Ah…..women, almost (but not quite) my Achilles’ heel. Writing as RidicuRyder I have already exposed this…..now I will get more personal. I have no problem saying “out there” stuff, looking like an ass is kind of a talent I have perfected over the years. Along this edge of “out there” I sometimes glimpse things in interesting ways. These peripheral experiences – mostly weird to others – keep me out of the mainstream……I like it out here.
My divorce is a done deal in the next few weeks, overall it has been an amicable split, the pain and self doubt has been difficult though. This crisis (among others) caused me to leap in a few new directions last year – 10,000 mile motorcycle trip, blogging and really exploring different dimensions of my life. Old forgotten tendencies …….mostly dormant these last 20 years have begun resurfacing. Being a fool in your 20s can be charming, in your 40s less so. Thankfully, I haven’t been with anyone…..aside from a one-way on line crush – quite spectacular and of course, very foolish of me. I am an old dog, but I am not interested in a few new tricks. What I really need is a new way of interacting with women and becoming a better man for it. As a male RN I have an excellent appreciation for how wonderful and dynamic women can be…..I love several of my female colleagues in a brotherly way (as best I know how to).
If you were to meet me, most of you would see a nice guy in person and at work. Around my patients and their families I have much more tenderness and respect than I do as a writer – free expression comes out of me wildly at times, but at the bedside, I am a good Nurse. Like everyone, I also have an animalistic side and I have always considered myself slightly hindered this way. To be clear, I see nothing wrong with viewing another person with sexual desire…..it’s natural, but it can also be limiting depending on one’s ability to process the attraction. The tendency I have is to see women as somewhat flawless, (I may know they are flawed, but I will toss this awareness aside) then I can reinforce this flawless ideal by tracking into a woman on sexual terms to enhance the delusion (I enjoy a good delusion here and there). Yes, there is an element of “Chump” to me, but I put pedestals under many people (including myself) at varied times. The Nurse in me likes to care for people and think the best of them (when I can). I value equality in relationships…..it can account for a lot, but we all serve one another at times, that’s humanity.
Getting around this susceptibility to women in my case may be difficult. I grew up an only child with limited female contact in my adolescence, a move just before high school separated me from girls I had grown up with. I did “okay” with young women in later high school years, better through college and afterwards, but what I realized after several years of marriage was that I access certain intimate levels awkwardly. Nursing has been an opportunity to bond and know some great women as friends and colleagues and like I have mentioned, my at work guy and off duty guy are distinct in several ways. My career as an ER RN (early years adult, later years pediatrics) also exposed me to countless cases of rape and abuse, further educating me about men and women.
Somewhere in my late 30s I began understanding many men as deficient at relations with women (myself included). It just seemed the way many of us are wired, seeing women as sex objects and apart from us emotionally is kind of a male curse. This element in the life of men (and women) makes us view women narrowly and sometimes we act narrowly or do horrible things (women can act similarly). I’m a guy who thinks about problems ……….FOR YEARS………I can’t help it – I have been like this since childhood. I have found sometimes over-identifying with a problem’s source allows unusual insights for solutions. Stated another way…….being available to solutions on a large scale for me requires that I see myself as responsible for the large scale problem (I become Response – Able). Would I rape and pillage as part of an army doing combat in far off lands as many men have done before? Have I committed all crimes, sexual or otherwise in past lives? I decided in my mind to say yes to these questions, owning my inadequacies and every one else’s is this goofy thing I do (layering less reason into solutions can also be interesting).
In these last months of blogging on WordPress I have read a number of great female writers who discuss (sometimes painfully) the poor treatment they have received at the hands of men. In many ways, my reading so many women recently has already deepened my appreciation and awareness for them. This has made me do a lot more thinking, I am no expert, but I am a guy with a perspective few men have and a fairly weird / warped mind……a horrible idea began taking shape. Somewhere in my reading I came across a Time.com article on college rape and the relative chronic silence of men in issues of violence against women, titled “When Will Men Say Something.” the article was from October 30, 2012 by Peter Smith. I have gone back several times to see if I got a reply to my comment (made Dec 7th). I have seen follow-up comments do the usual nose dive into “men should do this” – “women should do this.” where……..guess what………mistrust and confusion between the sexes intensifies. I basically see this post I am now writing as by far the stupidest Blog post ever (excluding a few previous RidicuRyders)……..I am gonna get killed for this.
