Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Power of Fiction

Well, I had my first peanut-butter-and-green-olive sandwich the other day. That's a direct result, as you'd know if you'd been paying attention (and you know who you are), of a fictitious creature, Stephanie Plum. The comingling of tastes and textures wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. Nonetheless, I had another one the next day because I didn't have any of my usual toppings handy. Jan, who cannot comment at this blog because of a hopefully temporary technology deficiency, told me that chopped green onions is also a fine peanut butter addition.

I have rooibos tea over there in my tea caddy, too, because of fiction. It's drunk by Mma Ramwotse in Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency series. Because I love her, I needed to try her tea. I like it. I don't know that I shall ever love tea of any sort. Although (or because?) Mma Ramwotse lives in Botswana, she drinks hers hot. I prefer mine cold. It refreshes even better than water on a sweltering Florida afternoon.

Speaking of which, my coffee pot just gurgled its readiness. I'm drinking more than my share today because I just bought a new supply of freshly ground beans and the fragrance insists that have just another cup. Or two.

I started shaving again because of fiction, and I quit shaving again because of fiction.

I saw my first unshaven female arm pit in the summer of 1973. My roommate's sister showed up from Kansas all natural and healthy and hippiesque and hairy. I loved it. I thought it was the height of femininity, although I am well aware that my culture is staring at me bug-eyed with disbelief, as are perhaps some of my Followers.

I quit shaving my pits but I kept shaving my legs. I didn't much wear sleeveless tops anyhow and I didn't have the courage to let my leg hair grow.

So, pit hair 1973 St. Cloud, Minnesota ... yadda yadda yadda ... pit hair 1987 St. Petersburg, Florida. Please note that both cities are saintly cities. Coincidence?

I was in my bathtub, reading The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, who only died this past January. There's a hippie witch in the story, a woman who doesn't shave. Updike said this was a "challenge to men."

Goodness! I have enough trouble with men! I don't want to make everything worse by having pit hair! So I shaved it. Yes I did.

Yeah. Let's not pause even for a moment to wonder who this Updike is or why I should believe him against my own self. Yeah. Let's not look back on our own history and see that most of my lovers liked it or ignored it. Only one disparaged it and his name really was Dick. (Still is, I'm sure.)

Two or three years later, I decide to revisit an Updike novel, one of the Rabbit ones, and behold! Rabbit is watching his wife get out of the shower. He's intrigued by the beauty, tenacity, and fragility of one lone drop of water sweetly clinging to -- what? Dear god! it's swinging from her pit hair like a gorilla in the jungle (if you want to believe Dick but, really, why would you?).

I spent some time being indignant with John Updike. I wanted to write a scathing letter to him, blasting him for his, his ... um, because he, uh ...

It took me way too long to figure out that John Updike wasn't the one to blame. As always, like the poor sot in Margaritaville, it was my own damned fault.

Well, that pit hair in the shower thing at least got me keeping the razor out of my arm pits again, but it was some time later before I gave up shaving altogether.

I was racing off to work. It was near the end of 1993, so I had long pants on, but I was wearing sandals. I was just about out my door when I stopped dead. Had I shaved today? Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Such a panic. My god, if I hadn't shaved my legs in a MONTH, you'd still only have maybe an inch of ankle to figure it out. I was totally disgusted with my concern. Who's got time for such pettiness? (Well, I do, of course, but my pettiness shows up in other venues.)

So I swore off shaving and I've been committed to it since that day.

I dated a man from Dominica for a bit. He said making love to hairless American women was like making love to girls. He shuddered. It made him feel like a pedophile. Bodily hair, after all, is part of the whole secondary sexual characteristics package.

And guess where pheromones live.

1 comment:

xzentricity43 said...

I share your Dominican beau's sentiments concerning women's grooming habits. Granted, there's no accounting for taste.