Well, after a spectacular Thanksgiving and a hella busy weekend at work, I think it’s safe to say that Christmas 2005 has arrived–whether that idea excites or depresses you doesn’t matter. It’s here. It will be here until December 26. Better get used to it.
I myself love and adore Christmas. I love seeing big, green Christmas trees tethered to the tops of tiny little cars, merrily speeding down the street–destined for home, love, and family. I love the way that Christmas Tree lots spring up like mushrooms on the day after Thanksgiving, and sometimes in the strangest places. (Conversely: one of the things that always makes me cry is a Christmas tree lot on December 26, and all the trees that didn’t get picked. I’ve always been this way–it’s just truly this deep, deep sadness on the part of all the Christmas trees that were deemed unworthy. I want to take them all home and love them–which is why the episode of Friends when they surprise Pheobe with all the dead trees from Joey’s Christmas Tree lot job is rather bittersweet to me ‘cuz I so get what Pheobe was getting all emotional about, even though the show made her seem a bit of a ditz for feeling it. Any shrink worth their inflated hourly rates could probably have field day with this particular idiosycracy of mine…but I won’t let them. ;))
Work was INsane. Shoppers were remarkably polite and well-mannered, though. Whether that’s a general comment on the shoppers this weekend or just a particular comment for the shoppers in our store: I don’t know. I was hardly allowed out from behind the cash register except from my state-mandated half-hour meal break. I only got hollered at once by a customer, and that was yesterday, and when I quietly explained what was happening she was immediately contrite and apologized. One of my co-workers got threatened with a lawsuit because she’d had the gall to ask a customer if they had the coupon to get the discount they wanted. Jerks. But really: two episodes out of a three-day shop-a-palooza isn’t too bad. I’m sure people working the big department stores have more and worse stories to share.
One of the few times I was allowed to work some where other than at the register, I encountered a woman who, when I asked if she was having a good day replied, “No. Absolutely not.” I said, “Is there anything I can do to help?” “No. I hate this store. People always say you’re so great, but everytime I come in here and buy something: it’s awful.” (In my head: And yet: you’re back. We can’t be that awful.) Out of my head, “What seems to be the problem? Is there anything I can do to fix it?” She then proceeded to complain about how we don’t have any petite sizes (we do); scoffed when I explained that if a particular item comes in the petite range it’s located at the front of the rack of said item (she said, “You SAY that: but it’s never that way.”); then she lambasted me about how long the sleeves were on our blouses/sweaters/tops this season. I can’t fault her on that one. They ARE long. Too long for many of our customers. But I really have no control over sleeve length. If I did, I promise they would be shorter. Really. So I made some polite noises of sympathy, reminded her of my name if she needed any more help, and made my escape. I don’t count her as a difficult customer because it was just so ludicrous that I had to laugh. Clearly: someone needed a nap. I’m the mother of a toddler. I know the signs.
Now, I have two blissful days off. Today, I’m on my own. M is in class. Linnea is at daycare. I can just veg. I thought about giving myself a huge “To Do List” but really: I need the down time. Time to knit, time to watch a movie, time to nap. I’m getting over a bad cold…I need to be an invalid for a day.
The Virgin Suicides
A friend of mine cashed in her v-card this weekend. She’s about my age, and waited because she hadn’t met a man she really wanted to have that close to her. Now she’s met a great guy, and decided: it’s time. I’m really happy for her. As I said to her, “I like sex. It makes me happy that you’re going to have some. And I’m happy that you waited until you found the right one.” So kudos and lube to you, my friend. You know who you are. 😉
I myself didn’t cash in my v-card until my wedding night. People who know me (and know this about me) assume that it was done for religious reasons. And it wasn’t. Like my friend, I just hadn’t met anyone I wanted that physically close to me. It’s a pretty egregious invasion of personal space, you know? It’s odd to me, now that I’m no longer a virgin, how much value has been placed over time on that bit of skin that “protects” that part of a woman’s anatomy. Who made the rule that women are to only let one man in, or else she’s of questionable virtue? Is that really the defining mark of bad virtue? A woman who shares herself with others? Now, I’m not (lest anonymous fellow pastors reading this get all up in arms over this post) advocating a “free love” society or anything like that. Myself? I’m glad I waited. I don’t wonder what I missed out on. I don’t think, “Gosh, maybe if I’d just had sex with one other guy: then I’d know if he was good or not.” He’s the best I’ve ever had. Waiting was the right thing to do for me, just as it was the right thing to do for my friend. But maybe it’s not right for everyone.
I guess I just wish that women could be judged on their merits, not what is (or isn’t) between her legs; who has (or hasn’t) been there. I wish that women could just be free to say, “Yeah. I REALLY like sex. I like sex a LOT.” and not have people (even in this enlightened age) sort of stop and adjust their opinion of her. I wish women were as free to celebrate a one-night stand (should she be so inclined) as men are.
Heh. Listen to me rail against the centuries old double standard. I don’t know. I guess after all that “saving yourself for marriage” stuff that I got, the reality sex was sort of anticlimactic. It’s good. I like it. I like to have it with M. But it’s not what drives our relationship. We can be quite happily married (if a little cranky) when we aren’t having much sex. It’s not the be all end all that I was led to think it was when people were telling me, “Save yourself! Save yourself! It’s a gift you can only give once!”
People ask me what I will tell Linnea, when she gets to the horn-dog age and starts thinking about sex. I’ll be honest with her. Tell her I waited. And tell her why. And tell her why I’m glad I did. But ultimately, I want to have raised her so that 1) We can trust her to make good decisions for herself; 2) She doesn’t have a deep need for love, acceptance and approval that sex would seem to fill; 3) She values herself enough to have sex when SHE wants it–not when some pimply-faced football player (or her friends) tells her she should have it with him.
Sex is such a weird thing. Both unifying and devisive–often at the same time. It can be an expression of love and an expression of hatred; an expression of submission and an expression of domination. But should it really be the one thing that makes a woman “good” or “bad”? ‘Cuz really: who the hell’s business is it, anyway?