Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lessons from the Lingerie Drawer

…..on burning my bra (from Barbies and Bra-Burnings)

Do I have to hate guys to be a feminist? Because I actually rather like them. I enjoy their company. Immensely. I enjoy turning a head, flirting a bit, and getting close enough to breathe in all of that manly scent.

And do I have to burn my bra?

I like my bras. I like them pretty with a scalloped edge and a bit of push-up. They will never go in the burning barrel. Bras are to me what shoes are to some women. The only statement I make by lighting that match is that Victoria’s Secret has debuted a new style, and I am no longer in need of this old thing.

………on revealing myself through my words (from Down to My Skivvies)

You know more about me sometimes than my best friends know. Here’s the dilemma. I write as I do so you want to read more. I write the dirt, the skinny. I strut around on page in my push-up and cheekies because that holds the interest. Honestly, as a reader myself I would much rather learn of the author’s addiction issues, diva tendencies, or illicit affairs (yes, with an “s”) than to hear how it was a good night because her child went to sleep the first time she tucked him in, her husband expected nothing of her, and there was a bit of chocolate left in the fridge. Please. I have so been there. Take me away. Show me something secret you wouldn’t share with even your closest confidant.

This is such insanely delicious fun when it is I who am the reader, but when I put my own thoughts to page and YOU see ME as I truly am? That, my friend, is just a bit unnerving.

It is unnerving because tomorrow you will sit in my class and raise your hand. You will ask for clarification on Harlow and Ainsworth and will wonder out loud why we care about attachment theory, why it matters. As I work you through the long-term benefits of a secure attachment style you will look at me, you will look at me in my cardigan with sleeves to elbows, glasses on top of my head, looking very teacher like and you will know. You will know that underneath that conservative cardigan is a bit of eyelet or lace or sparkle. You will know that most likely it is black and perhaps with a tiny bow adorned with even tinier crystals dangling from that bow. It is unnerving because I am opening to you while you are staying fully clothed.

……….on looks versus books (from Brains or Boobs?)

It’s an age old question: Brains or boobs? Brains or beauty? Looks or books? To the women: Would you rather be smart or pretty? To the guys, or gals, even, well: Which do you prefer? And, on my part, I’m wondering, why not both? Do I have to choose between being an intelligent crone or half-witted, but hot? I have to pick one? Hair tied back, glasses sliding down my nose, books spilling out my arms or, to go the other direction, cheeks peeking out my shorts and boobs spilling out my shirt, hardly able finish a coherent sentence? And why is it that those are the images we conjure up when we speak of each? Does smart always look like that? Does beauty necessarily involve button-popping blouses?

………….on self-esteem and self-image (from Ban the Granny Panties!)

There’s a way a woman feels, a way she carries herself, a way she has of looking at life, when she prances around in industrial-sized underwear. Wait. Let’s back up a second. First, let’s not use the word prance in conjunction with Granny panties. Ever. That’s just a nasty picture. Second, we all know we’re talking briefs here, which I always find ironic because there is definitely nothing brief about them. The point is that when a woman hikes on a pair of so-old-they’re-not-even-a-color-anymore tent-sized skivvies, she’s basically saying to the world and to herself I don’t count, I’m not pretty, don’t even bother looking at me like that because it ain’t gonna happen. And very likely, Dearie, with that attitude and those drawers, it won’t.

……….on never judging a book by its cover (from Sex Sells)

Hang out for a second in the trashy romance section of your local bookstore. Take note of the women who show up there. We’re all the same. We want to be that heroine on the cover. Throw one of those bare chested guys in front of any one of us with the top button of his jeans undone and slip them down his hips just a bit and, holy shit, we lose every intelligent thought in our pretty little head. Even better if he’s in a cowboy get-up or wields a sword.

……….on WHAT I write (from No Boxers!)

My favorite two-word sentence ever is “No boxers.” The author said SO much and left SUCH a visual with just those two words. She was setting up a steamy scene in a remote cabin with a hunk of an outdoorsy type—nice butt, flannel shirt, dark hair with a bit of scruff going on--one of those guys who leaves you asking Oh, baby! Where do I find me one of those?! and our it’s-been-a-long-time-sure-but-I-am-totally-ok-with-that independent needs-nobody-and-wants-for-nothing protagonist. The scene went something like this:

Description of the lovely drive up. Yada, yada. Some scenery adjectives. It’s all beautiful and woodsy and pine-y and stuff. You can almost smell it, she writes so well. It’s all very pleasant. You can hear the birds and the wildlife and the blah blah blah, whatever. Then, without another line, she gets right to business. You can feel from her words that the woman wants it, but she doesn’t want the guy to know. You can sense the tension, the sexual energy. No worries, though, our lovely lady is totally in control, completely in charge. But, without even a smidge of warning, the guy just takes over the scene in a totally unexpected and--might I say, “Props to the author!”--incredibly manly sort of way. Next two lines: “He drops his pants. No boxers.” Oh, my LORD!

But I could never write that. People read. People I know read. They would read THIS. And then what would they think? I’d be walking around acting my normal conservatively dressed, teacher-mom kind of self and people would be looking at me like she writes stuff I have to hide under my mattress!

So, I’ve come to this. Think of me what you will, but wherever the pen leads, I am going to have to follow, even if that means taking myself and my protagonist’s pent up sexual energies to some remote cabin in the woods with nothing but a bit of attitude and a good-God-Lord-JESUS-he-IS-GORgeous hunk of a stranger. I'm just going to have to go there.

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