Tag Archives: Self Help

The Silent Treatment

Let’s Hear it for the Silent Treatment!!

Of course, it is juvenile and immature.  Not talking to someone is no way to behave.

Is it?

silent

Never go to bed angry?

Who said that?  Clearly, they have never argued with me or anyone to whom I have ever disagreed. There would be no sleeping if we were to hash it out before going to bed.  No, thank you.

I would consider my heated form of communication passionate, however, my husband would call it an ugly display of rage.  Either way, when I finally do lose my temper it can be verbally explosive. Please do not confuse this with being abusive. silent treatment - tips, tricks and warnings I have a double bladed tongue that mercilessly jabs back in quick concessions when provoked.  Depending on how long I have been holding my tongue and how deep my teeth have had to sink in determines how relevant, present and fair the blows are once I have unleashed my thoughts through words.  It isn’t pretty and contrary to the belief of those in the path of my wrath, I am not proud of myself nor do I gain any satisfaction in winning an argument in this way.  Once the dust settles, there is no way around it, I have said hurtful things to someone I love and care about.  It does not matter if what I have said is true.  The manner in which I have expressed these thoughts are inexcusable and unnecessary. What is said can never be taken back and is not easily forgiven.

Can your rage sometimes lead to a verbal backlash? If so, then you know what I am talking about.  It is actually better to go to bed angry than to voice the words roiling in your head.  Stepping back and taking a breath allows you time to calmly check your anger and frustration into a reasonable, respectful argument. This approach is better for everyone.  It has taken many years, countless apologies and some lost relationships for me to learn this lesson.

 Do not knock the silent treatment. It has its own purpose within reason. However, not talking to someone is the easy part.  Breaking the silence once the treatment has been doled out, is the pride swallowing, ego crushing challenge.  This is where I fail.  When I am giving my husband the cold shoulder and I drag it out, everything begins to break down.  We stop eating at the table and start sleeping separately. There is no disagreement for me when he takes a pillow and blanket to the couch to watch the game nor does he stop me from occupying the spare room during this award times.  We actually convince ourselves that the kids are none the wiser when we blame the separate sleeping on daddy’s snoring.   

silent treatment - trips, tricks and warnings
silent treatment

 When you wear your stubborn streaks like armor, don’t expect it to be comfortable.

 
  Now, we know better.

When we are no longer sharing a table or bed our communication is severed and our marriage is ultimately in trouble.  

Do not get me wrong, I am still a silent treatment kind of girl.  To some, it makes no sense.  It seems immature and a waste of time.  It must be understood, that it is out of maturity and self-awareness that I stay silent.  I know that my words can cut deep and leave marks that no apology can erase.  It is out of kindness and necessary restraint that I use silence. I go to bed angry so that I can wake up clear headed and ready to communicate fairly without wavering topic or reaching back in time beyond reasonable limits.  But now I know the sooner we meet the sooner we can talk, heal, learn and grow with one another.  The onus to break the silence is on me; the one whom initially cut off communication.
 

Ah, the apology without actually saying I’m sorry. Because it’s not really an apology, it’s a declaration of not being mad anymore.  It doesn’t even mean that I am ready to talk about ‘it.’ Only willing to start from here.

silent treatment tips, tricks and warnings
silent treatment

I do this by pulling two wine glasses out of the cupboard and leaving them out with a bottle of Cabernet. I am not presumptuous enough to pour, for it is very likely that my husband is angry with me and not ready to sit and chat.  So, it is up to him to fill the glasses and join me in a conversation. Then we can make up.

((I have advice on that too))

All a Marriage Needs

Where do you eat? Sleep? Revisit the table and bed to help restore your relationship.

A wise man once said that a marriage needs only a table and bed.

tools to save your marriage - table and bed
marriage tools

Communication is key!

This we know.  But how and when can we sit and talk?

Consider, courting.  Most new couples relish in going for dinner.  We have conditioned ourselves to have our most intimate conversations while dining or entangled in bed. Sharing meals and pillow talk are essential to a successful relationship. When one or both of these are not being met it is usually a true indication of trouble.     

  It was during a wedding ceremony that I experienced this enlightenment. My husband was an usher and I sat alone in the pew listening to the minister. He began by gently poking fun at the young couple’s blissful obliviousness to their future struggles.  This, of course, earned a chuckle or two from the more mature members of the congregation. In fact, I remember my husband finding my eyes to share a knowing glance.

