Sunday, June 20, 2010

Everything I needed to learn about relationships I should have learned from my car!

I like to consider myself a “car guy”, make no mistake, I am no ‘gear head’ – never had the talent, could change the oil, tire and an occasional light bulb but that’s pretty much where it ends – I just appreciate beautiful cars. It is truly a sensual experience for me – I love the sight of a brilliant shine and the way light and every object around it is reflected. I love to touch a smooth, polished finish and glide my hand across the cool texture of a clear coat, along with the scent of a soft leather interior and the sound of a throaty engine that envelopes you when you give the key a turn. Therapy for me has always been about detailing my ride until I have it looking, smelling and feeling the way I want to drive it. I can spend hours washing and waxing and cleaning the interior, windows and tires…and of course over the years I’ve heard the complaint – “if you spent as much time with me as you do your car…”

So it got me thinking…imagine if I treated my relationships like I do my car. I would be investing in my relationship on a weekly basis. For starters, I invest in a tank of gas roughly every week, so how can I invest in my relationship on a weekly basis that “keeps it running without worry about it coming to an end? I usually don’t wash my car unless it is dirty but how can I “polish the relationship” when I feel I have neglected it and it is really in need of some TLC [Tender Loving Care]. I am not looking for the car to tell me what it needs and I can certainly adopt that attitude with my partner. I can be proactive and decide that our relationship needs my time and attention and how best to tend to those needs.

I can easily spend a couple of hours washing, rubbing and buffing, why not share massages with my partner and rub her from head to toe? Why not find new ways to hold her, feel her, hear her, taste and smell her and really appreciate seeing her beauty “from all angles”? I do not have to do a detailed and thorough cleansing every time I decide to “work on the relationship”; sometimes a quick and easy wash is all that is called for or all that I have time for but the point is that I make time for the relationship.

I am usually pretty good at scheduling maintenance ahead of time and could easily translate that behavior into planning special times with my partner, like date night or take her out dancing or whatever it is that she enjoys. My attitude, like being with my car, should be enjoying time together-just the two of us. I can plan for major expenses as I can plan for anniversaries, vacations, birthdays and other special events.

If we men can start thinking about our relationships in the term of our “love affairs” with our cars, it may do us well to realize that we have been practicing our relationship skills for many years without even knowing it…something like the movie The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel all about self defense in the realm of waxing his car.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Man’s Perspective on Jillian Lauren’s – Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

As an avid reader, I thought I’d write a book review on Jillian Lauren’s – Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. I was captivated by the way she chose to narrate her memoir which gave a graphic and detailed emotional account of her life as a sex worker. She is very gifted and definitely knows how to hold a reader’s interest – at least mine anyway. I was intrigued by the fact that all the reviewers on the covers of her book were all female – so maybe I get to be one of the first males to comment.
I think one of the most difficult obstacles for some people to overcome will be to read the text without judging Ms. Lauren’s choices. Ask yourself if you had been dealt the cards she had been would you be able to play the hand any better – don’t judge – just read. Unfortunately, job titles of ‘sex worker’ are viewed negatively throughout our society and I think it kind of funny because as a business concern [from a purely capitalistic standpoint] it continues to generate incredible returns. Again, unfortunate for many with that job title – ‘Sex Worker’ has been forced upon them but that’s a subject for whole other Blog.
I was surprised that even though the way it is titled one would expect it to be somewhat graphic about exposing the world in which she was submerged; I walked away with an understanding of how she allowed herself to graphically expose her soul to all who read her work. This is not a fairy tale rags to riches story but how one woman learned to survive as she appropriately described “a very dangerous” world. I was intrigued in the way she described her survival as a disassociation of the self from the events that were happening. As a psychologist, I found it interesting to note that in some ways she had followed in the footsteps of her biological mother, emerging from a pattern she did not even know until later on in life. She highlighted that sexual intimacy is between two people that feel emotionally connected and that is what one needs to be present for. In the end I felt she had reached out to all who would listen to her story as a way to heal by reclaiming her soul, a resurrection of sorts.
So maybe after reading ‘Some Girls’ you might change your mind the next time you see a ‘sex worker’ and imagine how great or easy or sexually satisfying her/his life is because I believe at some level the price that is being paid is one’s soul.