Yes, I am a guy who admits to being sorta dysfunctional around women – not on the whole……more where I objectify, then sexually delude myself with someone I am attracted to (actually, to be honest I am attracted to most of you). While I am laying my dysfunction out here, I should also say I have developed a taste for Internet Pornography recently……embarrassing, but applicable to this discussion and more importantly, something I would like to put behind me. Being separated from my wife since last summer has been a low point for me. I have been disgusted with myself for quite a while, but particularly this fall. Despite allowing abstraction and somewhat esoteric writing on my Blog, I was becoming more narrow and singleminded in viewing online sex. I haven’t viewed internet porn in weeks and my comment to Peter Smith was that I would abstain from all sex, masturbation or pornography for 666 days beginning January 1st, 2013 – basically, I will behave as if my mother was at my side the whole time. Do I think this exercise will make me a better man? Yeah, I think so, but…….
I’m pretty sure I am not gonna make it.
First of all 666 is sort of a RidicuRyder device, I turn 50 on September 30th, 2014……just over 600 days from now…….. long enough right? I have also concluded that softer written, photographic and mainstream movie porn is difficult to avoid, but I can easily eliminate hardcore pornography. I guess it makes me the Anti-Guy for saying this, but after a few weeks away from watching internet pornography I feel much better. Now I am going to have to rework how I relate to actual women and this seems a saner path. No sex, no masturbation ??? It will be ridiculous if I make it. This has been – by far – the most impulsive, horrible idea I have ever had…….so, I am weirdly okay with it…….we’ll see. To maintain my sanity along this undertaking I have to have at least a few far fetched exceptions. For years HW (Honorable Wife) and I agreed to a hall pass for each other if a practically impossible degree of difficulty was mastered and our Fantasy Celebrity Five Way materialized:
HW picked Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton and Sean Connery (not sure if Sean is actually dead, but he would probably pop up out of the dirt for a round with HW).
Degree of difficulty – all James Bond.
Mark picked Tina Fey, Susan Sarandon, Eva Amurri and Dame Judi Dench (I have a little Bond thing too).
Degree of difficulty – Susan/Eva…mother daughter combo on top of Tina/Judi yowza.
So I get a hall pass if my celebrity five way materializes …..and …..if anyone currently 17 decides to date me after their 18th birthday. RidicuRyder has this whole thing with 17 7/8 which has not yet been fully revealed (if I could tell you here I would).
HANDS UP……..how many of you are disgusted that I am being so sophomoric within a discussion about objectification and violence against women?
How casually does fantasy sex and “taking” someone get talked about in current media? As you can see, I am not a prude, but I am from another generation and I never imagined things being this wide open. Sex is everywhere…..sex sells……men and women ….sex right? I suspect decreasing objectivity and violence against women will require alternate frameworks to exist aside from the popularized “fuck on demand” ideal that seems so prevalent today. I am looking for a better way of interacting with women in a possibly pointless exercise…….why? I am no monk, but I am interested in evolution and what we have now just seems so maxed out……so used up……I am taking a break from it all. Also, I would love a better connection for myself and someone……..for all of us.
Speaking of 17 year olds, remember how I am an only child, new in town, starting High School with people I don’t know? Over the years working with kids I have seen that teenage awkwardness, all these hormones – theories forming about social acceptance and sex – so much of it remains skewed. Probably because I am not a father with a teenage daughter, (or other children) I will be written off for saying this, but here is what I have come up with…….after a lot of thought.
