Saturday, October 30, 2010

O, My Son

So this morning I'm getting dressed, putting on underwear, slathering salve on sticky icky sections of my anatomy (see below), when my son bops into my bedroom to grab the laundry basket. I am caught with my fingers just leaving my you-know and I, to cover my embarrassment, hop out of my room, 95% naked, the bare backs of my knees draped with downed panties, the rest of my generous flesh flopping about in a frog dance. I make it to the bathroom. Whew! He is 15. There are so many ways for a son to misinterpret a mother's nakedness, actions, attitudes, beliefs. One can never know what damage is being done to his delicate (or brutal) psyche. One would have to be ignorant or arrogant or both to think that one has any kind of control over any of that. It would also be disingenuous to believe it simple or overdetermined. (What am I talking about here? You tell me.)
Meanwhile, bless his overgrown gangly body still harboring a little-boy heart, he asks me, " What is it? Are you afraid of me or something?" He seems to believe my frog dance of embarrassment a gesture of fear. That I fear him. O, my son, I do not. I only fear for you.
I am, briefly, speechless.
"No. No, I'm not afraid of you." But do I have any business instilling in you a body self-consciousness that has done me no favors? Embarrassment about one's own icky sticky bodily functions and urges? If you do not have them now, is it my job to break you in? Will you also suffer, as I have, in being the only unself-conscious animal in the room, otherwise full of vicious punishing beasts? People who have had their animal reality beaten or shamed out of them to the point where they can not trust their own simple desires? People who no longer know what they feel, how they feel, are forever separated from the words for their own feelings? No, not my job.
"Not afraid. Never afraid." O, my son.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paradise Seekers

I don't know if you can spread the truism to all women, but a bunch of my female relatives do want paradise. Paradise here on earth, starting with blue dishes. Moving on to new curtains, which eventually become window treatments, new kitchen counters, pull-out racks in their kitchen cabinets, the side-by-side with the ice dispenser. They have a picture in their heads of their ideal home, and they have been ameliorating the premises continually, repainting the dining room, putting a door where the window used to be, glassing in the screen porch. A house to them is Play-doh waiting for the hand of the Master Decorator.
Hotel rooms, too, need their furniture rearranged, that table over by the window instead, one chair facing the other so you can sit with your feet up. Nature must be tamed as well and forced into this aesthetic, beautiful to look at from the windows, but you mustn't touch it. Green lawns, trimmed trees, groomed beaches, sunsets admired from deck chairs along same. It's not that this vision is not beautiful: it is. But it is also sterilized, requires someone's maintenance (not mine, I won't do it!), and somehow still needs airbrushing in the photographs. In fact, it needs photographs. Its beauty must be framed and mounted, taken out of context and repositioned over the sofa. Scrimmed, screened, cut down, managed.
Bird-watching is the perfect sport for these paradise seekers. If you put out feeders, the birds come to you and display themselves right in front of your picture window. No need to clomp around in the muck looking for them. The only drawback is the greedy squirrels come to gobble up the seed. A bit like the hungry 12-year-old boy who cuts a hunk out of their cake before they've had a chance to frost it. So the women who desire paradise bang on that window to chase the squirrels away, although it sorely grieves them to have to do so, and shoo those boys away from their lovely cakes: "Here now! Get away out of there! That's not for you!" When, of course, it is.
They want paradise. They want someone to make paradise for. They want that someone to appreciate the paradise made for them. They want that someone to deny and alter and reverse his very nature--his testosterone-produced aggression, his hormonal competition, his desire to take a hunk and bite into it. The very desire that brought him to the woman in the first place.
This tension--women who want to be desired, but also want to remake the boudoir into a place that must never get dirty; men who want the soft compliant nature of woman, but want her to resist other men with tooth and claw--is human culture. This border between competing desires which must be continually renegotiated results in culture. It will never be resolved, solved. If it could be, we would reach stasis and die.
Next up--what many men want. They have their own idea of paradise.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Slippery Slope

Okay, this is kind of gross, but I have crotch problems. Nobody, but nobody, wants to hear about this, so here goes.
Patterns of fat deposition after the age of 50 and my genetic truckload of pear-shaped inevitability make all my extra blobs collect below my waist. First this meant that my callipygian form pouffed out in back, a bustle of extra flesh. Deep ass crack became deep ass crevice became deep ass crevasse. Now I can not keep that flesh apart for enough time in the day and night, naked or clothed, so the flesh is not let to dry and that leads to chafing and itchy red splotches. Yuck, right?
Next, in my efforts to deal with this moisture problem, I began the habit of ass-spreading. Sit down, separate ass cheeks. Stand up, press knees together to separate ass cheeks. It seems to work most of the time except when it's hot or when it doesn't. Not enough to bother a doctor with, and besides, what would a doctor say? Try this cream. Lose weight. Get normal. Be a man. Suck it up, cupcake.
Yeah, so. In fighting this running battle--which is what we are all doing on this side of 50, at the top of the slippery slope, hoping to hold on for a little while longer before the accident or catastrophe befalls us that makes it not a running battle any longer, but a last ditch defense until the death--I am holding my hoo-hoo closed up tight like a sphincter and the ass crack wins while the hoo-hoo loses. A warm moist closed environment that is no longer being flushed out periodically by my periods. That's right. Two months gap now. Of course, my first thought was: yeast infection. So I went to the drug store, bought the suppositories (what an ugly word for a yucky thing) and used the hermetically sealed plunger deal to stick a little bullet up my vajayjay. And then slowly it softened and melted out and stained my underwear even though I put a pantyliner on and then it didn't even help. So what is it?
I looked online ( and found out it might be sexually transmitted (no.), or bacterial (maybe), or atrophic vaginitis or some non-infectious source of irritation like scented pads or douches or sprays or creams (no.). So maybe it's just the poorly aired plastic bag of a middle-aged woman's coochie that has some low level bacterial thing going on--or we have to consider atrophy. It's old and dry and thin and fragile and subject to opportunistic infections, but what can be done about that? Is it time for estrogen rings and HRT patches? So soon?
And here I thought that finally being freed from the seemingly endless round of menstruation would be a liberation. More like one step forward, three steps back. Get ready for the anxious scanning of the slippery slope for handholds, little scruffy bushes to cling on to.