Archive for April, 2010
According to the Marilyn Monroe song, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Perhaps it’s true for girls like Marilyn–beautiful, sad, lonely girls, but many girls find that dogs make better best friends–calling into question the loyalty of “man‘s best friend“. Clever song, but Marilyn was an icon, not a role model. If she hadn’t been so tortured, perhaps she’d be a an aged congress woman now or the head of a benevolent foundation–afterall, she had some political “ins”. If you know what I mean.
That aside, the subject here is diamonds, not those who wear them.
When it comes to jewelry, I’m a parrot–shiny things distract me–sometimes that’s a good thing, but not always. Beloved Soul Mate has recognized my weakness for sparkly things. When it’s time for gift-giving he becomes the very best kind of generous–jewelry store-generous–much to the dismay of West Marine or the Harley Davidson store. They would love to convince him that a new outboard motor or a cozy buddy seat would be something we‘d both enjoy.
So, let it be established this story is so not about Beloved Soul Mate.
I like those carbon crystals and I have a few.
I’ve always had a few, even when I was a single girl.
In fact, over the years, I’ve been given some spectacular rocks. The diamonds are nothing without the right setting–plain gold is good, but strings attached can spoil a nice setting–like they did on the ring I’m wearing.
The ring is beautiful.
Nine beautiful diamonds set uniquely. Not girly, not fru-fru, not showy–just tasteful.
I love it today as much as I did the first time I saw.
Correction: I love it more today than I did the first time I saw it. I’ve worn this ring every day since it was given to me. It was purchased for me by a man I truly loved–a man I once thought I’d marry. It was an engagement ring of sorts. It isn’t any exaggeration to say it cost more than the rings I wore the day I wed. Yes, I’m wearing the ring of a man I once loved and therein lies the story.
It started one after college, when I’d locked myself out of my house. I walked down the street, hoping to use a neighbor’s phone. A couple of single guys lived a few houses down, cars in the driveway told me they were home. So, I met him by accident. I used the phone, we introduced ourselves. He was friendly and we ended up getting to know each other a little more over time. Eventually, he asked me out. He was fun. More dates followed.
I never saw it at the time, but he was homely–not handsome at all, but smooooooth. Not traditionally smooth, but more the smooth-if-you-can-get-past-the-rough-edges kind of smooth.
On first meeting, almost everybody loved him. I suppose it took two or three meetings to realize he wasn’t what he seemed. Other people caught on before I did. He was good to me, which caused me to forget to pay attention. I guess, that’s why it took me more than a year to realize that he was ALL wrong for me. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen before he’d asked me to marry him and given me the ring. One day I woke up and realized he & I weren’t the same kind of people. The day I broke up with him, I cried–many sad conflicted tears. It‘s hard to break-up with someone you‘ve fallen in love with–even if he‘s a loser. The breakup was bittersweet.
If he had been an Adonis, I might have excused myself for being taken in–but for all he lacked in external attractiveness, what was inside was even less attractive. By the end, I realized I had been too naïve to see what should have been obvious. He had been good enough to me, I hardly noticed he was a horrible person.
I kept the ring. It wasn’t even paid for yet, but I kept it. Had to make the remaining payments, but at the end of the relationship, the ring was the only thing worth keeping. I had some good memories, some memories I’d rather forget, and one heck of a nice ring; but I was smarter.
When he bought me that ring, I thought I was a princess with the whole kingdom on my finger. It’s funny to think an awful little troll could have made me feel like a princess, but he did. That’s why I stayed too long. That’s why I kept the ring. I knew the price of the ring was high, but I hadn’t figured in the other costs.
Each one of those diamonds represents lessons I learned.
I always wear the ring, because I don’t want to forget any of them.
Those lessons caused me to decide that if necessary, I would buy my own diamonds. Sometimes, it’s cheaper that way.
The inability to see colors, known as color-blindness is a disability, but the politically correct want me to have it. The enlightened people have lead me to believe seeing color is bad. They want me to be color-blind.
