Jun 05 2012
WARNING NOTICE! What follows here is very much at odds with what Americans consider to be "conventional morality". If frank discussion of relationships-with an eye toward advocating the destruction of traditional monogamy and marriage bothers you-you might want to take a pass.
"Pamela didn't believe in the least in Victor's morality. She thought the whole thing altogether a cramping nonsense, that kept two deserving people from giving each other pleasure."
That paraphrase of a line from Winds of War, one of my favorite books, probably constitutes the best short summary of the view of relationships that I have evolved into in 30 some years. It is hard to believe that as for a less than brief period of time as a young man-I actually labored under the fear of the idea that pre-marital sex was somehow "wrong", and I struggled to reconcile how I felt physically with what a misguided part of of society told me I was supposed to believe. That sex would only be "special" with only one person. And that I was somehow "weak" for giving into what were perfectly normal physical desires.
Of course some 20 years of being around that peculiar specimen of womanhood, "Americanus bitchius"-and watching the prime years of your sexual virility go passing by , without taking the necessary ( in hindsight) steps to right that great wrong-conditions one to a better way of thinking. And while I did my best to make up for lost time during the pas dozen years or so-I cringe when I think of all the passion I could have been experiencing, while the other parts of me were more than poised to help me enjoy it. Thankfully the physical capability remains-and even if someday it requires a chemical assistance ( God bless the makers of Cialis, Viagra and Levritra). I still think back to the marathon sessions the ex and I had when I we were first married ( and childless)-would that I can repeat them now. Of course in hindsight-it was clear the ex was simply using that sexual bribe as a way to prep me for her long term plan to avoids contributing to the working and monetary relationship, using the birth of the children as an excuse to avoid wifely responsibilities that would continue for some time to come. Thankfully those days are over? ( or are they?).
What will follow over the next couple of days are my views of relationships between men and women-and my continued inability to understand why people in general, and Americans in particular, allow themselves to be so constrained when in fact-given the advances in medicine and technology we should be witnessing the ultimate expression of happiness of people as individuals and sexual beings. What was the point of the sexual revolution if not to pave the path for that?
The prompt for this outpouring of emotional sentiment. My ongoing love/hate relationship with a book I bought-called the Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. Love-because I am enthralled by the prospect of chucking it all to pursue a totally different course and hate because I don't think her prescriptions are radical enough surgery. She is, in my opinion, tinkering around the edges-while not getting to the heart of what makes people really happy. Namely the idea that they-and they alone-have the right to determine what they will do and what will make them happy.
Now Rubin acknowledges that like we all do-there are responsibilities that tie us down. I know all too well about that!
But I do like her twelve commandments:
1. Be Skippy.
2. Let it go.
3. Act the way I want to feel.
4. Do it now.
5. Be polite and be fair.
6. Enjoy the process.
7. Spend out.
8. Identify the problem.
9. Lighten up.
10. Do what ought to be done.
11. No calculation.
12. There is only love.
In a couple of days I will have a post about what I think are the "levels in relationships" and how I think every relationship plateaus. Those that survive learn to live with the plateau-many do not, and even many that appear to, are simply the choice of the lesser of equally bad alternatives. This situation is foisted on us by antiquated values, a refusal to recognize individual happiness as being more important than collective happiness and finally, our clinging to an antiquated institution, marriage, that out lived its usefulness a long time ago.
You probably won't agree with many of the points of view I write. But it makes me feel quite liberated to set these long repressed thoughts down. And so I shall-regardless of what the more prudish elements of our world will tend to think.