Tuesday, April 24, 2012

50 SHADES EFFECTS - Women who Inspired me to Write This - PART II




When I was a kid, my mother wouldn’t take me to the tea parties no matter how much I cried and whined; she’d always get a baby-sitter. She first started taking me to those when I was a tween. She said very clearly to me, “sweetheart, time to learn the nuts and bolts of being a woman,” and smiled. You see the way she was raised, sex, and intimacy and other things that we commonly associate single people doing today and somehow assume that the married people never do were reserved for married couples- if you don't believe me turn on the comedy channel and listen to men making fun of the women in their lives how they're not getting any - (I’m amazed married people are able to produce children if that aspect was never happening).

So, her girl time, which was once a week either at a friend’s house, or at ours always had these girls meeting that had salacity but around the tea cups and their little art works they were working on, or some other craft. My mother’s friends would talk about getting caps for the twins when us kids were around. And the other women would ask the purchaser how the owner of the twins liked the new lacy caps (later I learned that person of interest would be the husband), and the conversation would go on as such. I also learned that they were talking about the newest bras.  They in fact invented a whole language that they could carry a completely sexually laden conversation without kids knowing what they were talking about. I learned the language when my mom took me into the “nuts and bolts” tea party, and I’ve been fluent in it since I was a tween.

In American society it’s a bit different. Some parents are too strict, some are too lax, some are indifferent. Some parents are able to talk about these aspects of a couple even around the dinner table. My mom who grew up in this “tea party” (not the political one, but the social where her mother taught her that woman was to look pretty to her man, be a cook in the kitchen, tiger in the bedroom, and a lady on the street in her husband’s arm, and mom at other times – ok, don’t get your panties in a bunch! I’m merely making a distinction as that was how my grandmother raised her five girls and those are values my mother tried to pass on and these tea parties enforced that on weekly basis…)
Though you may find what my grandmother was teaching her girls as something (pretty wife, exceptional cook, sex kitten, and the lady bit) archaic, and the irony isn’t lost when I read reviews on “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy calling it “Mommy porn” as if mommies aren’t allowed to have sex, and that is something disgusting! Then I feel that my grandmother was a lot more modern those idiots.
I have one small expression for those who calls these books “mommy porn” - this little birdie: 

Though I don’t know if They would know what to do with that seeing as how They can’t distinguish porn from a romance novel. However, I’m sure there is an instruction manual SOMEWHERE for them to skim over…
I now feel that my grandmother and my mother and all their friends were quite modern. Because in those tea parties, they passed us, their girls, future women, wives, girlfriends something invaluable: The art of being a woman and being exceptional at it!  
All those women were able to rationalize sex with their husbands, in fact glorified it, and women were getting tips from each other every frigging week while on the surface they were having tea, pastries, passing recipes, or swapping clothing styles.  What you are learning from Cosmopolitan, Glamor, Allure, Elle, Curve, Ebony, In Style, Life & Style, Vogue, Oxygen, Parenting, Woman’s Own, Women’s Weekly, Belle were all bundled in one within those tea parties. You see these women glorified being a virgin on your wedding night, and taught the art of being a woman to the future women. One would ask how would you know what to do if you knew nothing i.e. being good at intimacy if you’ve never had sex? See what you can learn and be a pro at the tea parties? At least in theory. Now Cosmo and Vogue spells it out for you to check out conveniently at your local grocery store.
Here’s a true story… One of the daughters of my mother’s friend got married. And there is another tradition they hold. Literal translation would be: “day after bridehood”.  This is a party that is held the day after the said young woman consummates her marriage with her new husband. The bride goes to the hair salon, gets hair makeup the whole thing, and dresses up in her party clothes. They have musicians at home; other women all get dolled up, and have a dinner party. I always wanted to go to one of these, and my mom wouldn’t take me to any. What would you compare to that? Let me think… Hmmm.
 Let’s say that you’re a high school student, and you’ve had teachers who taught you all that you’re supposed to learn, and you’ve taken your SATs and are admitted to Harvard. (Of course an ordinary husband would hardly be compared to Harvard (some are just community colleges, and what some of those schools are offering may just be the completely wrong major for you, but I digress), unless it’s Christian Grey I suppose – then it’s Harvard, Sorbonne and Cambridge all bundled in oneJ).  The day after your first *initiation* at Harvard they hold a party. It’s sort of like “Welcome to womanhood party”.  I realize that it’s glorifying being a woman, and all that entails that makes us women. It’s better than being initiated to womanhood at your prom where you know nothing, and have horrible memories to remember, and then there is being advised by experts and get the best possible education. Isn’t that what the psychologist and doctors, and family therapist keep telling parents anyway? Have that sex talk with your kids… If you only do it once, and leave it to the school to teach them the rest, or worse, leave it to the inadequate and horny teenagers whose been eyeing your young daughter to give a crash course on the facts of life, how would that girl learn the value of being a woman? I’m proud to be a woman even though I am admittedly the most prude among my girlfriends (they’ll all tell you that).