I was raised without prejudice toward any race. The relatives I was nearest to were Mexican. They looked like me. The people in my community were mostly white. They looked like my father. My parents were married in the age when it wasn’t common to marry someone who didn’t look more or less like you. My parents were an exception to an unspoken rule.
Our friends didn’t look like each other. Some of them were Mexican. Some were white, some were Asian and some were black. Our Mexican friends & relatives weren’t “Hispanics”, they were just Mexicans. We didn’t call our Asian friends Asians. We were allowed to refer to their nationality, because back then it was okay to call someone whose family had actually come from China, “Chinese“. We didn’t have a term for whites. We didn’t have a term for blacks–mostly we just called everyone by their names.
The community we grew up in was more-or-less integrated. Most of my relatives lived in a Mexican neighborhood. They weren’t confined there, they chose to live there. They lived near to people they were related to and people with whom they had things in common. My grandmother’s children built their houses near their mother. Their children tended to do the same. It was a pocket of people who felt comfortable living among each other–a neighborhood of people who shared common language, culture, religion and values. If “then” had been “now“, maybe someone would have tried to make the world a better place by busing my cousins to a school in a whiter neighborhood. Thank God we were too primitive for that back then.
Anyone who has lived or worked in a group setting knows, you can put people together, but there is no guarantee they’ll get along. In fact, the more people you try to homogenize, the more quickly social stratification will occur. Remember high school? Jocks with cheerleaders, academic nerds with others who kept good chemistry notes–it is as much our similarities bringing us together, as it is our differences keeping us apart.
As people we all have stuff in common with other people. As individuals we have differences. We won’t get along with everybody. It isn’t a matter of race. It’s human nature. It’s easy to get along with people who are like us. It takes longer to figure out how to get along with people who aren’t. But even given a long time to get to know each other, there would still be people we didn’t like. They’d probably be white, or black, or Hispanic, or Asian, or something else. Sometimes it’s about them, sometimes it’s about us.
It is unlikely that there will come a day when we all get along. Sorry to disappoint those who work toward world peace, but it’s never going to happen. The realization of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, is a desirable and reasonable possibility. The realization of Rodney King’s dream is not.
“Can’t we all just get along?”
Maybe, but probably not.
I’m guessing 8O% would be a reasonable goal.
That’s not bad–considering there are a lot of bad people most of us wouldn’t want as friends.
Despite the illogical idealism of the politically correct policies and terms I’ve been trained to use, it’s not working. I’m not color-blind anymore than I’m nonsense-blind. Maybe if I applied myself more to what the enlightened future-thinking anti-racists wanted me to learn, I wouldn’t realize that my friends weren’t all white. Maybe I’m just not getting it, but I know my brown friends are brown and my black friends are black. I see their skin color. I know I’m not supposed to, but I do. That’s not all I see.
It’s a racial stereotype that Mexicans like Chihuahuas, but a disproportionately high number of them really do. I’ve noticed that a disproportionately high number of Hollywood ingenues like chihuahuas too. So while it is okay to laugh at Paris Hilton for having one, if I laugh at my buddy Sanchez for having one, I’m a racist.
Mexicans are sometimes called “beaners”. Eating beans is one of those things that is supposed to make those of us “beaners” feel bad about ourselves, but I notice Mexican restaurants put beans on every plate and white people eat them too.
Black-eyed peas are beans, but most Mexicans don’t eat many of those. So if I ask my friend Sanchez, who cooks almost everything, if he has a good recipe for the black-eyed pea dish called Hoppin’ John, I‘m probably wasting my time, but if I ask a black friend who actually has one, I’m a racist.
We aren’t all alike. Thank the one who created us for that. We are the multi-colored embellishment of the tapestry of a great country. The colors, flavors and traditions of our respective cultures make this land like no other.
People’s faces provide clues of where they have come from. I like knowing that behind every face is someone who isn’t exactly like me. Frankly, I’ve seen my own face nearly every day of my life. At times, I’ve wished for different lips, eyes or hair. If I get bored with my own face, I can hardly imagine the dullness of living in a world where everyone looked like me.
