a woman is…something else, something whose meaning I’ll have to create
for myself as I go along. Here, let me find out by telling it my way...
And sure enough, the stories that these women told me follow the erotic
plot lines of neither the old fashioned Hugh Hefner version of sexual
revolution, nor the retro feminist account. In these stories there are
neither sluts nor victims, but determined authors of their own
biographies, intent – as so many women, I found, had been long before we
or our mothers were born – on forging, finally, a new philosophy of
Wolf in “Promiscuities – A secret history of female desire.”
day is an anticlimax. It either leaves us blue or bitter over lost love,
or fills us with unresolved yearning. It forces us to reexamine our
relationship with men (will it be a good year for the roses?) and our
continual mutual bewilderment with the opposite sex over the fact that
talking – communicating, rarely untangles our crossed wires because
words, mean different things to men and women. Men are uncomfortable with
emotion and retreat to reason. Women are in tune with emotion, and
recognize that reason is just an aspect of intelligence, although the
phrase “emotional intelligence” has been gaining ground recently among
moment facing our generally much loved partner/husband in the dimmed
restaurant across the dinner table loses its frission perhaps because it
is so clichéd or contrived and we’ve seen the scene played out already
in too many cheaply done newspaper ads.
there is the whole performance. It takes such effort, what with the war
paint, and the anxiety that perhaps we don’t quite look the part of the
beautiful desired woman in the ad; and the man with whom you are normally
so free and easy, suddenly wears a tight smile across his face, and you
respond thinking ‘God I wish there was a script for manufactured
we gratefully at the end of the night, smear Ponds to remove the makeup,
slip out of the uncomfortable little black dresses into faded cotton
pajamas with relief, pick up a book and vow to ourselves not to fall for
this rubbish again. But we do.
do Women want? It’s the ultimate question for Valentines day.
you’re a man and you really want to know. This:
want to be absolutely bloody adored with extravagance, not necessarily of
pocket but of spirit.
the hell, if you’re being extravagant and doing roses, make it in
dozens, make sure they are fragrant, let their petals make carpets on the
floor, sheets on the bed.
us (if we like the sun) to smolder in hot spring baths in St Lucia, and if
we prefer to be cozy, to a little place in Warsaw, and we’ll hold hands
and visit the holocaust museum there and return to a little hotel with a
fireplace and watch the snow silently falling through the window.
to earth. Find a babysitter, fill the house with music and laughter, smear
a mud mask on our face, gently wash it off, make up a basket of bread,
cheese, red-wine, grapes, (We’ll spit the pips at one another) and have
a sybaritic feast on the floor.
do women really want?
that money buys are often consolation prizes.
want to be seen.
want you to see beyond the caking mascara, beyond the tired eyes, beyond
the dress that may not fit just right, behind a young, or fat, or
beautiful or aging face, beyond a desirable body or aging body.
want you to see the fabric of our souls.
want you to see our courage when we smile through tears, and get ready to
battle again; see the love with which we hug our parents; see the child in
us when we skip to the front door with our daughters; see our compassion,
although its not necessarily sexy, see the teenager in us when we blast
music in the car; see the tenacity when we work against time; see the
stretch marks, one for each child, see the dreams in our furrowed brows,
be it to open our own businesses, or travel, or do that degree.
it and acknowledge it in poetry, or prose. We don’t care if it rhymes.
Which woman doesn’t want to be poetry, even as she washes the dishes?
there is a time for gestures, Valentines is it. This is why I want to
share this poem I was given recently written by Russian Poet Marina
Tsvestayeva (1892-1941). It captures the essential yearning that goes with
loving someone, a twilight fog, through which a white light shines, where
time and space are immaterial. It’s untitled.
like to live with you In some small town, In never-ending twilight And the
endless sounds of bells. And in the little town’s hotel – The thin
chime of an antique clock, Like little drops of time. And sometimes,
evenings, from some attic room, A flute, A flute-player by a window And
huge tulips at the windows. And if you didn’t love me, I wouldn’t even
today may be determined authors of our own biographies, refusing to fall
into stereotypes of slut or victim, but we haven’t stopped believing in