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The Afterglow-Or Not; Keeping the Passion Alive, One Closed Bathroom Door At a Time

how beautiful our love isI don’t even know where to begin.

I guess I can start around 17 years ago when I got divorced.

At that time, I decided a few things about my next real relationship. I decided that I would really examine my own self and try to improve. I also decided that the only person that I would clean up after would be a human being whom I gave birth to.

Most importantly I decided that I never, ever….never, ever, ever needed to see my partner on the toilet. I never, ever needed to hear them or smell them. Oh yah. This is a big boundary for me, and my man knows it.

 

With three children in university and college, and all the stresses of merging two lives and two families, let’s just say our communication has been a series of to-do and to-buy lists along with griping about the others living habits. Our intimate communication has been less than five star. In fact, it’s been f-ing horrible.

The long and the short of it is that we committed to re-connecting, and after our hour-of-power-a-la-boudoir, we began to settle in to what I like to refer to as a ‘time of tenderness’. You know what  I mean ladies, when you feel all cuddly and want to talk, and reconnect to the awesome partner you fell in love with. With the bother of passion out of the way, it was clearly time to rekindle our friendship. This is also usually the time that your man falls asleep and you begin hating him again.

So last night, music playing in the background, stretched out feeling blissful, reliving our recent forray into, well, let’s call it the-glorious-climb-to-the-snow-capped-peak…. I awaited my man’s return from our en suite bathroom.

man on toilet

Do not leave the bathroom door open unless you’re sick.

In the candlelit quiet, my heart eased a bit, and I actually felt like a woman, not a domestic workhorse. From the bathroom;

“Hey – do you like The Killers?”

In my head; Sweet Jesus, does the man have a romantic drop of blood in his body?

Out loud; “Yes.”

He then passes gas, tinkles and says, “So do I.”

In my head; Brilliant.  He’s perched on the toilet with the door open. The romance is, officially dead.

…and back we go to the reality of life. Poop. Money. Who’s cooking dinner.

It really takes work to keep a spark alive. Trust me, keep the pilot light lit, it makes it a lot easier.

Remember that you’re friends, and always, always, always, close the bathroom door.

 

 

 

 

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Ringtones, Podcasts & Cupcakes

Today my phone chimed in with the famous ringtone I used to assign to men worthy of the term, ‘lover‘,  Let’s Get it On. Yes, I’ve a twisted sense of humour and I’m a phone screener extraordinaire. This ringtone used to either inspire my laughter or disgust, and based on my reaction, I knew whether I wanted to pick up or not.

 

What are old lovers if not opportunistic? Having known my preferences for well over a decade, he was fulfilling his annual happy-new-year-can-I-get-up-your-skirt-check-in-requirement, that quite frankly, had served him  well throughout the years.

Despite my hands-off status, it was interesting to hear from him. You see, besides his jack-of-all-boudoir-trades skills, he was quite a companion of intellect as well.

Which got me to thinking about thinking.

plato-s-symposium-anselm-feuerbach-1873Intellect and thoughtful conversation have always been a huge turn on for me. In our fast-paced lives of distracted-attention-deficit-afflicted-engagement with our loved ones and contemporaries, who has time to think? Like, really take time to put an idea on its’ axis and examine it from all sides? More importantly, who even realizes that we don’t do that? Most importantly, who takes time to set aside a few hours to have meandering discussions about ideas or the creative process, or how we found ourselves at the bottom of the political wheel again? Very few people even have the time, attention or inclination to actually read books (yes, plural) with fully expounded upon ideas, let alone form any original thoughts all on their own. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scolding anyone, I’m as guilty as the next cog.

Tonight, the noise from the television was right up with there with the noise from a leaf blower (a contraption I believe proves our culture has lost it’s collective fucking mind). With dramatic music playing in the background, and a black and neon blue-lit set to match, celebrity couples were  being pimped on one of those disgustingly pretentious cooking shows.  Le sigh….

Has the world seriously come down to this? Really? We’re judging other people’s fondant and cupcakes with more earnest than our national leaders? Buh. Arf. Do something worthwhile for crying out loud! Sit at the table and eat wieners and beans, but for the love of all that’s holy, try to have an intelligent, engaged conversation.

The poop on the television was in direct contrast to the entertainment I chose on a short road-trip this afternoon. A phone call from a previous lover inspired me to take  time to indulge in some exercise for my intellect. It was refreshing to step away from the madness and listen to someone who has taken the time to do some thinking for us.