More than what’s visible outside, I like the differences inside too. I learn from other people. You can’t learn much from people who only know what you know or think as you do. I don’t think I’d ever have an original thought if I surrounded myself with people just like me, because other peoples ideas inspire and challenge me. I’m glad the world isn’t filled with people exactly like me.
If seeing race & color makes me a racist, I’m proud to be one. I love that there are many and I’m not going to pretend I haven’t noticed.
Deb’s Note: This is my third post related to race–in the short life of de blog, that’s quite a few. Lest my readers think that I’m obsessed with race, A DISCLAIMER: Arizona’s recent controversial immigration bill has me thinking about race again–especially in how it has played a part in building this great country. This piece was previously published, but I chose to run it again as a preliminary to one that will appear on Cinco de Mayo. I’m on this topic right now, but I won’t be forever.
I receive a lot of compliments on my hair. Just as I don’t believe everyone who tells me they don’t color their hair, many people don’t believe I color mine.
I love my hair, but every couple of years, I get tired of the time spent maintaining the illusion that my hair is as completely raven, as it was when I was 19.
At those times, I throw up my hands and I throw down the towel. I say goodbye to the gloves and little vials of hair color, as I resolve to go natural. I am woman, the hair is but a small detail. I am so much more than a great head of espresso-colored hair .
In that brief moment of time, I almost convince myself it is time for the world to recognize my natural beauty. Then, I catch a glimpse of stray gray and continue as before.
I ponder my girlfriends who have forsaken hair color, refusing to surrender their identities to somebody else’s vision of beauty. Some of them also face the world boldly without makeup. Unnaturally natural, these women hold their un-dyed heads high.
For the most part they are educated and well-employed. They are women who have the respect of both men and other women. They are women I admire, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about how something like Gold Dust Shade # 12, or Harvest Honey Shade #14, might earn them a whole new level of admiration.
I spend the day with one of my girlfriends from this category. For most of the time we are together, I’m wondering if our friendship is strong enough to stand up to a little well-intended suggestion that she try a teensy bit of powder or a smidgen of blush. I search the polite phrases I know for the proper way to suggest to a great skin-toner. Because she’s brilliant, I’m trying to listen to everything she says, but instead I’m focusing on how lifeless her eyes seem without mascara.
If she were to have a “make-over”, would it affect the way she were perceived? Would the world listen more intently to what she had to say, if her lipstick were Power-Tie Red?
Possibly, but probably not.
I can’t speak for them, but I know I’d be able to concentrate better on what she was saying, if I weren’t so distracted by wanting her to conform to my own notion of attractiveness.
My former home state has a bill on the table that has become a hot point of controversy. Intended to give authorities more power to enforce immigration laws, it gives law enforcement the right to use race as a reason to question one’s immigration status. In essence, it legitimizes racial profiling.
On the one hand it is reasonable. On the other it is unconscionable. For people of color it is terrifying.
Race is a big issue to me. I think it should be for every American. The people of our country have come from many nations, but we are one nation and we should not indulge racism in any form. Yet is seems we are never able to get away from race and racial issues.
The matter or race is so confusing, When I fill out forms which require me to check a box for race, I never know which one to choose…I am of mixed European descent, which would make me Caucasian, I am also descended from Mexicans, that would make me Hispanic. I was born and have lived in this country for my entire life, that would make me American, but there is never a box for that.
If I showed you the results from my DNA test, I could check half the boxes on the form. I might as well close my eyes and chose a box.
I only need the box for Human Race.
If I can barely determine my own race, I understand why others are afraid to let someone who doesn’t know them try to determine theirs. Over the years, I’ve been mistaken for many races of which I’m not a member, as have some of my family members. My brother was nearly run off a road, by someone who mistook him for Middle-Eastern, just after 9-11. My mother was once treated shamefully bad by someone who assumed she was Navajo, in a town where Navajos are not highly esteemed.
My favorite story in this category is when my mother tried to board one of those buses, we used to have in this country during our own DARK AGES. You know, the ones where “coloreds” had to sit in the back. The bus driver couldn’t figure out if she was colored or not, he had to ask her if she was “colored” so he could figure out where she should sit. Think about that one.
The story amuses me because it illustrates how meaningless skin color is.
