By Summer Skyes 11 (OMG Ikr lolUploaded by JohnnyMrNinja) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Summer Skyes 11 via Wikimedia Commons

An interesting article  from Daily Mail Online popped up in my Facebook’s stream a while back, called Experiment That Convinced Me That Porn Is The Most Pernicious Threat Facing Children Today. The subject porn and youth, something that illicits strong opinions among caregivers and educators. The idea that porn can have negative effects for younger viewers is a common perspective. It’s also one that I don’t entirely disagree with, although I certainly don’t think it’s the worst thing to ever could ever happen to a kid EVER.

At any rate the title sounded ominous/sensationalist enough that I was curious about the nature of the “experiment”. What was the methodology? Who was conducting the experiment? And what was the outcome that had convinced author, Martin Daubney – a former skin mag editor – about the unequivocal danger posed by pornography? But by the end of the introductory my curiosity was replaced by big time skepticism:

The moment I knew internet pornography had cast its dark shadow over the lives of millions of ordinary British teenagers will live with me for ever….Before me were a group of 20 boys and girls, aged 13-14. Largely white, working class children, they were well turned-out, polite, giggly and shy. 

I had trouble with the way the issue was framed. “Good” kids vs. sex. Goodness in this case being demonstrated by the students’ general whiteness and not-being poor. I guess it’s okay, or at least expected that ethnic kids from low-income families be exposed to pornography?  Only when it infiltrates the sweet ranks of society’s most valuable children should we sound the alarm bells.

Right under this paragraph is a picture of the author, his wife and his very young son who looks three, maybe four years old. The grown-ups look concerned verging on frightened. The kid is nine kinds of adorable, with blond curls and a pursed-lipped smile. And I can’t think it’s a coincidence that the editors chose this photo to lead the article. You have the words “Children” and “Porn” looming over the head of this cutey-cute little person and whoa! Suddenly, porn does seem pretty threatening!

The subjects of the actual experiment are a group of 13 to 14 year-old students. Teenagers. I do think that it’s necessary for adults to be aware that youth today have unprecedented access to sexually explicit material. A kid has with a smartphone they can see porn. And not just the commercially available stuff. Snapchat and other apps have made sending sexy selfies super-easy. I don’t think it’s necessary for us parent-types to panic. But I think we need to be aware that there’s a high likelihood our kids will be exposed to more sexual content at an earlier age than most of us were.

Under instruction from a sex-educator, the youth are asked to write down the terminology they’ve picked up from porn. The lists are pinned on the board and according to the article, there are words that none of the adults know. This shocks the grown-ups. One of the terms is “nugget”. (Full-disclosure: I heard the term for the first time very recently and it did shock me. It’s slang for a porn performer – typically a woman – who doesn’t have arms or legs).

Daubry goes on to report:

But the more mundane answers were just as shocking. For example, the first word every single boy and girl in the group put on their list was ‘anal’.

Daubry explains that he hadn’t heard of sodomy at that young age and he’s deeply troubled by the thought that some of these  youth may have a) seen it, b) may want to try it.

I was still annoyed by the sensationalism, but I can understand the alarm.  It seems to be pretty common for adults to feel thrown when they discover that the kids in their life are more sexually knowledgable than they assumed. I was a pre-teen when my peers and I started flipping through romance novels to find the sex scenes. I heard guys talk about a stash of Playboy or Penthouse they’d unearthed from the basement or their parents bedroom. We started hearing terms like “blow job” and giggled when someone explained what it was. This started when were ten, eleven, twelve. I don’t think any of us were ready to have sex yet  – I certainly wasn’t –  but we were old enough to be curious.