At the time, we were secretly seeing a marriage counselor. So we were no strangers to the struggles of which the minister spoke. Somehow we managed to squeeze a few kid-free hours out of our already hectic weeks to see a therapist.  After a month and a half of faithful sessions, many tried exercises and countless dollars the one thing we could agree on was that the therapy was not working.  Yet, fifteen minutes into a wedding, I learned all I needed to know to recognize the markers of a troubled relationship. Who knew? That advice came at the cost of a pedicure and an appliance from the bride and groom’s registry.  Little did the new couple know that they had given us the greater gift.

a marriage needs a table and a bed. Share a meal and pillow talk to repair your fractured communication
Table – share a meal

I do not cook and my second-hand table has been hurting to be refurbished for years.

That aside, ever since I realized the importance of the table, I consider it our meeting place as a family and as a couple. It is there that we share meals, talk about our day, play cards, drink wine and pour over the weekly fliers. 

At times, it is with great effort that we fight the urge to flop in front of the television with our plates on our laps. This we used to do all too often.  Now, I understand that our meals are sacred. When we know beforehand that we will not be home for dinner, we try to outdo ourselves with brunch.  And on those ‘eat in a hurry’ nights my husband and I try to remain at the table and continue to connect while the kids rush to get ready for whatever extracurricular they have.  This is just a simple concept made more difficult with the hustle and bustle of everyday lives. But it is important to find the time and worth it in the long run.

 

a marriage needs a table and a bed. Share a meal and pillow talk to repair your fractured communication
Table and bed – not TV

I seriously considered that minister’s words and they all rang true. I do not regret divorcing my first husband but I often reflect on how regularly we ate in front of the television and slept in separate beds. For the most part, we got along just fine. This happened because we had nothing to talk about.  Perhaps, if I had understood the importance of the table and bed to communication; the cornerstone to any relationship, we never would have married. 

 

Now my greatest fault is that I am guilty of the silent treatment. When I am giving my husband the cold shoulder everything breaks down.  The first thing to go is sitting at the same table which further fractures our connection. Then one of us resigns to the couch or the spare bedroom which physically severs our ability to communicate. By not sitting at the table or sharing a bed we have annihilated any chance of coming together.  Eventually, one of us will prepare dinner and purposefully set the table.  When we meet there we know not to discuss the tender issue at the crux of our argument.  To sit at the table is a silent agreement to push past for the sake of a meal.  There will be time enough to rehash the conflict once the dishwasher is on and the kids are in bed.  Or not.  Some arguments can pass without convincing the other person that you are right. 

Pillow talk, however, needs no explanation.  It is inherently intimate and not only because of its simplistic correlation to sex. We are at our most vulnerable when in bed. It is where we sleep, retreat to when we are unwell, make love, lounge naked or wear pajamas not suitable for public display.   Nowhere else are you as truly yourself than in bed. There, couples share everything and bare it all.  Meet there. 

Let it be said, a marriage needs only a table and bed.

Still not convinced? Then consider the most popular advice given to couples undergoing a rough patch.  The two of you need a weekend getaway, a vacation, a night out.  This implies going out for dinner and getting a hotel room. Strip it down…

 

reconnect by sharing a meal and engaging in pillow talk. 

First of all, make it happen.  Be present. Turn off the television. 

 

 

 

 

Victim Blaming

I blame myself.

He attacked me and I didn’t tell.

Victim Blaming
Victim Blaming – Break the silence

Why are we programmed not to tell?

This is my first Me too story.

Even at the tender age of eleven, I could not climb the stairs from the basement to tell my parents what had happened.  What is more upsetting is that I am uncertain to why. I may have been afraid of not being believed although, it is more likely that I feared being blamed. Instead of saying anything, I slipped soundlessly into a chair at the kitchen table to sit next to the middle brother, Wes. The only one in that house whom I trusted.

“Johnny tried to kiss you, didn’t he?”

 

Johnny was Wes’ older brother and this omission was in the form of a question. This startled me, but I could only nod. Wes was doing his homework and I sat stunned, scared and unmoving. Until, of course, his dad came in. This wiry man was my mother’s best friend’s husband and he shooed me away to the basement again.
“Wes doesn’t need any distraction during his studies.” His father had said.

The meager smile the boy gave me was meant as an apology.  Wes knew what the basement would hold for me and didn’t tell.