My development would have been greatly enhanced by older sisters, not that I think large families are the answer here. I am talking about learning to develop ourselves around actual brotherly love and sisterly love with a by product of objectifying each other less. All kinds of divisions and conflicts exist in the world…..I see mending the most basic divisions – between the sexes – as a great place to start evolving. I am no sociologist, so I am going to (for the most part) stick to an alternate reality for a kid like me starting High School at 14 with a few hundred male classmates in an alternate universe. See if what I write below resonates somehow.
I have been on the Volleyball team now for 6 weeks, Coach Farr lets me out early on Tuesdays for Magic. When I was first signed up for Magic it was Mondays and Thursdays back in September, I actually thought it was some kind of drama credit. I have got to know some of the guys who grew up around here since and they all think it’s hilarious that I didn’t know what to expect.
I showed up at 4pm to room A 109, four of us stood while Mrs. Vine took attendance, “we will move a few classrooms over in a few minutes boys……do you all know what to expect?” I kinda nodded with everyone else, but she caught my hesitancy “Mark, you don’t seem so sure?” I sensed her gentleness, but I was new here and everyone else seemed so relaxed – tuned in. A few days ago, I overheard some guys talking about being in Magic since they were 12, one guy 11. “You will each draw a name from this box in a minute, the young lady you select will become one of your Magic Sisters from the senior class for this semester” She looked at me, I could tell she was addressing the group so I wasn’t singled out, but the other three guys were now smiling in my direction, I got a little flushed. Conrad was in my home room, he said “it’s really cool, you’re gonna love it.” Mrs. Vine continued, “these young ladies are just getting seated a few doors down, they are all 17 or 18 years old and will be spending the next 45 minutes with you, the visit always begins with you listening to their heart, then you talk and get to know each other after.”
Before I could say anything, she held out the box to me – high – so I couldn’t see in. This slip of paper I drew said Molly Jennings, the box went to the three other guys who were all still smiling kinda goofy at me. We walked down the hall to room A 105, Mrs. Vine took a look at Conrad’s paper, she held the rest of us back and opened the door far enough to let Conrad in and handed his slip of paper to Mr Allen who pointed Conrad towards to the back left corner of the room. She did the same for the next two guys, when it was just her and I left in the hall she took me by the shoulders and said “now there really isn’t anything you can do wrong here, I am going to be just a few chairs away, this is really quite a lot of fun when you get used to it…..don’t worry if you get mixed up at first.” She leaned closer to me, “okay?……everybody gets mixed up a little – it’s normal.” She is so warm, so caring I feel fine……everybody else was in. I could handle a conversation…..even with an older girl. “I’m just going to be a minute with Molly first so she knows this is your first time.”
In about a minute Mrs. Vine comes back out and leads me into the room, Molly is seated on a bench behind the door and Mrs. Vine leads me over to her, the room was halfway dark, but I could see the other guys……they all have their heads……against these girls chests! I freeze about two feet away from the bench, I look at Mrs. Vine pleading silently……no..no, I thought “listen to their hearts” like their hopes and dreams or something, I can’t do this……are you crazy! Molly is a little taller than me and is helping Mrs. Vine get me onto the bench before I fall over, she is kinda stocky, black curly hair and freckles, prominent nose, dark eyes….almost black, but it could be the light, she smells like plums, Our backs are against the wall on the bench. She has her left arm around me as Mrs. Vine retreats to the middle of the room…….I am looking at Mrs. Vine, I can’t look at the others now….it is too much. My teeth are chattering a bit, Molly whispers, “everyone has these feelings at first……just take a few deep breaths.” I gasp when I realize I haven’t been breathing, after a bit of oxygen I feel less dizzy.