Now that I’m a parent, I look at my son. He seems so very young. It’s hard to fathom that the talks about sex – not just “these are your body parts/this is how babies are made” talks – might start happening in just a few years. I think it’s totally understandable for us grown-ups to have an initial freak-out. THE KIDS ARE WATCHING WHAT?!! But I think the next step is to get it together and figure out what to do next. If my kid does find himself amongst a group like the one in the article, here are some things I hope I remember to bring up:

  • What do you think about the fact that amputees are being referred to here as “nuggets”? How might it make that person feel? What message does that send about people with disabilities? What do you think about the fact that people with different bodies can and do have sex?
  • Do you know the differences between having anal sex in real life and the way it’s shown in porn? Do you know why it’s important to use lubricant? Do you know reducing your risk of infection with barriers? Do you know why communication with your sex partner is super-important here.
  • Let’s talk about why you’re watching this. How did you find it? Airial Clark a.k.a. The Sex Positive Parent had some great advice around kids discovering porn. Ask them if *they* think this is material is appropriate for their age. Remind them that the performers are real people, adults doing adult things. How do they think the people in the movie might feel if they knew kids were watching? How would they feel if a grown-up was naked or tried to have sex in front of them?
  • It’s also an opportunity to find out from kids what they find compelling about the material. Because it may not be what you think. It’s an opportunity to talk about the difference between porn sex and sex-in-real life.

Daubrey does have some follow-up conversation with some of the youth after the class. He finds the ensuing conversation “horrifying”, saddened that these kid’s expectations around sex have been shaped almost entirely by pornography and shocked by some of the content the teens have been consuming.

These kids were balanced, smart and savvy. They were the most academically gifted and sporting in the school. They came from ordinary, hard-working households. This was not ‘Broken Britain’.

Once again, folks – sex is for bad people. Who’s bad? Kids who struggle in school. The one’s who come from weird, poor households. The ones who are “broken”.

Most of us become curious about sex long before we feel ready to engage in partnered sexual activity. Sexuality isn’t something that suddenly kicks in on our 18th birthday. It’s with us all of our lives and it develops over time. When I was a kid, my friends and I didn’t look at novels, or Playboy and unscrambled pay-per-view because we wanted to run out and do those things. We just wanted to know what it was about. We were trying to understand.

Youth today are curious too. They’re seeing more because there’s more material and easier access to explicit content than we had at that age. Unfortunately, that isn’t something that we can change. I knew more about sex at a younger age than my parents had…and they probably knew more than their parents. Depending on our kids’ ages and situations, we can limit their exposure to porn for a time. But at some point they’re going to get on the Internet. And if they want to find porn they will. And I think the best tool we can give them is a whack-ton of real-world information about sex, so that porn isn’t the only influence.

Daubrey does conclude with cursory call for parents to teach their kids that  that real sex “is not about lust, it’s about love.

So, I agree with the spirit but I don’t love the phrasing.Lust and love aren’t mutually exclusive. And personally I’m not interested in judging the rightness or realness of  people’s sex based on how much of either is involved. I want to teach my child to  honour his own ethics when it comes to sex. I want him to understand their options when it comes to safer sex and if it applies, contraception. I want him  to understand why respect, consent and care for our sexual partners is essential. I want them to know that sex isn’t about being normal and doing what everyone else is doing, it’s about doing what feels good, what feels right for the people involved. And yes I will try to teach him about love and lust, just not as an either/or proposition. And finally, I will try my best to teach him to look at media with a critical eye, so hopefully he can distinguish between reality and a carefully crafted performance.

The very last sentence of Daubrey’s article tells us to communicate with our children.  “By talking to them, they stand a chance”.

At least we agree on something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring has sprung!

The season of rebirth is always has a slow start ’round these parts. But there are more sunny days than cloudy, the snow is melting and the air carries hints of the warmer weather to come.

Olde tyme cartoons often portray spring as the lovey-doviest of seasons. Flowers, songbirds and frolicking lambs  create a heady, bucolic back-drop for moony couples who’s pupils morph into hearts as they gaze into each other’s eyes. In reality, this early part of spring still leaves me a bit cold (and wet and muddy), but my sexual and romantic inclinations often perk up in May. The blossoms and bird songs really are a bit of an aphrodisiac for me. The lambs are few and far between, but there are many sexy people frolicking in their shorts and sundresses.

