Like a pop quiz, here’s a surprise question for you — what do you consider an aphrodisiac, i.e. what arouses your sexual desire? There is no right answer so I’m waiting for your interesting replies. For Henry Kissinger, the ultimate aphrodisiac was reported to be power; the Porcupine notices confidence; I know that Brian swoons at an Australian or New Zealand accent. For me, I find the guy who is capable of surprising me impossibly sexy. In fact, the one who never ceases to surprise me will win my heart. Sometimes I surprise myself. Quelle surprise when I realized that I occasionally prefer the guy way of talking, that is, silent communication. Since summer is my season, lately I’ve been enjoying the shy smiles of approval that random guys have been throwing my way. To my astonishment, I seem to make their day just by walking by and in return, they make mine. For mutual gratification, I smile back. In case you didn’t know it, it appears that being validated is primordial to our happiness. In Oprah’s final T.V. episode she highlighted the importance of validation. “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common. They all wanted validation.”
I must still be looking for the approval from guys that I never received in high school, rooted in my sad ass experience of never having a date. Hard as that is to believe as I now shamelessly prance around in a white unitard while trying to make my left cheek jump, then my right cheek jump, a la Ying Yang Twins, I was a certified wallflower in high school. Seriously intense and usually crying in some corner, especially at sorority meetings, I had very little fun during those years. Anyone notice how I’m always having fun now? It’s because life evens out. If you are ever in my bedroom, check out the framed article from the New Yorker about life evening out. Some people get through their divorce with Ben & Jerry’s; the humorous words of this essay buoyed me along with a heavy dose of sassy P!nk lyrics.
The experiences in our formative years have the power to stay with us. I remember that my BFF made the cheerleading squad in high school. Not me as I wasn’t even remotely athletic. Life is now evening out as I kick butt in Powerstrike. Doing all those high kicks helped her find a boyfriend but I didn’t. I did get a surprise one day, though. I recall my brothers snickering in the background as JB stood on our front porch asking me to the senior prom. I was so stunned that I abruptly turned him down. He was the weirdest guy in the entire senior class with a wild white boy afro and epilepsy. Most people didn’t notice his brilliance. Wish I had sooner.
So life is evening out now as my daughters are immune to my brilliance as I make lemonade from the lemons of my life. They routinely withhold their approval and hence, their love. It seems as if as complicit as we were formerly, we are equally estranged presently. Despite my deep sadness, I refuse to live my life according to someone else’s rules, not even my daughters’. Feeling bad about myself in their presence, I am enjoying less and less being in their company.
This realization helped me understand how one gets over unrequited love and when we “could have loved someone like the one I see in you.” How do we stop loving when someone doesn’t love us back? I came to understand that the psychological need to feel approval – getting that positive feedback from people that one is acknowledged and appreciated for who we are – is something we can’t ignore forever because we need it deeply. Over time it becomes too disheartening to be with people who don’t approve or validate us, who ignore our needs, and don’t see us for who we are. We eventually will seek someone who does and it’s then goodbye to you!
So I promise myself to ease up on that desire for approval, give up on it raining men who adore me. Anyways, who am I kidding, I don’t have time for an army of men. As I wait for life to even out in the department of love, all I need is ten guys rolled into one. But then, that would be Superman.