09/26/13

The Male Harem Hall of Fame, Submission No. 1

The Winning Team, Ireland: By National Library of Ireland on The Commons (Winning Team  Uploaded by russavia)

The Winning Team, Ireland: By National Library of Ireland on The Commons (Winning Team Uploaded by russavia).

Curating a Male Harem is not a science. If so, it would be more popular than Match and The Sultanette would be on Charlie Rose or even The View. Truth is, it’s had ups and downs. Past misfires have included the Opera Buff who after a season of overtures at the Met couldn’t crescendo. And Biscuit Boy who started off all Hugh Grant and ended up more Bela Lugosi.

But holding fast to the belief that the journey is the destination, The Male Harem continues to celebrate the best and brightest among people who have penises (see “person with a penis” at Whose monogamy is it anyway?) So today marks the launch of The Male Harem Hall of Fame series – a “what-if” riff on intriguing characters who emerge in the public eye as hypothetical harem candidates.

Who has the chops for harem membership? In this series, the question is pure conjecture and not an invitation. But if the exercise of examining the fascinating but flawed male tribe sharpens The Sultanette’s discrimination, eases harem management, and prevents future snafus, why not? In that spirit, I offer for your consideration …

Candidate #1:

Les Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry octobre: Limbourg brothers [Public domain].

Les Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry octobre: Limbourg brothers [Public domain].

Who better to begin this series than HRH Wine Guy, the proprietor of Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley? (The Male Harem disallows proper names.) Reading his recent profile by Katy Mclaughlin in The Wall Street Journal prompted The Sultanette to ponder …

Can a king enjoy membership in The Male Harem if he’s not ruling the roost?

What he’s up to:

At 142,000 sq. ft. the $40 million medieval-style Castello di Amorosa has welcomed Napa oenophiles for over six years.

Size doesn’t matter to The Male Harem but authenticity is a come-on. So the castello’s website description as an “authentically styled 13C Tuscan castle” bears consideration. With an eye for the exquisite, HRH scoured Europe for artisans to recreate his 21C gem with genuine stone masonry, frescoed walls, and painted coffered ceilings. (Check!)

And if you think he’s all stuffy antiquarian, check out the dungeon artfully propped with medieval instruments of torture – the perfect room to repair to after a bacchanalian repast around the hand-carved oak table that seats fourteen. Or two. You might even find a first edition of The Story of O next to a well-turned rack. (Can’t imagine HRH stooping to the mass culture pablum of Shades of Grey).

At the rack.

At the rack.

HRH also knows to escape the madding crowd. When he’s had enough of castle life he heads down hill to his home-away-from-castle, a Victorian cottage he’s restored complete with gym, media room, and 3,000 sq. ft. wraparound porch.

Additional considerations:

Described as tall and fit at seventy-one, HRH is long past beer belly danger and we’re willing to wager he doesn’t wear a baseball cap backwards either.

The fact that he spent months in Europe hunting down ancient castles, monasteries and rustic farm houses, reveals a preference for discovering the world by other means of transportation than a golf cart.

While his great-grandfather owned a winery in San Francisco in the late 1800s, he is the son of a cab driver and attended Berkeley, suggesting a scrappy humility and liberal leaning that could lighten up any royal pretentions

Caveats:

The Journal reports that he has been thrice married and now lives with a girlfriend. The Male Harem has no problem with wives or outside affiliations but might HRH be a serial monogamist ever in search of a subject worthy of his majesty?

More problematic, the underbelly of his admirably scrupulous attention to detail warns of a regimentation that could prohibit, say, an impromptu caper along the castello’s 170 acres of forests, hills and streams.

Rating (on 1 to 10 scale):  7.8

If HRH Wine Guy spent less time perfecting the predictable past and more time invading the enigmatic present he might better cultivate the joie de vivre so crucial to the harem’s cherished belief in living in the moment. Contrary to the many males who believe it’s their same old way or the highway, he has exhibited due diligence in re-inventing himself. Maybe HRH could be inspired to expand his horizons further by another royal example who shared his passion for renovation …

Amusements at the Palais-Royale.

Amusements at the Palais-Royale.

Though only a prince, Philippe de France, brother of Louis XIV and duc d’Orléans, transformed the former Paris digs of Cardinal Richelieu into the Palais-Royale, a gathering place for courtiers. The duc’s colorful life and checkered past might be a little much for the squeaky clean Californian, but reputation aside, he created such an enduring presence for the Palais, it aged like a big, bright jammy vintage wine.

