My cousin’s wedding

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I wrote this piece earlier this summer before I really had anyplace to put it.

I just got back from my cousin’s wedding. I flew 3,000 miles to be there, and I was thrilled to do it. But, now I am puzzling out my thoughts on the whole affair. You see, my cousin and I were born only a few months apart, only an hour apart by car, so we spent lots of time together every summer and all the major holiday of our childhood. But, at some point in the last few years, while I have been far away studying the works of Darwin, Fisher and Wright, my cousin found God.  And, today she married a minister.

While I certainly know other people who care deeply about their own religious beliefs, my own work and social life revolves around people working through the mysteries of the universe with science. When God (rarely) enters the discussion it’s almost always more philosophical than personal.

So, it’s always a little shocking to find myself in the midst of a group that talks incessantly of “love for Jesus” and prayer, but, while I find it a little silly myself, that sort of thing doesn’t really bother me.  I just sit quietly and watch the little kids twitch and fidget. That’s pretty amusing. I recommend you check it out sometime.

So, the praying doesn’t bother me, and even though the minister (the father of the groom) used some blatantly sexist metaphors for marriage that did bother me, they were so tired and obvious that deconstructing them would be an exercise in redundancy. He should be her shepherd and she should be his cheerleader, apparently.

No, the part that I am mulling over is sex and romance. They’ve been together for nearly two years now, but they’ve been waiting for marriage before having sex. I have no idea about the groom, but I know that the bride was not a virgin. Still, I am told that tonight, probably as I type this, they will be consummating their marriage for the first time in the traditional Christian sense of the word. And, there seemed to be this idea, that it would somehow be extra special because they waited for their wedding night.

There was just this feeling that their wedding was terribly romantic in a way you don’t see that often in the circles I travel in. We are cynical about marriage in my circles. Sure it’s about love and sex, but it’s just as much about mortgages and health insurance and raising children. It’s mainly a practical matter because you can love anyone you want, sleep with anyone you want, but you only marry the person you want to love, fuck and file taxes with.

In my world you marry someone you’ve known for years, slept with hundreds of times. You merged your shit long ago, traveled together, fought about dirty dishes and dirty laundry and what color to paint the kitchen. You’ve probably even screamed and cried and thought about leaving each other.  The new and shiny is gone by the time you get to the alter (if you even have one), and friends and family pretty much greet the engagement announcement with “Finally! We’ve been wondering when you were going to get around to that.” Or else they ask if you’re pregnant.

Unless I dump my boyfriend of seven years and take up God, I am not going to have a wedding night full of highly anticipated sex. If I have wedding night sex, it will be comfortable, familiar sex. Good sex, better sex than we used to have seven years ago. But, not new sex, not the sort of sex that makes you tingle all day with sheer anticipation.

And, I am not going to follow my honeymoon with all the shiny new excitement of moving in together. We’ve done all that already. The sex that makes you squirm in your seat all day, the official moving in, the merging of stuff, the dividing of chores, the ongoing attempt to find the balance between incessant, irritating nagging and silent, seething rage.

I think this wedding catalyzed a feeling I’ve been having lately that my life lacks romance, and the cheering section you are apparently entitled too if you time your wedding just right– long enough to actually know each other in the public opinion, but not so long as to be a forgone conclusion by friends and family. I am a little sad that if we ever get around to having a wedding, I think it will feel more like an afterthought than a fresh start. I like fresh starts.

I wonder about the sex too. As I recall, there is something hot about anticipation. I’ve heard from a Catholic friend and the formerly Mormon dooce that the celibate are excellent kissers. I believe it.  Thinking way back, I think the kissing was better when sex wasn’t a given. The anticipation, uncertainty and adrenalin made the epic make-out sessions and the awkward fumbling sex of my teens and early twenties almost unbearably hot.

Of course, things can be overly hyped, overly anticipated. And, there will obviously be a day when any new couple is not a new couple. So, perhaps I am just a little jealous of that energy that new relationships always seem to have. Maybe that is what we romanticize in a new marriage, a fresh start and a shiny new love.

Pussy worship

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Yeah, not that kind. No, instead we are interrupting our regularly scheduled discussions of my sex life for a quicky rant about douchey commercials. Literally.

So, last night we were catching up on some tv shows on hulu, which meant we also got caught up on some commercial watching. And, my god were some of those commercials strange.

The one that stood out in the sea of odd, though, was the Summer’s Eve “Hail to the V” commercial for “feminine wash and cloths.” I am probably way behind the times here, and you’ve seen this commercial about a million times. But, just in case you haven’t, the commercial starts out saying that “it” is the cradle of life, the center of civilization and that men have fought and died for “it.” “It’s the most powerful thing on earth.” So powerful that “it” apparently can’t be named. Maybe “it” is kind of like Voldemort that way.