Makes me wish I’d been the blackest person ever, right behind her in that line. I would have told the bus driver I wasn’t “colored” either. Then I would have proceeded to sit in the seat directly behind him, and in front of all the other not “colored” people.
Incidents like those above provide illustration why a bill that makes one’s appearance, “just-cause” for being questioned or detained, can’t avoid going wrong.
Fortunately, even having grown up in mostly-white Arizona, I’ve rarely been subjected to prejudice, but I’ve seen enough to know, the ignorance of pre-judging people based on assumptions, is always unfortunate.
I don’t want to live in any state or country that limits me for any reason. If I did, I could have left the U.S. for any of many countries, where being the wrong race, the wrong religion or the wrong gender would strip me of opportunity. If I did want that, it would be hard, there are so many to choose from. Nor do I want to live in a country with real racial hatred or genocide, but there are many of those to choose from too.
Makes me wonder about the people who see policies like this one to be emblematic of America’s racism. I wonder if they’ve ever left their cloisters to see what the real world is really like. I wonder if they realize that this country is like an overindulgent parent, in what it is willing to provide each and every person who lives here.
This is particularly true now. Our president is advocating for blanket amnesty for all the people who have come to this country illegally. To many living in this country illegally, he is a benevolent savior, though it is doubtful that their well-being is his motivation. It would be great to give a free pass to all the wonderful & hard working people who have come here for the same reasons your immigrant family may have, but doing so would also be giving citizenship to many who have come here with agendas that nobody can embrace. Living in an area where many non-citizens are connected to organized crime or drug cartels, I get this.
Do I want my my Mexican girlfriend’s family to be able to escape the crime and poverty of her barrio in Tijuana, so that she can raise her son with the same kind of safety and opportunity my son takes for granted? Absolutely! Do I want kidnappers, car-jackers, drug dealers, sex traffickers and the kind of neighbors who have automatic weapons in their cars in case something goes down? Not so much. Under the blanket of amnesty, they are one and the same–just non-citizens living and making a living here–but they are not the same at all.
I would love to share my stance on immigration, but the truth is I can’t take one. There are two sides. They are both valid. Economically, this great country doesn’t have enough teats to feed the whole world. That’s not racism, that’s simple math. Many of our state governments are economically collapsing. As ridiculous as an adolescent who had never been weaned from his mother’s breast, many of our citizens have become economically stunted by being attached to the teats too long.
They have grown dependent & unable to care for themselves. The land of milk & honey WILL run out of milk, if we cannot enforce our own immigration laws or if we allow people to live without being responsible for their choices. This bill may be all kinds of wrong, but the ability to control who lives and works here is important to the welfare of all. Uncontrolled immigration will decrease economic opportunity for those who deserve it. Giving criminals the same rights as decent folks, will increase crime and decrease safety. Preventing ourselves from being able to enforce our own laws will result in the kind of lawlessness that many have come here to escape.
It is not a simple issue. Only the simple-minded think it is.
Teenagers don’t know it, but they’ve become obsolete.
From their perspective, those from whose loins they’ve sprung, are the outdated ones. The older models don’t use the right operating system, don’t have enough memory and are way too slow.
Despite the fact the older models created them and built the world they live in, it carries no weight because they predate myspace, unlimited text & iTunes.
It’s going to be a hard conversation to have, but it’s time.
I have to tell my teen we don’t need him anymore.
We might have needed him if it hadn’t been for Google. Google knows everything, making teenagers outdated relics of another age–when parents needed to be reminded they knew nothing.
Maybe Google doesn’t know everything, but most days it can answer my questions without sarcasm, exasperated sighs or eye-rolling. That’s why I love Google. Goog & I have a “thing”. My niece tells me the relationship is doomed. She says Google isn’t good for me and that I need to move on, because Google is only using me. Niecie tells me that Google can’t be trusted, she says Google will learn everything about me and eventually use it for bad purposes. Google is stalking me.
She just doesn’t understand. Google gives me what I need and I don’t have to beg. Google rarely keeps me waiting, it’s always there for me.
