Wednesday, October 9, 2013

then/now

I wish I was the kind of person who does those visualising exercises to help clarify where she would like to be in however many years time, and that sort of thing. Not that I don't like seeing life unfold as if it's just happening and not the result of a million little choices and chances; I just think it would be interesting to see what kind of person I was to want whatever I thought I wanted, and how much of a fortunate failure I might be. What I'm really saying is, this time last year I don't think I had much of an idea that right now I would be sitting in a deck-chair pretending to be a pregnant Sophia Loren (I really just mean that I'm barefoot with sunglasses and an off-the-shoulder top, and that I bothered to fix my hair - okay, I bothered to fix the front and sides, which I thought was normal until my sister told me otherwise) in the afternoon sun, watching Joe bask and eat his paws, waiting for Vincent to come home with the dinner his Mum is making for us, with a faint smell of cat shit riding the breeze (Joe chased a cat into the shed earlier, and it seems the cat may have shat itself while waiting to make its esacpe, which it finally did about ten minutes ago, two hours after Joe chased it in. Cat lovers may not enjoy this story, but I think the whole episode was hilarious, and life and tv being as they are, you have to get your kicks where you can).

I remember the feeling of being young so clearly. Vincent played a quintessentially '90s sounding song the other day, and the feelings of being an adolescent came flooding back with it; those of longing, and desperation for life to start. That was the last time I think I visualised my future; but it was never a specific place, or situation. It was always a vague sense of glamour (HA HA) and ALWAYS dominated by Shakespearean romance, although rather than being an active participant, I always seemed to cast myself as an object of loving obsession. I shudder at the patriarchal traditions associated with weddings, but I should be more forgiving; though a feminist now, the time when my mind was most romantically active, all I dreamt of was the male gaze.

The male gaze is not a problem for the pregnant woman, except in that the fact it isn't a problem is, really, a problem. When you become pregnant, you start to become invisible; like you're being benched for a while. I've been watching Sex And The City when Miranda's pregnant with Brady, and being benched when you're single and really not wanting to be benched looks like a fucking pain. The general perception of pregnant women is so incompatible with the tidal wave of hormones and blood booming around her body. They dance around the subject politely and allude to it as delicately as possible on pregnancy websites, and it does no-one any favours. I think the real reason women used to go into confinement was because the men they were tied to lacked the time, energy, will or ability to have sex with them when the women wanted it, and times were such that no-one questioned them when they said it was for decency and health. Foiled by men AGAIN.

On Sex And The City, I've just had epiphany after epiphany while watching. I wrote a long post about what I realised about singles and couples and how much sex they have and why they sleep with the people they sleep with, but didn't publish because I'm not sure if it's a revelation or just crazy-talk. In any case, I think I know now why single people sometimes sleep with idiots, and it makes sense. (I'm still confused as to why people who are usually in relationships do it.) I also think I realise now how much more sex people in relationships probably have than most single people (that might sound obvious, but I truly assumed that most single people were having maybe less weekday sex, but just as regular weekend sex, just with lots more people. Generally speaking, I now believe that to be untrue. I think my views were swayed by how much sex my best single girlfriends have - more than other singles - and how desirable I think they are. If that makes sense.) Anyway, it's all kind of information I could have used yesterday. I'm afraid now that I was one of those awful smug-marrieds at Magda & Jeremy's house, who thinks their mostly coupled experience is the norm. Now I realise if there's going to be any kind of norm, it should be that of a single person, because that's how we all start out, and while some people have never been in a relationship, no-one in the world has not been single.

Now I think I was best not to publish the last epiphany, because that one looks like a huge, ridiculous generalisation - I know some people don't care at all about sex. However, it is what I learnt from Sex And The City, so it sticks until I learn something different from Girls. (I'm joking. Mostly.) Watching has also been making me really miss my girlfriends, and cocktails (which, with the exception of Tom Collins, I haven't drunk regularly for years... mmm, Tom Collins), and cafe breakfasts, and being bothered getting dressed up, and a relatively flat stomach. Those were the DAYS.

Now I'm sitting on a deckchair in the evening sun with an empty bag of Doritos and a glass of water that was mine until Joe started lapping from it, having only brushed my teeth (since getting up) two hours ago. Two of my best friends turn thirty tomorrow. I'm not wishing to go back in time (although that would be fun), though I'm thinking of ("some", crucially) of it wistfully. But I am really looking forward to when we're together again, maybe in our mid-thirties, like the SATC girls, with all of the knowledge and epiphanies that will make us better people and better friends (I had more to learn than any of them), drinking cocktails made with less and better alcohol than we used to use, dressed in more and looking a million times better for it, and hopefully not having to put fingers down each others' throats at any point during the night.

I really want to post THIS version of THIS song but record companies blah blah blah so...

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