Which brings us to this week’s question:

Is there a season/time of year when you feel especially libidinous/romantic?

The comments are open!

 

The other night my pal stepc brought my attention to the following news item via Twitter. It’s a quick read but if you’re pressed for time, the gist is this:

Cathy Sanders, the mother of a 13-year-old Nanaimo boy objects to the distribution of an animated flip book in her son’s grade 8 class room. The book, produced by Catie.ca and distributed by AIDS Vancouver Island features an explicit demonstration of a woman putting a condom on her erect partner’s penis and having sex with him.  According to the article, Ms. Sanders is pissed about the graphic nature of the pamphlet and the fact that it apparently upset her kid quite a bit.

(If you’d like to see for yourself, check out Ian A Martin’s latest blog post.  He turned the flipbook in to a pretty nifty animated gif. As I said, it’s graphic, so exercise necessary discretion when clicking through.)

I have to admit that when I first read the article, my initial reaction was ‘Bah! It’s not that big a deal. Cathy Sanders is uptight, overprotective and blowing this thing WAY out of proportion!‘.  I even composed a tweet to that effect. But as I looked over my 140 characters snark, I thought, ‘Hold up there, Judgey!‘ . Sanders may be affronted by flip-book sex but I have my own set of biases…

  • I am building a career predicated on the belief that frank, open and explicit communication about sexual health and pleasure are a good thing. Not everyone shares that belief.
  • I’ve worked in the sexual health/pleasure field for several years. Graphic depictions of sexstuffs have become normal and commonplace for me. This isn’t the case for most people.
  • I’ve spent the last three years of my sex education career working with youth. I know that many teenagers are sexually aware. I’ve become extremely comfortable with the reality that teens may be sexually active and may have sexual partners. But sexual readiness comes at different times for different people. Just because many of the youth I’ve encountered have been interested in sex that doesn’t mean this woman’s son felt the same way.

I’m also biased because I’ve spent a lot of my career advocating in favour of sex education for youth that goes beyond the telling them how sex will get them pregnant or sick. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy defending against the type of inflammatory rhetoric that calls a museum exhibit pornographic or claims that comprehensive sex ed curriculum will “teach kids how to have anal sex”.

So I read the article and because of my biases, my first impulse was to get defensive. But then I thought a little more. I thought, ‘This woman probably loves her son and wants what she feels is best for him.‘ I thought about how it might feel to be confronted by your troubled child and a cartoon erection if you weren’t expecting either of those things. I thought about parents and the type of messages we’re given about the role we’re supposed to play in our children’s sexual education.

I don’t feel the pamphlet was pornographic nor would I say that it was categorically age-inappropriate for 13-year-olds. But it may have been age-inappropriate for this particular 13-year-old, or at least unsettling. And when I stop to consider his mother’s position I do feel some sympathy for her. ‘Cause in my experience, parents are primed on exactly three types of sex talks: The Birds, The Bees and The BasicsYour Body Is Going Through Some Changes; and finally Only Have Sex When You Are Ready (You Are NOT Ready!) Son, Let’s Talk About This Naked Flip Book And Why It’s Bothering You, isn’t in the parents’ sex talk playbook. For the most part, we’re told it’s our job to dissuade our kids from having sex. So while I disagree with Ms. Sanders’ characterization of the book, I can sympathize a bit too.

As I was discussing this article on Twitter and later with The MoMs, I realized that as much as I talk and teach about sex, I rarely talk about sex education as part of parenting. And I think I need to change that. Yes, I have a certain level of factual knowledge. But how to convey that information to my son? I know my role when I walk into a classroom or workshop. What is my role as a parent?

