“…and one last thing you should never ever forget, if you give the milk away for free, there’s no reason for him to buy the cow.”
I really wish I could say that I grew up on a farm surrounded by livestock who romped with me in golden fields. Alas, I did not. My mother’s advice had nothing to do with actual hooves and everything to do with the six inches of real estate nestled in my fine valley.
“Don’t give it away for free.” “You can do anything!” “Save it for the right person…preferably the man you marry.” “Some day you could be president!”
As much as society was telling us how great we women were and how much we could achieve, it was hard not to think that just maybe that little flap of skin was worth more than everything else we had to offer. The girls of my generation sat torn between the fear of being labelled a slut and the sheer terror of pledging our life to someone who might not be good in bed.
With all that we experienced, I’d like to think that in the intervening years between then and now, we women, the last of the Gen X’ers, the Sex in the City adepts, stomped into the streets to shout that we also enjoy orgasms. But given the inexplicable continued existence of father/daughter promise ceremonies and underage stars still pledging to maintain their virginity, I’m guessing that hasn’t been the case.
Why can’t we all just admit what we know to be true? He will buy the cow. He’ll buy the cow, the milk, the cereal, the tampons and everything else you put on his shopping list. What you may or may not have done in the years leading up to agreeing to share your bootylicious body with him and him alone, doesn’t matter at all. If it does, get the hell out of that relationship.
We need to tell our children (boys and girls) that if they want to truly find the person that completes them, they can’t hold anything back. To find Mr. (or Mrs.) Right, you need to explore every facet of one another, finding all of the literal and emotional buttons and learning which ones you should and should not push.
Beautiful, lasting relationships are made up of so many different moving parts. Quiet moments of sitting side-by-side without saying a word. Long hours of dinner table discussions at the end of long days. The mad motions of raising children. Holidays spent under the covers. Nights spent clinging to one another as though you were the only two people left in the world. Moving, changing jobs, having children, losing family and friends, the only consistency we’ll have is the partner by our side. You have to love someone, like someone, crave someone and fulfill your fantasies with them and them alone if you want to have a chance at anything close to forever.
We need to stop teaching our children that the key to finding their forever someone lies in withholding parts of themselves. We need to create safe environments for them to grow and explore and learn about one another. We do them no good if they fear our judgement and wrath as they make their first tentative steps.
There’s no cow, there’s no bird and no bees. The treasure to be guarded is the bond our child will someday forge with another. Let’s try celebrating that and all of the mistakes it takes to get there for a change.
(Credit to Magnolia Ripkin for coining the phrase “six inches of real estate” in her fab contribution to I Just Want to Be Alone.)