Over the years it was a romping ground for courtesans, a forum for revolutionary rants, a theatre for Moliere’s plays still performed at the Comédie-Francaise, and one of the world’s first shopping malls now home to the venerable vintage boutique, Didier Ludot, where The Sultanette once picked up a Chanel suit for a song.

Sometimes settling for a prince, or even a frog is enough.

The Male Harem invites you to vote on HRH and also to submit your candidates for future consideration in this series, be they strangers, uncles, brothers, or the random somnolent husband or BF who could use a dose of Male Harem enlightenment.

09/19/13

Top 10 signs you know you’re having the perfect affair.

The Kiss By Hagenkunst (Own work)

The Kiss By Hagenkunst (Own work)

While the sole purview of The Male Harem is not sexual (see The Male Harem FAQs) there’s nothing like a fueled libido to give a woman a  kick-ass pov on life. And when the idea of gathering a harem was just a twinkle in The Sultanette’s eye, fate provided the ideal fueling in an early acquaintance.

The following, an extant document penned before I was encouraged to make The Male Harem anonymously public as a blog, was experienced after crawling out from sixteen years of well-intentioned fidelity with One and Only to rediscover the raw pleasure of being appreciated from end to end.

It coincided with reading Erotic Capital, a meaty book by Catherine Hakim, sociologist and professor at the London School of Economics (who has since followed up with The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs and Erotic Power, on the soon-to-read list). Hakim defines erotic capital as a cocktail of sex appeal, presence, vitality, and social savvy that attracts success economically, professionally, socially, and romantically. She argues that its cultivation has been undermined, especially for women, who are given the message that exploiting feminine wiles is tacky. Hakim is an equal opportunities basher of chauvinists and feminists in her indictment that “the politics of desire has led to women losing out across the board.”

Sometimes we women don’t have to be a work-in-progress but a work-in-prowess of the sex kitten kind. When the pleasurable stirrings of that early Male Harem encounter churned up a tsunami of aroused desire, zeal for the moment, sharpened appetites and an overall orgiastic grin, life started responding in every way. Is there any better petri dish for cultivating erotic capital than the perfect affair?

In that spirit, The Sultanette shares the aha moments below, not out of a need to convey some notch-in-her-belt bravado, but to suggest that there are side effects of the adroitly choreographed mixing of minds and bodily fluids that might outweigh its headliner, guilt. That its ultimate complicity lies in a corporal and cerebral tangle that doesn’t need to be unraveled, codified or demystified. That instead of dissecting the lizard brain in relentlessly unsexy couples counseling, it might sometimes be better to let it bask in a hot blinding sun. Here are ten top reasons why:

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (Unknown) [Public domain]

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (Unknown) [Public domain]

1.  You’re kissing again. (Remember kissing, veterans of til-death-do-you-part relationships? The teeth-knocking, tongue groping, lip-sucking kind that loses currency as soon as the male gains exclusive license to getting into your pants?)

2. You have no qualms about spending lots of money on clothes that are going to be taken off asap.

3. You’re on a first-name basis with the girls at the lingerie store.  (Remember lingerie, veterans of above relationships?)

4. You know you look fabulous because you’re smiling at yourself in the mirror too often.

5. You know you’re a sexy beast because you’re being told so by somebody who is fascinated by you.

imgres6. You’re spending more time in the shower and in sex shops.

7. If you’re married, you’re no longer wasting your energy winning the battles that leave you feeling defeated.

8. You’re recycling your newly excavated erotic energy into things like ruling your world.

9. You’re tolerating those moments of loneliness that happen in every life whether you’re married or coupled or even having a perfect affair.

10. If you’re feeling too lonely too often and you’re not experiencing any of the above, you’re ending the affair. You’ve begun to take each other for granted in which case you might as well get married.

The Male Harem welcomes your additions to this list. And as your mind meanders to the sensational, let’s go out with a Kiss courtesy of Prince and Entourage …

09/11/13

Oxford English Dictionary: The Male Harem Edition

COLLECTIE_TROPENMUSEUM_Groepsportret_met_missionarissen_van_de_MSF_en_Europese_kinderen_die_hun_Eerste_Heilige_Communie_gaan_doen_Borneo_TMnr_60051443

Holy Communion: Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute.

