Thursday, July 19, 2012

Viagra, cardiac conditions, and hand tools

WARNING: There will be sex talk.

While having a conversation with someone I know from high school (I don't remember the topic at the time), he responded to my comment with, "I still get hard." I blushed (yes, I still do that), and a nervous laugh escaped my lips, and I was stymied for a response. I couldn't just acknowledge that he had moved on to a sexual topic in broad daylight in public among a general PG-13 crowd nor could I give him any encouragement (I've had bad experiences when engaging in sexual banter -- the guys think because I'm willing to discuss it, I'm willing to jump in the happy sack with them). I opted for the obvious choice. "You must work out a lot with weights."

He moved on.

"Yes, I worked out every day."

Whew! Crisis averted. But the comment stuck in my mind and began plaguing me at odd times: when I was typing hospital reports, when I was counting cross stitch materials, going through floss, eating dinner and watching Andy Griffith, and even (gasp!) while sitting on the toilet. But it's not what you think.

I'm a single woman, and as such occasionally contemplate having sex with someone else rather than just the usual quickies with hand tools. Suddenly, the possibility of sex began to dwindle because of that comment. I have reached that point when the only questions were, "Can't you get them off any faster?" and "Who has the condom?" There was never a question of whether or not the equipment was going to work. Now I have to worry about if my partner still gets hard? Is this the future I have to look forward to?

Now I have to worry about whether or not he takes Viagra. Or if I need to keep a stock of Viagra on hand (I can get some from widows whose Viagra using husbands have gone on to their eternal rest). Then I need to worry whether they have a heart problem and can use Viagra. That means cardiac testing and questionnaires and suddenly I'm not feeling in a sexual mood. Not now. Maybe not ever. My hand tools are beginning to look a whole lot more viable and interesting. No questions, just do it.

I didn't mind sleeping in the wet spot -- most of the time (depends on who helped make it). I didn't mind a few different partners (I'm the only one who knows THAT number.) I didn't even mind the long dry stretches (wet stretches for me because my hand tools are always close by) because at least at the end of them there would be a functional partner who still gets hard.

I'm nearly 60 (2-1/2 years to go) and this is all I can expect.

I didn't even mind Junior with his inflatable penis. He was always hard if you knew what button to push to pump him up.

There was one partner who insisted on telling me he didn't get as hard as he used to -- in the midst of a frenzy of flying clothes and intentions of misbehaving NOW. He was hard enough for me and it worked. Sometimes guys just need to shut their mouths unless they're going to use them for close work or telling you how good you are. Anything else, they should just shut up and moan. Yelping is good. Yawping is even better. Praise -- sometimes it's just too much to ask while the other brain has all the blood.

So where does the blood go once it no longer goes to the other brain? It sure isn't in the main upper brain, the one that should tell them it's not polite to tell someone they still get hard or don't get as hard as they used to or ask if you'd like to pump up the volume on their twin inflatable prostheses.

My sexual future is bleak and getting bleaker and I don't feel like having sex with anyone -- any other person -- ever. Not if this is what I have to look forward to -- or rather what I don't have to look forward to. No wonder women my age are choosing their much younger sexual partners. The only thing they have to worry about is how to get their clothes off faster and point them in the right direction. They're already hard. They're always hard . . . and ready for action without too much talk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Spoonful of Dreams

Once upon a time . . . .

No, that's another story.

I've always loved fairy tales, especially the animated fairy tales and their more dramatic counterparts of my childhood. I have a collection of all the Cinderella stories, from Walt Disney to Leslie Caron as Ella with the dirty face, bare feet, and promise of living in the palace of the Duke one day. There is a growing collection of fairy tales from all over the world that includes Baba Yaga and her house on chicken legs that walked about the Russian countryside and a Cinderella from China who wore fur instead of gold, silver, and bronze dresses and shoes that a tree planted on her mother's grave shook over her when she wanted to go to the ball. Yes, that includes Cinder by Marissa Meyer, the latest version of Cinderella set in China once again but featuring a cyborg heroine with outgrown prostheses.

I love fairy tales and all they represent, so it seems a little strange that I would briefly wonder why a friend would have a list of children's movies in her Amazon wish list and very little of adult fare. I said briefly. 