Like most parents, ultimately I want my son to grow into a healthy, happy, decent human being. I know that as an adult his sexuality will most likely affect that health and happiness. But what do I say? How do I impart my ethical belief that everyone has the right to make their own choices about their own bodies, when my parental instincts are already hollering at me to MAKE HIM WEAR A CONDOM!?

If he chooses to be sexuality active, long-term I want him to enjoy those experiences without shame or fear. But if it turns out he’s straight, there’s a reasonable chance I’m going to ruin is early dating life by screaming “DON’T GET ANYONE PREGNANT!” every time he’s with a girl.

I want to tell him that he should have sex when he feels ready? But if he asks me, “Mum, how do I know when I’m ready?”, I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know if that’s my question to answer.

All of this to say, that it’s hard. Parenting means flying blind most of the time, especially when it comes to sex. I guess this blog post is my way of sending out a signal. Tell me, fellow parents, how do you feel about sex-educating your kids? Do you have fears, issues you feel ill-equipped to deal with? Do your emotions and the instinct to protect your young ever clash with your general belief system?

It’s sobering to realize how quick to judgement I can be. It can be far too easy to position myself as the enlightened sex expert in these situations. But while our boundaries may differ, Cathy Sanders is probably a loving, well-intentioned parent who found herself in a situation she probably didn’t know how to handle. I can sympathize with that, because I’ve been there…and I will be again.

I’ve had a few questions recently about how to help a partner who’s struggling with body image issues and what to do if those issues affect their desire for sex.

I decided give my fingers a break from typing and do a video response instead. Remember viewers, I’m not a therapist or a counsellor – just a gal with some opinions and a video camera.

I’m also a gal who should tidy her bedroom. Hello, wayward sock in the background!

All right, enough with the disclaimers. Time for the video. Roll it!

 

 

Every Friday I ask you a question of the week. You can answer often, occasionally or not at all. If you have something to say but you’re feeling shy, you’re always welcome to comment anonymously.

Before we get to this week’s question, I owe you peeps an apology. I’m sorry – I’ve been way lax on the blogging the past few days. I developed a nasty sinus infection and came down with the stomach flu at the same time. I’ve basically been a walking blob of ickyness this week and the Adorkable realm has been neglected as a result.

Happily my immune system seems to have regained the upper hand. I’m on the road to restored health and a return to blogging. Because of some new developments this new year, it won’t be possible for me to sustain my Monday through Friday schedule. But I will be posting at least three entries a week from here on in. So in the spirit of getting back into the swing of things, let’s get right to our question of the week!

How Do You Feel About Sex On Special Occasions?

Special occasion sex can be a total turn on for some people. It makes for an exciting day full of anticipation.  “Hells yeah! It’s my anniversary.  Imma eat some swanky food with a fancy sauce then get ma’ bounce on!”

I tend to have the opposite reaction. I didn’t have sex on my wedding night. I have a hard time getting it up on my birthday. Valentine’s Day is also the anniversary of when The MoMs and I started dating and frankly, I can’t take the pressure.

I dig booty but as soon as I feel like I should be having sex, all my systems shut down. Special occasion sex feels like the calendar bossing me around. Don’t tell me what to do, February 14th! I’ll get busy when I darn well want to!

Also? Romance does not turn me on in the slightest. I adore romantic gestures. I’m always jazzed when The MoMs and I share squishy times. It makes me crave hugs, cuddles, kisses and lots of physical intimacy…just not in a sexy way. Also? I hate having sex by candlelight. The flickering light bothers my eyes, plus I think about the fire hazard and it distracts me from my orgasm.

I know, publishers of women’s magazines. This trods all over the conventional perspective you have on lady-folk and what makes us horny. I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just saying this gal doesn’t get hot for hearts, flowers and special occasions.

 

Opposites attract.  A somewhat hackneyed generalization, but in my case the adage is apt. The Man of Mans is my greatest love but we experience  the world through contrasting perspectives.  I’m an artist. He’s an empiricist. I’m an emotionally-driven, dreamer, running madly off in all directions. The MoMs is quite literally math genius, brilliant, rational and unfailingly reliable. Seriously, y’all, dude NEVER loses his keys.

