Where the hell is my sensuality and sexuality these days, that’s all I’m asking. Sometimes I think it went out the door the first time I sat beside my dad’s bed, fantasizing that I’d one day look like all those Playmates in the magazines he kept beside his bed. Or perhaps it left when I was on some ego trip, working as a cocktail waitress as a nurse with her skirt cut up to there, in bedazzled high heel shoes, feeling proud at the end of the night by the thickness of her tip pocket.
Angeles Arienne in “The Second Half of Life” suggests that one of the tasks for moving through adulthood is passing through the Clay Gate, which is about our earthiness, sensuality and sexuality. “When clay is moist it remains elastic and moldable. When our clay dries out, it becomes cracked and fragile.”
Well hell, I’m feeling pretty cracked and dried out — and I’m not just talking about my skin, sisters.
When I was young, I used to pose and primp in front of the mirror naked , holding my breasts up in hopeful anticipation. Now I hold them up in rueful realization that I’m losing the game, tending more often to race by the mirror while naked, daring little more than a flash of bare skin. It’s like trying to shovel snow in a snowstorm. What’s the use? Even though you know your driveway is somewhat clearer than your neighbor’s ice and mounds, he’s inside having hot chocolate by the fire, while you’re sweating your ass off knowing your back’s gonna give out when you get out of bed in the morning. Who’s the more wise?
There was a time in my youth that I’d try having sex with as many good looking men as possible – thinking their attention meant I was truly sexy and desirable. I’d play games with myself to spy the hottest guy in the bar, thinking that by going home with him I was winning some personal prize. Looking back I realize that seducing young men is hardly challenging, it’s more like dealing with a hungry puppy. They’re not very discerning; they’ll eat vomit out of the trash can.
I’m not one for shopping; I hate the crowds, the over stimulation, the dressing rooms. I rarely escape the room without gasping in the mirror, those that give you a full 180 view of the attack of dimples across my dierriere and thighs. Indeed, I truly have a love affair with the shadow of myself as I walk in the park, liking the athletic looking profile of myself, but unwilling to accept the rolls and dimples within the bathroom mirror.
Perhaps that’s why most people keep the lights off in the dark during lovemaking — what’s so alluring and pretty about what’s going on in there? The grunting, sluicing in each other’s juices, sweating and groping. Did God even put a second thought into the appearance of our genitals? The down deep knowledge that you’re no Playmate, and hell no, he’s no Tom Cruise either. Is this passion? Because let’s face it, if it’s just all about that ultimate feel good feeling, then I can do that all by myself. And frankly, a whole lot more efficiently. AND I can just go to sleep after or get up and fix dinner without all that smothering, cuddly stuff afterwards.
Lately however, I’ve been walking through the pumpkin patch and noticing all the pumpkins with character – the warty ones, the elongated shapes that look as though the curvaceous Goddess has used it to prop herself up in the seduction of the Gods, the pumpkins with long and thick stems – why is it that they attract me so?! The pumpkins of varied shade and color. These are the ones that catch my eye — not those that are perfectly smooth in brilliant orange, their shape a perfect magazine pumpkin roundness. How boring!
I find myself noticing the strangelings in supermarkets — it’s typical to find them working in Trader Joe’s, those earthy liberal dance-to-their own-beat individuals. Young ladies with high top Converse’s, hippy swank tops, their hair a myraid of color and pulled back to one side unattractively with one barrette, their lip pierced. I almost wish I didn’t have that natural, everyday beauty in my youth. Or perhaps it’s that I tried too hard to fit within that framework so that I was finally successful and fit the mold, so that now in adulthood I’m left trying to find that nerdy creative strangeling within.
I’m enamored by women that are who they are, those that you can plainly pick out because they’re obnoxious and bold, saying the things that many of us are thinking but would rarely utter in public, those that walk on the beach in bikinis, their rolls jiggling like a happy Shar-pei, flaming homosexual or lesbian youngsters, their behavior and voice in buoyant color, individuals tatted up stem to stern like an artist’s canvas. I don’t want to BE them, but they are the ones that I envy for their inner bravery….. Or are they? Maybe it’s their insecurity that yells FUCK YOU to the world in their loud rebellion to form. Perhaps acceptance is a bit more subtle.
Maybe I noticed some turnaround as I heard the (hopefully) reverse psychology my internist was using with me when I last had my annual exam. After acknowledging my perfect health in blood work, blood pressure, and heart rate, he commiserates with my constant struggle with weight. My frustration that despite my usually persistant attitude with diet and exercise, I still reflect a BMI that’s slightly overweight with over a 30% fat profile. He suggests plastic surgery, and I’m flabbergasted. What about the attitude of acceptance in aging? And by God, the biggest question, where would I begin? The flappy upper arms, the dimpled butt and thighs, the muffin top, the bra squish? Let’s face it, I’m not 21 anymore….and thank God I’m not. I cringe at the youngster I was, how much I lived for everyone else’s approval, having little sense to my own desire, self-worth, just floating on the whims of other’s expectations of me. Can’t we have wisdom with youthful, perfected bodies? Do we really have to sacrifice one for the other?
Maybe that’s impossible. Maybe with all the media definitions of “beauty”; the televised Beauty Pageants, the popularity of “What not to Wear” or “Fashion Police”, the “Most Beautiful People” in People’s magazine’s annual release, it’s impossible to create one’s own definition of beauty as a youngster. Especially if one’s parents buy so heavily into that picture? Perhaps it’s this complete acceptance of who we are, loving the imperfect try-too-hard beauties of our yesterday, and the dimpled, flapping, aching body of today that brings us our true sensuality for today. But further, and deeper than that (is it the chicken or the egg?) the acceptance, appraisal and celebration of the Laurie today — whoever that truly is, the true essence of the light within, that is only housed in a body that is slowing breaking down so that this is all we’re left with. Indeed, that this shadow I’m in love with is just a mere shadow of all that I truly am.
Perhaps that’s why sensuality only comes with age.
Where sensuality is so much more than what happens behind closed doors – in fact, it’s all about an attitude that’s wide in the open: a sense of knowing ourselves fully, letting it all hang out, living out of your core no matter who you piss off in the process, breaking the rules, being daring and adventurous, jumping naked from the rooftops of our masked beings and riding the peaceful parachute of our truest self down – our upper arms and jowls flapping – to the ground.
So that now, when the lights are out — or left brightly on — we can truly look within the other as you’ve looked within yourself to love deeply, wholely, and without restraint or inhibition. And sluice around in their juices, allowing yourself to get dirty, drinking in their imperfection and light just as he does for you, reaching a God-given height of a mind blowing climax that says, This is It and You’re Wonderful!!