Victim Blaming
Victim Blaming
Slowly, I descended the stairs in my fuzzy pink pajamas with purple feet and mitten-shaped pockets. There, Johnny was with his littlest brother, setting up a board game. On the floor at the opposite end of the coffee table seemed the safest place for me. So, I masked my reluctance and joined. How could I have known that from beneath the table his leg crossed the distance? Every time he tried cramming his foot into my crotch, I smacked it away. On the third try, he sent his little brother upstairs.
The words “don’t go” were stuck in my throat as I scrambled to my feet.
Before I knew what was happening, he had me pinned down on the couch and I can still remember is crushing weight. In my panicked frenzy, I somehow managed to get away. Straight up two flights of stairs, I ran clutching the waist of my pajama bottoms.  I hid under the covers of where I would be sleeping that night; except, I didn’t sleep. I sobbed quietly, gripped by the fear that Johnny would try again. Luckily, he did not.

  Memory is a funny thing. Somehow, for awhile I was able to get passed

Victim Blaming
Victim Blaming

that night at my parent’s friend’s house. There were a few years of blissful forgetfulness and denial. Until one day that memory came crashing back fully loaded with the fear of an eleven-year-old child.

In grade ten drama class, we were to perform self-written monologues. One of these performances was of an intimate account of a sexual assault from the point of view of the victim as if he were talking to his counselor. Everything he said bore into a wound I hadn’t known was there. The memory of my attack resurfaced and it distorted all that I knew and tainted every relationship I had. Resentment chewed away at me and left a predominate chip.
  Mercifully, I never saw Johnny again. But, even now, thirty years later, on those rare occasions, his name is mentioned in casual conversation I stiffen and my stomach twists. That night will play over in my head and the agonizing self-deprecation begins.
 
I should have recognized the danger in the way he looked at me.
I should have declined the can of pop he offered me.
I should have kept my distance and not stood next to him when we were picking out a movie.
I should not have changed into my pajamas.
I should have…
I should have…
I should have…
 

I should have told someone.

 
 No one blames the victim more than the victim blames themselves.
 

 This needs to change! Why did I feel the need the justify how old I was or what I was wearing?  Would I have been lesser of a victim if I had been eighteen, full figured and scantily dressed?  The answer is NO!  The end of victim blaming starts with victims and potential victims.  Why didn’t I tell?

 

A victim is …a victim is… A VICTIM.

 

Johnny was fourteen when he attacked me. I worry that I may have encouraged his warped approach to woman and sex by not telling. I may have been able to stop him. The truth is, I really don’t know. I bolted and did everything in my power to ignore and avoid him. There is no way of knowing how many girls and woman he has victimized over the years. This thought haunts me.

 

Now I have a daughter of my own and I struggle with how to protect her without having to tell her of the many threats that may surround her. I want her to be aware without being jaded. I want her to be safe without losing her innocence or free spirit. More importantly, I want her to always talk to me.

Victim Blaming must end
Victim blaming must end
 

I resent having to raise my daughter to be cautious of predators. Programming women to scrutinize their own actions as a way of preventing someone from wronging them is fundamentally backward and socially corrupt.   The blame falls solely on the offender.

Thirty something someday syndrome

Thirty-something someday syndrome
Thirty-something

 

Thirty is the new twenty! Who has not heard this, especially if the big 3-0 is on the horizon or if you careened by it in the last fifteen years?  Either way, this growing delusional trend allows us to prolong maturing, postpone responsibility and provides us with an excuse to remain noncommittal about life decisions.

 

‘It is a welcome suspension of time and a 30 pound load of crap!’

When I first started dating my now husband, I asked him, “When do you see yourself as a dad?” At the ripe age of 33, his answer was, “Maybe in 3 to 5 years.”  Easy for him to say, but that is another blog.

So, I bided my time. A few years later, I managed to obtain some rock solid commitment in the form of a diamond but not a date. Then, I waited and asked again. “When do you see yourself being a father?” What was his answer? Brace yourself. “Oh, I don’t know. In 3 to 5 years.”

I reminded him that he gave me that same answer 3 years ago. Did that mean he meant within the next 24 months? Or did the last 36 months not count?  It’s not that I was in a hurry to have a baby.  I was growing increasingly frustrated with…

“the wide spread aloofness among today’s young adults.”

Sadly, this is a group of which I was a member. This new relaxed attitude that time no longer matters irked the planner within me. It is what I started referring to as

…Thirty Something Someday Syndrome.

young adults suffer from thirty something someday syndrome
young adults

 

It is the right to put off big decisions and continue floundering around like an experienced teenager indefinitely. And to some extent, there are a lot of benefits.