I used to swear up and down that I would never get married. It’s ironic that a mathematician changed my mind on the matter.  My youthful disdain for marriage was rivaled only by my deep dislike of concrete sciences.

I took the requisite math and science courses in high school, primarily to appease my well-intentioned parents. They wanted me to go to univeristy and study Marine Biology. That way if my plans to work as a stage actor fell through, I’d always have oceanography as a fall back career.

High school science was le suck. In my opinion it was the forced memorization of random facts, with absolutely no room for experimentation or exploration.  There was no creative potential. In the beginning I did ask a lot of questions. But most of the time, my quest for deeper understanding – or any understanding – were met with the same answer,

“It’s just a fact.”

So I shut up.  And I shut down. And a quiet, but very deep resentment of science and all the subjects that seemed predicated on explanation “it’s just a fact” began to develop along. Horrifying marks in chemistry and biology developed as well. I was summoned to the guidance department. The conversation went something like this:

ME: “I don’t know.  I just don’t get it,”

GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR: I think you should consider dropping your sciences.  You’re clearly not a concrete thinker.”

I was more than happy to take her advice.  I said good-bye to science and wrote it off forever. So I wasn’t a concrete thinker. So? Who wanted a head full of hard, gray heavy glop anyway?  I had big plans to set the Canadian stage on fire. Leave the concrete to the engineers and math nerds.

I graduated high school and went on to study at The University of Waterloo – a school renowned for its world class engineering and math faculties.  The MoMs and I met my first day there.  After a few false starts, we began hanging out and soon we grew to be great friends.  He was unusual and kind. Smart and truly passionate…about math! I found his zeal for calculation utterly disarming.  Passion was a quality of artists – musicians, painters, performers!  People like me!  Mathematicians were just scientists with numbers. They didn’t have passion.  They had cold, hard fact and Internet porn!

The Man of Mans was and remains to this day, the most open-minded person I know. I, on the other hand can be immovably obstinate and rigid in my world view. Opposites.  It was The MoMs who gently opened my mind the idea that empiricism isn’t bound by the rigid parameters set for me in high school.  I wanted to cling to my adolescent viewpoint.  But when I let myself look at the world through my partner’s eyes, I see things differently.  Engineers and their creations.  Scientists consumed by exploration.  Mathematicians with great passion.

One of my favourite things about my partnership with The MoMs are our distinct points of view. Even our shared experiences hold the potential for great conversation, because we tend to see things differently.  And yet, we seem to understand each other.  When I am moved by a work of art, The MoMs knows what that is.  And he can analyze that very same piece of theatre in concrete terms, highlighting themes/patterns I wouldn’t notice on my own.

It turns out that art and science are not really about opposites. They’re both forms of expression borne of a human need to analyze, describe and make some sense of this crazy world around us. Concrete and creative thinking aren’t mutually exclusive and artist and the scientist need not be rivals. Sometimes they fall in love. As I learned in physics, opposites attract…and that is a very good thing!

 

Feel the excitement!

I love reunions!

I’m not talking about the high school variety. I’ve never experienced one, though movies have led me to believe it will be a wacky night of poseur hijinks and the eventual realization I’m better off than the cool kids all set to Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’.

But today I’m talking about a much anticipated reunion with The Man of Mans!  He’s been in Bejing for the past ten days doing business-y things but that’s all done now. Tonight he’s coming home!!

Ten days may not seem like a terribly long time. I certainly know couples who have easily endured much longer separations. But this has been the most time we’ve spent apart in well over a decade.  As such, I’m jump-up-and-squee excited that my best friend will be back in our bed tonight!