So, we ladies really ought to “show it some love” by buying “it” some products that “it” certainly doesn’t need and might even be actively harmful to “it.” “Hail to the V.”

Here it is if you want to watch it:

Anyway, I am grateful that Summer’s Eve has decided to move away from blatant attempts at shaming women into buying their unnecessary products because we all know that vaginas are stinky, and how could us ladies ever feel good about ourselves walking around with pussies that smells like pussy instead of flowers? It’s a mystery to me.

“Show your vagina some love” is a big improvement over “feel bad about your stinky, stinky vagina.”

But, I think the Summer’s Eve marketing people may have swung too far in the other direction with this one. I am all about respecting the vagina, even loving the vagina. But, worshiping the vagina–that’s taking things more than a little bit too far (unless that’s your thing, which is a rather different story).

In 32 seconds the Summer’s Eve people manage to imply that female power is all in your pants and that men are basically posturing animals in rut attempting to win a chance at some pussy with violent displays of physical dominance.

Ladies bring vagina to the table and men are so incensed by the power of this that they go all caveman and start whacking each other with sticks. Which makes us ladies very happy because everyone know that what a girl wants is the man who is best at whacking other men with sticks. Or so I gather from watching the women featured in this commercial who seem quite pleased by the the power their vagina’s are exerting over the guys fighting with sticks (swords and lances).

Basically, this commercial manages to demean both men and women at the same time, which is really quite a neat rick when you think about it.

So, swing and a miss there Summer’s Eve marketing people. Swing and a miss.

Extra special post bonus video link because it refuses to properly embed. While I was looking for the commercial video, I also found this Colbert Report segment mocking another problematic Summer’s Eve ad. I laughed until I cried.

Want to want

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It’s been a long, hot summer, and I have been bored and restless. Oh, I’ve been keeping myself busy. I planted a big garden last spring that needs constant tending. We went berry picking. I learned to can tomatoes. We redid our only bathroom (not a project I would really recommend).

But, we’ve been struggling again with sex and love and relationships. Or, perhaps I should say that I have been struggling with sex and love and relationships. As far as I can tell Jack is only struggling with me and my inscrutably fickle sex drive.

It’s unclear how much of my fickleness is related to using the pill. I’ve been switching around brands lately to see if that helps. Sometimes it seems to. Mostly not, though. I may try taking another break next month.

I think the “problem” goes deeper than medication though. I think I’ve always been alternately insatiable and uninterested, cycling on the scale of months or even years for no reason I can understand.

When I met Jack in college, I was insatiable, almost always the instigator, the aggressor. I wanted sex far more often than he wanted it. Then, as I recall it, sex was regular and stable and good for a few years. I think the indifference started to creep in around the end of time we were living together after college.

It didn’t really matter, though, because we both moved away to grad schools in separate states after that. My limited sex  drive probably helped keep us together for the next few years as much as anything.

Two years in, though, the insatiable came back full force. I couldn’t hack the celibacy thing anymore. So, I announced that I was going to start seeing other people. And, I did. And, it was exciting for awhile, but now Jack has moved in with me, and I am back to indifference. This is awkward because I want to want him. I just…don’t.

Part of me wants to just declare that this, this is who I am. It’s just the way I am built.

But, I am not with out empathy. I understand Jack’s frustrations here.

Imagine this: you meet a nice girl, one you find attractive, and she spends her free time trying to get in your pants. You graduate and move in together and things are good. Maybe not the most exciting, but you are young and the sex is good and very regular.

You move apart, but there is still lots of phone sex. And, the sex you do get to have gets more interesting. Kinkier and edgier. The toy collection expands in new and interesting directions. Then she declares that she cannot go another year with only the occasional week(end) of sex, so she will be fucking other people now.

And, then, then you move in with her again after three long years of living far apart, and she is totally over the sex thing.

I can see how that might make a guy question things. Himself for one. His relationship for another.

And, I know first hand how important sex can feel when you actually want it. The way it distracts and nags at you when you aren’t getting enough of it, and the unique way it soothes and connect people when it is working.

And, that’s pretty much where we are right now.

Hello, world

I am tentatively calling this blog Desiderata. It’s a word I stumbled across just the other day. It’s the plural of desideratum, something considered necessary or highly desirable. The essence of something. The essential part.

It could be considered a bold name for a personal blog, I suppose. I have no illusions of penetrating the mysteries of life the universe and everything. But, I do need a place to talk about the things that feel essential to my life right now.

I already have a blog full of the fluff of everyday life. I enjoy that blog, but it doesn’t feel like a place to be introspective. To consider the details of life when they stray beyond making tomato jam and painting my bathroom.

Jam and purple walls are all very well and good, but I’ve got stuff to say about love and sex and relationships that just don’t quite seem like they belong next to recipes for coleslaw and pictures of my garden. So, I am going to put them here.

Brace yourselves.