T'hy'la

by Laura Goodwin

Kirk and Spock: Picture THIS!

In the ST:TMP novel. Spock is on Vulcan, just about to undergo the Kolinahr, when he says a final goodbye in his mind to Jim.

[From the book:]

<<"Jim! Goodbye, my...my t'hy'la*. This is the last time I will permit myself to think of you or even your name again."

*Editor's note - The human concept of friend is most nearly duplicated in Vulcan thought by the term "t'hy'la", which can also mean "brother" and "lover". Spock's recollection (from which this chapter is drawn) is that it was a most difficult moment for him since he did indeed consider Kirk to have become his brother. However, because "t'hy'la" can be used to mean "lover" and since Kirk's and Spock's friendship was unusually close, this has led to some speculation over whether or not they had actually indeed become lovers. At our request, Admiral Kirk supplied the following comments on this subject:>>

It is at this point that Kirk's statement is inserted:

<<"I WAS NEVER AWARE OF THIS LOVERS RUMOR ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT SPOCK ENCOUNTERED IT SEVERAL TIMES. APPARENTLY HE HAD ALWAYS DISMISSED IT WITH HIS CHARACTERISTIC LIFTING OF HIS RIGHT EYEBROW WHICH USUALLY CONNOTED SOME COMBINATION OF SURPRISE, DISBELIEF, AND/OR ANNOYANCE. AS FOR MYSELF, ALTHOUGH I HAVE NO MORAL OR OTHER OBJECTIONS TO PHYSICAL LOVE IN ANY OF ITS MANY EARTHLY, ALIEN AND MIXED FORMS, I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND MY BEST GRATIFICATION IN THAT CREATURE CALLED *WOMAN.* ALSO, I WOULD DISLIKE BEING THOUGHT OF AS SO FOOLISH THAT I WOULD SELECT A LOVE PARTNER WHO CAME INTO SEXUAL HEAT ONLY ONCE EVERY SEVEN YEARS.">>

FYI, the second and last time that the word "t'hy'la" is ever used appears later in the book when Spock meditates privately after fixing the problems with the warp drive. Quote:

<<"There was much to put out of his mind. Why was it difficult to forget Checkov's astonished delight which greeted him at the command airlock when he boarded. And on the bridge - Kirk! The mere name made Spock groan inwardly as he remembered what it had cost him to turn away from that welcome. T'hy'la!">>

NOTE: Many people point to this footnote as "proof" that the whole idea of Kirk and Spock as lovers was preposterous to GR, but they aren't paying attention. This carefully worded and ambiguous statement is *not* a denial, as I shall explain:

"I WAS NEVER AWARE OF THIS LOVERS RUMOR ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT SPOCK ENCOUNTERED IT SEVERAL TIMES..."

So Spock was aware that this rumor was circulating, and failed to mention it to Jim for a while, it seems. That would be typical of him. He's the same guy who forgot to warn Kirk that Ambassador Sarek was his dad.

Jim is now speaking of the rumor. Think about this: This means that Kirk is admitting that _in his universe_ rumors about him and Spock being lovers are circulating, and he's acknowledging this.

"APPARENTLY HE HAD ALWAYS DISMISSED IT WITH HIS CHARACTERISTIC LIFTING OF HIS RIGHT EYEBROW WHICH USUALLY CONNOTED SOME COMBINATION OF SURPRISE, DISBELIEF, AND/OR ANNOYANCE...."

So Spock dismissed the rumor several times, but never outright denied it. Neither does Kirk.

"AS FOR MYSELF, ALTHOUGH I HAVE NO MORAL OR OTHER OBJECTIONS TO PHYSICAL LOVE IN ANY OF ITS MANY EARTHLY, ALIEN AND MIXED FORMS...

Here Kirk is stating flat out that he personally has no objections to homosexuality, and other alternative forms of erotic expression.

...I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND MY BEST GRATIFICATION IN THAT CREATURE CALLED *WOMAN.*..."

Best compared to what? He's frankly admitting here that he has at least experimented. Best ~for what~, most gratifying ~in what way~, he neglects to say. It's quite clear from this remark that women aren't his ONLY source of "gratification". This is a frank admission that he is bisexual.

"ALSO, I WOULD DISLIKE BEING THOUGHT OF AS SO FOOLISH THAT I WOULD SELECT A LOVE PARTNER WHO CAME INTO SEXUAL HEAT ONLY ONCE EVERY SEVEN YEARS."

Just because he would dislike being thought of that way doesn't mean it's not true.

Spock, a half-human, is viable between Pon Farrs. We see Spock showing sexual interest outside of Pon Farr more than once. Besides, who says Kirk is the one who did the selecting? Maybe Kirk was selected, and felt he had no choice but to be a good sport. That would be typical of his pattern, which is only to mate when he's in captivity. ;)

In any case, what Kirk is really saying here is that:

1) He has become aware that people think he and Spock are lovers. He doesn't say that they don't have good reason to think that.

