Leave it to Eddie

One kind of fun thing that happened recently is that XUP Jr. fell madly and passionately in love – the kind of mad, passionate, all-consuming love generally only experienced by teenagers.

Do you remember your teenage love? The one you were so sure you were going to grow old with? The one with whom you planned your future together — a future where anything was possible. The one you shared all your hopes and dreams with. The one you felt so secure with and so sure of? The one who (and I quote XUP Jr.) “makes the whole world seem like such a much better place.”

I was beginning to wonder if she ever would experience this. She’s 18 now and so far, the boyfriends she’s had were all very casual. Here today, gone tomorrow. No big deal.

 But not this one. This one is “it” apparently. The one. No doubts whatsoever. She’s completely besotted with him and he with her. They are going to spend the rest of their lives together, they tell me.

I call him Eddie because he reminds me of Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver– but in a good way. He doesn’t look like Eddie Haskell and as far as I know he isn’t a little creep when adults aren’t around. But he is always very chatty and polite and tries really, really hard to please. Really hard. He desperately wants me to like him. Although, before the election, he did throw caution to the winds and tell me very ernestly:

“I don’t know what your politics are, but I just wanted you to know that I will never vote Conservative. I don’t know if that changes your opinion of me or not, but I thought I should put it out there.”

Then he looked really worried.

Do I  look like a Harperite or something? Sheesh. I was torn between slapping him for thinking I might be a Tory and adopting him on the spot.

Because Eddie would make a good son. When he eats here, not only does he clear his dishes, he clears the whole table, washes the dishes, dries them and puts them away AND tidies up the entire kitchen. Once he even cleaned XUP Jr.’s room while she was in the bathroom having a shower.

I’m sure he would vacuum for me every week if I asked him to — or maybe even if I didn’t ask and the place just  looked like it could do with a bit of a hoovering.

I had to find a YouTube clip of Leave it to Beaver to show the both of them since neither of them knew who Eddie Haskell was. Eddie’s not quite sure if the comparison is meant to be a compliment or not. I told him to stop worrying and that as long as XUP Jr. likes him and he was good to her, he could relax and just be himself.

He said he was being himself. (I’m going to make damn sure he knows where the vacuum cleaner is kept). He also very solemnly assured me that he would always treat my daughter well and that he thinks she is the most amazing person he has ever known.

Coincidentally, he’s going to university in Toronto in the fall, too. I don’t know what would have happened if they had to separate. They’ll be apart for most of the summer as it it, except for occasional weekend visits. I expect there will be a lot of pining (and skyping) going on.

I like Eddie. He’s very nice and smart and very genuine with just the right amount of old-fashioned ingenuousness.

And I kind of hope they do stay together forever (and not just for the excellent house-keeping benefits).

I think there’s a lot to be said for finding your true love when you’re young. It’s got to be better than serial dating for 20 years and becoming all bitter and jaded and finally just settling for someone with as much or more baggage as you because you’re freaking out about the possibility of dying alone, right?

First Kiss

His name was Tim and he lived on a neighbouring farm. Our house and his family’s house shared a drive lane, so we’d see each other coming and going. We’d also see each other waiting for our respective school buses at the end of our road and occasionally while working together in an orchard or at market.

We were 13 and I had a big crush on Tim. He was very shy so we hardly ever spoke, so I don’t really know what he thought about me.

One evening a bunch of us were hanging around the back field – he and I and his siblings, my siblings, his friends and my friends. Egged on by his friends, he offered to take me for a ride on his dirt bike. Thrilled to bits, I went.

He stopped the bike in the middle of a peach orchard, out of ear and eye-shot of the gang back in the field. We got off the bike. “What now,” I thought. Before I could finish the thought, he grabbed me, and without further ado pushed his face onto mine and rammed his spit-slippery tongue down my throat.

Stunned, I pushed him off me so hard that he tripped and fell over his bike knocking both himself and his bike into the dirt.