  • Don’t rush to get out of school; Once you start working you will be working the rest of your life and you are less likely to return to class if you take a break.
  • Hold off from marrying your high school sweetheart. If you are meant to be you then you will still be together in 5 years. If not, you won’t have to be the ugly half of that divorce statistic and save yourself a boat load of legal fees and heartache.
  • Travel before settling down. You don’t need money to see the world, you need youth and imagination.

These cautionary words that encourage the delay of life altering choices are sound and make sense… for people under thirty.

30 something someday syndrome
Thirty something someday syndrome – suspended time

To those, over thirty, who have used this advice as…

“a crutch to dodge having to make big decisions and put off growing up”

…that need to listen up.

Now, I have yet to figure out how one develops a case of Thirty Something Someday Syndrome.    It could be based solely on an acute juvenile immaturity that lingers like a drunken buzz from your twenties.  It could also be a genuine unawareness of age based expectations. If the latter is true, then maybe it was instilled within

Thirty something someday syndrome
Thirty something someday syndrome

us by our parents whom perhaps felt rushed to become adults by being thrown into careers, marriage or parenting in their early twenties.  Unfortunately, by not setting some age related goals, ideals and responsibility they have (in some cases) stunted the growth of their own children. The fact that the number of thirty something children still living in their parent’s basement is on the increase kind of proves this point.

Gone are the days that one is expected to get married right out of high school.   The term ‘cougar’ has replaced ‘spinster’ and a new mom at forty is more common than one at twenty-two.  This is progress. Approaching forty without having to make one major decision in your life is not cutting edge independence – you are simply dragging your feet.

Do you suffer from Thirty Something Someday Syndrome?

Thirty something someday syndrome - time is slipping
Thirty something someday syndrome – time is slipping

 

If so, time to move out, put a ring on it or start shopping for strollers. Do whatever it is that you are afraid of doing and maybe, you might just become a real life adult. Cease the day! Or, before you know if you will be closer to fifty than thirty and life will have passed you by.

Scent

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Scent to Seduce

seduce yourself using senses ; smell / sent
scent can seduce

 

Smell

The Unassuming Sense

Many of our memories have a smell.  

It is a powerful sense that can trigger nostalgia or even deja vu.  I once told that if I wore a certain perfume on a romantic getaway or my honeymoon than I could return to that memory easily later by just wearing that scent.  I tried this. It worked, but I have since realized that specific smells are more difficult to place than generic ones. The cotton vanilla fragrance I put on while in Punta Cana five years ago doesn’t have nearly the effect that my suntan lotion has.

familiar scents
familiar scents

Last winter, I ran out of body moisturiser and applied the after sun lotion I use in the summer. Instantly, I was taken back to a time of sun and heat. On another occasion I changed my shampoo. I had not realized that it was the brand I used when my husband and I first dated until he buried his nose in my hair and gave me ‘that look.’

Do not under estimate the power of scent.

shared secrets, seduce yourself using sense ; smell / scent
scent from past

Use it to your benefit.

While getting ready for a romantic evening perhaps dab on that perfume at the back of the shelf collecting dust. Or ditch the perfume and rub on baby oil or suntan lotion. Close your eyes and breathe in its scent. Where does your mind take you? A place? A time? If you are reminded of fun, youth and freedom you have found your scent for the night. Don’t over do it by putting on too much or by applying it too often. It will loose its effect.

shared secret; seduce yourself using senses ; smell / scent
scent of hair

When ever I smell aerosol hairspray, I am reminded of my early twenties and going out dancing. I feel like an episode of Sex in the City and I am instantly in the mood for a little fun. My husband is more than happy to hitch a ride on that little buzz of nostalgia.

What I am saying is that smell is the unassuming sense that is easily forgotten until someone is cooking fish. Then see how quickly it is able to cripple a romantic mood. If used correctly, you can enhance your own arousal by tapping into past romantic moments to create new ones.

sense of smell, scent is powerful and seductive
past scent

What did your first apartment smell like? Did you use potpourri, incense or candles? Did you use to wear baby oil, body spray or fruit scented shampoo? It is that simple.

There are smells that turn you on. Find them.

Consider the most erotic time of your life. When you feel sexy, sensual and aroused. What did it smell like?

Beware of this power. Unpleasant odors can just as easily have an adverse effect.      

