April 8, 2008

Culture shock of a peculiar kind

Last week was a little bit nuts for me. I had something (occasionally multiple things) going everyday, and I forget that my energy levels can still be pretty unpredictable. When I'm up I'm soaring, want to get everything done, trucking out to Home Depot for some plants I absolutely had to go buy that day, but then when I get home, beautiful portulacas in tow, I look around and say, "oh, dishes, bedroom, why did I spend all that energy running around?" Duh, it's more fun to pick out spring annuals than to hang up yesterday's laundry. The week concluded with a lovely lingerie shower for a very dear girl who's getting married in under two weeks. I don't know her very well, but her whole family are good friends with Allen's family. The mom actually did a lot to help with our wedding back in August 2006 and is one of the sweetest ladies I know. However, therein lies my culture shock. If you don't want to read plain musings on feminine sexuality then I suggest you stop right here 'cause that's what the rest of this post is going to be about...

Let me start of with an observation that struck me deeply. When Katy started opening her boxes and bags I made the joking remark "let's see if there's anything in there that will make her blush." By the end of the shower I felt I had been pretty ignorant to say anything of the kind. Lacy, tiny, sheer, black, white, short. As her grandmother put it, "some of those aren't for sleeping." Katy opened everything with undiguised pleasure and amusement -occasionally commenting how her fiancee had been quite excited to hear about this shower and how he must want to be a fly on the wall. Blenders and tupperware are all well in good in their place, but guys don't get married for a matching set of china. The real hitting point for me was when she opened up a gift from her grandmother. Apparently the two of them had gone shopping previously, and the gift Katy was opening represented her grandmother's final selection from among the various trifles they had perused together. I will add that this wise young wife-to-be admitted feeling a tad weird at first shopping thusly with her grandmother, but I don't think it lasted long because she pulled out a sheer, dainty confection that told me something about how Katy got be that radiant, joyful waiting bride exulting over her feminine finery. I looked around. Katy, her mom, her grandmother. I began to see that my remark earlier had only shown how far I still had to go because I began to see (as I should have known) that there was absolutely nothing there that should/would have made her blush. It was like my mother-in-law told me once when we went to pick lingerie for me "I'm a wife, and you're about to become one. It's ok." There's nothing to be ashamed of here. Sex is one of the blessings (and duties) of marriage, and children (daughters) should be made to understand not only the probibitions against it's misuse but also the vast pleasures that await its lawful use. Unfortunately there are some many moms who don't think that way. Katy's mother and grandmother were obviously eager too see she had everything she needed for her marriage, and part of that meant nice lingerie. To me it spoke volumes of the wisdom of that family in preparing each sucessive generation for the vast mystery of sex. There. Bluntly said. All of us women there, married and single alike, had come to celebrate the marriage bed and the joyous lovemaking that should occur there. In preparing herself for her husband she had everything to exult over and no reason to blush. Neither did she have any reason for bravado. The marriage bed isn't a dare. It's honorable, and there's no more reason to swagger over having been there (or expecting to be there) than there is to swagger over driving within your own lane. Unfortunately for me I never got that sort gut level understanding of marriage, and some of my shrinking before marriage turned into a sense of bravado afterwards which, like the shrinking, is centered around the idea that there is something either to shrink from or to dare. And the shivering center of that idea is shame. I've felt this sentiment myself and heard it echoed in others -lawful embraces make me feel something of a slut. Good girls aren't interested in such things. The fast one's are. If I really enjoy the physical pleasure of my husband's embraces it must mean that I really have something of the slut about me. But of course it's the opposite. It's the fast women who are aping the true pleasures of marriage and not the other way around. Unfortunately too many dear women have gotten it all wrong, and are teaching their children (especially their daughters) all wrong, which then starts another marriage off wrong...Praise God I had the sense to seek counsel and had some good friends who were able to point me in the direction of true peace and happiness. Praise God as well that He's brought me so far from where I was. Still...a group of women, some in mom's generation or older, naturally and joyously heralding another woman's journey into wifehood...I found it startling and beautiful. I began to grasp things about genteel, feminine womanhood I'd never realized before. Mostly, though, it challenged my ideas about mothers.

2 comments:

Loren said...

ok that was a cool post. :)

Trina said...

Natalie, I enjoyed another of your thoughtful and well written musings, and admired your ability to address such deep and sensitive topic.