Blame it on a recovering Catholic’s naughty schoolgirl fantasies. On those crooked streets hiding randy-making pubs, arcane museums, pastry shops with proper tea, and the seraphic strains of evensong rising heavenward in gothic chapels. One of the hottest Male Harem weekends of The Sultanette’s life was had at Oxford, yes, England. It was a weekend so exceptional, an experience so perfectly shared, there was no choice but to return: Alone.

What does being alone have to do with The Male Harem? Everything. The harem was hatched out of the acute aloneness experienced upon realizing that One and Only would never have – never did have – my back (see Whose monogamy is it anyway?). A lethal tipping point, for sure, but a life-giving one. That old wives’ tale that it takes another person to complete you? I began to understand it was up to me to finish the job and now I could get on with it. So if you’re expecting lurid tales of the bodice-ripping Oxford weekend, read no further. But if you’ve tasted the mental-masturbatory thrill of self-discovery, stick around for the ride.

I’ve returned to Oxford twice since that first harem weekend of evensong and sweaty sex and strolls down antiquated lanes – each time alone – in search of something less and more. Instead of the harem lair at the 17C Old Parsonage Hotel with its crackling fire and creaking floors, I’ve slept in a single bed in student housing with shared bath and two allotted towels. Instead of being, wined, dined and goaded to orgasm, I’ve attended Oxford classes in a summer program for perennial students called The Oxford Experience.

Henry Prince of Wales. After Isaac Oliver.

Henry Prince of Wales. After Isaac Oliver.

You wouldn’t believe what you can learn at Oxford. I arrived on July 7 for the philosophy of politics starring John Stuart Mill, Kant, Locke, John Rawls and Isaiah Berlin, and left July 13 with theorems for Male Harem management. Studies began at breakfast in the great hall of Wadham College, my 17C private fortress.  Every morning as I feasted on eggs, beans, bacon, Weetabix, marmalade and toast (praise the Brits for resolutely sorting toast in those clever wire racks) a character out of Alice in Wonderland would come by at 8:45 sharp and ask me with crisp politeness if I had everything I needed before she closed the kitchen. And I would glance up at the imposing portraits of formidable men in lacey ruffs and puffy sleeves, painted at a time when it meant something to be a big swinging dick, and reply, “Yes thank you, I have everything I need.”

When it comes to going solo, I’m not alone. More than 50% of American adults are now single – about 17 million women to 14 million men – says NYU Sociology Professor, Eric Klineberg, in Going Solo. And while as expected, the majority (over 15 million) are 35 to 64, the fastest growing group is 18 to 34 (now at 5 million from 500,000 in 1950).

What are they all doing detached? According to Klineberg, the twenty to thirties set is aspiring to a “second adolescence.” The thirty to forty-somethings are enjoying the ”benefits (personal, social, and sexual) of living alone.” The divorced aren’t sprinting to the next connubial holy grail. And as for the worn out comment that women desperately flail in a sea of single men – the latest census reports that women now make up the majority of undergraduate students and those who earn a bachelor’s degree, along with a third of lawyers, judges, physicians, and surgeons – a leap from the previous generation. They’re putting off marriage and pursuing careers.

The idea that living solo is not a default but a choice is in the ethos. It’s surfacing in popular blogs like quirkyalone.com, SingularCity for upscale urbanites, and Yale/Princeton graduate Nicky Grist’s Alternatives to Marriage Project. In books like Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After by Harvard PhD psychologist Bella DePaulo.

Back at Oxford, my Male Harem tutorial proceeded after morning classes spent filleting the finer points of liberty, equality and fraternity, when every afternoon, I wandered the city. I snooped among arcane anthropological finds at the Pitt Rivers Museum, splurged on bijoux at The Lebanese Store of Cheap Bling, inhaled the musty redolence of a book store crammed with second-hand books, picked up souvenirs at an off-beat stationary shop, and hung out for hours at a funky student café.

Lane in Oxford: By Doc Searls (Flickr)

Lane in Oxford: By Doc Searls (Flickr)

Yes, there was camaraderie in the mix of Brazilian, French, Australian, Norwegian, Irish, Japanese, Canadian, and American curious minds who had signed up for The Oxford Experience. Evenings were shared at a croquet match on Christ Church lawn, pub crawls, and a rigorous single malt scotch tasting event. But after spending time with these impeccable strangers I’d head back to my monk’s cell. I’d make my way between pools of light down empty shuttered passages until The King’s Arms, a popular pub next door to Wadham would explode out of the holy silence, scholars spilling onto the street, their hilarity ricocheting against Oxford’s venerable dreaming spires.