She set me up on a blind date with Bing, hoping I‘d leave Google. Bing & I didn’t have the same chemistry. It wasn’t the same because I know Google, and apparently Google knows me. I know it’s a cop-out, but I went back to Google because it was more comfortable and familiar. I’m used to Goog, I didn’t want to have to get used to Bing.
Should I be frightened that Goog knows what sites I visit, where I shop, and how many hours of the day I spend on Facebook? Maybe–if I hadn‘t already surrendered my privacy to retailers. The local grocers know I have a weakness for Asiago. They also know how many many bottles of Chardonnay I require to compliment the cheese. They know how much I spend on flowers for myself. They know I haven’t outgrown an occasional Hostess Ding Dong or Sno-Ball.
Neither Google, nor my teenager knows those things. (Though, I suspect the teenager may be wise to the snack-cake thing.)
I would consider getting rid of my teen, at least until all the bugs are worked out of his operating system, but I’ve grown rather fond of him. He’s a bit like my outdated laptop–not perfect, but we’ve been together a long time and I can‘t bear the thought of letting go.
There are times when he’s insufferable–mostly during NBA games, when he becomes the world’s most talkative play-by-play guy and/or a trash-talker. Even then he’s great company–even when his Nuggets are beating my Lakers. In fact, it’s VERY rare that his company isn’t enjoyable.
Good company, 24/7–that’s a “killer app.” Move over Google, I’m keeping the teen.
My sister has it.
My father had it.
I have it–mild spinal curvature–hereditary. It’s never bothered me, except on those occasions when I’d catch a glimpse of myself in a storefront window and be appalled at my old-lady posture.
Over the years, I tried many things to make my back straighter. I was jealous of anyone with perfect posture. I wore some weird things, tried various ergonomic solutions and sought advice from a physical therapist. Nothing helped and the exercises to correct it, did nothing but exhaust me.
Had the condition been more severe, I might have been forced to wear a full body back brace for a few years to correct it. Secretly, every time I saw anyone in one of those, I was a teensy bit jealous.
A chance encounter with old ladies finally provided the solution for my old lady posture.
Friends don’t sign-up friends for time-share presentations–at least if they want to be my friends. So, the day I received an engraved invitation to stay at a posh resort, if I would sit through a 90-minute presentation, I was immediately on the phone to the girlfriend who gave them my name.
Me: You can’t be serious. What were you thinking?
Her: Deb, you have to go.
Me: I hope you got a big screen TV or something really good for compromising our friendship.
Her: It’s on the cliffs, overlooking the water.
Me: C’mon, you can’t honestly think that I’m desperate enough for a weekend away to spend part of that weekend getting a sales blast for something in which I have no interest.
Her: You can walk to the beach.
Me: Hello? We live in San Diego. We can always walk to the beach!
Her: Deb, just say you’ll consider it.
Me: Who are you?? I don’t even know you. It’s going to take time before I can trust you again.
Her: Trust me on this.
The phone call with girlfriend proceeded like that. Not sure, how she did it, but soon after, Beloved Soul Mate and I were checking into a luxury condo at a resort overlooking the Laguna coast. I had 48 hours, less 90-minutes, to kill or fill.
It wouldn’t be hard, as each evening, a bulletin of countless activities was delivered for the following day. It was rather like being on a dry-docked cruise. At the top of the list for the first morning was a 6:00 a.m. Pilates class.
I’d heard the buzz about Pilates, so I figured I’d go hang out with all the SoCal beautiful people and learn the secrets behind those amazing beach bodies.
Except it wasn’t like that.
At 5:45 a.m., I walked into one of those ballrooms with an over-the-top chandelier. The room appeared to be filled with well-heeled dowagers–many of them sporting those shiny nylon jogging suits middle-age men in New York still wear. The median age seemed to be around 65, a glance at them caused me to do a pivot worthy of Kobe Bryant. This was not MY peer group. I was almost out of there, when I paused to consider my options. I didn’t have anything better to do and Beloved Soul Mate wouldn’t even be awake for a couple hours.
