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Monthly Archives: April 2011

To My Heart’s Desire



As you know, Dear Reader, I have for many a fortnight employed the feeble forces of my mind to contemplate the vexatious state of my tender heart regarding prospects for a promising match, wondering whence of late this plague of unsuitable suitors. Now, at last, Heaven’s cherubim have parted the clouds on the horizon of my mind’s estate, and illuminated a path for me to follow.

All I need to find my Heart’s Dear One is to slip into the pages of a 19th Century British Novel.

I was graced with this pleasant notion on a recent afternoon whilst viewing the credits of the film Jane Eyre.

‘Twas then I resolved to put quill to paper and compose a missive to those who might seek my hand, thence to be posted on a matchmaking website.

I enclose the letter. I do hope it pleases you:

“Bring me a cloak, a rainstorm, muddy skirts and a flushed face framed with tendrils of titian hair. I’ll need a hillside to tumble down or at least some decent bracken to trip me up so that my beloved can discover me in a state of radiant dishevelment.

“I must be feverish or at least mildly sprained of limb so that my stalwart angel can sweep me off the ground and carry me to the nearest manor house whereupon he will command the candle-bearing housekeeper to summon the doctor immediately.

“He must have a horse, his own raven mane, a scowling visage concealing a heart of smoldering intent, a baronial home and many many pounds.

“I will require a humble station in life, dubious prospects, a plain but discernible beauty that is most radiant when bathed in natural, preferably stormy, light, and a noble nature most ably displayed in flashing eyes and forthright speech, especially in chance romantic encounters whilst strolling through gardens or trudging across the moors tugging at my cloak to keep it from snagging on rocks.

“My heart’s own one and I will endure the sweet pain of at least one quarrel, and I will shed a few hidden tears in the wake of a false rumor of his engagement to another young lady whose father can settle upon her more riches than my modest imagination can conceive. This demoiselle will dance with my beloved at a country ball, or a lavish London party, while a woman of somewhat advanced years and devious disposition, perhaps my dear one’s sister, importunes him to turn his fathomless dark eyes away from me and toward another more fortunate one.

“My rival must possess a collection of fine coquettish frocks and a beguiling head of curls that look silly in contrast to my simple coif. She will speak in a mewling voice like a hungry kitten and have a penchant for sweets, small dogs and ornate carriages. She will not like to get her tiny silk slippers wet.

“At long last, after I learn that the strumpet whom I feared had stolen my heart’s desire has run off with one, or possibly three, of Her Majesty’s lieutenants, I will unburden my soul of its sweet agony and be united with my smoldering darling.

“When at last we find each other by a mossy garden wall, he will flatten my modest bodice against his beautifully tailored jacket, while my skirts billow becomingly in the breeze. The exquisite pressure of his scowling lips will cause my face to blush and my tiny frame to faint in his crushing embrace.

“On our wedding day, angels will scatter the clouds, bells will peal and adorable urchins will shower us with rose petals as we rush to our waiting carriage and home to the rapture of our nuptial bed and seductive softness of our identical night dresses.”

So, Dear Reader, you have now seen into the chambers of my foolish heart. If it pleases you, grant me the happiness of knowing your prayers and good wishes will accompany my missive on its mission.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Chick Flicks

 

Small World

A friend asked me once, “Do you ever do anything or go anywhere other than walk your dog around the block?” The answer was and is, “Yes of course.”

In the decade I have lived in my semi-urban Washington DC neighborhood and enjoyed the company of my shaggy canine, I have traveled to many places and enjoyed epic visuals: blueblack Norwegian fjords flanked by soft green mountains, Bob Marley’s wildflower gardens high in the Jamaican hills, the pastel palaces of St. Petersburg.

I have not been deprived of soul-stirring sights.

There is a singular magic, however, to exploring the same city block almost every day in every season. As you round the familiar corners, you see nature unfold like a visual symphony, a time lapse photograph, the frames of God’s grand animated design.

Each day there is a new wonder as the trees and wildlife on my block cycle through the seasons. This evening, for instance, I inhaled spring’s first fragrance: the sweet lemon-rose scent of my neighbor’s honeysuckle. Each day more birds arrive. They are livelier and noisier as they swoop through my small stand of bamboo and the neighboring maples and evergreens. The dogwood, which until today was tightly furled, is now showing tiny edges of unfolding pink petals. The white cherry blossoms, undaunted by chilly days and rain, are blooming exquisitely on silver branches.

Every day, every season, reveals itself on my square block. Unlike the vast ungraspable vistas one views from a car, boat, train or plane, my tiny world can be touched, smelled, felt with fingers. It is nature simple, palpable, attainable, comprehensible. It is a wise and gentle tale, a proverb from God, a koan. It is all I need and I am so very grateful.

 
 

Foolish

I told myself this morning, as I tell myself every April First, that this time I would be alert, awake, savvy and street smart. No one was going to dupe, bamboozle, wool-pull or hoodwink me.

Guess that was a little ambitious.