Passing that scene every night, I was content to be a satellite hovering by. Happy for the quiet of my room and the metal bedside lamp that, if properly contorted, shed a corner of light on the book I read until sleep came, and then morning, and breakfast with the puffy sleeves.

On the day of my departure, I dropped off my suitcase at the porter’s office and took a detour before my last breakfast in the great hall. Through a dim crusty archway at the far end of the quad, I entered Wadham’s private park. Not a soul interrupted the sweep of manicured lawn and courtly trees poised in fragile light. Not a leaf stirred. The stillness was profound. Hundreds of mornings had happened here, hundreds would follow, but this one was all mine.

Back in America, the treadmill was waiting: mail to sort, meetings to make, loose ends to tie, jobs to hustle, ladies to lunch, and the harem to reconnoiter. Monsieur Bogie emailed to say bonjour. Young Preppieshared summer vacation sagas at Il Cantonori. Doctor Zhivago and I swapped lofty creative schemes over nouvelle Chinese takeout high above Manhattan. An afternoon with The Impresario was spiked with philosophical foreplay. A new candidate emerged, funny, bawdy, direct, to be known as MOFW (Man of Few Words). The Artful Duo’s dinner party catered by a Casablancan chef, was spiced with half-sozzled off-duty classical musicians.

Call me a gadabout. The male harem is my curation from the ashes of emotional betrayal. It’s my alternative to digital dating, friend’s well-meaning fix-up’s, and vacuous flings. Its credo is that while you can never count on one man for all time, you can always count on one at any given time. Its goal is to be surrounded by intellectually stimulating, entertaining, heart-warming, surprising, hot, heady, and bracing males. I ask nothing of them but decency and full engagement in the present. And they keep showing up.

Woman in crowd. Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian, 6 March 2009.

Woman in crowd. Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian, 6 March 2009.

But of course they do, one could easily say. They have no promises to keep, no fidelity to comply with, no transgressions to confess, or commitment to declare. What have they got to lose? And sometimes I question that, too. Have I given up too much by not asking enough? Am I losing out by not holding one man to his word? Yet with One and Only I abandoned myself for the illusion of it. Yes, I’ve chosen to be a loner in The Male Harem’s crowd. But now there is more of me than there is of them.

Before I left for Oxford, a married friend called, peppering me with questions about the trip.  She yearned to get away on her own, she said. She loved her husband but resentments had accumulated over years of slights and past offences. “I need to do something for me,” she confided. “So do it then, it’s only a week out of your life!” I replied. “Maybe I will sometime,” she said, “but now I have the grandchildren to look after.”

Had a fling with yourself lately?

09/2/13

Whose monogamy is it anyway?

Image credit: InSapphoWeTrust

The Leggo Wedding. Image credit: InSapphoWeTrust.

So let’s dive into the mother of them all, that cherished myth of the committed couple – monogamy.  At least it was mine for sixteen years with One and Only until I realized that though he wasn’t cheating on me physically, he’d been carrying on a liaison dangereuse with his past – a twenty-five year constipation over an insidious betrayal he’d never resolved. (Translation: baggage.) He denied it.  He had to.  He’d been deftly abused and lacked the metal or the wiles for right-sizing himself.  So when I realized I was participating in a relationship with the ghost of his past I made a break for the present.

I thought my future was set with One and Only. We’d found a country house and submitted credit checks  for a down payment when the betrayal bomb hit. (Grisly details to be revealed in forthcoming posts.) Now what? I’d earned full membership in the Embittered Ex Club and my ovaries were no longer hatching. I was free to write off men and curl up with a self-help book, join a cause, take up rosemaling.

And then it hit me:  There was something I still liked about hanging around with a person with a penis. I liked the frisson of their opposite. Their instinct to obfuscate. Their appreciation for breasts of all kinds and their flair for masturbation. I was drawn to their simplicity, their strength and single-mindedness, their determination to remain clueless and self-absorbed. Their drive and lack of sentimentality.

So why throw the big babies out with the bathwater when it was just relationships they were lousy at? Instead of counting on The One, I would pursue being adored, indulged, inspired, and entertained by The Many. I would cultivate a Male Harem.

