Deflowering

Close up of a rose
“Who hogs the sheets at night?”

The bride and groom hesitated. A room full of reception guests held their breath waiting for the answer.

Awkward silence dragged on.

“Uh, we don’t know?” The bride offered, finally.

Mercifully the MC seemed to sense the faux pas and appeared set to quickly move on to the next question. The relief in the room was palpable until he got the next question completely out. 

“So who snores the most?”

Another awkward silence. The bride and groom turned to look at each other in disbelief.

Granted, it was a second wedding but there were four (yes FOUR) pastors present at the reception plus two sets of parents in their 70’s and 80’s, deeply religious people. Three fourths of the room sat frowning disapprovingly, their arms crossed. The rest leaned forward grinning in amusement, not wanting to miss a single word. 

Always know your audience….

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A Discourse on Intercourse

Philadelphia building

“Doc, I just want her to have sex with me. I come home after working hard and I want to make love to my wife but she’s not interested.”

I went into my usual discussion about wooing and foreplay and questions about their relationship but I was getting nowhere fast. It always feels incredibly silly for me to be giving anyone marriage advice, as if I have everything figured out, but here I was. Again. 

“Wait. Don’t you work out of town all week?”

He shrugged. “Yeah. So?”

“Look, you and she have four kids under the age of eight and five out of seven days out of any given week she is a single parent also working a full time job. You come home Friday night and want to get busy when she is exhausted and really just wants to finally get some good sleep? That is not math that is going to add up.”

“Can’t you just give her a pill?”

“Uh, no.”

“Then can you tell her she needs to lose some weight? Start exercising?”

I looked over at her, sitting silently in the corner. She was not obese. She sure did tired. She rolled her eyes.

“Tell you what, here is the name and contact info for a good marriage counselor…”

Pointing Ahead

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I thought I would do something a little different for the last post of 2016…

On A Slave to the Face from the other day, DM made a comment that got me thinking about our perception of beauty. What do we think the world wants to see in us and how does that compare to what we actually want to see in others. How does it compare to what they see in us?

What attracted you to your partner? How do you let them know what you find attractive about them? Do you think they believe you? What does your partner say about you? How do you feel about their compliments? What would you change about yourself? What would you change about your partner? Why?

This year I resolve to be freer with my own words of praise and a more gracious recipient of compliments from others.

A Conversation

Girl sitting on a driftwood stump at a lake
“Mommy, Caden was telling me some stuff about Pluto…” She started to list some facts that were blatantly incorrect.

“Baby, you know that isn’t right. Remember learning about Pluto at the planetarium in Chicago?”

“But Caden said…”

“You don’t have to believe everything Caden says.”

“Yes I do. I’m his girlfriend!”

She is five years old, people. 

Kindergarten.

“Caden? Who is this Caden fellow anyway?”

“He’s in first grade. He’s my boyfriend but we can’t get married until we are twenty-eight. That’s the rule.”

She’s dating an older man?!??!?! Still, 28 is a reasonable age…

“Why do you even have a boyfriend? You can have friends that are boys but you don’t need to have a boyfriend.”

“Yes I do! Everyone at school has a boyfriend or a girlfriend.”

Call me old and outdated, but I sure don’t remember that sort of thing going on in grade school back in my day. And who the hell told her she has to be stupid to earn some guy’s affection?

I remember my mother pulling me aside in high school, telling me I needed to dial it back a bit. “Boys don’t like girls who are smarter than they are.”

Maybe that’s true.

Maybe that’s been my problem all along.

But you know what? 

Bite me. 

My daughter knows that Pluto has a different orbit than the other “real” planets. It is smaller than Earth and is terribly cold. And you know what? It isn’t a planet because it has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

Loving someone does not mean you have to agree with their silliness. Why some people still believe this is beyond me. 

She can still “love” you, Caden, but by golly she is gonna teach you ALL about Pluto today…

Imitation

paor of dead flowers leaning on each other
His guilt always took the form of diamonds.

This was how she knew when he had been with another woman. The next morning there would be a sparkling apology waiting next to her coffee cup. 

I prefer words.

There was a vast collection now, a fortune in fact, lining the velvet boxes stacked in her custom designed closet next to the designer purses and dresses.

She never, ever wore the jewelry. To do so would be to acknowledge, to give permission to, his infidelity… something she swore she would never do.

So day after day, week after week, year after year, she waited while her hatred grew. She had no family, no children, no skills, no education… no independent finances. Thus, she endured his touch, biding her time. The trophy wife who was no longer a trophy.

Finally, the day came. 

Heart pounding, she loaded all of his guilt up into two large suitcases and took them downtown to a jeweler for appraisal.

It made her nervous carrying that much “money” in public. She glanced around furtively as she lifted the suitcases out of the trunk of her sports car and during the short trek across the parking lot, sighing in relief as she stepped through the door.

The young woman at the counter stared at her suspiciously when she explained what she needed. 

You are still pretty. Just wait. The 40’s will come for you, too, and then you will understand…

Anticipating a life of luxury from the proceeds, she fidgeted anxiously as she waited.

The gray haired man in the back had deep creases in his face. He sat hunched over a workbench, examining each piece carefully in turn while squinting through his jeweler’s loupe. Sometimes he would glance up at her before picking up another item. 

When he had examined each one, he bundled everything back into the suitcases almost carelessly and brought them back out to her.

