Thursday, August 19, 2010

It Feels Like the First Time

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust – Rumi

It’s almost midnight. My date and I have consumed nearly two bottles of Argentinian wine after a 5 hour dinner and as midnight strikes she yawns and announces her desire to go home. I have one more desire and contemplate how to make my move.

In late July we met in front of the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder. I first saw her at a party last year, but I didn’t really SEE her. Seeing that is, in the Avatarian sense where the Navi with their pure primitive hearts and telepathic minds recognize one another’s souls. She stood at the entryway as I approached, as if she were waiting for me. We chatted briefly and she handed me her card. A few days later we were hiking, chatting and glowing. Two weeks later, we were reminiscing about meeting at the St. Julien. It’s an odd phenomenon that when we have an experience we are not necessarily conscious of the subtle thought forms and energies that we have perceived in that moment. But in retrospect I saw the essence of this woman then– ageless, elegant, gorgeous, radiant and proud. She appeared as a brilliant meteor that fell from the Perseid showers onto the circular pavestones where valet attendants take the keys of the well- heeled clientele.

By our second date, she’d given me a printout of the 12 stages of courtship: a road map to committed love. The stages are as follows, and are relevant throughout the duration of a committed relationship:

1. Noticing - seeing what is attractive in others and being conscious of the desirable traits in a long-term partner.

2. Attraction- curiosity and desire about the physical, emotional and intellectual traits of others.

3. Flirtation - playfulness, seductiveness and social cues that send signals of interest.

4. Demonstration – of prowess in athleticism, dressing to please the other person.

5. Romance – the ability to experience, express and receive passion.

6. Individuation – in a healthy relationship, each individual feels free to be who they are without fear of disapproval or control by the other (wow, I’d love to experience this).

7. Intimacy – the “attachment” phase in which a relationship deepens in its meaning and integrity.

8. Touching- the healing physical touch that requires trust, care and judgment.

9. Foreplay – holding, fondling, kissing and sexual play that build tension and eroticism

10. Intercourse – surrender to passion; to let go and trust yourself and your partner to be vulnerable.

11. Commitment- the ability to bond or attach to another. In contrast, addiction is the failure to bond.

12. Renewal- the capacity to sustain the above dimension in an existing relationship.

“Successful couples continue courtship, continue to show the other they are a worthy partner, continue to make efforts to attract their mate, and continue to express the value they have for each other.”

I’ve studied these two sheets of paper for some weeks, contemplating the meaning within each stage. I responded by sending her the Borat version of courtship in which his cross-country trip ends in an attempt to steal Pamela Anderson from L.A.

I don’t know what this meeting of our two souls will be – but she wants to explore it slowly. A part of me wants to dive in headfirst for the exhilaration of falling in love. As I am prone to project fantasy into the future, she grounds me in the moment. Robert Johnson wrote in his book “Owning Your Own Shadow” that falling in love is a disservice to the lover because one projects their happiness upon another person. Then when the intoxication of falling in love fades to reality, there is inevitable disappointment in the other person.

It’s midnight on my futon – the wine has made us both a bit loopy. I remember being 13, visiting my first girlfriend Jannie Israel at her day camp in Ossining, N.Y. We walked out into the woods on to a large granite rock nestled in a grove of oak and maple trees. We were talking and I kept contemplating my make-out move – but I was too afraid to do it. Decades later with my radiant date I feel the same way – like an awkward adolescent about to make his first move. She sits back down when I tell her there’s one more thing I want to do. Then I say “It’s time to kiss the Prince”. I’m an asshole. I meant to say something like “This Frog needs to become a Prince by your kiss” – either way, it’s totally cheesy. Not only that, I don’t even have a real couch to host this momentous event – it’s an old black futon with bamboo printed fabric. I left all the good furniture with my former girlfriend. I lean in, make my move, and……….

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Flight Attendant

Flying the friendly skies has turned into an oxymoron the past decade or two. But today on a United puddle jumper from Denver to Sioux Falls, the flight attendant is bubbling with youthful energy – and she’s hot. It seems like graduation from Flight Attendant School ended in 1970 – thus, the preponderance of middle-aged women who’ve been in the industry far too long hiding their fatigue and displeasure behind excessive make-up; after all, serving unhappy customers peanuts and orange juice is not the glorified profession it once was Our flight attendant Lauren, a 20-something woman with an ageless 1940s movie starlet quality, is wearing a bell shaped navy blue skirt, skin-toned stockings and a staid white blouse. She emanates the button-downed sexuality that stokes male fantasies of hot school teachers and librarians. She enunciates her flight check monologue cheerily, her diction polished as if she went to a United finishing school. She struts down the aisle, touching each overhead bin deftly as if she were sorting through racks of clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue. She then straps herself in to her jump seat pulls her dark blonde hair up into a bun and sits Sphinx-like presiding over her 40 or so charges. The friendly fat guy next to me is flirting with her in the unthreatening way that only men over 250 pounds who aren’t linebackers can. He’s got big square wire rimmed glasses, a polo shirt and an accent like he should’ve been in the Coen brothers’ Fargo. He’s on a business trip that mostly involves golfing and I’m thinking to myself god bless American corporations for funding golf – a sport that costs billions of dollars in grass seed and more billions of gallons of water to maintain them, and billions of gallons of jet fuel to fly businessmen to talk about nothing consequential over excessive amounts of gin and tonics while swinging at hard white balls when they could’ve just sent a few emails while lounging around in their pajamas. My rotund seat mate is nearly pushing me into the wall of the airplane but what do I expect for a free flight? I imagine that Lauren is like Carol Merrill, that 70s era vixen who hosted Lets Make a Deal. I didn’t think women like that existed anymore. For a brief second, I imagine she comes back to my hotel, undresses, and…..then the fantasy ends. That only happens to George Clooney. My seat mate plies her with questions: since we’re sitting in the very front of the cabin she’s a captive audience. We learn that she used to work in the Badlands National Park with prairie dogs. She’s a child of nature, not a 1940s starlet. Imagining her in Carhartt overalls in braids bending over prairie dog holes calling to the little rodents is still kinda sexy but ruins my fantasy. She tells us she’s only been at the job for 7 weeks because she needed full-time work. Thus, she has to read from the manual over the PA system.

We’re about to land in Sioux Falls where I have to sit in the airport for 4 hours of torture; there’s one tiny bar that sells pre-packaged personal pizzas and a team of high tech businessmen who don’t look like they should be so low rent as to be stuck in Sioux Falls about to miss their next connection in Chicago because of an air control delay. I think I’d go insane if I had to travel for a living. A lone Hasidic Jew walks down the sterile beige colored hallway rolling his luggage over the carpet with its plaid pattern of squares that look like sprouting spring wheat. Why is a Jew stuck in the prairie of South Dakota, alone? Like me, he’s en route to somewhere in the middle of nowhere, flying the friendly skies.