It’s also been my longest stint of solo parenting. In the past, I’ve relied on my family to step in and give me hand when The MoMs is away. This time I decided to go it alone. Although I wasn’t really  alone.  I’ve gotta give props to The Green Bean. He has been all kinds of excellent since his dad left : helpful, co-operative and full of hugs. Seriously, the kid has shown unprecedented levels of awesome this week.

Yesterday I saw my shrink. I told her that I’d been nervous about taking charge of our family fort all alone. The MoMs is a partner in the true sense of the word. We do the heavy lifting of raising our child and running our home together and as such, I rely on him a great deal. So I was pleased to discover that I was able to manage reasonably on my own – at least temporarily.  And as I said to Shrink, although I’ve missed The MoMs immensely, the silver lining is realizing that it’s not because I need him. I just like him an awful lot. I cannot wait to see him again!!

So calloo callay! My reunion is but a few hours away! I’ve done okay during my time alone but I am more than ready to have my partner back!

If someone likes you, (you know, likes you likes you) they aren’t going to stop if you say you like them.

Crushes are a tenacious phenomenon fueled by lustful romanticky happy-making hormones. They aren’t easily undone. If anything confessing your attraction to one who is already smitten will lead to much smooching.  Saying “I like you” is not a turn off. If someone likes you, they will like you even more when they learn you’re into them too.

That doesn’t mean that saying “I like you” isn’t hella scary.

The last crush I went after was The Man of Mans. You know, way back in olden tymes when the Internet was a zygote and phones were only used for phoning. Still, I remember the whole heart-racing, giggly mess of feelings that would surge every time The MoMs entered my orbit. I liked him liked him . A LOT. My thoughts (dreams, masturbatory fantasies) were consumed with the idea of what it would be like to be with him. He was one of my best friends, a person I felt I could say anything to…but not this.  I held back for weeks. If I tell him in just the right way at just the right time, I thought, everything will work out. Except that wasn’t it.

You can’t manage attraction. It kind of just happens or it doesn’t. The truth is, I avoided telling The Man of Mans how much I liked him because once I did, I’d have to find out how he felt about me. Then I would know for sure. And if he just wasn’t that in to me, I’d be heartbroken. I wouldn’t even have my hopeful fantasies to comfort me. So I didn’t tell him. Even when I was almost totally certain that my feelings were requited, I hesitated because holy scary and vulnerable!

Eventually, my desire to be with The MoMs overpowered my fear of rejection. And I recognize that it’s super easy for me to look back on that experience and espouse the benefits of  saying “I like you” knowing that when I said it, it worked out. But there were many times before that when I said “I like you” and the answer was rejection wrapped in a well-intentioned conciliatory statement like “You’re a really great person but…” or “I really like you too…as a friend”.

If someone doesn’t like you – doesn’t like you, like you – there’s nothing you can say to change that. It’s a steel-toed kick in the crotch. It’s awkward, possibly embarrassing and almost always really sad. All compelling reasons to  keep quiet and not ‘fess up to your crush. Your crush feels the way they feel, but if you don’t say anything, you don’t have to know. Ignorance is bliss and all of that.

Declaring your love (and/or lust) is risky business. Sometimes we need a moment – or eleventy hundred – to gather our courage and make our move. Sometimes we just don’t. But you if you cop to liking someone and they don’t bite, it’s not because you said “I like you” wrong. Some people just aren’t that into us. But some people are. If you have someone’s interest you aren’t going to lose it by being interested back. So if you can muster the courage – go for it!

 

 

 

Image via Mango Falls Vintage Photos

For my money there’s nothing quite like afternoon sex.

My libidinous urges tend to reach their peak after lunch. The Man of Mans and I both work during the week – we are rarely available to each other. I’m often left to my own devices…literally.

I’ve read articles in women’s magazines that recommend I resist the urge relieve my tea time arousal. I should let it simmer, while I send my partner suggestive communiqués about what’s in store when he gets home. This strategy seldom works for me.

My excitement doesn’t percolate. Rather it  boils away as the day progress and I’m left feeling slightly cranky. I don’t like to squander my opportunities for orgasm.

