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Lesson from a Shoe Store

I accidentally had sex with an old lover today. It was as simple and uncomplicated as a sunny afternoon.


As I lay there splayed out in postcoital languour, I thought about a sign I had once seen in a shoe store: “you are most beautiful when you are comfortable.” I realized that I had come a long way, baby, since the me who had sex in my twenties. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, I would have *posed*, instead of lying around flopping any which way. I would have arranged myself as artfully as a dish from the French Laundry, and made sure it didn’t look like
I was doing it on purpose.

Every movement and every sound or silence would have been a clever cocktail concocted specifically for seduction, aiming to please, needing to show the man he was desired and loved, trying to do what I thought I was *supposed* to do. Trying to show the man what a good job he was doing and how much I appreciated his efforts. Wearing myself to a weary anxious frazzle working so hard to show the man how relaxed and aroused I was, thanks to his irresistible ministrations. Throwing so much effort into solidifying group harmony, I had almost no energy left to care about myself.

To hell with faking orgasms: most women have faked entire *relationships*. And they don’t even know they’re doing it, because they don’t know they have any other options.

I don’t miss the old ways.

I wish I could go around to high school Sex Ed classes and offer Guest Lectures. Because *real* sexual education is clearly not getting taught. Any idiot can figure out what part goes where. But girls need to hear some lone voice in the wilderness that will counteract all of society telling them they have to live for others.

What bullshit.

I can see myself in front of a blackboard, saying in slow and well-enunciated tones, perhaps asking the girls to repeat after me and then write out ten thousand times: “remember girls, the best way you can bring a man pleasure is to care about your own pleasure *first*.” That's what they should *really* be teaching in high school. What a different world we would live in! Full of free, happy, self-actualized women out living their own lives, instead of jumping into cages, locking the doors behind themselves, and throwing away the keys, then feeling good because they were doing what they were told (and thus ensuring social harmony).

Life is short and hard and full of shit and then it’s over. You can spend it inside a cage of others’ expectations, or you can live it. It is a fabulous gift of immeasurable beauty, but it’s up to us to allow it to be so.