The Analytic Situation

This is the story of K and B, analyst and patient; specifically, this is the story of their first session together, before K had cured his patient, “dispersed” B, as he’d say, helping him to become “more B than ever before.” K loved B, and if K hadn’t had such a highly developed le-moi-peau he might have become irrevocably attached to B “by cock, in mouth and arse” (B’s description of his own furtive activities). But K attached himself to his pen instead, and for thirty years, on and off, through three periods of analysis, he listened to and recorded B’s anxious, obsessional narratives. Instead of admitting that he loved him, he used B, turned his life into a notable if not groundbreaking case history. K took credit for B’s achievements and ultimately for his happiness. B died a contented man, thanks to K, or so K would have it. And K died without ever once making love to B, neither buggering nor buggered by—a professional to the marrow. A prince. A lay analyst who believed himself a genius.

They met in 1953, when B was far less than he could have been, less B than B. He had a high ranking post at an embassy in London at the time and had become increasingly adept at seducing young boys. Not boys who wanted him for himself but boys who wanted B’s quid, boys on their way to a better life. “Escapades,” as K referred to B’s encounters with admitted distaste, discouraging B from supplying any graphic details, K stifling his own “clinical curiosity” because he feared that curiosity would make him B’s accomplice, “an agent to his sexual prowling and practices.” Though B was a “very narcissistic borderline psychopath,” he was also a survivor, and if nibbling on the foreskins of nameless youths gave him a sense of purpose, K wouldn’t interfere. Just as long as B didn’t talk about it. K didn’t want to know. “There will be time enough to hear all that,” he told B at their first meeting, and for the next thirty years he diverted B whenever he began to talk about “all that,” until there was no time left—B died of heart failure in 1981, and K realized too late that his favorite patient had remained a mystery to him, on paper a sharply defined borderline case but in K’s memory only the shadow of a man.