“What the hell?” I yelled vigorously scrubbing my mouth with the back of my hand and spitting a couple of times. “Shit!” I added, and for good measure, kicked a clump of dirt in his direction. Then I stomped off toward home.

He ran after me, puzzled, apologetic. “I thought you liked me?”

So anyway, that was my first boy-girl kiss that wasn’t part of some spin-the-bottle type game where lips barely met. It also marked the end of my crush on Tim. We never kissed again, but we did become sort of neighbourly friends over the years and were able to laugh at what an ass he was that day.

The first kiss in any relationship is so memorable and important. It really can make or break a fragile, new coupling. It has to be timed right; pressure and saliva levels have to be just right; the length of the kiss has to be carefully coordinated – break off too soon and someone feels rejected…carry on too long and someone gets creeped out. And you have to figure out what to do with the rest of your body: Where do you put your hands? How close do you stand? Do genital areas touch? Which direction do the noses go? Tongues: yes or no? Eyes open or closed? Should teeth be involved? Have you eaten anything in the last 48 hours that could be passing on a revolting after-taste?

It’s a minefield, boy oh boy. How did we humans ever decide kissing was a romantic thing to do?

It’s not even a universal human thing to do. It’s not genetic. It’s really Western cultures that got into this whole romantic kissing thing – and only quite recently.

In Sub Saharan African, Asiatic, Polynesian, Native American and Australian cultures for example, kissing was unheard of in the romantic sense until European and Western colonization. As late as the Middle ages even in Western countries romantic kissing was considered mainly an act for the refined upper classes.

In many cultures, like in the animal world, sniffing each other was an indication of affection. Science has shown that we are most attracted to the smell of sweat from people whose immune system is most different from our own (So, with whom we are likely to produce the healthiest children). As well:

Kisses pass epigenetic pheromones that are important for human health and behavioral appetites. Kissing is implicated in the pathogenesis of sociopathy, mental illness, and autoimmune disease. The non-volatile skin surface and mucosal surface lipids that are passed in kissing have some of the greatest chemical complexity of any pheromone.

I don’t know exactly what all that means, but it’s mighty impressive so I wanted to include it. It also makes me wonder why kissing wasn’t part of our original genetic behaviour. Doesn’t it make you wonder that, too?

And speaking of amazing kissing facts, try and guess which language has the most words for kissing? To help you out, you should know that the Japanese apparently kiss less often than any other culture; with East Indians running a close second. Also 10% of the world’s population still place no importance on kissing at all. And,  the Glasgow Kiss is the least romantic kiss of all since it consists  of head butting.

Give up? If you guessed the French as having the most words for kissing you’d be close – they have words for 20 different types of kisses. But the big and astonishing winner is the Germans – with words for 30 different types of kisses!

The word, Nachkussen, for instance means a kiss to make up for kisses that have been forgotten or overlooked. It’s been said that “having a name for kisses that don’t exist is testament to German thoroughness”. Ja Deutschland!

PS: Eventually, I did manage to have an actual and nice first kiss with a nice boy I dated for over 2 years. We did an incredible amount of practicing and got pretty good at it. 

A Day of Romances

Morning Romance

Walking to work. On the path ahead is a small fawn. It doesn’t move as I approach; only looks at me curiously. I’m close enough to reach out my hand, inches from its muzzle. It sniffs my hands curiously. After a wonderfully mezmerizing few moments, I tear myself away and walk on.  As I walk,  I turn around to wave good-bye.  I’m startled to see the fawn right behind me.

I stop. It stops.

“Go back into the woods,” I whisper softly. It just stands there looking at me with those fawn eyes.

I turn and walk briskly onwards. And there’s the fawn, trotting next to me, looking up at me. Those eyes. Those irresistible eyes. I stop and think….nah…Bazel will never let me bring it home.

Then, while I’m thinking, the fawn tucks his face under my arm and nuzzles my jacket.  I grit my teeth.  I know I have to be tough.