 

Continue to the other senses…

Taste

The mouth is very sensual.

taste, sexy, arousal, seduce,
sexy taste
A soft tongue hides behind luscious lips and slick pearly whites. Our mouths are essential to the art of seduction and love making.  Kisses after-all are at the heart of all human affection.  
touch, taste, arousal, seduce yoursel
touch lip mouth

The simple act of brushing your thumb over your lips or touching your finger to your tongue is as erotic to feel as it is to watch. Taste is very different, it goes beyond the primitive points of pleasure.

Beyond the physical.

There are two types of taste.

taste, seduce, romance, Valentine's Day
Taste Cooking

The first is the most recognized. It is why cooking can also be an art of seduction. Having exquisite flavours burst in your mouth is one of life’s most enjoyable sensations. Food, itself can be an aphrodisiac.

I want to focus on the second type; the subconsciousness of taste. Just as scent has the power to trigger nostalgia,  

Taste has the little-known power to alter mood.

taste childhood, mood, taste,
Tastes like childhood

I associate peanut butter with my childhood.  As an adult, I very rarely eat it, however when I find myself surly or sullen, I will scoop a spoonful right out of the jar into my mouth.  To me, I no longer savor the thick buttery flavour but, within a half-hour, my mood is lighter. I barely notice the transformation, unlike scent it is not instantaneous. It is more like taking an aspirin for a headache. After a few minutes, I notice that I feel better. It is as if my mind associates the taste of peanut butter with a calmer, less worrisome time and reverts back to then.

tastes like paradiseThis phenomenon can help set the tone for romance too. Do pina coladas taste like paradise or barbecue taste like summer or hot cider taste like Christmas? It doesn’t have to be your favourite flavour, it just needs to be a taste you associate with a pleasurable mood. Chicken noodle soap may comfort you and mint chocolate chip ice cream may leave you jubilant.
Not convinced? Consider tequila.  If even the thought of this murky liquid causes your stomach to roil that is because you probably had a drunken tequila night that ended badly. The brain remembers and has since rejected the taste of (and possibly the sound of the word) tequila. On the other hand, if you are grinning with the thought of licking, shooting and sucking…well, then cheers. But I would bet you know someone who would groan at the same thought.  
Still not convinced? One word.

Chocolate.

chocolate taste of arousal
taste chocolate
This heavenly creamy flavour has so many benefits and for the purpose of this article, it is commonly associated with childhood, holidays and love. No wonder women (and men) crave it and indulge in it because it holds the power to alter your mood. Better than any drug. 
Please practice moderation with the consumption of any mood altering substance.
champagne, strawberries, taste, arousal, valentine's day
taste romantic

Before a night of romance, especially if the weather has taken its toll, put your subconscious taste buds to the test. Even if your plans include an evening of strawberries, wine, lobster and stuffed chicken; consider sneaking in an abstract appetizer or cocktail. It could boost your mood and widen the gates to the path of romance, seduction, and passion.  

This is an example of simple mind over matter. Allow your sense of taste to alter your mood to one of arousal.
I stash a tub of gummy bears in the car and a six pack of Corona in the fridge just in case on nights with the promise of romance.
Happy Romance.
Continue to the other senses…

Sight

Watch Yourself

sight, watch, senses, seduce yourself
sight watch yourself

I would like to shatter the manufactured shame associated with women’s natural curiosity to visually explore sex. If we were not socially conditioned to oppress our desires, then pornography and exotic dance clubs would not be so terribly unbalanced. Clearly, we are starved for it, hence the outrageous popularity of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘. Even then, we were resorted to reading; limiting our visual stimulation to the confines of our mind and imagination.

Why should we be embarrassed to look?

 

sight hide

Men, do it all the time? Yes, it is juvenile and primal, but if anything should allow us to tap into our youthful, savage selves it should be sex. The innocence to parade naked and experiment with our bodies is not only natural it is a tonne of fun when done freely and safely. These dated starchy attitudes and social dichotomies regarding sex are not likely to fall away anytime soon. I will tell you, that even if you dare to deny it, women are visual beings. We have just conditioned ourselves not to be, however.

Peeking behind the curtain is forbidden.  

Seeing what you normally cannot is insanely erotic, sensual and delicious.

The easy answer is to watch pornography. Not degrading, violent, ‘put it in my face’ porn, but soft porn that focuses on the beauty of joining bodies. Because this form or art is not easily found and time is of the essence, I would like to suggest a mirror. Not the plastered to the ceiling reflective glass, put in cheap hotels with mostly the male perspective in mind, but your ‘somewhere in your home’ mirror.

sight, see, watch, mirror,
Sight mirror

It needs to be at least picture size if not, of full length. Place the mirror near the bed or prop it against the couch if you intend to be on the floor. Open the drawers of your dresser to create a ledge at the perfect height. If you have two mirrors, even better.