My mother was invited to this young woman’s party and she called this older neighbor to babysit me, and I was whining because I wanted to see the pretty bride. The ancient lady finally couldn’t take my whining and said, “What the hell do you want to see there? Where her hickies are? That’s what they’re gonna look at, and talk about how she met the one eyed snake!” to my mother’s horrified ears. Suffice to say, my mother thought it was safer for me to go to party than to stay with the old coon. After that she never left me home, and I went to all her tea parties every week.
Now that I’m in my 30s, I go to these parties every week if I have time, usually every other week, or once a month if I’m too busy. I get a lot of my writing material from them. Think of it going out drinking with your girlfriends – can’t take your kids to the bar. See my girlfriends are either married or in a steady relationship. And there is more than Earl Grey tea in our parties (which is what I drink). And my friends are professional women. They may be your bank managers, or head of your PTA, or your sales clerk at your favorite boutique, or engineers, or even doctors. Some of them sip their margaritas, or white or red wine by the poolside and the talk is the same though the environment has changed from my childhood.
After my best friend’s hasty visit last week (who happens to be a military wife, and incidentally this is an all-girls event, so she sends her husband out – meaning he goes to a baseball game or football game with his buddies. See win-win situation. We learn a lot, have fun, and the husbands get guy time on their own) she hand delivered her invitation to me with a stern warning that I’m required there.  So I went.
My friends cooked a lot of food, salads, pastries (they go all out in those parties), and serve drinks etc. I gotta tell you something. When my girlfriends get together, they’ve no shame! None at all! I love them for it, but I’m the most reserved, most prude in their words. Since the weather is freakishly hot in Arizona, it was 106 yesterday in April for God’s sake, we sometimes hold the party by my best friend’s pool. Another friend of ours who lost a lot of weight recently was showing us where she lost the most weight. You guessed it: her boobs. Ok, imagine for a minute… My best friend who hardly ever wears a bra (but she has the boobs to do that really well), this other friend whom I love dearly had no bra either that day. My best friend who has no shame among her girlfriends, came to this other friend (I’ll call her Amy) who was showing how her boobs kinda got deflated after weight loss her shirt pulled up by the pool. My best friend goes over there, picks one of the boobs right on the areola kind of shakes it like a half deflated balloon while the owner of the said boob picks the other one up to my completely mortified eyes!

My best friend says to her, “Amy, you really need to visit my plastic surgeon!” Demonstrating the deflated boobs via picking the skin up, she says with a straight face, “We need to fill these girls up!” I kid you not! My jaw must have dropped to the floor. My best friend comes to me and says, “You gotta grow up honey! You’re always shocked to see women being comfortable. Amy really needs help. Granted she has no husband, she’ll never get one with those deflated parts!” Then she amends herself looking at Amy, “not that you’re looking for one dear!”
Always the diplomat in me says, “They don’t look that bad!” But my friend goes, “Honey, we have to be honest with her! They do look bad and she needs help desperately!” Amy nods in agreement. "That's why I'm showing them to you guys. I need to get them fixed!" she says. My best friend gives me her signature "I told you so!" look. 

