I just drove back from Jenn’s. It’s almost a six-hour trip but I’ve learned to pace myself and tune in to some of my favorite music which, depending on my mood and the iPod’s random selections, could be anything from klezmer to tango to blues or pop or a good polka. Eclectic tastes for sure. “Variety is the spice of life”, right?
I was planning to do a nostalgic essay tonight on my time with J&D and the munchkins but it seems that my daughter’s blog du jour has detoured me. I need to set the record straight regarding my use of language and somewhat colorful imagination. You have to believe that I’m not really all that risqué. I live a pretty tame life - a single woman in her apartment, no boyfriend (or girlfriend for that matter). My palette contains muted colors. Heck, I don’t watch much television or even go to the movies. I usually ask Jenn for the latest gossip about the stars.
Sometimes, though, Life (capital “L”) does take a turn and add a little excitement or the proverbial “spice” to a mundane existence. You just never know what will be the catalyst. It can be a new play or a college classroom.
I drive up to the artsy-fartsy Berkshires for a week to see Like Home (which contains a lot more naughty words than my spontaneous remarks on Blaine’s anatomy) and suddenly I’m out of my element – I’m WOV (woman on vacation). For a blissful week, I forget my graduating seniors and their term papers. I’m here with my beloved artistes and their progeny and community of like-minded artistes. I get to see the play twice and hang out with the actors. It’s exhilarating. I even cover the box office when someone doesn’t show up. I greet the ticket seekers, collect their money, hand out playbills and restrain myself from revealing that I’m the mother of the playwright (and mother-in-law to the director). There I am, smelling the greasepaint and hearing the roar of the crowd. Hot dang - I’m a theatre groupie!
Seeing Jenn’s play probably loosened me up a bit - so much so that seeing that Blaine guy in his fishbowl just triggered some unexpected thoughts which surprised even me. Never, in my entire life, had I ever thought of the male appendage as a cupcake. Now I’m having such feelings of guilt. Being from Philly and all that, I can’t believe I conjured up a Twinkie instead of a Tastycake! What a traitor I am.
As to the “bl*w job” remark, it’s something that I picked up from watching all those sex-therapy movies in grad school. Another revelation: I attended college as a non-traditional student. I was already in my menopause years by the time I got to study and learn about the many varieties of human love. This was definitely not a “spice” found in my mother’s kitchen.
The kids know how naïve I was when it came to s-e-x. For instance, Jenn went off to college and became a cartoonist for the college paper. She sent me copies of her weekly offerings, really cute and clever stuff. One time, though, she was illustrating an event where some cartoon figure was holding up a scorecard, reading “96”. As soon as I looked at this, I panicked and called her to voice maternal concern: “Er, Jenn, isn’t this really going too far? You know, people are gonna see this and think dirty thoughts.” Luckily, Jenn set me straight on that one and I was no longer numerically challenged, just in time to prepare me for my grad class in human sexuality.
My most memorable teacher was a sex therapist who insisted on having the class over to his clinic for an entire day of indoctrination and desensitization: training films and pillows to recline on. What a guy – he even served popcorn. The movies showed men with women, men with men, women with women, multi-positions, one on one, two on one, groups. Everything you wanted to know … and then some. Eyes were glazed by the end of the day. Popcorn did not take the edge off. We went outside for a break and my classmate looked stressed. I tried to do some compassionate counseling: “Hey, Joe. Are you okay?” Poor guy shook his head and then confessed, “I’m so horny I could hump a tree.”
This teacher even invited us to go swimming nude in his pool. (We all declined. I think he was disappointed.) Looking back, he was a likeable (albeit eccentric) fellow, very touchy feely, and into that whole sharing dynamic that we, as future therapists, were supposed to learn. He would invite his past clients for a little “show and tell” at our weekly classes. I got to meet the nicest people (even before Jerry Springer discovered them). There was a huge guy waiting for his sex-change operation and he had the boldest red nail polish and long blonde wig. He was a telephone lineman and I’m not sure how climbing a pole was gonna hold up after he lost his … and then there was the sweetest pair of senior citizens. She and he were married for years and looked like they just stepped out of Good Housekeeping or AARP magazine - gray-haired elders who happened to have a thing for an open marriage and some ménage a trois every now and then. They placed ads in local papers. Gosh, I wonder if they ever went on to make a documentary: “Grandma and Grandpa do Dallas.” A prominent businessman also made an appearance; he belonged to a transvestite club in center city. The wife supported his, er, proclivity and even helped him shop for his lacey underwear.
Now you see that I’ve done some multitasking of my own, some years back. Education certainly does open one up to the world - in this case, the world of froufyhouhas and hoojackapiffies. Any singular notions I may have had about s-e-x were dispelled when the popcorn was dispensed. And I’m a better person for it, Ollie.
I think I’ll go eat a Twinkie.