 

In a world filled with entertainment that at best can be a terrific study in dramatic background music (queue the chocolate cupcakes ), podcasts can offer us  something more substantial.

Trust me, I understand the value of small talk to safely test the waters of new acquaintances. For every discussion about philosophy, spirituality, art, or global justice, there is also a place for sports and fashion, but now, more than ever, we need to nurture our collective spirituality in order to hang on to not-so-long-ago-hard-won-social-justice.

Set the table and I’ll bring the cupcakes.

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Firekeepers: The Responsibility of Passion

mad but magic.pngI watched the fire die down last night in the fireplace; the glowing red log and the one on top of that that heated, snapped, and eventually burnt down to a few dull embers.

Ironic, I thought. Or maybe not so much. Our language is very delicate and descriptive. Watching flames die is a lot like watching any passion burn brightly, flicker, and cool to nothingness.

Like a good fire, any passion requires tending. Firekeepers have always been valuable members of our communities, and for good reason. If a fire burns out, the life around it dies too. In relationship each person is a firekeeper, whether it’s in a workplace, a friendship, or a romantic partnership, firekeeping is everyone’s responsibility.

If you wish for stability, you have to tend your passions very carefully. Tending a flame is a lot easier and satisfying than spending energy trying to light a dead ember. Letting your passion burn brightly is less dangerous than letting it burn out.  Always, and without exception.

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Romance: The Thing that Haunts Us

addamsToday I teared up when a gal-pal of mine told me the lengths to which her true love goes to woo her. Romance is a lovely thing, and it makes my heart happy to hear that there are people out there who make the effort and take the risk.

When I hear love stories like this, it makes me dreamy and hopeful and a little jealous too. I mean, why isn’t my guy like that? Ah, yes, the WHY’s always haunt us.

The truth is that each and every relationship is unique with benefits and drawbacks, and a one-of-a-kind intimate alchemy that cannot be distilled by anyone else. Truth be told, they can’t even be distilled by the people in them. C’est la vie.

Why did you fall in love? Often, and in the best relationships, it’s inexplicable. It’s a je ne sais quoi that cannot be expressed in language. It’s all a matter of the heart.

Romance is emotional not logical, so it’s hard to explain the importance of it to someone who prizes logic over emotion. Logic is safe (it’s black and white after all, and our brains love to neatly categorize), but what makes us human (our ability to feel) is the drive behind it all. So, in my case, my man isn’t great in the romance department, but he’s wonderful in other ways. And yes, the things that I adore about him are also the things that could potentially find me sporting  an orange onesie. This is a universal truth.

A hard lesson that I’ve learned is that romance and true love are two very different things. Ah, now there’s the rub darlings.

True love breeds romance, and romance alone eludes true love. I’m a true romantic, and I like to think that there’s a balance between people like me, and people like my guy.

If you are with Mr. or Mrs. Romance, enjoy every second. If you are not, don’t let it haunt you. You will never know WHY or WHY NOT. Rest assured; it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with an individual being vulnerable enough to play, to open their heart, and to be tender.

 

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A Love Letter to Middle-Aged Men

shaving-brushesThere’s a running joke between the more experienced ladies in the office, and the young singletons. It goes something like this: We used to be attracted to  older men – until we got older.

Women get ugly and men get creepy. That seems to be the stereotype. I can’t say I know many creepy old men. I tend to avoid them like syphillis and fungal infections. My tastes rather lean toward the educated and emotionally intelligent gentleman. You know, the kind who might have a bit of a belly, but a beautiful heart.  Someone who still believes in romance, intellectual conversation and the value of intimacy.

I mean really. As we age, who truly wants to see us naked? Any of us? Sure, put Chris Pine shirtless on the big screen any day. But don’t ask me to be intimate with him. I could see myself making him a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and giving him a pat on the head as heads out the door to play, but not in my bed thanks.

I prefer my middle-aged, intelligent yet man-dumb, gives-a-crap-about-how-he-shows-up-in-the-world-every-day guy any day. And that my darlings, is hot.

There’s a lot of media out there that leads us to believe that men and women’s attractivness declines with age. I disagree.

Snuggling in with a middle-aged man has it’s advantages. First of all, they have come to some understanding that women will always think they are somewhat man-dumb, and are thus more open to communication.  They are more in tune with their  out-of-tuneness than younger men and are, at the very least, consistent.

Pay attention gents, we don’t want you to look any different than the day we met you. We don’t need you drive an expensive car or take us shopping. We just appreciate you for meeting us half-way, even after life has tossed you around a bit. We get it. We’ve been there too.

