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Benign Sexuality

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I probably addicted to Dictionary.com. If you can see any harm to that, please let me know. I’m actually pretty comfortable with it. I mean, yeah, it’s nerdy. But trust me; it beats some of the other potential addictions I keep zipped up tight. If repression begets chewed fingernails, too much peanut butter, and an inordinate number of visits to an academic web site, I’m doing just fine.


Which leads me to my title. This particular word combination, benign sexuality, flooded my head the other day after a flirtatious session of verbal banter with a male other than my husband. In the past, these encounters left me with a nice spring in my step. But this time, I felt deflated. Old. No, more than old … Benign. I’ve used this word in other contexts, so to confirm the use in this case, I looked it up on my new favorite web site. Benign: having little or no detrimental effect; harmless. And then, Sexuality: sexual character or potency. Yep, my friend Dictionary.com bluntly confirmed how I felt in an e-nutshell.


Upon further ridiculous analysis of this encounter and resulting deflation, I admitted to myself I’m more uncomfortable with aging than I realized. FINE … I’ll swallow that horse pill. But Gosh Darn it! There are certain generally flirtatious people out there who are just plain dangerous to those of us with fragile egos.


Thank gawd I live in Richmond. My in-laws live in Atlanta, often referred to as “Hotlanta.” During our last visit, I picked up a copy of Atlanta magazine and started paging through. I think I discovered the real meaning behind the nickname. It seemed every other advertisement was for a very specific plastic surgery, and we’re not talking nose jobs. I just have to say … if all those surgeons are enjoying a busy practice, and thousands of Hotlanta’s vaginas have been youthfully rejuvenated … there’s a good chance Atlanta is burning to the ground for the second time.

Here in Richmond, the only public place we say the word vagina out loud is in the doctor’s office, and even then, you’d better be at your Ob/Gyn. Most of the time that decorum feels limiting, but in this case, Halleluiah! Because if pressure to perfect was in my face so blatantly, I’m afraid I’d have a plastic surgeon on speed dial. My children would grow up to tell stories to their shocked therapists about their mother spending all their college funds in order to surgically hike her buttocks up to the height of her hair extensions.


But back to those with a wink and a smile for everyone they meet. These people have learned the art of flattery. They aren’t trying to run the bases with you. They are being nice. They are being friendly. (That is unless you look like Jennifer Anniston does at forty. If that’s the case, then stop reading this now and frankly, you can kiss my proverbial grits. Because those of us who’ve been flirted with like a little old lady in her finest Easter wear are in too much pain to play nice.) I do the mental dance of doubt each night after my battered bladder wakes me from my colorful dream life as a Conquering Seductress. I am tired! I need you flirtatious fools to take heed. Leave those of us teetering on the emotional high wire of our middle years alone to concentrate on trying to age with grace.


I know I’m not hitting a chord with everyone. There are women out there who are comfortable with aging and don’t have a vain bone in their body. Balanced, satisfied women do exist, and I admire them greatly. I’m just not one of them. I’m turning forty this year, and although I’ve heard forty is the new thirty … my leg veins aren’t getting the message. Feeling foxy would take a miracle in the form of George Clooney pinching my ass. But even then … sigh. I’d imagine my husband would be waiting right around the corner to slip him some cash.

There are all sorts of lasers and surgeries to aid a sad sort like me into Grandmahood, but I’m determined to suffer first. I’m quite proud to say I feel philosophically torn. I want to alter my brain, not my boobs! I want to evolve into someone whose beauty comes from inner peace, not frequent visits to a dermatologist. 

Blah, blah, blah. I wonder if Dictionary.com has a sister site that recommends surgeons … 



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