Light candles. You will need some illumination to see and…

everything looks better by candle light.

Make certain that from your vantage point, you will get a clear view.

sight blindfold
sight blindfold

Are your cheeks red with the mere thought of this? Is that because the idea of your partner bearing witness to you watching makes you uncomfortable and insecure? Then blindfold them. They won’t mind.  In fact, you may just be fulfilling one of their secret fantasies. This will also give them the opportunity to really focus on their other senses. Encourage them to fully appreciate sound, touch, and scent.

hide your eye, sight, watch
sight ; hide your eye

Then, allow yourself to watch and really see. You just might capture mental snapshots that you can rely on in the future to heighten arousal, seduction, and release.    

Lingerie for Valentine’s Day

 Lingerie for HIM

A gift idea with good intentions that are anything but sexy. How does she really feel?

sex, valentine's day, February, Canada,
Valentine’s Day in Canada

It was Valentine’s Day, four years ago, when I stepped out of my powder room donning Victoria Secret’s newest super sexy show stopper. The evening was oh so romantic.

Lit only by the glow of our fireplace, my love handed me the suspiciously large gift bag with excitement and anticipation dancing in his eyes.  I tried to pull my libido from its hibernation to match his enthusiasm,

 …but I am a Canadian girl and it’s February.

This means I am still carrying my post holiday weight, nothing below my collar has seen the sun since September and I am sporting homegrown insulation.  In short, I am doughy, pasty and hairy.  Yes, I said it.

sex, valentine's day, lingerie, for him,

There I was under the harsh lighting of my bathroom unveiling the wonder that was my Valentine’s Day gift. You know the outfit; every man’s fantasy.  A lacy full-bodice number with tonnes of cleavage, thigh high stockings and garters of course.   By the time I presented myself, I was wild eyed, red faced and completely dishevelled.  One might be flattered that their husband bought a size too small. I, on the other hand, know my hubby all too well. In his mad dash to the store to meet Hallmark’s Valentine’s Day expectations, he picked the sales clerk who looked most like me or who was closest to him in the store and asked her her size.

Don’t get me wrong, the black ensemble was beautiful with its iron boning, 72 hook and eyes lining the back and impossibly tiny claps for the garter belt to be fastened just below the butt cheeks. I am sure it looked amazing on the porcelain manikin. The headless, armless figure also had the advantage of not having flash or fat to hinder the shape. More importantly, the manikin had assistance strapping the sucker on without the pesky inconvenience of having to breathe.

I am sorry, when Valentine’s day is on a Tuesday night, a school night,

…you are just happy to get the kids in bed early enough to share a bottle of wine before falling asleep on the couch.

Instead, there I was with my breasts up my nose, tugging and reefing on the least agreeable fabric known to man.  Imagine 72 tiny curls of wire that need to slip into loops of thread that run down your spine.  The only way to fasten every delicate hook was to put the corset on backwards.  I did mention that it was too small, right?  I remember looking in the mirror and seeing the elegantly laced breast cups sitting on my back as I wrestled and wiggled trying to twist it into place.  At one point, my husband asked if I was okay because I had spun myself into the vanity so violently that it was a wonder I didn’t wake the kids.  Once the death trap was facing the correct way, I was an enraged, unlikely contortionist, who still needed to fasten the garter straps. I was bound so tightly that my breaths were short and sharp. How the hell was I going to bend at the waist to located the tiny gold clasps, let alone secure my nylons to them?

Somehow I managed to get it on, not without sacrificing skin and my air supply – I got it on.  My gliding to the bed wasn’t exactly by choice as the stockings, again too small, limited my movement. I did reign in my frustration, discouragement and overall self-loathing for the sake of the occasion.  When my husband began to release me from my torture chamber I was mixed with relief and outrage.

What was it all for?  Better yet, who was it all for?

Afterwards, when he was still giddy with the memory of his gift, he started making birthday and anniversary requests. There must have been something in my expression that said divorce or homicide because he abruptly stopped talking.  I haven’t gotten lingerie for Valentine’s Day since.  There is a silent understanding that if he buys me a self-satisfying gift again, he will wind up with that cute leather bag I have been eyeing for his birthday.

