Kevin Keck is the author of Oedipus Wrecked, a collection of essays which features work first published on Nerve.com. He is also the father of three children who should be sufficiently embarrassed later in life by what he writes. Visit him at www.thekeck.com.
What inspired your essay “Double Your Panic?” Did the “Horny Sisters” stay on your mind since high school?
Sadly, my answer is rather banal: money inspired my essay. The editors at Nerve asked me if I had anything they could use for their urban parenting offshoot, Babble.com. I’m always surprised when they ask me to do anything because I’m pretty notorious for being bad with deadlines, especially if it’s something I’ve been “assigned.” But my wife was pregnant with twins at the time, so that was rather serendipitous.
The twins from high school that I wrote about in the essay…strangely, I’ve thought little of them. Writing the piece brought them to mind again.
Why do you think the sexual appeal of twins endures?
I think it’s taboo. It’s not just the taboo of having multiple sexual partners at once, but there is also the implication of incest.
Does this phenomenon only count for identical twins, or fraternal ones as well? Why do you think there’s not quite the same reaction to male twins?
I think the sexualization of twins works best for identical ones, particularly women, since women tend to be the primary sexual objects in our culture. I think male twins are weird, especially if they are identical. I’m not sure why I feel this way. It has something to do with the male ego—it seems too fragile to handle a genetically equal other self.
You openly address the issue of what you’ll do when your now very young daughters start dating: “What I can’t plan for is every football player, every band geek, every long-haired-dope-smoking-slacker (ah, my brothers!) who will be circling my little girls like sexual vultures.” How is this different for you as the father of twins?
Well, I’ll have to get a double barreled shotgun. That’s how such matters are handled in my part of the country. In a way, I’m not kidding about that.
But becoming the father of twin daughters has truly made me believe that the universe is paying attention on some level, and it has a very dark sense of humor. I don’t know what I’m going to do when the time comes to confront the sexuality of my girls. I’ve sort of shot myself in the foot—I happen to write about sex, so there’s no hiding them from it, and as I write primarily about myself they are also going to be aware of me as a sexual creature with a degree of knowledge of that aspect of my life that the majority of people will never have about their own parents. And what complicates things further is that my wife has a rather traditional view of female sexuality. So I suppose they’ll either be the type of girls who just give hugs on the first date, or they’ll be sucking cock to get backstage passes to a rock and roll show. If the latter is the case, I hope they at least turn out to have good taste in music.
How have your feelings on the topic of twins changed since you wrote the essay?
I can’t look at porn with twins in it, that’s for sure. And I’ve tried. In fact, all porn is a little different now that I have daughters, because I realize the women in the films have fathers and I wonder if their fathers know what they’re up to? I don’t mean to suggest I’m judging a woman–or anyone–who performs in adult films; in fact, I rather envy their ability to be free with their bodies. But for the ones who have turned to that industry out of desperation–or because they have “daddy issues”–it just kind of bums me out. And there’s nothing worse than being in the mood to watch porn and suddenly find yourself just wanting to give the actress a hug and ask her of she’s called her dad recently.
You mention the countdown to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s 18th birthday. Which other twins in pop culture have inspired such a frenzy? Who would you say are the sexiest twins you’ve encountered in your life?
There were those twins in Playboy—the Barbi Twins. But as much as I love the literature published in Playboy, I find it has a way of rendering women undesirable. I didn’t used to feel that way, but then again there was no internet when I was an adolescent, so Playboy seemed monumentally sexy. But now with the availability of porn on the internet Playboy has the same feeling as a poster of Betty Grable; it’s nostalgia, a longing that men have for a type of all knowing erotic virgin–it’s the tension between Eros and Thanatos: youth and beauty will prevail in the pages always, warding off that awful specter who comes for us all. I’ve no time for that. I want to watch a 30 second sample clip of a girl dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl blowing six guys posing as prison guards. Thirty seconds is about all I can go before I wonder if the actress has spoken to her father recently.
What kinds of reactions did you receive to the essay? Did you hear from any twins themselves about their take on it?
The only reaction I really remember was from my wife’s stepmother. She liked the essay, but thought it was a little racy. I advised her to never read any of my books. I confine my conversations with her now solely to the topic of Jesus.
What are you working on now?
I’ve been working on another memoir. That’s probably going to be my focus for the next few months, but I also have a novel completed that needs to be revised one more time. I also have three more novels fully outlined, so I’ve got plenty on my plate.