This post was republished from the archive of my previous blog as a means of record-keeping. To read SaraEileen.com from the beginning of the site’s history, start here.
Dear Grand Adventure,
How to speak about you?
Shall I go chronologically, beginning with a folded bit of paper in Zac’s mailbox, which he opened and read and then turned to me and said, in an endearingly random manner, “Hey, d’y'wanna go to Spain with me?”
If so, the story would start there and end, possibly, with our first real cup of coffee in two weeks, from a skateboard-shop-turned-cafe on the north end of Brick Lane in London, across the street from a corset boutique and slew of vintage stores.
Or maybe it would end on the plane home as it broke into the storm above New York on Saturday night, or maybe in my bed on Monday morning while we curled around each other and lingered, jet-lagged and wide awake at a dreary 7am.
Then I might talk about how we drank sweet wine our last night in Granada and kept drinking too long for the free tapas plates because we were both so hungry that egg-ham-citrus-fruits-in-mayonnaise and chopped salsa of tomato, celery and squid overcame their own oddness through deep, unexpected satisfaction.We dubbed Granada the “drink for your dinner” town; for every drink you order, they bring you a quarter of a meal for free.
We came into Barcelona on an overnight train, a traveling contraption somewhat like a boat in its obsessive neatness and order, and full of miniature toiletries and miniature spaces for tucking bags and books and bodies.
Then Paris, which exists within a slippery literary space and time. It is impossible to write about without sounding utterly cliched, because it seems that almost all of the cliches are true, that the Paris in reality is only slightly off-printed from the Paris of invention, though with less snobbery and perhaps more kissing.
I could say also that London is the place I should have moved to if I’d gone down a road only slightly different than the one I’m currently on.
How to list you, dear trip? By day? By moment? By object, artwork, meal or landmark? There is too much.
I returned to find that yesterday was Femquake, a day that, as I understand it, is meant to unite Boobquake and Brainquake, serving as a reminder that the self-agency of feminists (and all peoples) includes the right to claim both sexiness and intelligence as legitimate, complimentary and empowering personal characteristics. It has sparked some interesting discussion, both positive and negative, and I considered, briefly, engaging with it in some way. Then I thought about it a bit more and realized something was rubbing the wrong way, and it got put off in my whirlwind of back-to-office firefighting, and in the end, really, I forgot.
I know that I fit many definitions of sexy. I also know I don’t fit many others, and it is a toss-up day to day on how my confidence stacks against my misgivings. While the original concept wasn’t intended to be necessarily interpreted as an invitation to show off my body, it did link to such an invitationand was easily interpreted that way. (Hence, I suspect, much of the misgiving it and the related quakes have caused.)
The thing is, I don’t know that a sexy pose or a low-cut shirt or a cute photo would make me feel particularly good about my sexuality. Ah, there it is. It is the idea that being proud of my sexual agency is the same thing as being proud of my body. Which, for me, is wrong.
That is of course not really the issue and I would encourage you to read the actual descriptions of Boob, Brain and Fem, as I have gone down a completely tangential road from the original (admirable, valuable) purpose of the terms/days/movements/quakes/slightly-snarky-experiments.
The showcasing of self-empowered sexual agency (which I have in abundance) is not the same as the showcasing of confidence in one’s physical appearance as it directly relates to sex appeal (which I struggle with on an ongoing basis).
In essence, what I’m trying to say is that I find it tricky that a necessary, unspoken requirement of being sexually confident, empowered and capable is being physically sexy. Of course the two are linked, but the concept that my sexual agency relies directly upon my physical form is not one that I especially dig, so to speak.
Or perhaps what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t feel especially sexy on my recent grand adventure. But I did have consistent, satisfying, joyful, communicative and confident sex.
Because, y’know, sexuality is complicated, and many things that we subconsciously believe to be mutually exclusive are in fact completely possible side-by-side. Like self-directed passion functioning within a corporate structure, or lawyers with souls, or girls who think they’re fat still having good sex.
Enough now. More lists to come.