Which brings us back around to monogamy. I was suckled on it. Dad came home every night to whatever mom was serving up for dinner.   They’d vowed to last forever and adored each other for fifty-six years.  Well I’d had forever and it didn’t last.  I was ready to have a whirl with the present.  No vows.  No expectations. The beauty of The Male Harem was that while I would no longer count on one man for all time, I could always count on one at any given time.

"The Terrace of the Seraglio."

“The Terrace of the Seraglio.”

Don’t be misled by the bravado. There are those Saturday nights when I yearn for the consistency of that One just being there. When I ache for a sense of security, even the illusion of it. And then I remember how lonely life was with a ghost, and I count my blessings and my harem.

So full disclosure:  The Male Harem contains married men.  In fact, judging by the husbands of all stripes and committed boyfriends who shamelessly populate it, I wonder if monogamy is an illusion. A male pretense to keep the peace while they get on with pursuing their appetites.

The American self-help industrial complex may tout monogamy as intimacy’s nirvana, but whose monogamy are they referring to?  Have yourself a Google orgy on the subject and you’ll find British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips suggesting in his book, Monogamy, that ruthlessly high-minded fidelity might possibly degenerate into numbing routine and sexual complacency. Or see Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You by Notre Dame anthropologist, Agustin Fuentes.  Or sociologist Eric Anderson’s, The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love, and the Reality of Cheating. Might there be more original ways to navigate the relationship jungle than hacking away at one’s mate in couple’s counseling?

"Single Woman Bathed in Seraglio" by Théodore Chassériau

“Single Woman Bathed in Seraglio” by Théodore Chassériau.

While being wined and dined, flattered and fondled by The Male Harem, my world has expanded exponentially. I’m pursuing off-beat interests and devouring obscure books. On the physical side, I’ve developed a set of guns to rival Michelle’s and accrued a world class collection of lingerie. Erotic energy is spilling over into the rest of my life, infecting the way I approach my work, friendships and goals.

And speaking of intimacy, freed of the expected rules of engagement, men are opening up in unexpected ways. They share their passions and idiosyncrasies, unexplored feelings and past regrets, hidden sentiments and guilty secrets. And they’re talking about sex, the male version, having it and wanting it and who with.  Sometimes the conversation is between friends. Sometimes it’s between the sheets.

The Male Harem has challenged me to question everything I’ve been brought up to believe about sex and fidelity, companionship and loneliness.  If it’s my personal skirmish in the war between the sexes, it’s also my private seraglio where I am the Sultanette.  The place where I find intellectual rigor, mental toughness, and emotional independence.  That may sound lonely but it’s not an illusion. It’s a life I can call my own, enriched by the company of men. A life lived more fully, fearlessly, passionately, and not monogamously.

What’s your monogamy meter?

09/2/13

The Male Harem FAQs

Mata Hari.

Mata Hari.

In response to the relentless inquiries among friends, strangers, and soulmates concerning the how’s and who’s of The Male Harem, below is a compendium of most frequently asked questions.

Q:  Do you have sex with all of them?

A:  I may be The Sultanette but I’m not Mata Hari.

Q: Then what’s the point?

A: Happy to say this answer has eluded only one would-be member of The Male Harem, call him The Judge for his litigation creds in the courts of law. (Harem descriptions slightly modified to ensure anonymity.) Installed in his rural idyll where we’d been introduced by his well-meaning wife at a charity event, The Judge suggested he drive into the city for lunch to discuss a book project he was dabbling in. The next week at Blue Water Grill on Union Square, I offered writing advice, then broached the subject of The Male Harem, curious to see if this country gent would be shocked.  Au contraire, The Judge’s immediate response was an enthusiastic, “I’d like to join!” The Male Harem wasn’t a club to be joined, I explained, but an experience to be cultivated. Objection overruled, he suggested we reconvene for lunch next week, venue TBD.

Here come the judges.

Here come the judges.

Early that morning, the phone rang.  “What if,” The Judge opined friskily, “I picked up a bottle of champagne and a slice of pâté and dropped by your apartment?” Beyond a reasonable doubt, His Honor anticipated a convenient romp with a louche New York City woman (isn’t what these women did?) while his wife discussed Emily Bronte at her book club.

Time for some Male Harem rules.

Q:  There are rules for The Male Harem?

A:  Does the Pope wear Prada? Male Harem rules are crucial to preventing The Sultanette from slipping into sentimentality, suffocating expectations, and affiliations beyond the here and now. Hence, Harem members shall be one or several of the following:

Intelligent but not arrogant.  Sexy but not cocky.