That hour passed quickly and pleasantly enough. Nil impact, no sweating, shoes not required–everything about it appealed to me and it didn’t seem that hard. I made friends with a couple of blue-haired ladies and we shared some laughs as we worked our core muscles.
When the class was over, I was non-plussed. No big deal, until I started walking back toward the elevators, I realized my spine felt amazing. Capturing a glimpse of myself in the large gilt-framed mirror in the foyer, I realized my back was looking more dancer, than dowager. That little work-out set me straight. I was a convert.
Upon my return home, I immediately sought out a Pilates class. I have been a huge fan ever since, and can’t resist talking it up to friends–but, life got complicated for a couple seasons and going became impractical. Last week, as I was telling someone about how much I love Pilates, I realized I couldn’t even remember how long it had been since I’d been–so long that I couldn’t even remember the instructor’s name. Was it Kiara? Nicole? Chandra?
I knew talking about it didn’t carry much weight, if I wasn’t actually doing it, so this week I ended my hiatus with a return. It was immediately apparent to me that I’d stayed away too long, as I didn’t remember it being so hard, but having finally gotten back to it, I can’t believe I ever stopped.
That single hour with the older gals changed my life. Makes me wonder what might have happened if that morning’s activity had been a pole-dancing class.
Apologies to the devoted male readers of de blog, but every now & then gals have to talk about the thing we have, you don’t that we’d gladly give you. We don’t talk about it often–certainly not more than once a month, so feel free to hang out and read up; or come back next week.
I just bought 8 boxes of assorted feminine hygiene products. This might frighten one into wondering the magnitude of menstrual difficulties that would require such a stockpile, but before your imagination goes free-range, I assure you it’s not like that. First, they were on sale, but that was only part of my rational for buying so many.
Would you think I was crazy if I told you that buying them made me feel elated, emancipated and happy?
These are generally not the feelings one experiences buying stuff like tampons or thinking about one‘s period. (There are exceptions, like times when not having a period is emancipating or when finally having one after being a few days late can cause elation, but generally, it’s just the same inconvenient biology as it was last month, the month before, and the month before).
Our periods are an ongoing source of mixed emotions. As young girls, we are afraid to have one, but we really want one. As soon as we’ve had one, we begin to wish we didn’t. From then on sometimes we want one, sometimes we don‘t–this usually depends on our inclination toward being pregnant and/or our vacation plans. Eventually, we’ve had enough of them, and can‘t wait ‘til we don‘t have anymore, but as soon as we no longer have one, we long for those years when we did.
So gentlemen, that’s pretty much it in an ovum-shell. Everything else you know, you probably wish you didn’t–especially if you’ve ever lived with a PMS-prone female.
I’m mostly ambivalent toward the period, part of being female, often inconvenient, but so are the parking meters that only take dimes–which incidentally were even more of a burden when the payphones and Kotex machines only took dimes . . when down to the emergency dime we all carried, it was always a difficult decision choosing which slot to drop it in.
When I was a girl it was rarely discussed. If you were lucky, you might get “a talk” and then you’d trial and error the rest of it–very different from this age when when women take their daughters to lunch and present them with tiaras, for having the amazing ability to shed their uterine lining. Makes me glad I have boys, because I think I’d have trouble with sincerity on that outing, and I’m still trying to figure out what menstruation has to do with tiaras. When I was a girl, the only things associated with menstruation were pictures of over-sized roses on over-sized boxes of over-sized sanitary pads–that and the black and white cartoon of the roller skating Kotex girl. What ad exec came up with that image?!?!? I hope HE found a line of work to which he was better suited.
Worse yet, for most of my life, every single feminine hygiene product was wrapped in a very sterile kind of tissue which made it seem like a medical remedy. The packages usually had dainty motifs of pastel pink or blue flowers, reminiscent of babies and nurseries. It was as if these packages were sending the subliminal message, “You need a baby. Try harder next month.”
Even when the manufacturers updated their packaging, their products were still embarrassing–in the way that wearing orthopedic shoes is embarrassing. They all seemed to have been designed for the kind of female who is infirmed by her “monthlies”–or the kind of female who would refer to her period by that term.
They were designed for someone other than me!
