A few years back, curled up in the window seat of a rustic island cabin, I got a Facebook message from a woman I didn’t know. She was writing, very cordially, to tell me the man I was dating, the one with whom I had just exchanged sweet endearments, was her boyfriend. Of four years.
I once dated a man as generous with his compliments as a sailor is with his swear words. Granted, he was English, which made every word sound as though he were channeling James Bond. Regardless of the dubiousness of his proclamations, (“You have the ass of a fourteen year old boy.”) every adulation made my heart glow. Another man I came to adore wrote letters (with a pen!) and left little notes of endearment in my medicine cabinet and underwear drawer. I fell hard for that one, which led to a full-on face plant when those words slowed to a trickle and eventually dried up all together.
"You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven." Why do we believe the silly things we're told about sex?
So what of the love lives of us single people during a time of social distancing and an uncertain future? When the advantages of a freewheeling sex life are suddenly on lock down, my thoughts on what I want from my relationships are coming into focus.
You don’t even have to take a crash course from an expert, such as one of those ball-searching, Speedo-wearing Italian hunks you encounter on the lido, whose hands dive into their budgie-smugglers and check their two veg every couple of minutes while they’re talking to you, like it’s the most normal thing in the world to do. You can do it in the privacy of your own bedroom or bathroom
Once through menopause, it’s the first time in an adult woman’s life when she’s no longer plagued by uterine cramps, migraines, menstrual blood heavier than a severed artery, or the inexplicable desire and ability to devour a pound-sized bag of M&M’s. Until then, give her some love.
Lying together tangled hot in damp sheets, the world disappears. Tempests could roar, civilisations could crumble, and we would be oblivious, entwined and in our own universe. It is as if the natural light in the room does not come through the window but simply from within us. The warm glow of two souls enraptured.
Feeling rejection proof has served me well in my dating life, a world rife with fickleness, ghosting and boy-men who still haven’t figured out why their marriages failed. But there was a downside to always asking for what I wanted: a myopic view of the world through my own lenses without accounting for how my delightful assertiveness might be affecting the experience of another.
He had shown up in the crosshairs of what many attribute to the long-established, perhaps evolutionary predisposition for people to look for a mate to shag over the long, dark days of winter. A few thousand years ago it would have been called survival. Today, it’s called The Cuffing Season.
Perhaps our relative safety within organized society, and the fact that most of us aren’t constantly on guard for predators or foraging for enough food to survive, has resulted in prolonged and varied lovemaking not available to other species .