06 January 2011

Bearing fruit

I had a lovely childhood.  No, really.  I was an only child of intelligent, cosmopolitan parents who shared a strong love of home and the simple but good things of life.

Things changed, as things do.  My father achieved a certain level of management which allowed him to feel it was time to move to a larger house.  We went from a comfortable, sweet two-bedroom (plus one for the staff) in the foothills to a four bedroom (plus five for the staff) in a very posh part of town.  That was depressing enough, but more than that was changing.  On the television, for example:  instead of entertainment based on talent, it became based on shock and lewd behavior.  Example:  Ed Sullivan and the Beatles (and others).  Laugh-In.  Etc.

There started to be a brittleness about the way women dressed and behaved, and a kind of poverty in architecture and furnishings as streamlining gave way to a kind of arch simplicity.  Women's brassiere cups were pointed, their hair was teased, and fashionable dresses were sheaths.  Just about everybody smoked, and those who could afford it drank regularly.  It was in that milieu that Hugh Hefner established the Playboy lifestyle.

One of the key drivers of the new louche way of living was the Pill.  Chemical contraception would free women (read:  men) from the fear of pregnancy.  If there was no danger of pregnancy, then why wait to be married before having sex?

It was supposed to be wonderful, a new and free way to live without the burden of the consequences of sex hanging over the proceedings.  Feminism told women to be assertive, independent, attentive to self instead of to others.  Somewhere along the line, the freedom from men's oppression was interpreted to mean that women should be able to be as raunchy and uncontrolled about their sex lives as the worst of men had always been.

So, let's review:  in the 60s, certain women - "feminists" - told themselves and whoever'd listen that men were keeping them as practically concubines, imprisoned in their houses with nothing to do but watch the children and clean, etc., so they "liberated" women to, eventually, become as freewheeling as the unmarried men.

Fast forward to now.  Remember Hugh Hefner?  There was a time in the late 70s when his "bunnies" were looked upon with contempt by feminists, before women decided that it was "liberating" to be sexually "free."

Here is what it's like to live the life of freedom in the Playboy mansion today.

The "freedom" that started all this was the prevention of pregnancy.  How many of those young women would prefer to have a loving husband and a family?  How many of them haven't even thought of it?  After all, the free women are the ones who own their sexuality, right?

I would suggest that true happiness lies in a different direction:  that of knowing what a treasure one's sexuality really is, and using it to forge, and maintain, a lifelong bond with a dear husband.  That means sharing one's sexuality appropriately, both with the husband and with the children, by modeling the feminine role in the way appropriate to each one's place in the family.  I suggest, only.  YMMV.

But I do know this:  for too long it has been thought "daring" and "brave" to jump into bed with someone you don't really know and with whom you have no intention of having a lifelong relationship.  It isn't daring.  Daring is getting to know a man really well before exchanging vows, and exchanging vows before going to bed with him.  That's really brave.  If you want to be downright reckless, be open to new life from the very first night.  The interesting thing is, those encounters between two people, who took the time and care to get to know and love one another well enough that they were ready to marry beforehand, can be inexpressibly sweet and fun and relaxed, in a way that a "free" relationship can never be.

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