That’s why I bought them. I bought them for the same reason I buy vanilla scented trash bags, use a designer-inspired Dust Buster, or always splurge on beautiful dinner napkins. With so much of life being mundane, it feels good to add a little panache. Not only that, but there is a whole category of things like deodorant, toilet paper, baking powder and tampons, you don’t want to be out of when you need them. This is why I’m almost always “carrying”, even if I don’t need them, there is a good chance a girlfriend will. Now with tampons and pads that look like party favors? I might throw a handful in my favorite handbag, just to liven it up in there.
Deb’s Note: If you haven’t already seen these on the tube, here are links to a couple of the ads for this product. Kudos to Kotex for finally keepin’ it real!
This is the cliché that opens the door for his next relationship.
I’ve heard it before. You’ve heard it before. Perhaps it’s even been said about you.
Men telling how they failed to receive sexual satisfaction from a previous partner, is so common a complaint, that it might lead many to believe that married women are asexual. Not hardly.
Having recently heard it again from a newly divorced man , has caused me to reconsider marital sex.
One of the reasons that illicit sex is so alluring is because it is basically uncomplicated. Meaningless sex has one thing going for it, marital sex does not–it is unencumbered by years (or decades) of emotional history. Not that every one-night stand is fancy free, or casual sexual encounters aren’t affected by emotional circumstance, but the less history–the easier it is to be in the moment. Not only that, but there are more unknowns, more intrigue. In other words–less history, more mystery.
In a marriage there are many tensions that can cause sexual break-downs and there is familiarity–the monotony of monogamy. It is much easier to be enraptured by the unknown, than it is to be excited by the familiar. Familiarity and the layers of emotional slights, can cause one to have reservations or hold resentments. After all, if the point of sex is feeling good, why would anyone want to do it with someone who makes them feel bad???
In this forum, I write primarily to women, but the men would be well-served to pay attention here.
Before I proceed, I will give this proviso. Most of the statements below are based on broad generalities. They do not apply to every individual or every marriage, however, I would not set them forth, if I didn’t believe them to be broadly true.
There is some kind of cosmic irony in the great inequity of the amount of sexual energy with which men & women are naturally endowed. While it may seem that men have an endless supply, women have closely guarded reserves. Considering my own verve, I might resent that statement if it were made by someone else, but please allow me to explain my premise.
It seems that men need only opportunity, to have interest in sex. Women need inspiration. In fact, I would argue that women get much of their sexuality from their partners. Since the majority of men seem to have more sex-drive than they practically need, we supplement our own with theirs. Though women have drive & desire, most of our sexuality comes alive because of men (or for some women). We tend to think more about sex when there is something desirable at hand. If there is something to tempt us, even if we aren’t getting any, most of us would like to be.
This is in part why women dress & primp as we do. Evolutionary scientists would probably argue that this is because we want to “have their babies”, no different from birds who groom & plume to make themselves the most desirable of their species, with whom to mate. Perhaps, but I know from experience that even when we don’t want to have their babies, we still want to be viewed as the most attractive & viable candidate.
Once we’ve arrayed ourselves for maximum effect, we want to know that they’ve noticed. This is where the very delicate mating ritual begins. We need them to notice us, but in a very specific way. Most women want to be perceived as sexually attractive, but not as sex objects. (There are exceptions, but we’ll talk about “that kind” of girl some other day). Optimally, we want our physical attractiveness to stop a man, long enough for him to notice our other qualities. In other words, we want them to desire us, not just for the night, but also the following morning when we rub the sleep out of our eyes to make breakfast, or take care of the offspring.
A recent study concluded that feeling “desired” was the ultimate aphrodisiac for women. Wish it were as simple as it sounds. Men aren’t always discretionary in the way they desire women. Many men “desire” any woman who will have them–if it has anything to do with sex. So while they may express desire, it may not be in the way that makes women feel desirable. They express desire for our bodies, but we want them to desire what is inside.
Our physical desirability is our opener. We use it to leverage the things we really want–like being cared for. It is not enough to be loved. If it were, there would be no marital problems, because I am convinced that most men do love their wives, sometimes ineffectively, but if not forever, they do the best they can, for as long as they can.
