Anything She Can Do…


“Wake up and smell the roses.”

Much of what’s written about relationships falls into the realm of cliché and so, as there is very little new under the sun, it seems even less so when discussing the particulars of heterosexual partnerships.

One side is irrational. The other self-indulgent. One refuses to grow up. The other won’t deal with it. One doesn’t get the other. The other will never get the one.

During my slim number of years in North American society I have had a multitude of relations with women the results of which have ranged from the wonderful to the woeful. I could no more peg all women to any one stereotype than a protestant could nail jello to a church door.

Now, as I read the word “multitude” I am embarrassed by the numerical implications within that usage, and I suppose if I was pressed to tell you my “number,” to reference the recent and fleeting Anna Faris movie, and give an account of the 17 or 52 or 33 women I consider myself to have been involved with since 1986 – well, I’m afraid I can’t be that precise.  That admission might make me to be a cad, a lothario or a playa but in fairness to myself, it just reveals my wretched forgetfulness.

I can safely assume my “number” to be higher than 10, but lower than 100. I am neither Conquistador nor Playboy. Commitment-phobic nor serially monogamous. However, I can with absolute assuredness declare that each and every single one of the women who have had the joy/pleasure/frustration/horror of being my concomitant all shared this one thing in common – without exception.

Me.

So, in my 43rd year, maybe it’s time I did something about that.

There’s a fine line between capitulation and compromise and I rarely know where it is. So, I’m taking a lead from former Toronto comedian, Claire Brousseau.

For one year, May 2010 to May 2011, she decided to go without sex and male companionship – a manbattical, she christened it – and so for those 12 months, her focus was on her and her journey.

Claire told the blog, She Does the City, up to the time she started her manbattical, she would “think about dudes all the time. They are like energy-vampires for me. I don’t blame them, I blame their penises. I’d say I’m ‘boy-crazy’, but really, I’m just ‘penis-crazy’.

So, she cut them off. All of them. All potential rejected in favour of her own inner peace and clarity.

Upon starting her exploration on May 18, 2010 she admitted, “This project scares me. A year is a long time to feel lonely. One of my goals, I suppose, is to embrace loneliness.

May 17, 2011 she revealed, “I’m going to give myself a healthy pat on the back. A year ago I was sleeping with a douchebag, I felt unattractive, I was working a part-time job that was sucking the life out of me & I was completely stuck & uninspired with my career. I was able to quit my waitressing job, lost 30lbs, wrote 139 blog-posts, & finally feel on track in terms of my comedy/acting/writing trifecta.

I didn’t find my Prince Charming over the last 365 days- I secretly thought I might & hoped I would. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t have come out of this in the same way & I am happy with how it all turned out.

For my own relationships, I feel like I’ve stumbled from one disaster to another. That might be an overstatement, but it seems fairly accurate many days.

So, to badly quote Shakespeare, “All’s lost! To celibacy. To celibacy. All’s lost.

Celibacy is a curious thing. People feel funny about it.  Not those who engage in it, so much, but people who don’t aren’t quite sure what to make of the celibate. Celibacy conjures up religious devotion and the difficult associations and effects thereto.

I mean it’s one thing to say “I’m taking a break from dating,” or “I’m just focusing on myself at the moment,” but to deny oneself the most basic, elemental and human things to engage in…?  Well, there’s nothing for it.

And there are implications around “who” is taking such a vow.  In Claire’s case, she is an empirically attractive woman who no doubt before, during and after her Manbattical was a desirable person in the eyes of many.  In fact, as one online commentator noted, in many ways she became an “Everest” of intrigue to men who might tempt her or to women who might emulate her.

Well, my personal attributes and self-assessment is quite a bit more modest as I have “much to be humble about.”

Douglas Adams once wrote in The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, of two characters in the book who were philosophers.  When this particular plot point had the potential of not going their way, they declared that a Philopher’s Strike was at hand.

Who will that inconvenience?” was the response.

Who indeed, you would be right to ask, if some random fat dude in track pants and a Pepsi on his desk decides to try celibacy for a year.

Well, just me, I guess.

So, using Claire’s initial 10 Rules, here are my Wo-Manbattical Guidelines.

(? … clumsy.  must think of another name)

I have adjusted some of the rules to fit my own predicament.  (Womcation?)

NO SEX

NO KISSING

NO FLIRTY TEXTS, EMAILS, OR CONVERSATIONS.

NO DATES (INCLUDING LUNCH, COFFEE OR EVENT “PLUS 1’S”)

NO HANDHOLDING

NO PICTURES

NO SUGGESTIVE FACEBOOK STATUS UPDATES OR POSTINGS/ NO SIMILAR TWEETS

NO LOOKING AT THE WEBSITE, FACEBOOK/TWITTER PAGES OF ATTRACTIVE WOMEN MORE THAN 1X/24HRS

NO ATTEMPTS TO BE “EMOTIONALLY SUPPORTIVE,” INCLUDING COMPLIMENTS OF PERSONAL NATURE.

NO MAKING ANY DECISIONS BASED ON WOMEN OR THE POTENTIAL A WOMAN MIGHT REPRESENT.

(Female Furlough?)

So, there it is.  It’s on as soon as I hit the Publish link on this blog.  It’s my Christmas gift to myself.

Along with an iPad.


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