Just because something isn't talked about or explained by the characters in TOS doesn't mean it's not really there. We can all plainly see that Kirk has a masochistic pattern of behavior that is consistent throughout the entire series, from the first episode. It's as obvious as is the fact that Kirk and Spock's relationship is a *love* relationship.
I'm not talking about seeing things which are not there, I'm not talking about reading between the lines, I'm not talking about behind-the-scenes, I'm not talking about subtext, I'm talking about before-the-cameras, in-the-script *canon* maintext.
Ever hear of Occam's Razor? "All factors being equally valid, the simplest solution to a problem is probably the correct one."
For example, if you will allow that Kirk and Spock were probably lovers, it explains many things that otherwise can't be neatly explained. For example, K/Sers enjoy the luxury of saying:
"Of course neither Kirk nor Spock ever had a heterosexual relationship that went anywhere. They found each other!"
"Of course neither Kirk nor Spock ever married a woman: they are already married to each other!"
"Of course Kirk was expecting that to be Spock in back giving him the back rub at the beginning of _Shore Leave_: they are lovers!"
"Of course Spock and Kirk look deeply into one another's eyes while Spock says 'I am always yours' in _Wrath of Khan_: they are lovers!"
"Of course their relationship is the primary relationship for both of them. Of course it spans decades, withstands incredible trials, and defies even death: they are in love!"
"Of course Kirk and Spock do incredible things for each other's sakes, far beyond what duty and the demands of common friendship demand: They're married!"
If you don't allow that they are lovers, then Lucy, you got a lot of 'splayn'n to do!
All TOS interpersonal mysteries stand fully explained if you also bear in mind that Kirk is kinky as a Celtic knot. That's the final piece of the puzzle. That Kirk is a masochist is the kingpin: accept that, and it sends the whole logjam flowing neatly down the river.
Remember "Occam's razor". If you are offered a choice between an extremely complicated explanation and an equally good simple one, you should remember that the simpler explanation is probably the correct one.
If you'll grant that Kirk is a masochist, it certainly explains a lot that otherwise is inexplicable.
Let me make one thing clear: I have watched every episode of TOS many times. I also have watched many other TV shows and movies without seeing such qualities in the characters. I am capable of not seeing it when it's not there, FWIW.
I'm also better equipped than the average person to recognize it when it is there, FWIW. I am a career sex rights activist. That's my main gig. I'm a sadomasochist myself, and so is my husband. So are 90% of my friends. In the course of my career I have met tens of thousands of sadomasochists. I know one when I see one, especially when I see them in action.
Sadomasochism reveals itself in not what you do, but how you do it. You can't tell that a person is kinky by looking at them, unless you are watching them do pervy things. It's not like race or sex which is readily evident: It's a pattern of behavior, that becomes evident when you watch a person acting out.
Both Spock, and ESPECIALLY Kirk exhibit typical sadomasochistic patterns of behavior. Every time Kirk has a choice and he chooses the path that is guaranteed to get him a few souvenir bruises and welts, instead of the path that will reduce his chances of getting hurt, that's masochism. Kirk enjoys pain. He actively enjoys physical fights and other things that can get him hurt, and he frankly admits that himself.
He doesn't have to admit it. It's very evident.
Every time Kirk says, "That's a chance I have to take", he's bracing himself for a masochistic adventure. For example, when explaining to Trelane why he tried to escape even though he knew it was probably pointless to try, he says, "I had to take that chance." When logging his reasoning behind setting himself up for a beating at Mr. Spock's hands in This Side Of Paradise, he calls the coming confrontation, "a chance I have to take". In Who Mourns For Adonais?, when giving his team the big pep-talk about how they have to piss Apollo off, knowing the guy may choose to kill one of them for it, he explains that "it's a chance WE have to take", but don't you just know that if Apollo stupidly flings a thunderbolt at someone besides Kirk that Kirk will jump in front of it?
Look, just because he has no ~logical~ reason to do such things doesn't mean he has *no reason*. He has his personal reasons for the pattern of behavior that is evident throughout TOS. Just because the reasons are never baldly stated doesn't mean they don't exist. We are supposed to put two and two together, ourselves.
Kirk OFTEN offers himself as a target, ostensibly to protect his people, ostensibly because he's the one in charge, he's the one responsible...etc. What he's not telling anyone (except maybe himself) is that he enjoys putting himself in harm's way.
FWIW, masochists often are attracted to high-risk and high-stress professions, especially the males. They thrive on fear and pain. They're adrenaline junkies. They develop a tolerance to high levels of adrenaline, and eventually need higher levels to get the charge they crave. The aftermath, when the body responds by dumping huge amounts of endorphins into their bloodstream, is also something they like a lot. It's a natural high for them.
Kirk apparently has deduced that Spock shares this quirk with him, and he seems to enjoy poking Spock in his sore spot and pushing him over the edge. Watch the scene that takes place in briefing room two in Naked Time again, and try to see what I'm seeing: two guys, who, when infected by the disease, take a few private minutes to slap each other around. A few minutes later (after the crisis has passed) when Spock worriedly checks with Kirk and asks about his health, the camera comes in for a close-up on Kirk's face, and OH MAN, HE'S GOT THAT GLOW.
I know that glow, bro.
If it was only one episode I would agree that it couldn't possibly have been intentional. They couldn't possibly have meant for us to see him that way. If it was only one episode I would be agreeing that maybe that ep was just a fluke. It ain't only one episode. It's EVERY OTHER EPISODE. I have to say in that case, it can't possibly be unintentional. Especially not with the cute soft-focus close-ups, and the titillating, unnecessarily prolonged torture scenes, etc. TOS was often deliberately sadomasochistic in the way it told the stories, and who better to star in such stories, than a galaxy class kinko like Kirk?
In essence, TOS is like "The Perils of Pauline", except Kirk is Pauline, and instead of being a helpless victim, he often puts himself in peril. OK, sometimes he's just kidnapped. But he does seem to enjoy captivity a bit too much. His attitude is always, "Yeah, sure, kidnap me, but let my people go!" LOL
We can be here all week hearing arguments from a diverse group of odd bedfellows who assert a variety of far-fetched explanations that involve accepting premises like: "Kirk never marries a woman because he's in love with his ship" and "Spock never marries because he's asexual", who explain all the cozy intimacy between Kirk and Spock as manifestations of "a really, really good friendship"...
...Or we can accept that Kirk and Spock are lovers and kinky to boot, and relax and enjoy the story of two incredibly odd characters who do incredibly heroic things with incredible results, loving each other all the way, against all odds.
The choice is yours. Either "married to the ship" is literally true, or it's a euphemism. I know what makes more sense to me, and I know why, and I'm 100% ready to fully explain. Not only does my explanation make more sense, but it makes for a much more interesting story. If you haven't seen enough already, just ask for more and I will be happy to oblige you. :)
Let's not forget to ask those with a contrary point of view to offer an argument that's equally compelling.
If some people refuse to agree, that doesn't disprove what I've offered. Only a full-blown and effective counter argument can (hypothetically) do that. We've seen nothing of that sort yet, and I don't expect that we ever will.
I know many Trekkies would like to believe I'm 100% wrong about all of this, but don't agree with them on blind faith alone. Demand some solid evidence you can hang on to. Then the next time you meet someone like me, you'll know what to say to them. :)
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