JUICY STUFF:   Profound Popcorn
                              

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STRIPPERS AND BRIDES
"Request permission to morph, Sir! "
©2001

A long time ago, when a may-pole was a may-pole, the Divine had a grrl’s face and needed only to take a consort from season to season to keep the earth leaning back toward the sun and the soil forming itself into fruit.  Then, from a hotdog stand at the intersection of Eden and Madison, someone peddled a new theory…



"Venus" Jacques Antoine Vallin  1770-1831
  
Women take a man as a means to the miracle, so there will be new hearts to teach their wisdom to, new bodies to teach their joys to.   Ritual, song, dance, arts and legends acknowledged this when the Original Woman had a mind and face and a body, and all were accepted and beloved as one whole lotta woman.

Then the 'I'm-your-scary-daddy' mythologies arrived.  Sigh.  The feminine face of creation turned up in Best Supporting roles; she eased acceptance of the new, beard-based theologies.  The goddess of love was asked to stick around as the Soccer Mom of god and take messages when god had stepped away to smite something.

Her former flock divided into warring factions.  They’d been asked to choose a side:  The side of enlightenment or the side of pleasure.  The side of bread or the side of juice.  The side of reflection or the side of joy.  The side of Life Now or Life Afterwards.

The goddess had never asked them to choose, had always advocated abundance, the abundance of the whole.  To sit out the conflict, watching the kids bicker, she donned two masks, one for each side.  She armed herself with a stack of Vogue and Vatican II, flipping and sighing and waiting for that call to return to the stage.

Millennia later, we see how deeply we miss her sweet complete face.  We’re riveted by the goddess's modern totems, the Stripper and the Bride, woman on the half shell.

She visits the warring troops, each side in turn.  At the traditional wedding ceremony, we allow her one brutally brief walk among us.  The Bride gives us our money’s worth.  She enters the sacred space to music, to horns and pipes and soaring voices, to fragrance and jewelss, to lilies and stained glass, robes and chalices—abundance in production values—and we intuitively rise in a fullbody shwing . She glides by us in her aura of white, carrying the flowers of the spring fields, as she's always done.  Jaded voyeurs get lumps in their throats.

She's iconically rendered, she’s logo-woman, dressed up as a virgin no matter what her erotic finesse, no matter how she decoyed the lucky man with coquetry and cleavage.  And we love her for that pretense.  We allow her to reel us in, without fearing that we, too, could be consumed.  She is safe, purified, radiant.  She is being taken to be tamed.  But we will have one unforgettable look at the bonfire of her spirit before she’s melted down and made into a name on retail mailing lists.  The most pitiful waste of sacred juice in the history of mythology.

[OPTIONAL MINI-RANT]
And how goes the melting? --Her virgin finery goes into mothballs, her image into a photo album, and she's allowed to visit this memory shrine once a year on her anniversary.  Every woman ‘knows’, just before she merges with a man, that she has one queen-of-the-castle runway walk coming to her.  For this reason, women spend months, pension plans, and Xanax™ refills, believing the spiritually low-cal notion that they're allowed only one turn at the altar, one turn as the priestess of dreams, one turn as the embodiment of potential and fertility and desire. So the walk down the aisle lives on as a woman's singular moment in the sun. Pity.

[RESUME HERE]
Meanwhile, across town, suburban drones are shuffling into the titty bars with lunchbuckets and attachés, to gaze at the other mask.  They're unafraid to admit to themselves and each other that they've been oddly unable to attract a fulltime woman who practices the 'exotic' arts.  Jaded voyeurs get lumps in their pants.

They warm themselves at her bonfire again.  This time, it's not her ethereal filmy aura, it's her senses, sweat and muscle, her skill in flooding the temple with the image of her pulse, with undulations in which her very bones seem to move like seagrass in the current.  She doesn't glide and float, swathed in lace, past the divided nations in the wooden pews on either side.  She dances among them, in front of them, on pedestals above them – and of course, she slides around the maypole.  She mercifully diverts their attention from the fact that their last genuinely erotic encounter took place in their minds.

Why do the boyfriends, hubbies, daddies, uncles, brothers, grandpas come back to the earthy goddess?  Because, overdubbing her song with the bride, she croons to them that they don't have to take her all at once, as a whole creature.  They can absorb her anonymously in a darkened cathedral, with the soft-focus courage of intoxicants – and then retreat with honour to the suburbs and their waiting Brides.  Excellent!

And so they shuttle back and forth clutching car key, house key, and alibi, paying the one to be wild and paying the other to be tame.  And the Bride, severed from her springtime stripper heart, wonders late at night as she’s applying Clinique to the soundtrack of her husband's snoring – will he ever look at her 'that way' again?

And the Stripper, severed from her lyrical Bride heart, wonders, late at night, as she’s rinsing someone's DNA off her g-string to the soundtrack of the all-night streetcar – will anyone ever sweep her off to the altar on the other side of town?

[OPTIONAL CONSUMER RANT]
The Bride patronizes her Stripper heart with giggly home parties for women, where dildos and g-strings are peddled to women who have become accustomed to a phoned-in f%k at best – and who wistfully imagine that adding a couple of ounces of transparent silk will produce that spectacular rutting that first lulled them into settling for their suitor.

And the Stripper patronizes her Bride heart with the possibility that among the erotically malnourished gomers will be one prince, one gutsy knight, one who might want to raise a fat little howlin' baby with them – and they wistfully imagine that adding a couple of grand worth of white lace will produce the epic commitment that's rarely given to those who work in the medium of desire.

[RESUME HERE]
Darlins, when the moment comes in which a critical mass of good men, a critical number of rare, whole men perceive without fear – and celebrate – the goddess in one place, in one woman, then she will walk the streets of every town at every hour. Brides will be erotic. Strippers will be sacred. She, and we, will be whole again.

But as long as the Goddess – slashed in two – only appears at opposite ends of town, in clouds of frankincense or tobacco, in taffeta or tattoos, before congregants whose handkerchiefs hold either tears or semen, she will never join her halves in the soul of woman.

L-R: One stripper foot, one bride foot.

And men will be doomed to drive, to spend, to drink, to yearn, to invent, to regret, to put unnecessary strain on their souls and credit cards, as they make the pilgrimage back and forth, back and forth, between the two faces of their desire.

Someone get these boys some frequent flyer points.

 

 

Epilogue:

Painting: War Mothers
Lenny Weaver-Baxter

A third, ghostly, rarely seen face of the goddess tapped me on the shoulder as I was writing this.  In the line "watching the kids bicker," is the archetype of the War Mother.  In the sixties, there were still women alive who were paraded each Remembrance Day like living statues.  We honoured them because they donated babies to battles declared long before their time.   I look at them with horror.  The futility of being woman is never more clear; the lack of reverence for her creations never more apparent.  The mother of the dead soldiers (some women lost three sons to war) was detached the farthest from both stripper and bride.  The war mother left behind both her earthly joys and her ethereal visions to stand as an icon of the harvested land, the bare branches and the snow-covered fields after the crops were taken.  Her sacrifice made her semi-divine.  I wonder how she could even walk carrying all that grief.  Her miscarriages came so late.

Hunters and Slaves - go here for the men's counterpart to Strippers and Brides


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