17 February 2011


Three, the cat-boy, likes to have his back rubbed when he goes to bed. Actually, he likes to have any part of him massaged, at any time of the day that he can get someone to do it. He negotiates every night, to see how long I am willing to sit by his side and knead his shoulders. If he is in bed exactly at his bedtime (sometimes), I will stay for three minutes. If he is lying prone before lights out (almost never), I agree to five. If something catastrophic happens, like we lose the cable signal, and he flops on his mattress out of sheer boredom, I throw in "TheTingler."

"The Tingler" is a handheld wand that has cascading metal prongs attached to the handle. The prongs are pliable, and the whole thing is made to flex and fit over your scalp, like a friendly electrocution cap. It looks ridiculous when you slide it down over your hair, but when you pull it back up, oh my. Does it ever feel good. Every nerve on your head pings to attention, and then surrenders, in wave after wave of tingles. Yes, it is a cranial orgasm.

Naturally, Three tries to incorporate "The Tingler" into the routine every night. He uses his most skilled, softly pleading voice. If he can reach "The Tingler" while his face is embedded in a pillow, he holds it up and waves it in my direction. I am relatively immune to his tactics, but the other night I realized he's going to use these moves on his girlfriends. And most of them will do whatever he wants, because girls are stupid.

I know that's a sweeping generalization, but I was a teenage girl once, and I really wanted boys to like me. I based many of my decisions on whether that would be the end result. So I fear for the boys' future dates.

I already have a plan in place to prevent unwanted pregnancy. I am going to by-pass the penii entirely, and speak directly to the vaginas. Figuratively, of course.  I'm going to tell them to ignore all the wooing, the promises of forever love, and keep their most private of areas locked up. I love my boys enough to actively try and deny them sex. At least until they're eighteen, or gainfully employed and can afford birth control/child support.  And I like to think I will love their girlfriends enough to do the same.

I know it sounds a little unreasonable. Even I doubt the success of the plan. But I still hope they will wait to share sex with someone they love. Someone independent, who can't be swayed by smooth talk. Someone who demands respect. Someone who wants them, but doesn't need them. Someone life-sharing worthy. Someone confident enough to use "The Tingler" on their own terms.

Today's verse, about sex...

[Lying in bed I think about you]


Lying in bed I think about you,
your ugly empty airless apartment
and your eyes. It's noon, and tired
I look into the rest of the awake day
incapable of even awe, just
a presence of particle and wave,
just that closed and deliberate
human observance. Your thin fingers
and the dissolution of all ability. Lay
open now to only me that white body,
and I will, as the awkward butterfly,
land quietly upon you. A grace and
staying. A sight and ease. A spell
entangled. A span. I am inside you.
And so both projected, we are now
part of a garden, that is part of a
landscape, that is part of a world
that no one believes in.


  1. Here's what I told the witchlings (at the appropriate ages of course): it's a list you will carry around with you forever, no one can ever be taken OFF that list. Do you want THIS person on your list? Think about it, see the list in your head, pretend you can see the future. Will you want that person on the list? For EVER?
    (who wishes there was List White Out)
    p.s. Another great poem.

  2. Those head massager things are AMAZING! I don't own one, but I sure wish I did.
    My thing as a kid was having someone else either brush or wash my hair, I now love my visits to the hairdresser.
    Lastly, I never really liked poetry, but reading all these poems you're posting, and the one Lora put in the comments the other day, is getting me interested.

  3. ...still really enjoying reading your musings. Childless, I still revel in your insights and prose. Oh, and the love poems? Whew!

  4. One of my friends got a Tingler from her secret pal at work and we all stood around in the hall trying it and shivering and going THAT IS SOO COOL.

    I was the ambitious sort who wouldn't do anything that might result in pregnancy or disease thus derailing my future plans. That lasted till I was 19 which isn't bad at all considering the fact that I was skinny with a considerable rack at the time.

