I’m thinking about love.
I love Danny of course. I’m his mother. He’s part of me. He gives me joy and brightens my day, but even if he didn’t, I’d still give him everything he’d need. I’d still love him. I’m dedicated to him and his growth as a boy and someday as a man. I’d give anything for him. No questions. I want him to live a long, happy life, and I’ll do anything I can do to help him get that. That’s motherly love.
I’m not even sure what romantic love is. I read somewhere that before a person can say ‘I love you’ with conviction, they must first be able to say the ‘I’. It took me thirty-three years, but I think I’m finally learning who I am. I’m finally seeing myself for who I am and not seeing myself through the lens of the expectations of others. I’m finally able to truly say the ‘I’ in ‘I love you’ and mean it.
I am a woman who likes a strong, mature and considerate man. I like a man who treats me equal to a man not the same as a man. I want a protective man out in the world who has a soft heart in the home and a firm hand in the bedroom.
The firm hand is what has been making me wet. Anti-feminist? I don’t think so. Feminism is all about allowing women to be who they choose to be and being a woman who likes a firm hard—I’m learning—is who I am choosing to be. I couldn’t say this to Susan. She would have a fit. She would want to put me in the mold she learned in her junior year womyn’s studies class. It’s the mold I put myself in for several years. I thought I was happy. At least, I was told I should be happy. But I wasn’t.
God, how would Susan react if someone like Ben Sheppard put her over his knee, spanked her and fucked her with a dildo? Would she even let herself try to enjoy it? Would she scream assault? Or rape? I can see most women not enjoying it. The idea of giving a guy oral gives me the creeps. But a lot of women don’t mind going down on a guy. I think some women even enjoy going down on a guy. Back in the womyn’s studies department, giving a guy head was frowned on. You were reduced to a sexbot, they said. You were a victim of the patriarchy. They politicized blow jobs. But if a girl freely chooses to blow a guy or be tied down or even watch hard core porn and doesn’t mind it, that doesn’t make her anti-feminist in my book...not anymore.
I don’t want to go down on Ben Sheppard, but I did like it when Ben put his hand on my throat and when he spanked me. I liked it when he fucked me senseless first with that dildo then himself. I liked it when he teased my ass. I liked that he just took charge and did what he wanted with me.
But I also like that he is a good-hearted man and that I feel safe around him. I like that he takes care of me in little ways—buying me dinner or fixing my toilet. If someone mugged us, I know Ben would stand between me and the guy with the gun. I like that. That’s who I am.
I now know who ‘I’ am. It feels so good. I feel so confident now. This is who I am. This is what I like. This is what I want. But what about the ‘love’ in ‘I love you’? What is love?
I told Josh I loved him. I meant it. I’m sure he meant it when he told me he loved me. But he wasn’t the man for me, obviously. Since having Danny, I’ve come to realize love is a giving and a receiving. It’s helping the other person grow in whatever way they want. It’s also respecting who that person is because they share your values.
Josh never asked for anything and he never gave anything. Neither did I. I guess we were both selfish. We lived in the same house. We lead our own lives. We went out once a week and sometimes had friends over. That’s not a marriage. That’s being roommates. Truth be told, he wasn’t even a good roommate. He was messy, never picked up after himself. I had to do everything—including bailing him out with the creditors and the IRS.
It was probably my fault. Or at least the fault of the culture we were formed in. Josh was right there with us in those sitting-on-the-bean-bag-cushion, cross-legged-on-the-floor bull sessions we used to do in college. He listened to us regurgitate what we’d heard in class, he would have come to the easy conclusion that a protective man with a good heart at home and a firm hand in the bedroom was exactly what we did not want.
So when things went bump in the night, Josh wasn’t jumping out of bed to investigate. He was under the covers with me. He felt no shame in saying, “you go”. In fact, he wore his cowardice as a badge of honor. “Look how equally I treat you,” he seemed to be saying. “I’m willing to let you go investigate the potential rapist sneaking in the window.”
In the bedroom, Josh was a bore. So were the three other guys I have been with. All bores. I thought sex was boring because of them. I thought sex was a chore, honestly. With Josh especially, it was “mind if I do this”, “Can I touch you here”. “I’m going to do this now, okay?”, or maybe “Please, could we try this?”
Like I said, boring.
In Josh’s defense, I never did tell him what I wanted or needed. Until Ben Sheppard came along, I didn’t know what I wanted or needed and wouldn’t let myself consider that what I wanted and needed is the firm hand that Ben gives me. In many ways, I feel like Ben Sheppard took my virginity. My hymen is long gone, but really having a feel for what sex is or what it could be, didn’t happened until now. I finally get to see the beauty of the love act at thirty-three.
‘I love you.’ I can say the ‘I’. I think I understand the ‘love’. That only left the ‘you’. Was Ben Sheppard the ‘you’?
Could I love Ben Sheppard? That’s how I asked myself the question earlier today. “Could I love Ben Sheppard?” How I asked the question answered the question. I didn’t ask myself ‘Do I love Ben Sheppard?’ but could I love him? That ‘could’ answered it.
No. I didn’t love Ben Sheppard.
He’s all the things I want. He’s protective, he’s soft hearted at home and has a firm hand in the bedroom. He seems to be everything I want. But I want to grow with someone. I want to help someone mature and have the same done for me. I want to see my values in that person and share them.
Ben is all those things except he’s not someone I could grow with. I hate to admit it, but I still have a lot of growing to do as a woman and as a person and very likely as a mother. Ben is grown. He’s a man in full. He has no need for—and probably little interest in—the effort it takes to grow. He made that journey with the woman whose ring he wears around his neck—his wife. With her, he became complete. You see it in how he walks and talks and treats others. A relationship with him wouldn’t be true love. The love between a man and a woman. It would be too close to that of a mentor and mentee.
Could I love Ben Sheppard?
No. I couldn’t.
I didn’t love Ben Sheppard.