I yell and wave my arms frantically. The fawn gallops away into the woods. I sigh.

Noon Romance

I’m running the trail at lunchtime and pass a Canada Post truck parked awkwardly in a secluded area. Strange noises are coming from within. “It couldn’t be,” I tell myself with a shake of the head. I keep going.

Half an hour later, on the way back, the truck is still there. I see a man and a woman, both in disheveled Postal uniforms emerging from the back of the truck. They are carrying mail sacks. They are flushed and happy looking. I smile at them. (But make a mental note to handle my mail with gloves for the next few days)

Evening Romance

Waiting at the bus stop. A forty-something public servant-type man is standing next to me murmuring into a cell phone. His voice is is filled with love and reassurance.

“Hey, you got the herpes, so what? Don’t worry, so do I.”

I step a little farther away from him.

OK, so Saturday’s Valentine’s Day…

st-valentineEvery February 14th I am inundated with gifts from a host of secret and overt admirers and I really need it to stop because the gifts I’ve been getting are just not finding their way to my heart.

(Excuse me while I grab the fire extinguisher to quell the inferno that is my pants)

But seriously, Valentine’s Day, whatever its freakishly pseudo-religious and/or Hallmarkish origins are, has got to be the most bizarre “holiday” in the calendar year.

Yes, of course love is wonderful, wherever it may strike. Love is what makes us human. Love makes the world go around. Love makes it all worthwhile.

So, yes, love  should be celebrated by everyone all the time. 

But an international day of forced love and romance? Most peculiar. Because if the romance and expressions of love aren’t there the other 364 days of the year, is this day going to make a huge difference because you exchanged heart-shaped boxes of chocolates from the local drug store? And, if the romance and love IS there, then every day is an expression of love and romance.

Awwwwww…. 

red_hearts1

Anyway, the other thing that’s weird about Valentine’s Day is that it’s mainly a fun thing for women. The onus and pressure is mostly on men to produce some hugely romantic gift and/or gesture. Many women do reciprocate with some expression of their own, but mostly it’s the guys who are in the Valentine’s hot seat. Blow this one and no sex for you for the rest of the year.

(How does Valentine’s work with same sex couples? I’m thinking most of them are too smart to get sucked into this hetero-Christian overabundance of red craziness, but I could be wrong. I often am.)

Yes, what do I know? I’m just a cynical old spinster.

I’ll tell you what I know, nobody – straight, gay, lesbian, male, female, trans, bi, single, married, cohabitating, newly involved, old, young or whatever,  wants some last minute token of  “The Day” bought at the supermarket or 7-11.  Have you seen the line-ups at your grocery store’s floral department at around 4:30 on February 14th?  I want to scream at them: “Are you guys insane? Oh sure, your woman might act pleased at those overpriced carnations, but you’ll be paying for it for the next 12 months. You may not know exactly why your underpants suddenly cause you unbearable itching and discomfort, but I guarantee you it can be traced back to your Valentine’s faux big-time pas.”

I think the secret to the perfect Valentine’s Day gift or gesture is to pay attention to your partner throughout the year. If you’ve been listening and paying attention you will know exactly what will make his or her day and/or if this is even a day he/she cares about. Really, don’t wait for February 14th to show that you’ve been listening and paying attention.

However, if you haven’t been listening and paying attention here are some things not to get: (unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is what she really, really, really wants).

  • Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates or any other crappy, sugary treat
  • Carnations
  • Red roses
  • Flowers or plants
  • A puppy
  • Sexy lingerie
  • Anything smelly including candles, soap, perfume and room deodorizers
  • Mixed tape/CD
  • Anything for the kitchen
  • Gift certificates (I could do a whole blog post on this one)
  • Clothes
  • Sex (unless you’ve hired Antonio Banderas for the evening)
  • The requisite overpriced Valentine’s restaurant dinner
  • A big, red card
  • An e-card
  • A boudoir portrait of yourself
  • Anything big, public and embarrassing
  • Any outlandish gesture you’ve seen in a movie or on TV
  • NOTHING (even if he/she says he/she doesn’t want anything)

As for what you should do for Valentine’s? I can’t help you. That’s the whole point. You know your beloved best – or you should. And then you’ll always know what will please her/him.

