Oh November

Transcendence by Susan Seddon Boulet

A baby fell six stories from out of a window, bounced off a restaurant awning and was caught by a doctor who just happened to be walking by.  This is a true story. Check it out here.

That’s some kind of crazy luck. That’s the kind of luck that I’m calling Paris Luck. I believe that Paris holds some kind of magic, because of my own experience in that fair city – an experience that launched this here blog.

Paris Hope is another great thing I discovered in the City of Lights. I’m clinging hard to that now. When I arrived in Paris my life was in total chaos, and over brimming with uncertainty, yet I had the strangest sense that everything would work out somehow.

That’s just what life does. It works out. You get disappointed, your heart breaks and then you get that new job or new opportunity and you meet someone new to love. That’s my life experience, anyway. Doors open and doors close.

This doesn’t diminish the pain in those transitional moments. I can clearly remember sleeping on air mattresses and sofas, wondering what would happen to me, and wondering where I would find myself once all of the debris had been shoveled away. I’d lie awake at night wondering what was going to happen to me.

At the tender age of 34 I am starting to understand that I have no control over the bigger picture, but I will always have a pretty great sense of what the next day is going to look like, and if I can look at each day one at a time, nothing feels as scary as it once did.

I’ve also learned exactly what I need to build trust, both in myself and in the love I have. I started to worry that I would never find this thing, but in an entirely revealing moment I realized that trust begins with me. When I began to learn to trust my own ability to handle difficult moments, I learned that nobody could shatter me.

This week I learned some very important things:

There is a big difference between being utterly helpless and simply not yet having the tools to deal with conflict, crisis, and distress.

The opinions of people who love me when expressed in a carefully composed, very loving email are received like precious gifts instead of harsh judgments. Thank you for being brave enough to reach out like that. When you emphasize the love you are speaking from it makes all the difference to my ears.

I have made good choices about where to put my heart, even if the big picture has changed.

I am afraid of what will happen next in my life. Though honesty remains the very best policy, it can often come with immense pain. I was and continue to be committed to the love with which I have expressed myself. When you have to deliver difficult news, always do it with all of the love you can muster.

My emotional welfare professionals are incredible, compassionate teachers who I feel have blessed my life. Any one of us deserves to search for a great therapist and open our hearts to the experience of having their support and guidance. You are never too old or too broke to enjoy this.

My body isn’t working the way I want it to. I wait to see if science has a solution, but realize that I have so much that even if science doesn’t have the answers, I am full.

Love is a powerful, magical force that we can only really feel the benefits of if our hearts are as open as they can be. I feel the most strength and safety from love when I allow it to burst forth and wash away my fears.

My work is the baby of my soul. It feeds me as I feed it and fills me with inspiration and purpose. It is my rock in times of pain and confusion. I work every day towards the freedom to always only do the work that is meaningful to me. I will never do a job I hate again.

I am a mother. Wholly and completely with all of my soul. Anything ever said to tarnish the relationship between step-parents and their step-children is a lie. Those girls are as much in my heart as they would be if I had birthed them.

I never knew love could be so deep, so safe, and so inspiring.

You know, perhaps November isn’t really so bad? Perhaps it’s all of the change and transformation that can feel dismal if you forget that spring is around the corner, and will always be right there, no matter how many leaves fall.

 

 

Ushering in a Pantsless Soho Nightcap

Emporio

All the babies I’ve encountered in the city are fussy today. The morning started out hot – a clear dry heat that made me think of Austin, Texas. I threw on an ankle-length gray jersey sun dress and some silvery flats with a turquoise scarf to go downstairs and get coffee with my loves. I hadn’t washed the makeup off from last night, and the effect was a smoky, sleepy, tousled “We just had a great time” kind of thing. Which was true.

