Seahorsedad—but that’s not what this is about.
It’s not about reproductive rights, it’s not about politics, it’s not about meaning. This is just about obscene autoeroticism, about fantasy and madness. It also isn’t about the Promethean metaphor, but about actually fictional corporality. Not about the god Loki, who transforms into a woman and gives birth to an eight-legged horse named SLEIPNIR. Not about the male pregnancy
mainstream—how it only ever moves between monstrosity and bad jokes:
be it in the absolutely moronic film Junior (1994) with the pregnant, later Republican ex-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who of course pronounces “My body, my choice” in a scene as if it were a one-liner in
Predator, or in the pregnancy-allegory-machine of the Alien franchise.


In Bloodchild, Octavia E. Butler tells the story of a boy named Gan...

  • motherhood
  • homosexuality
  • contemporary literature

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Rudi Nuss

Rudi Nuss

Rudi Nuss: born in 1994 in Berlin, studied literature ibidem. His family has lived most of their lives close to one of Russia's largest and most beautiful nuclear power plants. At the 24th open mike he received the taz audience award and in 2020 the literature scholarship of the Berlin Senate. He is editor for Die Epilog - Zeitschrift zur Gegenwartskultur. Die Realität kommt is his first novel.