2) Spock has confronted some of the gossipers, and quelled their whispering with a dirty look, but not with a denial.

3) Kirk admits he's bisexual. Furthermore, he makes it plain that he personally has no moral issues about it. He also is comfortable with the idea of alien sex. The idea of mixed forms of sex (humans with aliens, group sex) also causes him no difficulties. In short, he has no moral or other reasons to not have sex with Spock... or with Spock and a girl at the same time.

4) What really bugs him most is the people who think he'd be happy with having sex only once every seven years. As IF!

5) Kirk never denies that he and Spock are lovers! Neither, it seems, does Spock.

When Spock turns to Kirk in The Wrath of Khan and says "I am always yours", to me that pretty much sews it up. Spock is always his, not just once in a while. :)

...I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND MY BEST GRATIFICATION IN THAT CREATURE CALLED *WOMAN.*..."

I feel constrained to point out that you can hang a wig and a dress on almost any creature and call it a *woman*. Spock calls Kirk T'hy'la, but what Kirk calls Spock behind closed doors we can only guess at. ;)

Spock and Kirk: scenes from a marriage?

"T'hy'la", Seriously:

Why did Roddenberry coin this "Vulcan" word? It's important to note that he created it as a label for Spock's relationship with James T. Kirk, in the ST: TMP novel. Why was this necessary? There already was a perfectly serviceable word in play, "friend". Apparently GR felt that the word "friend" was insufficient.

"T'hy'la" - A term applied to someone who is a friend/lover. If this is not a husband/wife, then what is it? This can't simply be an umbrella term for any fond relationship, as if Vulcans make no distinction between motherly love, friendship between children, and the love of two lovers. That makes no sense. Being scientific and logical, Vulcans must demand more precision than that in their language, IMHO.

I understand that the Vulcan word for husband is Adun, for a wife, Aduna. T'hy'la is a term to describe a love which is other than that between a husband and wife in a heterosexual marriage. If they are so unemotional, why a special word for impractical love relationships? How un-Vulcanlike: to acknowledge an emotional relationship with its own word, and a not very precise word too - *unless* applied only to a person who is exactly both of these things: friend/lover. THEN it becomes a very precise and narrowly defined term indeed. Then it becomes a word to describe a relationship which is as all encompassing as marriage, without being a marriage. It becomes the Vulcan word for "Longtime Companion", which is a Terran euphemism for Gay lovers. *Not* fudgepacking fuck-buddies, but _lovers_. Two people of the same sex who are ~in love~ with each other.

The question unanswered is, can t'hy'la be joined in kalifarr? I say, why not? Perhaps two men or two women can in a sense be married, under Vulcan common law. The Vulcan have one word for both mating and marriage, so to them, to mate is to be married. If two guys or two gals physically as well as psychically bond, I don't think the Vulcan really have a way to distinguish that bond from that which is achieved via a heterosexual marriage, except perhaps by designating such partners t'hy'la, instead of adun/aduna.

Some people have asserted that Spock can't be Gay because he is celibate, as if it would be illogical for Spock to have sex with *anyone*, but I disagree. Obviously, he would have a lot of perfectly logical reasons to want to have sex, that include _to father children_. That's not the only logical reason he might want to "do it". There are plenty of other logical reasons why he might want to, including:

1) Promotes social bonding. 2) For the experience of pleasure. 3) Relief from sexual tension. 4) As a soporific (helps you to sleep). 5) Health. Keeps the plumbin' workin'!

Heck, here's 14 logical reasons why Spock would like to have sex with Kirk:

1) Kirk has got what it takes. Spock is an ass man, and Kirk does have a cute butt.

2) Kirk loves Spock. It's logical to do it with someone who has positive feelings for you.

3) Kirk and Spock have a lot in common. It's logical to mate with someone who can share much with you.

4) Kirk is trustworthy. It's logical to choose a partner you can trust.

5) Kirk likes sex. It's logical to prefer a sex partner who's positive about sex.

6) Kirk is vigorously healthy. He could take anything the Vulcan could dish out, even if they are playing rough (which he actually would probably prefer).

7) All those adoring women can't be wrong! [Wait, maybe they *are* wrong! Not about whether he's adorable, just about whether he welcomes their adoration.]

8) Kirk is convenient. The guy is always right there. If you gotta go right now, who better to go with than someone who is readily available?

9) Kirk is his Captain, and on his way up the ladder. If Spock makes his Cappy happy, this could help his career!

10) Kirk sure as hell isn't getting pregnant! Let's face it, neither Kirk nor Spock want kids, so it's illogical for them to mess with women!

11) Kirk is a fun guy! Guy's a hoot and a half!

12) Aesthetically, Kirk is a good choice. Kirk is prettier than any of the women.

13) Plus, it feels good, and...