Our night started with a trip to Brian’s. Brian is a fund manager, owns a sweet little bachelor pad with a skinny stainless steel fridge that only contains a Brita jug and an entire door full of joint repair protein beverages. I had asked him whether the beverage company was sponsoring him. He’s compact, in perfect shape, bright blue eyes, handsome, and was dismayed that his new cut (sort of a Jarhead meets 80’s fade) had gone awry. He wanted a faux hawk. I don’t think it will matter. I think this guy will get whatever he wants, regardless.

Brian is a nice host. He’s confident, but a little quiet. We have a little “visit” at his place, and then we hop into a cab to meet up with a dude they call Mr. Nice. Nice is a band manager who is touring with his current project. He has a knack for finding bands just poised to launch to stardom. In the squishy little cab a song comes on. I never listen to the radio, so of course I don’t know it, but Brian tells us it was absolutely everywhere in Miami. It has a driving dance beat, and lots of electro sound effects. I cringe as the lyrics begin. I hate this music. It makes me think of the guys I used to secretly lust after in high school, who would never give me the time of day. Music like this is part of my baby brother’s universe, not mine. Then I’m listening to the lyrics more closely, and the beat feels like it’s sinking into my skin. It’s an anthem. An anthem for a generation born into a world where they can have anything – and they do. They eat life in great big fistfuls of beautiful women, sexy cars, and artisan mini-burgers they call “sliders”. They are full, sensory creatures but they are afraid of emotion. They want to taste, and smell, and see, and hear, but they aren’t sure how to feel. They seem fragile to me, and beautiful. The lyrics to this anthem speak to them because they are raw, and real.

We arrive at a bar in the Lower East Side where Mr. Nice is seated on a patio with a girl from Paris. She greets me and pulls me in gently. I give her one air-cheek kiss, not two. I’ll see your charming custom, and raise you my Canadian brassiness. I’ll bet most of the people she meets her have no idea what she’s attempting with that kissy greeting, and I bet they resist her. She’s wearing what I initially thought were Crocs, so I decide she’s not THAT French.

The bar has projected surf scenes on the back wall. It’s tiny inside and packed. The left wall is papered with a giant map of an Australian beach, and the other with paintings of old beach shack signs. There are balloon clusters arranged at the front, which you can view from the street because of the garage-door-style patio opening. There are three clusters; one that says “Good Luck” with some primary colored balloons. One with a giant foil Dora The Explorer (Brian of course has no idea who that is). The other is just sparkly and colourful. They could be any occasion, for any celebration. I decide it’s a ploy to encourage people to bring their parties to the bar.

Our hostess is a pale Aussie brunette. Our waiter is the most exquisite looking Aussie aboriginal I have ever seen. He’s beautiful from every angle with a bold faux-hawk meets pompadour hairstyle streaked with a bleach blond stripe. His teeth are perfect, and he’s definitely a homo. I love him, and his accent.

Every square inch of the bar, and the entire experience is designed to feel like this famous Australian beach, and it’s perfect.

We have a drink there and decide to move on. It’s impossible to get Nice to leave. I’ve realized the man is in a beautiful bubble, and so to lure him with us, we kidnap his Parisienne and stroll down the street to another place that looks like a Paris bistro. It’s so pretty, and I don’t want to leave, but we’re starving and there’s a huge wait for seating. We head diagonally across the street to another bar that totally makes me think of the nicer pubs I’ve seen on college campuses. The kids inside all look like they could be from Burlington (Ontario, of course). It’s the first place we’ve been where I’m not delighted and amazing with the seemingly effortless way that New Yorkers throw their outfits together. The older I get, the more I really, really love fashion.

My boyfriend tells me to read Brian’s palms. I have no idea how to do this, but Brian doesn’t know, so I go through the motions that I witnessed when my boyfriend’s father read mine, and I fake it, filtering out the noise around me to just say the first things that pop into my head. I decide quickly that the way you move your hands is significant, and that each finger is tied to a different aspect of your life. The degree of resistance when I touch the fingers is indicative of your emotional relationship to those aspects. I squeeze the pads of his hands to see how firm they are. I don’t even focus on the lines and meridians, because I have no idea what’s what. I won’t tell you what I said, because I know I mostly nailed it, but I think Brian was impressed. So were my peeps.