Yes, we see through bullshit at this age and we call you on it. We know you wouldn’t respect us if we didn’t. We don’t have time for that stuff.

gartersBut we do have time to appreciate your body and your soul. We think you’re sexy, and yes, we even fantasize about you.

We love the way that your your hairy old chest feels under our palms, and how your experienced body feels curled up next to ours.

We appreciate  who you are and where you’ve come from. We see you as a whole person; your intelligence, your emotions and your physical self. We can appreciate the scars and how hard you’ve worked and still see you as sensual and sexy and worth wearing our garters and stockings for when we go out for a romantic dinner.

We appreciate that you have earned your stripes as men, not boys. We have busy lives which keep us vibrant and we know how to prioritize a man who prioritizes us. As long as you share this adult handling of partnership, you are like Gods to us. We want to see you happy, satisfied, and we crave your touch.

Yes, we are as cynical as you, and yet we are still as hungry for fun, excitement and adventure as you. We are your intellectual and emotional equals and we want you. No Porsche required.

 

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Can I Get a Witness?

old-man-kissing-old-woman-on-foreheadSome time ago, I stared across the table at a man who used to be my lover. The menu wasn’t all that spectacular, but that didn’t matter.

What mattered was that after all of this time, we were still close in one another’s hearts.

What mattered was that we were there.

Back almost where we started so very long ago. Less than a block away from his old place, and the same distance from where I spent some of my most difficult and formative months at work.

It was fun to listen to him. Another man of privilege, just starting to find himself on the other side of the horizon of adulthood.

For people like me, who’ve had a harder than normal life, who’ve been alone, had no one to turn to at times, watching someone get to know themselves is an eye-opening process. It always makes me thankful that I had to be grounded in my own personal ethic and morals for so long.  It also frightens me thinking that so many adults wreak havoc with one another’s hearts trying to ‘find themselves’.

It can be frightening to watch someone twist and morph into a thousand different personas that they are not, being a bystander until they finally settle into who they are. Sometimes settling at peace, but more often catching peace in fleeting moments of sunlight, solitude or minor successes, and still not understanding that these small moments are peace.

Sometimes having the luxury of luxury isn’t such a great thing. You have the time and means to run away via travel, hobbies that require gobs of accessories, and buying highs (whether that comes in the form of delicious meals, booze, drugs or expensive cars and toys).

Ah yes, to be able to run away. I’ve done it, enjoyed being away, but also know the feeling of having the weight of a shadow on my back, despite being half way around the world.

To be at peace means to find joy in moments, and to come to uncertain feelings, thoughts and emotions without letting fear cloud the path to clarity.

Sitting across from this man whom I’ve known so well, I sat forward, happy to hear about his journey to becoming. What I forgot was that throughout the years, he had also been witnessing mine.

 

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More Chances to Fly & More Places to Fall

vintage-smokingIt seemed like a lifetime ago that I lay awake in the dark, staring at a vast, chasm of nothing, and feeling about the same.  Dr.Hook blared somewhere on a CD,

“I’ve got a couple more years on you babe, that’s all…”

More than likely there were tears involved. Perhaps some contraband vodka, as those were the early days.  This was before I realized that my heart wasn’t broken, I was just being nostalgic.

Ah yes, a couple more years on you babe. I’ve reached an age where it’s not the years, but the experience that makes all the difference, and boy oh boy, do I have experience.

Get your head out of the gutter, I’m not talking about thigh-wrapping-lip-locking-giddy-up-experience. I’m talking about the good stuff; love, loss, overcoming adversity, and enough street-smarts to not really give a hairy rat’s patooty what anyone thinks.

It’s grand darlings, it really is.

Stretched out alone in the darkness as a very young woman, I thought about the love and loss I’d endured from those sinfully delightful men-folk in my life who did, at that time,  have a couple more years on me. Back then I never knew that there would be nostalgia on the other side of youth, or that I would feel like the one who had a couple more years on you babe…that’s all.

It ain’t that I’m wiser, it’s only that I’ve spent more time with my back to the wall

Nostalgia is a quick rose-coloured glasses fix on the past, and not so much the grand master of being in the moment. And that’s all we have darlings. This moment.

But sometimes, in the moment, one must realize that being rooted in personal authenticity, and staying flexible enough to bend with the ever-present winds of change is a balancing act that never ends.

Which means, that someone, somewhere, has always got a couple more, or less years on you babe. That’s all.