    Do me a favor, as a teacher, a future mom, and a former teen...buy a box of durex, add them to the talk. According to health studies, they are the brand least likely to break. Just saying.

    Brown Penny by WB Yeats

    I whispered, 'I am too young,'
    And then, 'I am old enough';
    Wherefore I threw a penny
    To find out if I might love.
    'Go and love, go and love, young man,
    If the lady be young and fair.'
    Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
    I am looped in the loops of her hair.

    O love is the crooked thing,
    There is nobody wise enough
    To find out all that is in it,
    For he would be thinking of love
    Till the stars had run away
    And the shadows eaten the moon.
    Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
    One cannot begin it too soon.

  5. Number 3 in my household LOVES to have the back of his neck rubbed-- always has. If you start, you can't stop without having to ignore the pleading brown eyes.

    @ Jule: LIST WHITEOUT! What a nice idea. :)

    Megan, always admired how direct you can be about very awkward topics. Keep sharing your strategies! And 18 is not so far away-- yikes!

  6. OH, and just so you know [regarding today's Failing Five]: When I was five, I ran away from home to my friend Eric's house because his mom was better than mine. She let him paint on the walls in their basement and TOOK THEM TO McDONALD'S ALL THE TIME. Just sayin'....
    [I was crushed when they sent me home for dinner at the end of my day as a runaway]

  7. Holy moly, that kid is hilarious! I'd say your sweeping generalization is pretty much correct. And I love your plan. I told my daughter that once she became interested in boys (she hasn't yet, thank God), she wasn't going to be allowed to shave the top third of her thighs. We'll see how it pans out. ;p

  8. Surely I am the most aged of your commentors so I can say with authority that the list does last a lifetime and I definitely wish I had White Out but time and the aging process does help a little in that regard.
    Yes, our Three is one large sensory organ and any girl that falls to his charms (and many will) should have counselling. I love your plan. I hope it works.

    I wish I'd had you as my mother but then I'd never have been yours and I would never trade that for anything in the world.

    I love the poem selections but I find them distracting. I just want to get lost in YOUR musings.

  9. Julie: I, too, wish I had white out, but I am chagrined to admit that I have forgotten some names.

    Kris: the poetry thing is very subjective. I might read something and think, "I probably just don't get it." But other times, it stirs something in my soul. I think it is like all art that way. I prefer Impressionism to Cubism, but every so often...

    Bobbi: Welcome! Childless or not, it's great to hear from you! And I think you have plenty of your own stories, Madam Educator.

    Lora: I absolutely intend to dispense the condoms, so thanks for the brand research. They sell them right there on the shelf at Wal-mart. It was much more difficult and embarassing to buy them back in my day. And thank you for another beautiful poem!

    Chrys: when my girlfriend would complain to her mother about how mean and unfair she was, the mom offered to call DYFS for her. "See how horrible you think I am when you're waiting for placement in a room with a bare lightbulb and a cot," she'd say. She was hard-core.

    Delia: I have a friend who uses the non-shaved thighs as her own personal restraint mechanism. So, I think it can be pretty effective.

    Norma: Hi, Mom! I think you can ignore the poems I've printed, because many of them are by contemporary poets. They haven't yet earned our undivided attention. But it's hard to look away from Yeats.

  10. I am fascinated by this strategy. The young ladies may begin to avoid you out of shyness and fear. On the other hand, they might start camping out at you kitchen table waiting for words of wisdom to fall. I am guessing the latter.

    In any case, it is probably good to plan early. If genetics are any measure, I am guessing they will have considerable skills in the art of luring young girls.

    @Lora - I adore Yeats and have always loved this poem.

  11. @June: the Captain was a bit alarmed the first time I presented the strategy, probably because he could remember his clear objective as a teenage boy. So I think, initially, he identified with the boys. But things looked a little different after he started to meet the fourteen year old girls. Then he said, "Yeah, no one should have their penis anywhere near that. They're just kids!" Uh-huh.


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