Either brilliant flatterers or accomplished liars.

Cultured hedonists. Wicked wits.

Genuine lovers of women, not pretending so they can get into their pants.

Apropos to the above, sex is never assumed but not ruled out.

Husbands invited, especially happily married ones.

If single, there will be no expectation of exclusivity.

Beguiling conversationalists. Topics concerning the throwing, hitting, or kicking of a ball does not qualify as conversation.  (NOTE: It wasn’t her sexual prowess that spared Scheherazade’s life, it was her irresistible confabulations. Schehimazades welcome.)

Q:  How do you meet them?

A:  Experience has shown that the most effective method for collecting harem candidates is not to look for them.  Thus, past harem encounters have occurred:

While eating oatmeal at Italian café near subway on way to morning meeting.

Attending summer course on history of English crime at Oxford.

Sunday afternoon lecture at Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Happy hour at Minetta Tavern after obscure Sunday afternoon documentary.

Backstairs of apartment building while working out at neighborhood gym.

Dinner at neighborhood watering hole after contents of refrigerator revealed nothing but cocktail onions and a yogurt.

All of the above share one thing in common: living life. How this philosophy was fueled by recent consecutive family deaths is a post in itself. For now let’s say that The Sultanette chooses to spend any precious time left after working to pay the gas bill on things that give her pleasure. Matchmaking websites that require being interviewed at Starbucks by hoards of randy males isn’t on the bucket list.

Not that I didn’t consider the dot-com market for harem hunting after One and Only. Hadn’t it become the single’s MO in the sixteen years since I’d been off the playing field? Yet I’d seen friends – beautiful, smart, candid – their self-confidence crushed after a string of inspections.  Different specimen, same drill:  the revealing of past-relationship CV, the reviewing of present interests, (“You like the blues, I love the blues!”), the wet, groping kiss, the promise to call that never materialized. Or worse, did.

Lazy and sloppy man laying in badI’m skeptical that instant fact-matching is more truthful or interesting or better foreplay than another person’s slow reveal.  The Impresario has been in The Male Harem for over two years and I have yet to ask his age, where he lives, his wife’s name, or have any idea what he does on weekends.  I want our physically exciting, intellectually absorbing, emotionally immediate connection, not his factoids or his dirty sox.

Yet after closing down restaurants with him over hours of conversation in a  half-dozen locations across the globe, after observing from a respectful distance, the ups and down of our separate lives, and experiencing the non-verbal carnal intimacy of honestly passionate sex, I know him sensually and intuitively. And in some ways, not at all.

Yet who can say that in mystery there is less knowing?  Did I know anything more of One and Only? In the end, all the dirty sox and deep familiarity inspired no longevity, loyalty or even integrity. Each encounter with The Impresario might be the last, but each present is more real than the illusion of lasting was with One and Only.

Call me a cyber prude, but don’t be so fast to write off Twanna Hines of Funky Brown Chick, wunderkind commentator on sexuality and its intercourse with culture and technology. Twanna has appeared on CNN and NPR, worked for Newsweek and BBC Worldwide, and lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Amsterdam.  Her easy confidence belies her years.

Ms. Hynde: Image credit: Jslonaker.

Ms. Hynde: Image credit: Jslonaker.

On a panel at NPR’s Green Space last May about “How to be a Grown Ass Woman” she was asked about online dating by a world weary Millennial. Twanna’s message was:  Get offline and on with your life. Or consider sites like meetup.com because it’s in the interest of your interests.

Q:  So what do you do on those Saturday nights when life can’t comfort you, or cook you dinner, or just hold you?

A: Oh, those.

First I think about Byron, terminal romantic, who said:  “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart.  Tis woman’s whole existence.” And I get right-sized. Then I remember watching Chrissie Hynde, queen of thighs, crooning in a Pretender’s concert at Madison Square Garden: “Would you like sour cream on your potato, honey!” And I get a smile on my face.  And then I hear Dylan, gritty gypsy poet, growling: “Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through.” And I get on with my life.

Q: But isn’t life only truly fulfilling when two people commit selflessly and exclusively for better and worse?  How do you know you’re not deluding yourself?

A:  I don’t.  But If you’ve read this far, maybe you’re not so convinced either.  This is the next best way for me.  What’s yours?

Take a listen to Chrissie on a Saturday night …