Brian and my fella decide to order one of everything on the menu. To my absolute delight, I realize that everything is inspired by comfort food, but bigged up to meet the demands of this city’s exquisite palette. I wish my buddy Josh were here. Or my brother. Or both. I’m also slightly regretting the chocolate porter I’ve ordered. Hello carbs!

We smash through the food and it’s all delicious, but what killed me was their mac and cheese. Mac and cheese should be taken seriously, and they totally and completely understand this. It was easily the best I’ve ever had, with a hint of dried basil included in the creamy sauce. I miss pasta, so I didn’t hold back.

Once we’re full to the point where my painted-on jeans just can’t take it anymore, we decide to head. We’re not sure where we’re going next, but we hop in a cab and head back to Soho where we’re staying. Brian is working the next day, so he decides to leave us, and the three of us step into Emporio, the beautiful restaurant across the street for a dessert to share (god help me) and a bottle of sparkling Italian dessert wine.

I order the tiramisu and my love orders the pannacotta. We share it three ways and though it’s incredible, all I can think of is how tight my pants are. My girl gets sleepy, so she excuses herself to head back to the apartment to crash, and we continue on. Beautiful, emotional conversation is had, and the bottle is empty. I’m uncomfortable, and I say as much.

“Take off your pants” says my love. “I dare you to.”

I laugh. I’m wearing a killer pair of black platforms and a strapless top that could be pressed into service as an obscenely short dress. I consider this.

“C’mon” he says. “I’ve paid the bill. Go to the bathroom, take off your pants, and meet me at the door.”

“I bet nobody will notice” I say. The restaurant is half full.

I’m still skeptical. I’m not drunk enough to really engage in such antics. Then comes the straw breaks the camel’s back.

“It will make Adam’s week.” says my love.

Adam, my friend who I’ve never met, who has given us this beautiful night of good company and good food by letting us crash in his empty apartment. Adam who is managing things that no child should have to manage, far away from all of these open, entertaining people who are his boys. Adam, who I’m sure you can feel smiling all the way from Long Island.

I get up and head to the can. I pull off my jeans, take one final piss, and then fluff up my hair, put back my shoulders and open the door. Our waiter sees me first, and looks directly at the pants folded over my arm. My full tummy is free, my ivory legs are unleashed for the world to see, and my shoes are the only reason this ridiculous outfit could work. I stride through the restaurant, head held high, breeze tickling my white ass, hand my pants to my love, walk out the door and pronounce “This one’s for you, Adam.”

My Niche

From Les Coquettes' LOVE STORY - photo by Ryan Visima

The universe is great, and mighty, and continues to steer me in so many interesting directions. Despite some upset, and some turmoil, I’m very glad to be exactly where I am today.

All roads keep pointing in one direction – I need to write. That’s what I thought I’d end up doing as a child, and that’s exactly where I’m heading now. I believe it’s up to me to educate, inform, entertain, and opportunity has come knocking again. One of the things I am most proud of is my ability to face a challenge head on, mostly without fear. This opportunity is the best one yet.

We just put another Les Coquettes show to bed. It was another huge success, with two sold out shows. My girlfriend was in charge of our merchandise booth, selling pasties that we’d made, and she told me this great story yesterday. A young woman had brought her mother to the show, and at intermission, the mother was trying to convince her daughter to buy a pair of pasties. They were contemplating them as a surprise for the young woman’s husband who had been out of town for a while.

As she recounted this yesterday, I realized that this little anecdote keenly sums up everything that I want to do – make sexuality fun, something to be celebrated and explored, free of embarrassment and any source of shame. To empower people, particularly women, by inviting them to embrace their own unique sexuality, and dig deeper to learn more about their sexual selves.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m here to do.

Stay tuned to see how it all comes together.

Heh, heh, heh.

Plucky

That’s my word for the week.

