Friday, February 11, 2005

The heart of Valentine's: mouths and minds

Ummmmm, this holiday of sorts, this ribald and romantic repast, this license to let your seductive cats and claws (and candlelit whispers) out of the bag, this red-blushing ritual Valentine's IS the holiday of the senses, up close and personal.

Sure Christmas runs the gamut as well - with its chestnuts roasting over an open fire, its carols and lights and pine fresh ornaments and the rustling sounds of wrapping paper and creatures stirring around the house (and making mad dashes at the shopping mall). But Christmas is about sharing with one and all. Valentine's is about harboring, secluding, getting daringly suave and dangerously up close. It's the holiday of electrolysis and see-through lace and silk boxers and candlewax and tables for two and, as Santa hibernates and snores, Valentine's is, alas, for as many as possible, about beds galore.

Like Halloween, Valentine's has its perverse ironies in a country founded on rather Puritanical phobias and principles. In this country, for centuries, witches and wanton women have seemed to so many to go together. A year ago, a single breast made headline news - and surely that gave the French and the other topless tanners of the world another reason to poke fun at our stuck up ways. Yes, compared to some cultures, Americans think sex is a saucy advertising tool, a centerfold, a slip up, a SIN. And because of this, to be sure, sensuality suffers.

That's why we need a holiday to remind us that sensuality is 'a good thing.'

The sights and smells of Valentine's are so cliched yet rich still. The provacative petals of the rose, the phallic uncorking of the champagne. The blush of hidden skin, the flush of proximity, the richly human pinks and burgundies of throbbing love.

And where do those sights and smells and sounds of seduction lead? Ah, ummm, yes, the most personal paths of the bodily road - no, not phalluses and labia, not mere genetals, shrouded in secrecy and the sudden florish of orgasm. No, all of Valentine's leads to what we can always share, privately and in public, never anonymously, always up close and personally - the touch of faces, tongues, lips, kisses.

Valentine's, in the end if not the beginning, is about oral gratification - and how closely intertwined those satisfactions are with very significant others, lust and love.

We are Americans, but we are animals first. And therein lies that goofy disconnect. How to reconcile our pilgrims' baggage of shame and sin with our absolutely ancient natures? Many Americans, both in the middle and toward the right, are in a detrimental denial. To them, millions of them, sex is something to be closed off and conquered. That sounds too unhealthy to me. Yet, they persist in screwing up our culture, thinking and legislating the more liberated liberals as too open, too guilt free, too permissive, too lax, too shameless, too sensual. It would seem natural that, without the sickly sweet cards, saccharine endearments, chocolates and dinners, the right would set its sights on de-sensualizing Valentine's. They'd take our most adult holiday away and put it back in the closet.

But none of our sensual urges or experiments are new. They just take on new forms, new media. The message - that we are exquisitely and elaborately sensual animals, underneath and for all time, remains the same.

So now, put your money - and your endearments, your quality time, your minutes and hours - where your mouth is - or longs to be.


At 2/12/2005 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lawrence, just surfed over here from LIW and wanted to let you know I was here. Interesting reading throughout...


At 2/13/2005 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you really got worked up on this one. We need to be decorating for a party and filling the room with sultry prospects. Loved the "phallic uncorking". Need a basket to catch your cork? RQ

At 2/13/2005 10:00 PM, Anonymous XO said...

X... O, be still my beating heart...


At 10/04/2005 12:36 PM, Blogger kalisekj said...

Hey, I have enjoyed...your blog is informative - even entertaining.

I have a halloween sites. They pretty much covers costumes and masks related stuff.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to bookmark you.


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