That comes from someone that used to treat godchildren, nieces, and nephews to the movies when my own children were no longer available. I used the children as camouflage so I could go to the theater and watch a children's movie -- or twenty children's movies. I enjoy the simple pleasure of animation and stories with happy endings, even the latest version of Snow White with Julia Roberts as the evil queen in Mirror, Mirror. I added that one in streaming version so I can save space because my DVD shelves are full to bursting -- and not only with fairy tales. I have Doctor Who, all the adaptations of Jane Austen's stories, and more high brow fare like Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge and Sophie's Choice and Remains of the Day. I'm a fan of a lot of different types of movies, high and low.

So why do I keep coming back to the fairy tales and what does that say about me?

I could say they are simple pleasures from my childhood, like books I've loved and kept, which also include fairy tales. I could say it says I have a childlike nature or haven't forgotten what it's like to be a child (don't go there!) or simply that I'm saving them for my grandchildren, except my grandchildren live in the far reaches of the country.

Simply put, because I enjoy them. Not everything is do or die and the drama to end all dramas. Not everything needs to be so dire and full of hidden meaning that academics will quarrel over and write about for centuries.

Sometimes it's about a story that always has a happy ending and no one worries about what happens after the wedding.

Did I mention I have all the Broadway and Hollywood versions of Cinderella? Even the one where Julie Andrews plays Cinderella? Yes, I also have the one that was televised live from Broadway with Leslie Ann Warren as Cinderella and the lovely Celeste Holm as the Queen. Walter Pidgeon played the King and Stuart Damon, once of General Hospital fame, was the Prince. That was before Leslie Ann Warren had her teeth fixed and was a bit gawky and long legged as a newborn colt.

I think the reason is all of the above and a few I haven't even though of yet. In this hectic world where everything needs to be done tomorrow and everyone is scrambling for their shot at fame (usually on reality TV) or a piece of a much bigger pie than they have, it's a pleasure to return to stories that delighted me as a child and made me first want to write stories of my own, to fantasize about happy endings and troubles that wouldn't last forever no matter how awful they were.

If you have children's movies and fairy tales tucked away in your DVD closet or on the shelf that is meant for your children and grandchildren, take them out and watch them or read them. Fairy tales never get old and never lose their charm. That's something we all need to remember and embrace so that we don't get old and lose our charm. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. And a fairy tale, read or watched, helps life go down a little easier, too.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Abdication by Juliet Nicolson

What do you say when you have high hopes for a juicy steak full of flavor and discover it has been replaced with soy protein? That is how I felt about Juliet Nicolson's foray into fiction . . . blah without occasional bursts of meat.

That is not to say that there isn't a story here among the ramblings and character sketches that are less than sketches. The moments between Wallis and the Prince of Wales are perfect right down to the smallest details of how Wallis briefly touched the Prince's hand to get him to stop smoking at the table. It was a telling moment and one that defined a lot of the relationship between Wallis and Edward VIII.The rest of the book is about two other women, a bald, fat American who was Wallis's fictional school friend and supposedly privy to the intimate details of life with the soon to be abdicated king, and May, from Barbados with an almost incestuous past with her lecherous father, who becomes the chauffeur and private secretary of Sir Phillip Blunt.

While the moments of May's and Evangeline's lives would be important to characterization, they added nothing to the main focus of the story, the death of George V and the rise and abdication of King Edward VIII. The peripheral details of life in the Jewish quarter of London and Evangeline's corpulence and alopecia could add much to the characterization of both women and texture to their relationship to the central characters (Wallis and Edward), but they do little more than add pages and very little cogent information

That is not to say the writing isn't good because it is beautifully written prose, but where Nicolson excels as an historian she stumbles as an author of fiction. It is a case of where she shines, she really shines, and where she doesn't, she . . . just doesn't. I would venture to say the fictional elements of this highly touted novel are pointless, adding nothing to the overall story, of which there is very little, or to the understanding of Evangeline and May's importance to the story, especially when both characters could have provided a nuanced and important fly-on-the-wall perspective of this most scandalous and romantic moment in Britain's 20th century royal history.

I would recommend Juliet Nicolson's historical writing but caution against expecting too much of this well written but often unfocused novel. Read it closely for the historical moments but skim the rest and you will not end up wondering why someone as devoted to her dog as Evangeline Nettlefold ostensibly was passed off May backing over her beloved pet with the Rolls Royce with little more than an "oh, well," moment, and how a young woman newly arrived from Barbados would be hired as a chauffeur and private secretary by someone with as much political clout as Sir Phillip Blunt with no references and no real training. Some things, at least in the world of Juliet Nicolson's Abdication, are not meant to be understood, merely accepted.