I like it. I want to use it to describe myself, but I think that’s one of those words best left to others to use.

It always makes me thing of those busty, lipstick-wearing sexy chickens that used to roll with Gonzo from the Muppet Show. If I haven’t said it lately, I love Jim Henson. If I had magical powers, I would raise him from the dead to help Les Coquettes create the most ridiculous burlesque cabaret ever witnessed by people-kind.

Plucky. Like a sexy chicken.

If you haven’t seen our shows, this may sound ridiculous, but people are really moved by what we do. On the surface, it’s a cabaret packed with lots of skin, and sexy young performers, but beneath this surface, it’s a world of passion driven by intelligent, inspired women. Those are our fantasies we’re acting out, and our imagination coming alive. Women come and see us, and then email me about classes, men come and see us, and are permitted to feel sexual AND human. At this weekend’s show, two of my dear friends were there with their husbands. Both are new moms and for each of them it was their first night out in a long, long while. I didn’t even have to speak to them to know that everyone in each house was in for a big treat when they got home. I love that. I love how we grant permission. How we make it safe and fun to feel alive in such a way. How we can laugh at and celebrate sex, which is so warped in our mass media. Taken so seriously, taken for granted, taken out of context, taken away from us every single day.

It’s our life force. It drives us on a deep, primal level, and when we separate ourselves from this essence, or if we are forced to separate from it, sad things happen.

Plucky.

I’m challenging you to look at your relationship with sex. Not just the act, but the deeper sexuality that lies within. How has your own sexuality evolved? What is your relationship like with your sexuality? Do you need a long overdue date with your sexual self? Have you been honest about your feelings? Are there things you need to get out in the open?

My wish for you, this holiday season – celebrate your life force. Define what it means to you, and embrace it warmly ‘neath the mistletoe.

Deck your halls, if you will.

Actually, It’s Pronounced “th”.

barcelona

Ok, if you weren’t already peuce with jealousy…

Tomorrow I’m getting on a plane mid-day, falling asleep, and then more or less waking up in Barcelona. Once in Barcelona, my partners and I will check into a very sexy boutique hotel, unleash ourselves on the city over the weekend, then on Monday night we will see Leonard Cohen perform on his 75th birthday. Hours later we will turn around and come back home.

I. Shit. You. Not.

So, dear readers, let this be a lesson to you:

If you are not happy with your life, if you feel like something is missing, and that there’s a whole hell of a lot out there that you could be experiencing, take the effing bull by the horns and make some big fat scary changes. What is that stupid movie line…”If you build it, they will cum”…or something to that effect? As far as I’m concerned, I’m living proof that acting in your own best interest, and listening to your gut will be heavily rewarded. Barcelona aside, my life is the kind of toasted marshmallow stuff that dreams are made of.

So, for those of you who might be wondering if my recent choices and declarations have changed me, the answer is “Yes, they have.”

I feel like I fell in love with me, and as a result could love even bigger and better than ever before. This big, throbbing heart of mine has been an issue in the past. At first, everyone’s eyes light up at the mere mention of it, and they can’t wait to get their hands on it. Then, after the first few earnest strokes, they get freaked out, and overwhelmed, and suddenly it’s too much to take on. Not anymore. Now everything is fitting together perfectly. I’m living my Trojan Magnum years, kids. The whole world is opening up before me. I can’t wait for it to swallow me whole.

Ok, enough of that.

What I’m really trying to say is

“Barthelona, here we come!”

Poly. Want a Cracker?

Fiesta Party Pack - Best Served With Tequila

Fiesta Party Pack - Best Served With Tequila

Last night was one of the most lovely, multi-layered social gatherings I’ve ever been a part of. A backyard concert, gypsy jazz style, with delicious treats to pass around and lots of family and familiar faces. And lots of first-time introductions.

In the course of one week, both my parents are now in the know about the fact that I’m bisexual. And now, I suppose, so are the rest of you.