I have nothing against lingerie or impractical underwear, in fact, I have a whole drawer dedicated to all such things.  It is just, that in my experience, the intimacy is much better when I feel sexy, beautiful, silky and smooth. There have been many nights when I have encouraged my husband to pick out something for me to wear as I slip into the shower before bed. Talk about a kid in a candy store. There is not a hockey game in the world that would stop him from bouncing out of bed to rummage through my collection. Once he has made his decision, he hangs it on the back of the bathroom door.  On occasion, I will pull back the shower curtain to find his selection without my prompting, which I am happy to display for him. Anything is better than receiving a self-serving gift.

This year my husband surprised me by placing a very generous Victoria Secret gift card in my stocking for Christmas.  When I reacted to the inordinate amount, he gently suggested that I consider him while doing my shopping.  I did. After buying for me, I bought for him, which he will gladly model for him this Valentine’s Day.

The point is,

sex is best when both parties feel desired and desirable.

And, if a gift is more for you than them, try again.

Happy Valentine’s Day

RSVP, Damn It!

RSVP

…an old tired custom…

For everyone who has ever been brave enough to organize an event, whether it be as intimate as tea or involved as a wedding, I appreciate your tenacity to follow through despite the slow demise of social etiquette upon us today.  Will the RSVP be phased out because it is simply ignored by far too many?  Will it be an old tired custom that will be abandoned like the curtsy or holding the door for another? Not if I have anything to say about it.

Let’s for a moment believe that there is a confusion with the translation.  One of the first acronyms of our time, RSVP stands for répondez, s’il vous plaît, Yes, it is French.

The exact translation is ‘respond if you please.’

Perhaps, this is the cornerstone of the debate.  “If you please,” is subject to explanation.  This does not mean if you want to. Quite simply, if you please is a polite way of saying ‘please’ in French.  Sometimes the most accurate translation is not the correct one. For instance, in German, hunger is a state to which one belongs to, so, they say ‘I have hunger’ but, the true English translation is ‘I am hungry.’  This rule applies with RSVP. Respond if you please simply means, ‘please answer.’
Or, like many hosts will secretly be chanting as the impending date encroaches,

….”Reply, damn it!”

This does not mean reply only if you are attending or only if you are not attending.  This means reply, respond, answer in person, by phone, by text or by email no matter what.  Announce your intentions even if it is the ever non-committal, maybe! It is the very least you can do when someone has gone to the trouble of planning an event and has been so kind to consider you as a worthy guest.

… Our ethics are being compromised with every fragmented and micro human connection we make.

By responding, the host can accurately accommodate the number of guests expected. That way they can avoid waste or worse, not having enough food or amenities for everyone.  Oh, just so you know, everyone who has ever hosted anything…ever, just shuttered unanimously at the thought of running out of provisions.
Unfortunately, I believe that this growing trend of not ‘RSVP’ing is the root of a far bigger problem.

Our social accountability is depleting rapidly in this high-speed world we have created.

With the click of the mouse, we are able to scan images and messages with no real appreciation for the effort, time or individual responsible for the content.  Our ethics are being compromised with every fragmented and micro human connection we make.
Let me give you an example.  How is it appropriate to click ‘like’ on a Facebook status that illustrates someone struggling or announces the passing of a loved one?  If you don’t have time to write a few genuine words of support or condolences, please resist the urge to click ‘like.’  This is about basic human respect, appreciation, and empathy.   There seems to be a shared avoidance to commit or be responsible. With every click of the mouse or swipe of the screen, we are dismissive with expediency.   Which brings us back to the RSVP. Please respond. When someone has sent you an invite, especially when it comes through the mail, has a real postmark or is hand delivered, allot them the common, quickly proving to be not-so common, courtesy of answering them.

  There seems to be a shared avoidance to commit or be responsible. With every click of the mouse or swipe of the screen, we are dismissive with remarkable expediency.

Which brings us back to the RSVP. Please respond. When someone has sent you an invite, especially when it comes through the mail, has a real postmark or is hand delivered, allot them the common, quickly proving to be not-so common, courtesy of answering them.

Which brings us back to the RSVP. Please respond. When someone has sent you an invite, especially when it comes through the mail, has a real postmark or is hand delivered, allot them the common, quickly proving to be not-so common, courtesy of answering them.
Small human decencies are fading out of existence at a startling rate because we are too busy and so connected to the entire world that we loose sight of our immediate surroundings.  The RSVP holds us to a higher standard of accountability. Rise to it because thanks to social media even ‘RSVP’ing is as effortless as clicking a response.

The Secret of the Centre Stall

 …..Let us poop in peace please….