“What you need are these”, my best friend says and shows her well-endowed newly manicured breasts. Another friend says, “come close, let me see.” And my best friend, I’ll call her Faye (since I don’t know if she wants to be known around the world) shows them to Mel’s scrutinizing visual examination. “They look awesome! I might get that doctor’s number from you,” Mel says.  I shake my head.
Faye turns to me and says, “Stop being a prude! We’re all women around here. Imagine we went to a Roman or a Turkish bath. This is what you will see around. Bunch of boobs and occasional ass!” We all double in laughter.
"Imagine your husband Ron grabbing his best buddy’s *manhood*” I say significantly, “and say, ‘so buddy, you’re unable to get this piece up. You can protect, but you couldn’t serve, and can’t salute the captain!’ What would you do? I don’t know if grabbing Amy’s boob is any different. 

Ever the "I know my mind and can't be persuaded on this matter" woman my best friend said this, and it really made sense, “I only do this among my girlfriends – (remember lady in the street rule). If you can’t ask or share your problems with your best friends, who would you share it with? A shrink you pay for who ends up packing you going after his 45 minutes are up? Or some stranger? We’re friends. In a way, we’re already exposed. We have husbands,” and looked at two friends and amended, “and boyfriends. We need to be able to share these things. If your friends can’t be open with you and helpful to you, is there even a point to having friends? If I care about Amy, I have to tell her my honest opinion, because I want her to be happy, and she isn’t with what she got.” Amy nodded in agreement.

And they’re just boobs for God’s sake! You nursed, I nursed, we all did. After your kids grab your boob, saying ‘mommy I’m hungry’ in the middle of a crowded grocery store line mortifying you, there is really no point in hiding it from you girls! So somewhere between the pregnancies, going to the doctor and showing my ass every month till I got those kids out to my OBGYN and his nurse, incidentally half the hospital staff comes and takes a peak at your unglamored ass when you're giving birth and there’s not a thing you can do about it and they poke and prod your body and” remembering her recent mammogram “squeeze your boobs into pancakes at the doctor’s lab by some guy I’ve never met, I sort of lost my shame,” she said smiling.  You’re my friends. I’ve no shame when I’m with my friends. I’m still a lady when I get out of my door. It’s different for a man. They don’t have to get pregnant, have swollen boobs with milk, and have mood swings once a month, and nurse. We’re women.” She said, and that’s the point. We’re women.
Then both Amy, Faye, along with the total of eight women in the party turned their heads looking at me expectantly to whom I said: "Don't look at me! I'm not flashing you guys anything! I reserve my right to be the prude of the group." They all laughed in unison as they knew I was mortified. They know how to push my buttons very well indeed.
In the end, what some critics call “mommy porn” is simply part of being a woman, and enjoying the state of womanhood. If you don’t want your woman to enjoy that part of her natural being, perhaps she should not be in your life. Celibacy after all is not part of what we call “marriage.” See what you learn at the tea parties?
On top of that we even discuss politics, travels, restaurants, work-outs, books (incidentally 50 Shades is in the top of the list), and what you heard above is only a minor part of these parties. Simply women being women: unashamed. Next time you think that sex is reserved for singles, just remember that there are other women who are married and doing so much more than motherhood. In fact, when I’m writing my upcoming chapters for the 50 Shades Fan Fiction, some of the girls agreed to participate the experiments I might assign them to report on the results so I can write as close to real life as possible. But then again, we (at least those in my book club) know that we're descendents of women who socialized around the Roman baths, Greek baths and Turkish baths and thousands of years of traditions of women supporting women in all things feminine. But there are modern counterparts to this age old tradition. They're called "spas, bars, clubs" but those include too many strangers. Our setting is sort of friendlier, no strangers, no outsiders, just good friends who are smart well educated professionals, women, wives, moms, girlfriends. The most exclusive club in town. Gotta love tea parties…

(Thank you for stopping by and reading. Feel free to leave a comment)