In kindergarten, I got busted trying very hard to see what was up Mrs. Squires’ skirt during story time, and this curiosity has played out in games of doctor, tickle fight, show and tell, spin the bottle, and I’m in art school so why-the-fuck-not until I was entirely aware that it wasn’t ever going to go away. At 33, I’d only ever made it to second base with another woman, and then, finally single for an extended period, I admitted that I could not go the rest of my life never really knowing just how gay I am.

This year, I finally found the girl for me. I’m her first full-fledged foray into the land of Sapphic delights too, and I’m happy to say that I’m now a card-carrying member of the bisexual community, and have discarded my bi-curious training wheels once and for all.

I believe, in my case, that it is part of my genetic make up. I don’t think I chose this, I think it chose me, back in the zygote days. Also, from the time I started preschool, I demonstrated an openness and acceptance that was rare in children in the Catholic school system. I’m positive that I had gay friends long before any of us knew what gay was.

Being a bisexual in a heterosexual, monogamous relationship is impossible. My love of girl parts goes a long way to relieving my fear that I would never be able to have a “normal” relationship with a man, marry again, or have babies. As it turns out, I don’t want to. Have a “normal” relationship, that is. That model just doesn’t work for me.

Around the same time I met my girl, I also met an extraordinary man. One of the sexiest men I’ve ever known in fact. I was captivated, and more than a little afraid of a very powerful attraction that I thought I had hidden quite well.

Somehow, I had met both an incredible attractive woman, and an incredibly attractive man who share my love of life, of living in the moment, finding beauty everywhere in the world, and my love of tradition and family. True sensualists, they both love food, art, great music, books, travel…they are brilliant and inspiring, and they each happen to love me in all my Schnooie goodness, exactly as I am.

The best part of this story? They were a package deal. I met them as an existing couple, who have been together for many years. Who have a beautiful home, and a beautiful family, and our friendship blossomed into something most extraordinary.

I write this today, on the tail end of telling the closest members of my family about this decision. About this relationship that I am committed to pursuing. I’ve decided to write about our experience here, because I’m comfortable sharing so much of myself, and because I hope that this will be useful to anyone else who has chosen a similar path.

This window into Schnooville has always been an exploration of life, and love, and my own pursuit of happiness, and this next chapter will be no different. I just feel it’s important to let you know that there are a few more characters in the story now.

When I stopped looking, I realized that everything I wanted was here all along. Now social gatherings, and soirees are spent deciding how to cleverly introduce each other to our loved ones, and to whom we will disclose our relationship over tapenade or cracked pepper chevre spread.

High fives all around, Universe.

Synchronicity?

s-JOY-OF-SEX-large

joy_of_sex_vulva_old

This evening, in my cold-medicated state Arthur and I padded over to the movie rental store to find the kind of entertainment that we could enjoy from the sofa.

I picked up the first disk of the series True Blood because everyone keeps telling me I’ll like it. I’m two episodes in, and it’s definitely sexy, but I find some of the writing a bit weak. I’m already attached to a couple of the characters though, so what the dialogue lacks is made up in development. I’ll keep watching. I’d forgotten that the show is an Alan Ball creation, who I love.

Completely and totally randomly, I picked up Towelhead. It was recommended by the movie store, and I always like their recommendations. I didn’t even read the synopsis. I just saw that Toni Collette was in it, and figured it must be good. I popped this into the DVD player after episode two of True Blood.

The story is about a thirteen year old girl with a white mom and Lebanese father. She gets shipped to her father’s home in the U.S. suburbs after a complicated scenario arises at her mother’s house. At first, this starts as a quirky coming-0f-age story.

As the tale unravels, my heart starts to break into a million little pieces. I can’t get into the nitty gritty details of why this affected me so without spoiling the plot, but this movie is such a raw take on the idea of female sexuality. It’s amazing that I randomly selected this, because this exact topic has been on my mind a lot lately.