These days work and childrearing mean that partner sex usually happens at night. My body sometimes needs a little more prodding, or more acurately, a little more fondling. Fortunately I’ve married a generous man who, after fifteen years together, know me and my body very well.

But there was a time.

There was a time when we were young students, pressed together on slender dorm room cot and I let my 3 o’clock poli sci lecture fall to the bottom of priority list the moment he kissed me.

There was a time when Sundays didn’t start until eleven o’clock brunch, followed by a walk if the weather was nice. We would come home and veg on the couch. There was always snuggling…and often more.

There was a time when our son was an infant and we both worked from home. The baby took long afternoon naps, time that was frequently used to catch up on chores or sleep. But some days we’d simply sprawl in bed. I would relish in the feeling of sun and touch on my skin and the reassurance that yes, I could still be desired in my new role as a mother.

I love my family and my work. Sometimes the associated time constraints are less than ideal, but they’re a price I’m willing to pay. And self-sex is good enough that it might warrant a nostalgic post of its own, someday.

Someday there may not be as much work for me to do. My son is growing. Someday he won’t need or want his parents so much. The Man of Mans and I will no doubt lament the loss of the demaning little boy who commands so much attention and demands kisses, hugs and other tactile affection. But (fate willing) we will have each other. And I will no doubt seek comfort in the renewed pleasures of afternoon sex.

Kevin Reid is arguably the best theatre blogger in Ottawa. He’s also a comic-book conoisseur, a kindred disco spirit and all-around excellent guy. When I asked him to contribute a guest entry, I knew my niche was outside of his comfort zone but he’s risen to the challenge and then some. Kevin’s writing always makes me laugh but this piece moved me to tears.

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I may have bitten off more than I could chew when I accepted this mad assignment, guest-blogging for a much prettier and far more popular blogger than myself, Adorkable ™ Nadine Thornhill.  It sounded like a goof, a lark, a HOOT even…then I got the e-mail from her, listing the topics that I should try and write about:

Sex.  Relationships.  Dating.  Body Image.  Gender.

Wow.   That’s…that’s a touch meatier than my usual fare, which is strictly theatrical review (and now the occasional interview…branching out, yo!).  Well, I’m game!  Let’s tackle those topics in reverse order, shall we?  The Visitor is nothing if not thorough in his lack of knowledge.  Here goes:

GENDER.  I’m a dude.  So, there’s gender taken care of!  Wait, wait, I should pad this out a little…girls are pretty, I should mention that too. And not just Nadine (although she totally is)…most of them!  Not the Nazi girls or child molester girls, of course, but that goes without saying.  God, why would you even bring them up?  You’re weird.

BODY IMAGE.  I honestly haven’t had much in the way of ‘issues’ with my body, in my years of abusing it, and forcing it to take me places I want to go.   I AM what could be considered a touch overtall by societal standards, which while I don’t feel distressed by it, does lead to me hitting my head more than the statistical norm.  But hey, being tall can be fun!  Like, I’m the one people go to when they need something from the top shelf, which is one of the rare times I feel needed, so THAT’S nice.  Overall, I’m cool with my body image (I’m told I even look much younger than my actual age of 41 years, not that there’s been any particular benefit to that thus far.  We shall see.).  You should be too, by the way…Ashley Judd is, and she’s FAMOUS.

DATING / RELATIONSHIPS.  Rrrrright, I’ve…no, no, I’ve done BOTH of those, I swear! Not a LOT, mind…I’m a little embarrassed and saddened to tell you just how little of my life I’ve actually spent in, you know, a close human relationship (but it’s less than 10%…have fun figuring out how lonely I am, math geeks!).  Actually, when Nadine originally pitched this guest-spot thing to me, she suggested that I do a bit about good ‘date theatre’, which I’ve since decided against…who am I to advise actual functioning couples on things like that?  But, uh, you might want to stay away from Titus Andronicus.

