To camp is a mode of seduction – one which employs flamboyant mannerisms susceptible of a double interpretation; gestures full of duplicity, with a witty meaning for cognoscenti and another, more impersonal, for outsiders (Sontag 1999 : 54).
“When Felix entered the hairdressing salon one morning and greeted me warmly, I was taken aback. My surprise was not due to Felix’s remarkably good mood, but because he looked at me with a bloodshot eye that must have been caused by a burst vein. I immediately asked him what had happened, but with a smirk he only replied that he had ‘seen it coming’. I did not seem to show the reaction that he was trying to evoke with this statement, because, after granting me some time to think, he repeated his words emphatically: ‘I saw it cumming, Max!’ Although I was focused on his bloodshot eye, I cannot recall with certainty if Felix also winked – to direct my innocent mind and shove the double entendre of ‘to come’ and ‘to cum’ in my face – but I would not be surprised if he had. As I carried on my morning routine of cleaning the mirrors and removing bristles from the hair clippers, I could not stop wondering whether Felix had just been feeling extraordinarily funny that morning or if his joyful mood was in fact due to some night-time adventure – a matter I never resolved.
The wink, a small bodily gesture abundant with affective tensions, calls on anthropologists to get bodily and affectively involved in the field and indulge in the ephemerality and ambiguity of queer-worlds-in-the-making. It also suggests – and even demands – a kind of writing that performs rather than merely explicates the ambiguity of sex and sexuality, by rendering ethnographic texts open for perverse readings. This queer sensibility – an inclination towards the affectively unstable and a responsiveness to sexual tensions – holds potential for anthropological endeavours beyond a methodological or topical concern with sex and sexuality, and in fields where one does not see it cumming at first glance. ;-)”
Read the full article here:
Schnepf, Max. 2020. “Camp at the Salon: Anthropological Sense-Making with a Wink.” Etnofoor 2020 32(2): 83-98. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26964289.