The kind of love they’re offering may not be the kind we need. If the love offered isn’t the kind one can internalize, it may not register as love at all. We may need love to feel like protection, provision, recognition, admiration or some other variation. We want to be cared for–as if we couldn’t do it for ourselves, but recognized as being the kind of women who can. We want to be understood, despite our complexities.
My fabulously witty friend, news bunny and real-life Harvey girl said it best:
“I need my man to treat me WELL. If he isn’t going to put me up on a pedestal, how else can he ever expect to see up my skirt.”
That is why “if it’s not happening in the head, it’s not happening in the bed.” When partners don’t feel valued, they may disconnect. Ironically, what is to men the ultimate expression of intimacy, can cause women to hold back, if they don’t feel intimacy in other aspects of the relationship. Others may take the tactic of reducing marital sex to something like casual sex–devoid of the intimate significance–more physical than emotional.
The loss of connection to a mate tends to deaden sexual fire. Once the fire has begun to lessen, there has to be some serious tinder tending, to get it hot again. Fortunately women are very giving . . any man who is willing to fan the embers the same way he used, will probably find his gal will bring the kindling.
Deb’s Note: Beloved Soul Mate is wondering whether the above may cause some to wonder how long it’s been over here–I assure you he’s not had time to suffer. However, I’ve yet to know any couple, for whom the sex is non-stop perfect week after week and year after year. If you have been with the same person for an amount of time longer than months, and never had the misfortune of realizing that sex ebbs and flows like the tides, CALL ME! I’m sure my readers would love for you to share your secrets here on de blog .
(I won’t be sitting by the phone waiting for that call.)
Feeling valued is essential to our well-being. Those who feel valued by their partner, will strive to demonstrate their value. Those who feel devalued cannot. For this reason, it is nearly impossible to have healthy relationship with someone whose sense of self has been greatly diminished. A good relationship can help to restore a person whose self worth is damaged, but it is very difficult to heal an internal wound from the outside.
Some time back, I remember hearing somebody’s new finding regarding where men and women get the validation that provides the biggest part of their sense of worth. I wish I knew the source now, but having giving it much thought, I recently concluded the idea was valid, but not original.
The expert reported that women received most of their validation from their relationships. Not any big surprise there, eh? Women want to be loved, needed, admired and desired. However I was surprised to learn that men derive most of theirs from their careers & accomplishments. Men need to feel capable, competent, strong, and respected.
So as women look to their partners, family and friends for their sense of validation; men are looking to something that is largely inanimate. There is some irony here. As women try to gather people around them, men tend to be looking outside the home for the things that fortify them. Is it any wonder that the work-aholic husband has become a cliché?
In observing the people around me over many years, I am convinced that the most confident and self-assured men, are those who have a sense of having accomplished something worthwhile. Sometimes it is career, sometime it is something that just makes them know they have the stuff men should have. Conversely, the most dynamic women I know are the ones who have succeeded in surrounding themselves with meaningful relationships. For some, that circle is inside the home or family, for others it is a network of girlfriends, associates or other acquaintances by whom their spirit is fed.
If this idea seems to simplistic, consider the devastating effects of a prolonged period of unemployment on a man or the way a woman can be affected by a damaged relationship. Both are mere bumps in the long road of life, yet either can cause an extended period of self-doubt and anguish that can be immobilizing.
Though I don’t remember where I heard this information, I do I remember when I heard it–sometime around 1991. I mention this, only to say, I’ve had a few years to think about it. Based on the empirical evidence, I have to conclude the finding valid, but if it was considered a “new finding” the person who published it should return the grant money that funded the research.
This past week, it occurred to me that there is a Biblical corollary. Not preaching here folks, but remember the part where men are instructed to love their wives, but women are instructed to respect? I’m just saying.
Whether or not, you subscribe to the ideas put forth in The Bible, here is another one from that book you can embrace. Wise guy Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun. He was mostly right, except for stuff like Lady Gaga, the iPad or the new line of Kotex products that look like party favors???
Deb’s Note: New line of Kotex to be featured soon on debuts!