She felt a horror and dread rise up from within, even before he spoke. He held pity in his eyes, as if he understood why she was really there but knew some other terrible secret.

He waited a moment, then spoke.

“Those are not real diamonds at all….”

Torpedo

 “I thought you were engaged?” I had caught sight of her bare finger.

“Yeah. Well. Not anymore.” She gave a noncommittal shrug. 

“Oh, no! I am so sorry.” I searched her face looking for clues as to whether this was a good thing or a bad thing. 

She smiled. 

I felt relieved.

“Honestly, I feel like I dodged a bullet, Doc.” She stared at me for a second gauging wether or not she should share the rest of the story, then shrugged again. “One day he tells me that he has sworn off carbs. No more bread, rice, pasta, potatoes. He gets mad if I cook anything with carbs.” She laughed. “I have always made bread. From scratch. Fresh homemade pesto for my pasta. Roasted herbed potatoes. I love carbs, for crying out loud! So I wait, thinking this is just a phase. Months pass. He makes comments about how much weight I will lose if I just give up those carbs.” She laughed again. “Then I realize, this isn’t about the carbs. It isn’t about him. It’s about me. He thinks I’m too fat!” 

“Ouch.” I could feel the sting of that realization. 

A torpedo to the heart. 

She nodded. “After I sat down and thought about it for a bit, I could not imagine giving up carbs. Not for him, anyway. I would rather be a bit more… voluptuous… and happy with my carbs, than skinny and starved for love with him.”

Amen.

Wrapped Around My Finger

black and white wedding ring on hand

This is my wedding ring.

Pretty, isn’t it? (Ignore the wrinkly, dried out fingers from repeated hand washing… )

I wear it every day that I am out in public, but especially when I am at the clinic. The fact is, I have to wear something on that finger. Otherwise, I get all manner of awkward questions and comments. 

Here’s the thing that gives me special joy, though:

It’s fake!

Yep.

Entirely fake.

I had a real ring that I used to wear (rather small and plain by comparison) but my kids stole/played with it when my back was turned while kneading pizza dough. They admit to taking it but swear they have no idea where it is now. Riiiight. I imagine it will resurface as a tiara for Barbie at some point. 

Could I have a “real” one? Sure. But why?

I don’t need a real diamond on my finger to feel loved and cherished. Everything else matters so much more.

Personally, I think it is silly that diamonds, a market that is artificially manipulated to inflate the price, are “forever”. That is a fairly recent invention and I refuse to pander to it. I am not going to spend that kind of money just for convention, particularly when my kids are probably going to try to pilfer this ring, too. I don’t judge others for their diamonds, I just don’t want to take part myself.

By the way, research shows that the more money you spend on your ring or on the wedding, the more likely it is that you will end up in divorce. All of those big diamonds on fingers I used to envy? Not on those fingers anymore. 

AND? I don’t get why you are given the big diamond when you agree to marry someone but when you actually sign your life away by doing the deed itself, you get the band with the tiny diamonds. That seems rather backwards. 

(Please note: All of that doesn’t mean I don’t like jewelry. In point of fact, I love jewelry. I adore it. All kinds. Please feel free to give me jewelry…)

Do I tell people it’s fake if they ooh and ahhhh over it? You betcha. I don’t want anyone thinking I am throwing away their copay on some bit of outrageous bling!

Left Behind

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She made a raw cry that rose up from deep inside, like the rending of a heart, the most soul splitting sound of grief I have ever heard. Her body shook with the violent sobs as she managed to explain that her husband had died unexpectedly, violently the evening before. 

Senseless. 

Tragic.

My first thought?

Please, God, when I die let there be someone who loves me that much….

My second thought? 

Why? Why does it have to be this way? 

This sound has been heard all over the country, over and over again. This is not about guns so much as it is about fear. 

And as a consequence, anger.

Fix the fear.

It is going to get worse, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

If shooting someone makes all of this better, then here. Take me. Kill me, right now. I will die willingly if it means no more death for anyone else on either side of this divide, if it means my kids and your kids can live in peace.

Take me. 

Please.

I cannot bear to watch anyone else die, no matter what color their skin. Everyone has the right to feel safe, protected. This woman. Protesters. Police. You. Me. Everyone.

Already Written

 blue sky and foliage reflected in still waters 
She rattled off a list of complaints a mile long: spots in her vision that come and goes, left sided headaches and jaw pain, numbness around her lips, tingling in her hands and face, weakness in the arms and legs that comes and goes with the tingling, chest pain, palpitations, dizziness….

“You are super anxious, aren’t you?”

“Yes!”

“Why is this such an issue right now? What’s going on in your life?” I asked.

Then it came pouring out of her.

Her husband was abusive verbally, emotionally, and physically. They were strapped financially. She was 39 and had a six year old son with a heart defect but more than anything else in the world, she wanted one more baby. A perfect baby. Her biological clock was nearing its end, she could feel it. She did not love this man but felt he was her only ticket to pregnancy. 

Time was running out.

Except that being pregnant would make her even more of a target for his abuse. She already knew this because it had all started with her first pregnancy.

How do you make love to someone you hate without losing your sanity?

It was like a poorly written book. The ending was already clear. I wanted to take the pen right out of her hand, to rewrite the story the way it ought to be.

But it was not my story to write…