Silly me. Stupid me. Incredibly credulous me! I could kick myself! I have already fallen for one April Fools Day joke (a fake web post about the British Royal Wedding being called off) and still have a few more hours to endure in the annual festival of teasing and tricking, pranking and punking those who are sucker enough to succumb.

As Dubya was fond of saying (or garbling), “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” What do you say when you’ve been snowed hundreds of times? How shameful is that?

If there were a hall of fame for chumps, I would deserve a place of honor in it. I have been a fall gal for as long as I can remember. There is no whopper, no deceit I won’t believe, no trick nor trap into which I will not tumble.

They say the definition of madness is doing the same thing twice and expecting to get different results. Well, to quote pop icon Cee Lo, “Maybe I’m craaaaaazy.”

Worse than falling for falsehoods, I have been known to circulate them. A friend of mine who loved pulling my leg, once had me convinced that the strong and beautiful musical form known as reggae was the result of Jamaican musicians attempting to mimic rock n roll with poor radio reception. Here I was thinking what a fascinating piece of ethnomusicology, and spreading this around, when I suddenly realized I had been jived and juked.

I am a sucker for all sorts of lies…not just good natured deceptions. My trusting nature has been crushed more than once by simply believing what I was told: romantic lies, personal lies, workplace lies. I fell for every one. Don’t believe me? Ask the friends who are still reminding me to look for red flags on dating websites, where folks routinely fib about everything.

Perhaps the most painful deception involved a movie actor who swore to my truly foolish 16 year old heart that he was going to marry me. My diary nearly detonated from the outpouring of my flaming emotions and then imploded with despair when I read in a gossip column that my “fiance” had fallen in love with someone else.

The curious thing about my credulity is that I am, in many ways, rather intelligent, perceptive, and sensitive to vibes and auras. It is quite remarkable how frequently my brain’s delicate satellite dish fails to pick up the signs of deceit.

I have concluded that gullibility is not a question of intelligence. It is more about trust and faith. Believing what you see and hear is more about wishin’ and hopin’ than it is about analyzin’ and concludin’.

I believe that being trusting is not only a character trait but also a choice.

A great choice in fact.

Given the number of times I have been made a fool, disappointed, hurt and shamed by falling for fabrications, I certainly would be wise to decide to disbelieve others. Truth is, I want to trust.

Yes, being naive and credulous can lead to betrayal. On the other hand, believing is essential for staying open to the beauty of love and life. You have to trust in order to sustain affection and connection. You have to have faith if you want to be in touch with the Universe.

Would I trade my April foolishness for being cynical and jaded? Not for a minute. I am grateful to be capable still of being bewitched, bamboozled and befuddled…today and always.

 

Bedeviled

Here is something I never considered until I woke up on a recent morning after a dreadful date with a scoundrel.

There never was a Paradise free of charming predators. The devil dwelled in the Garden of Eden, too. It was there, in the world’s first gated community, that he ambushed Eve, seducing her into committing Original Sin.

What occurred to me as I cursed the handsome swindler who had talked me into spending an evening in his suavely misogynistic company was this: Charming blackguards have been beguiling women since the dawn of dawns.

And me in particular.

I want to know why. I want to make it stop. Well, sort of.

There is a sickening sensation when attraction turns to fear or revulsion. This happens when you are entangled with a charismatic cad. I felt it on that recent morning. I felt it on our date.

Yet again and again the bad boy appeals. It’s amazing how many shapes awful can take. Consider all the colorful demons in religions around the world: the Christian Lucifer, Buddhist Mara, Muslim Iblis. So many devils in so many forms. The bad boy’s ranks are enormous.

Why so charismatic? The Evil Guy breaks rules, and respects no taboos, which gives him a kind of liberated libidinous allure. He’s unpredictable and unreliable and therefore never boring. He is open to all addictions and bad habits, which means he is accepting of all faults although completely lacking in empathy. Most alluring of all, he never wants to get close to you, make a commitment, cling to you or actually love you, which means that he is not very demanding and will not threaten your fears of intimacy.

According to some psychology theorists, the bad boy is someone to whom we can hand all our own diabolical qualities and act as if they are his. He expresses the negativity we repress. We can project all of our own evil aspects onto him.

The problem is that while he can be exciting and even convenient psychologically, el diablo has a big down side: he likes to hurt us and he will. Being with him is scary, depressing, deflating, wounding, sickening, and not conducive to good physical and mental health.

How can we banish him? Certain self-help gurus are fond of saying that the more we can accept and own our dark side, the less we need to express it through unpredictable, punishing, crazy or even dangerous relationships. If we can work out some of these nefarious impulses in ourselves, and either recover from them or find harmless ways to express our witchy ways, then perhaps we will feel freer to choose partners who are not so impossibly evil.

Maybe we can aim for a good guy next time. Or at least a pretty good guy. Or, well, maybe just a little bad. A tiny bit devilish. A satanic spark. A bad boy streak. Just a little one, to keep things exciting, stir things up in the neighborhood.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Essays, Oops I Dated Again