14) It keeps their plumbin' workin' ;)

Just because Spock (or Kirk) might want kids doesn't mean he has to give up guys. It just means he has to work something out with a lady. He could have it all. Lots of people do. I feel constrained to point out that we have no reason to believe Spock is fertile. He's a half-human biological oddity. Even if he could father offspring, maybe he shouldn't.

The procreative urge is an instinctual drive. What's love got to do with it? Birds do it, bees do it, even uneducated fleas do it. Vulcans do it even when they don't want to. Even when there is a complete lack of love, desire and volition, Vulcans do it. Spock did not love or want T'Pring, he went home to her only because he was driven to it by a biological imperative - in fact, we were given reason to believe he would die if he didn't go.

Those who say Spock would not have sex with Kirk because there is no proof that they did ignore the ton of circumstantial evidence that Kirk and Spock do indeed have a deeply intimate relationship. They also have to ignore the complete lack of evidence that Spock ever could really prefer a woman. We've seen Spock reject women several times, usually to be with Kirk.

The statement that Spock wouldn't behave emotionally is certainly easy to disprove. The statement that Spock is always motivated by logic is easy to disprove. The statement that Spock doesn't love anybody is easy to disprove. The statement that Spock doesn't show a marked preference for any one person's company is easy to disprove.

Spock during TOS is shown many times to be very imperfect in his ability to remain unemotional. He certainly is capable of sexual feeling. He gets all excited over Leila Kalomi, Zarabeth, and seems to be flirty as hell with Droxine. You don't mean to say you don't think Spock got laid in This Side Of Paradise? He almost threw his career and everything away for Zarabeth in All Our Yesterdays. He told Droxine that "extreme feminine beauty" could be disturbing to Vulcan men at any time, not just during Pon Farr. If that's true about Vulcan men in general, it certainly could be true about Spock. In Mudd's Women you can catch Spock watching the women's butts when they walk out of the Captain's quarters after the first interview. Spock may be Vulcan, but he's not dead! This, and several other incidents show that Spock is capable of sexual interest outside of Pon Farr. Some of this happened before he ever experienced Pon Farr, so Spock apparently was erotically viable to some extent before the events depicted in Amok Time.

Because Spock has chosen of his own free will to live among humans and work along side them, I think it's self-evident that he doesn't actually reject his human side. He likes humans! He allows himself to be humanlike at times. Spock clearly does many things for pleasure's sake (he like to play his Vulcan lyre, and he sometimes entertains his shipmates with it) He's not anti-sex, or anti-pleasure. Spock is a serious fellow and his pleasures aren't silly ones, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't believe in having fun.

If he can enjoy looking (which he can) and touching and kissing (which he can), why wouldn't he enjoy going all the way? As we were shown more than once, he might.

OK, so Spock likes girls. BUT saying that Spock is not Gay because he likes girls is certainly wrong. Sure, he likes women, but he could be bisexual.

Spock is sometimes emotional and he obviously sometimes can feel sexual desire. Don't say he couldn't have tender feelings for Kirk, because he admits to shameful feelings for Kirk in Naked Time, rather explicitly. Don't say he wouldn't let Kirk touch him because he very plainly would/does let Kirk touch him. Kirk puts his hands all over Spock dozens of times, and Spock permits it. BTW, Spock touches him back, sometimes without being first invited to, like in Requiem For Methuselah. Those two have a *very* physical relationship. They also clearly are very fond of each other. Spock is closer to Kirk than any other person in the whole ST universe is. Kirk explicitly states this to Spock in Turnabout Intruder, and Spock doesn't deny it. When Kirk says Spock is closer to his Captain than *anyone* in the *universe*, that includes all the ladies that either Kirk or Spock have supposedly been with. That is verifiable canon.

Spock confided in Kirk about his sex needs, then he invited Kirk to come with him to his wedding, then he gets in a big fight with Kirk, then after his fight with Kirk he suddenly comes to his senses, and his fiancée says _she had a feeling that neither Kirk nor Spock would want her_ (which is why she's glad that Stonn is there). Then Spock goes back to the ship, without mating with her, nor with anyone else. As far as we know, at that point he's still in mortal danger: in desperate need of a mate. When Spock discovers that Kirk is in fact alive, he grabs Kirk and gives Kirk a big smile, acting wildly emotional, which McCoy comments on. Then Kirk and Spock run off together...and that's the HAPPY ENDING, literally.

After that, they live (more or less) happily ever after, without either one of them ever marrying a woman. OK, they weren't always happy with each other, but they did stick together until death did them part. That's how the story ends. And death has to try to part them more than once before it finally wins, too. Talk about a couple of die-hards!

Gee, if only it wasn't two men. If it was a man and woman we were talking about, we could call it romantic. We could call it a Great Love Story. But people aren't ready for a great love story about two men, so I guess we have to settle for calling it a really great friendship.

"IN A PIG'S EYE!"

Kirk REALLY holding Spock's hand (TMP)


All site contents Copyright L. Goodwin 1990 - 2002

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