There is a real disconnect between how women are expected to feel about sex, and how they themselves would like to feel about it. This mass confusion and hypocrisy affects both genders too. For all our feminist efforts, things really haven’t changed that much, and sometimes I feel like my attitude towards sexuality is what will always make certain aspects of my life challenging.

I don’t just mean the act of sex, either. I mean sexuality at large; maybe even sensuality is the word to use.

This particular entry is long overdue, and this movie really drove it home for me.

I began to ask questions about sex at about eight years of age, if I remember correctly. My questions were met by my mom, who very calmly gave me a book to read and then told me to ask any and all other questions I might have after reading it. I don’t remember the specifics here, but I know I felt comfortable, and fascinated, and not really embarrassed at all.

I also remember finding my dad’s Playboy collection, and being intrigued. When I got busted for that, I think I was only told that they were magazines for grown-ups and that they were private.

Then, my search led me to the original edition of The Joy of Sex. I still love men with beards and shaggy hair because of this. I hid that discovery for weeks under my bed, until my mom asked if perhaps I might know of its whereabouts. I fessed up, and as I recall, she told me she would prefer that I leave this book on the bookshelf, and ask any questions I might have about what I’d read there.

Several other discoveries were made, always through snooping through my parents’ bedroom, which proved to be something of a treasure trove. Each time, burning curiosity, and my mother’s open nature led me to confess my invasion of their privacy so I could ask the questions that were begging to be asked. Each time, I was gently admonished for my snooping, because private time and privacy were very important, and then I got a clear and honest answer.

I never, ever heard or walked in on my parents having sex, but at least once a week, after we were tucked in, the lock on their bedroom door would click, and the entire house would smell like lavender massage oil. It was easy for me to piece this mystery together.

I’d always taken this for granted, assuming that everyone I knew had learned about sex by finding interesting things in their own homes, and having at least one parent who was comfortable explaining what was going on.

The more people I talk to, the more I learn that this is not the case.

I was never, ever, ever ashamed of my sexuality. Any awkwardness or embarrassment growing up was a result of feeling like I didn’t fit in with the other kids, or feeling like they thought I was strange, and ugly.

Once puberty was full swing, and all of my girlfriends started getting it on at the tender age of fourteen, I knew I wasn’t ready, and really wasn’t interested. Everything I’d read sounded interesting and important, and the boys I knew at that time were mostly really awful. If it was going to happen, I wanted to be ready.

When that time came, I was almost eighteen. I’d switched from hanging out with gun-toting Jamaican drug dealers to really granola actors and musicians. I made my own appointment with my family doctor to discuss this matter, have my first pap, and go on the pill. I told my mother about this after the appointment. I bought condoms, and lube, and announced to my twenty four year old boyfriend (yikes, I know) that I was ready. I still think I deliberately chose this boyfriend as my first because I knew he’d know what he was doing.

My mother’s straightforward, open approach to sex gave me the confidence I needed to make clear decisions, and made me really curious and interested in understanding this aspect of my personality. I credit this for saving me from some pretty stupid decisions growing up. When I kept company with the aforementioned dealers, the pressure to drink and do drugs was constant at first, and I was interested in neither of those things. I quickly figured out that I could weld my virginity like some strange kind of trademark, and even went so far as to frequently wear white outfits. Soon, I was really novel in these circles, and some of the meanest mo-fo’s had my back (side). Nobody pressured me anymore, and in fact, they kind of found it endearing, I think. Every now and then I would throw them a bone and pretend that they had hot-boxed me, but I never got stoned with them. I later found out there was a pretty significant cash pool on who would take my virginity.

All this to say “thanks mom”. There’s so much more to learning about sex besides the basic biological function. They are still not allowed to teach sexual confidence, self-exploration, or the dynamics of sexual power in schools.

Towelhead made me realize, once again, how essential this really is.

I was so enthralled, and moved, that I Googled this movie after it ended, only to find that it was written and directed by Alan Ball.

Universe, I love your clever sense of humour.

Be advised, Towelhead is not for the faint of heart…it’s also based on the novel by Alicia Erian.