Apparently in Italy today is a special day for Singles. I'm hoping that means chaste Singles, not the players who remain Single so as to sexually exploit as many other Singles as possible. (Incidentally, poor little Cupid!)
I spent yesterday A) at the passport office B) having a pedicure with a married friend and C)at the Seraphic Singles Toronto V-Day Meeting. Seven other ladies turned up; thank you, ladies! We sat in the café and chatted for two hours; next year I'm booking a table at a restaurant.
The passport office revealed no insights about Valentine's Day or Single life, although it revealed that my application was invalid because my signature touched the borders of the signature box. So I will be back at the passport office next week. Boo.
The pedicure revealed more truths about married-with-babies life. For example, a really great Valentine's Day gift a man can give his homemaker wife is permission to hire a babysitter for three hours so that she can go out and have a pedicure with her pal. Whoo-hoo! And the pedicure also revealed that the world is insane, for as I sat in the massage chair and had all that nasty boot-stained skin sloughed off my heels, I read in Elle magazine of a writer's panic when her daughter declared that she would not drink in high school. Without alcohol, worried the writer, how would her daughter ever have sex?
I had to blink. I wanted to shout, "What kind of mother ARE you?" at the magazine, but I was too shocked. Maybe I am really out of it, but is wanting your teenage daughter to drink so that she can force herself to have sex with teenage boys a thing now?
I brought this question to the meeting, and one reader revealed that she has a friend--an adult friend, a skilled professional--who hits the bottle so that she will be able to have sex with her dates.
"If she has to drink to force herself to have sex with her dates, why does she have sex with them?" I asked.
"She thinks she has to," said the reader.
She thinks she has to because the new "common sense" is that no man will marry you unless you have sex with him first. This is, of course, the exact opposite of what all women were told until my lifetime, which was that no man will marry you if you DO have sex with him first. It's even in Shakespeare, in Ophelia's song about St. Valentine's Day.
The younger of the chaste Single ladies listened to this with obvious dread and told stories about how those friends who are now getting married, at age 27, 28, 29, have been living with their boyfriends for years. The implication seemed to be that these women were getting married BECAUSE they had agreed to live in sexually active relationships for years. But I disagree. I think these women delayed their wedding day for years because they were okay with it--or said they were.
We women hear so often that we have no power of our own, and that we have to seize the kinds of power that men technically have. Grrl Power doesn't mean turning heads with a pretty dress or delicious perfume, or winning hearts with gentle, kindly actions, but with arresting attention with a loud voice, jarring clothes, a scowling face, violent fists, drunken bravado, or barbaric, vulgar actions, like exposing one's breasts to shock and mock men's primary weakness. We lose sight of the fact that we do have power, not just over men's sexual instincts, but over their hearts. We have the power to wound, and not understanding this, wound we do.
Men fall in love, and when they fall in love they are respectful of the wishes of the women they love because they want the women to love them back. Unless they have very strong religious views about chastity and self-control, they welcome the opportunity to have sexual relations because sexual relations make them feel good, but not at the cost of losing the women they love. "I don't want to put pressure on you," is a standard male line, but the ones in love really mean it. In truly loving relationships, it is the woman who calls the sexual shots. Catholic girls who are having sex with their boyfriends and fiancés (or "fiancés") have chosen to do so. They have chosen to live in an unstable para-marital union instead of saying "I love you with all my heart, and I think we should reserve sex and living together for Christian marriage." And the men, either happily or guiltily, have gone along with it.
That is why the idea of women drinking so that they can force themselves to have sex with men is so damned tragic. It is wrong on so many levels. What man would feel flattered by a woman thinks she has to give her body to him and yet is so unenthusiastic about the prospect that she gets drunk first? His feelings are not likely to be affection or even gratitude but disappointment and contempt. But unless his conscience overrides his sexual impulses, sure, he'll "hit it".
I used to be a boxer, and I was really strong for a woman. I was feisty and brave and a crazy woman terrorizing a shopkeeper backed off when I looked at her because I was ready to pound her to the ground and she knew it. But this power was miniscule to the power I have in relation to the men in my life. And this is not power over, mind you. This is power FOR. Power should never be OVER other people, but FOR other people. But I think that's a topic that deserves a whole post for itself.
Any more Operation Valentinus stories to relate?