Molly has held her right hand on my right ribs while her left arm went around my shoulders to hold me up……my head has been on her shoulder, she nudges me upwards and her right hand comes up under my chin. She brings my face up to hers and says softly “now, I would like you to listen to my heart.” I am pretty sure she could break me in half and I am sorta drained anyway, so I let her slide me down her chest. She is wearing a light blouse and her breasts are warm and soft, her right hand presses across my temple and cheek until my ear is registering her heartbeat…….it’s the best thing I have ever heard! She strokes my hair over my exposed ear and whispers another soft reminder to breathe. These first few breaths at her bosom are intoxicating, I shudder and grind up on her a little, I try not to, but I can’t help it. She starts rocking me slowly and says, “shhh…shhh.” I am ready to cry, Mrs. Vine is kneeling by us and says “you are both doing wonderfully…..now Mark, listen to Molly’s heart.” As Mrs. Vine retreats again I hear Molly’s heart, it is beating faster, mine has been galloping halfway out of my chest and in the next dozen breaths mine slows as Molly’s slows.
We sit calmly like this for another few minutes, Small bits of conversation float out from corners of the room and I become aware of my arm across Molly’s thighs. Another whisper, “are you ready to talk to me?” I shake my head a little, she is still pressing me gently against her breast. I hear the sweetest little chuckle come up through her middle. She strokes my hair and we stay this way a while longer, her heart has this perfection……so open……just open.
When the room has filled in a little more with conversation, I shift……I am not ready to let her go and my arm draws off her thighs then slides swiftly behind the small of her back. I twist off her chest and press my face into her neck. Molly turns towards me to accept my embrace and this is such a tenderness, she keeps holding me even when Mrs. Vine gives us a little shake and says “conversation please.” another minute goes by and then she is smiling, holding my face in her hands and says “talk to me.”
So, in this alternate universe, young men and women learn to carefully handle each other intimately with openness apart from sex. Do I have other specifics? Some. How to prepare and set this stuff up is wide open. No 17 year old women willing to hold 14 year old boys against their hearts? Then begin with 12 and 9 year olds and work them along through adolescence. I have only got things so far, more skilled hands than mine could carry this further. Also, this is really very old stuff: young men becoming gentler and wiser by knowing a young woman’s heart…..this is practically woven into our DNA.
Unrealistic? Yes, totally…..our present reality is significantly lacking – being realistic would not really change things much – perhaps reality would just lack a little less. Drastic conditions call for drastic corrections……if anyone else has a game changer idea then great, I’m all ears.
In my reading so far, I see calls for fathers to better counsel their sons. Prominent men in the community are to speak to young men about taking better care of women. These are good measures, just not game changers and a lot of men lack initiative or legitimacy because most men, young or old, haven’t evolved far enough yet. Some men have a relative immunity to this culture of sex we live in, most don’t. Honestly, I think it may be too late for me to learn about certain aspects of intimacy ……..I would really like to, but I probably am too scarred up. Magic has a far greater potential to foster gentle, open intimacy between the sexes than adults today (or yesterday) could ever promote.
Magical Sisters & Brothers is something that would work, ask around to men (those with daughters may be hesitant). Ask if they would be better, gentler men had several young (but slightly older) women taught them to be at ease with women and themselves as they were growing up. Also, consider a world where, in a time of need almost anyone could turn to a bystander and be fairly certain that this person could be counted on for warmth, compassion and courtesy…..how would that be?
Puritanical measures to separate young men and women have mostly failed. If somehow kids have remained shielded from physical sex, then they have been bombarded with it in every other way. Several well raised kids (or those with softer dispositions) emerge from their teens with a gentle sexuality….. scores more don’t. So kids are being taught about sex and health while simultaneously getting slammed with sex as a massive (media fueled) requirement. This sexual expectation that we will all be wrapped into and likely not measure up against, will persist for most of our adult lives. Could promoting open intimacy between young men and women be a potent antidote for a lot of the sexual and societal dysfunction that presently exists?
Perhaps I am off target thinking Magic will reduce the likelihood of things like rape or objectification for tomorrow’s women. I think it will and I see an evolutionary leap as part of the package. Either way, I am absolutely certain women coming of age with an initiative like Magic will have something today’s women don’t…….one hell of a lot more brothers.
Mark Bradley RN