Unless she's into that sort of thing

But seriously, me and dating have kind of devolved over the years.  When I was a bit of a young thing, I was still reckless enough to be given to the occasional grand romantic gesture to win me a date…picture the scene: It’s the late ‘80’s, I’m in High School and working at a famous restaurant chain owned by a Scottish gentleman of some repute, trying to woo me a young gal I worked/went to school with. One day off I called her at home to see if she cared to join me for lunch.  Her glum reply was no, as her Mom was forcing her to stay home and clean house all day by herself.  She was particularly annoyed by this as there was no food in the house, and she was ravenous.  I hung up and formed a crafty plan…Heading out on my trusty 2-speed, I headed to the restaurant and picked up a couple of lunches to go (but not before stopping at a store and purchasing a single red rose…romantic, I said), then rode over to her place to surprise her. The lunches only barely survived the trip intact (paper bags maybe NOT the best method of bike transportation I could have imagined), but still edible.  I rang her doorbell and waited, eager.  And waited.  And…you see where this is going, right?

I ended up sitting at a nearby park with a view of her house while I slowly ate both lunches in a mope, as it turns out she had gotten called away to somewhere else at the last minute.  I forget where now…but as I left, I secured the red rose in the mail slot of her door.  Later on, she admitted that it was the rose that convinced her to go out with me.

AWWWW, am I right?  Okay, okay, we weren’t exactly a storybook couple…more like nerdy friends who occasionally kissed, and then we broke up after a few months.  Whatever!  I made the gesture is the point.  It was a positive action (provided you ignore the in-retrospect stalkerish image of me sitting on a public swing, staking out her house and eating big macs).

But nowadays, I seem to have lost that Romantic nerve.  Hell, even asking a lady friend out on a PLATONIC date fills me with dread lately.  That’s the problem with being alone for too long, gang…it becomes your default mode, whether you like it or not.  I AM rereading my Robert Anton Wilson in the hopes of acquiring the tools to rewire these canalized pathways, but it’ll take time, if it’s not already too late.  So for goodness’ sake, folks, get out there and socialize!    Let me be your cautionary tale.

Whew.  That was a little emo, but I got through it.  That’s it, right?  The post is…

LOVE.  Oh. Shit.  Okay, fine…Love.  Well, as you may have inferred from the above paragraphs, me and Love…well, we’re not exactly on the best of terms.  Like the gents from Foreigner, I seem quite unclear as to what Love even IS, and wish someone would explain the particulars to me.  To be perfectly honest, in recent months I have been practicing a break-up letter in my head.  It seems drastic, but I was all set to do it…I was going to break up with Falling In Love.  Because in 41 years I still haven’t done it right.  The times I fall in love with the wrong girl (always) just leads me down grimmer and grimmer mental pathways, and while I TRY and take comfort in Doctor Banzai’s claim that unrequited love is the greatest happiness, I fear I have yet to unearth the wisdom to properly understand his words. And the time I didn’t fall in love with the girl I should have, I just inflicted that pain on someone else.  And nope…never again.
But then I reconsidered.  This is, after all, Adorkable Undies.  This is a HAPPY place, a source of joy, solace, comfort…I can’t get all goth on these hallowed pages!  Something’s gotta be done!

So Love…I’m giving it another go.  I won’t give up on you, if you don’t give up on me, deal?  Hell, maybe I’ll even buy another girl a rose one of these days.  Do people still do that?  Grand Romantic Gestures?  I like to think so.  Lordy knows the world could use a few more of’em.  And in my tentative baby-steps back towards the land of the loving, this one goes out to all the girls I’ve loved before (and currently, and yet to come…and heck, guys too!  Anything’s possible, right?).  Peace, Love and soul, and more Love,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGXVjcleNog

The Visitor (and Winston, whom I love quite dearly, thank you very much)

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Kevin Reid shares his passion for theatre and Winston The Cat on his blog The Visitorium