But as a general rule of thumb, you can’t really go wrong with a trip[1]. A trip says you’ve thought about this, you’ve done some planning, you know what sort of trip would really turn his/her crank and most importantly, you really want to spend time together.

Happy Romance. And yes, I really,really  want you to share your romantic and/or least romantic gift and/or gesture stories.


[1] A weekend or week or more away, just the two of you, whether it’s just out of town or at the other end of the world is a “can’t miss” gift for any time of the year.nsk246778

I Get My Comeuppance

About a year or so ago, I met local fellow blogger Zoom. We had things in common since we were both single gals of a certain age who liked to write stuff on the internet, so we met for breakfast once in a while and attended an event or two together and chatted by email once in a while in between.

A few months ago Zoom met a man; a very nice man, with whom she had an instant rapport and with whom she has almost everything in common. It was like a Hallmark Movie of the Week where, in the background, The Carpenters are singing Close to You while the viewer is treated to a montage of the happy couple skipping through fields of daisies; sipping cappuccino under the stars at intimate cafés; sitting in crowds of hippies listening to emotive folk singers; browsing quaint, out-of-the-way curio shops…

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you.
Nahhhhhhhhhhh,Nah, nah, nah, nahhhhhhhhhhhh close to yoooooooooooo.

Anyway, how do I know they did all these things? Because Zoom has blogged about them regularly. Complete with photos. I’m telling you, these two get around. They’ve done an amazing amount of stuff together in a short period of time. Their weekends are crammed with activity; their evenings sparkle with projects and programs. I learned about events and happenings in Ottawa I didn’t know existed anywhere in the universe. And the adventures don’t stop there — together they have encounters with colonies of wasps, gremlin neighbours, irate motorists, respective family members of various sorts and unfriendly, urinating cats.

So, the other day I happened to make an assumption that the man in Zoom’s life, (to whom she refers as GC), would be attending an event that she was attending. He, (jokingly) wondered why I would make that assumption and I pointed out that he’s been featured in almost every one of Zoom’s blog posts since he made an appearance on the scene (I may have also said something snarky about hip-fusion surgery).

In retaliation, Zoom has recounted this exchange on her blog, along with announcing her intention of mentioning me in her blog every day for the rest of the month, instead of him. This has resulted in some interesting comments from her readers along with some general mockery and clamorous hues and cries for the reinstatement of the GC blogposts.

I’m not sure she has enough fodder for that many blog posts about me and probably when she sees her readership drop off from boredom she’ll quit. Today, for instance she actually begged me to write the post for her! I did, but I made it really boring; about how I wash my face. That should put an end to all this nonsense. Her readers are there to read about her adventures with GC and Duncan, her gigantic cat, and about her derision of Larry O’Brien and about her advocacy for poverty issues; not me.

I freely admit I don’t understand this Zoom/GC sort of entwining of lives. I’ve never ever wanted to spend that much time with anyone, but I also know it’s a normal thing to do and that I’m the freak here. I’ve had best friends, very best friends, boon companions, roommates, coworkers and close relatives disappear off the face of the earth when romance entered their lives. I don’t get it when someone I spent time with every day, suddenly has no time at all anymore for anything esle, but that’s life. As my hairstylist once said to me, “Honey you can be her best friend in the world, but he can do something for her you can’t and that trumps everything. Move on.”

I don’t see Zoom any more or any less now than I ever did, and it’s astonishing and even almost magical that she’s met someone so simpatico; but I still can’t help shake my head in incomprehension over the cohesion factor. And I couldn’t help allowing that one snarky remark to escape my heretofore carefully bitten lips. And I guess I’ll be getting a lot of flak over that until the end of the month. Maybe.

zoom-and-gc