Sometimes keeping up with the neurosis of being a woman is just too much.  I have enough on my plate without feeling the familiar rise of anxiety and insecurity when using the ladies room. ladies As a mother of a little girl, I am doing my best to curb these shared experiences of irrational modesties and needless embarrassments.  The problem is not only that we put these pressures upon ourselves. It is that we also refuse to sympathize with those suffering. It could be argued that this internal commotion is socially constructed or deeply rooted in old fashion upbringings. Regardless it is a well known, shared and understood and we do nothing to change it.

…..stupid hang-ups that denied my generation…..

When I look back to my adolescence, at a time when I was innocent and as flawless as I was ever going to be, I am infuriated with locker room behaviors and decisions.  None of us girls sneered or snickered at one another. We were all too busy covering up and facing the wall when changing our clothes. Making eye contact let alone speaking to one another was out of the question. It is only decades later that I realize that

…this was a collective panic and fear of criticisms and judgement.

I hope my daughter’s generation is stronger, smarter and are able to reject such stupid hang-ups that denied my generation the courage to shower after grade nine gym.  Think about it.  All 25 of us refused basic hygiene as a way to avoid full nudity in a locker room full of other girls with the exact same anxieties.  How bloody ridiculous is our gender?

  Meanwhile, the boys are floundering around buck naked engaging in horseplay and literal sword fights on the other side of the cinder block wall.  Can I get a what the hell?  Unfortunately, this asinine dichotomy follows us out of high school and right into adulthood.
Where I work, there are three stalls in the women’s wash room.  If one uses the guy code of urinal selection, no one should ever use the facilities in the middle.  Who wants neighbors? Given that theory, the stall in the center should always have bathroom tissue and be the cleanest. I can only assume this folklore to be true for I never use door number two.  But if women are neurotic about their nudity than natural bodily functions catapults that same anxiety into a realm of incomparable insanity.
  It irritates me to no end when I slip into the soundless rest room to only find a closed stall door whose occupant is obviously trying to go unnoticed.  Seriously, I mean they don’t move.  Except for their feet, the wad of clothing bunched up on their shoes and (on occasion) the not so pleasant odor that one would (sorry should) expect in a bathroom, the person in the stall is absolutely still and quiet.

Only a woman could stop in mid-movement to prevent being embarrassed…

by her own bodily sounds, smells…function.  Like I don’t know what she is doing in there.  What’s more, I don’t care.  Why do we do this?  Unfortunately, I am no better.  The food court, ten flights down, has a full public wash room; one with two long aisles of stalls. It is almost as if the first bank is designated ‘express’ and the second for, let’s say high maintenance. It is like a dream that’s only 10 stories, 2 escalators, and a half an underground block away.
   On those days that I happen to pop into the ladies room on my floor and there is a poor soul pretending the be invisible, mercifully I act as if she is.  stallOkay, that is not exactly true.  In fact, I usually respect her efforts to go unnoticed and do what I can to avert stage fright, up my PSI, wash my hands as quickly as possible and leave.  I do not do my hair, file my nails or apply lipstick.  What I don’t understand is why some women feel the need to chat or lounge around.  It is one thing to do that when you are in the wash room alone, I mean really alone.  It is another thing to stand around when you know there is someone sitting behind a closed stall. She is probably holding her breath waiting for you to get the hell out so that she can unburden herself.  Why do women torture one another like this?  I am not saying that it is rational for someone to be embarrassed while in a washroom, but we all know where that comes from.  Hell, who hasn’t heard that you should always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus?
 …Is your underwear clean in case you get hit by a bus?
This was something a grandmother would say. Imagine how horrible it would be for the doctor or nurse to cut your blood soaked clothes from your mangled body to find dirty bloomers?  It did not matter that if you were actually hit by a bus that you would surely poop yourself anyway.  What matters is that you are always proper even at a time when being proper should be your last priority.

…comes down to building confidence, silencing judgement and prioritising our values.

  Point being, these warped insecurities, regardless where they stem from, will hopefully phase out eventually.  Until then, be kind, don’t linger.  Why would you want to be putting on makeup or brushing your teeth when someone only five feet away is doing what we all would like a little privacy doing?  Even my dog gives me that pleading ‘don’t look at me’ glance when I happen to catch his eye when he’s crouching.  Let us poop in peace, please.  We will address the irrational modesties and needless embarrassments by teaching our girls to be stronger and smarter.  It all comes down to building confidence, silencing judgment and prioritizing our values.