The abundance of hilarity poses as the baseline of all these wonky parties. But there is another thing that goes on, that a person could miss if they chose not to tune in. There's something a lot deeper than the acrylic nails, cheap nylons, and under-elastized snakeskin minis.
Somehow in shedding our typical wrappings, we lose something else - our safety in whatever packaging we've grown accustomed to. We're given the gift of making new friends without the distraction of superficial judgements based on what "life grouping" we may assume that people belong to. As "cougars", we shared an imaginary identity that opened gateways for exploration that we may not have uncovered at an epicure party in our Sunday best. (not that I have any issue with eating dips for hours on end, dripping mayo on my Sunday School blouse and rayon skirt...)
And one of my favourite things was the joy and beauty we found in each others bared midriffs, lycra-ed thighs, rounded bellies, and plungeing necklines. It was a bold embracing of our femininity. A recognition of our God-given beauty as women without the shame and confusion of inappropriate or unwanted sexual attentiveness. Women too often react in fear to their own bodies, and the bodies of their fellow women. We envy. We covet. We criticize, torture ourselves, condescend to one another.
But on November the tenth, we celebrated. And it reminds me of one of my favourite passages in Geneen Roth's beautiful book: Feeding The Hungry Heart.
"...I have a fantasy that I repeat to myself, instead of turning to food, when I need comfort and nurturing. I am at a celebration with hundreds of other women. It is a summer evening, about dusk, when fireflies begin to play. It is warm and the smell of honeysuckle is strong. We build a fire and set tables around it covered with lovely embroidered cloths. We bring out a glorious array of foods: roast chicken, turkey, potatoes, yams, large colorful salads, nuts, hot wheat breads, platters filled with fruit- pineapple, papaya, mangoes, apples, bananas, figs, dates- whipped dream, cakes and pies, wine and rich coffee. A feast for women, not one where the food is prepared for men to enjoy- or one of those horrible parties where the women gather guiltily around the food table and pick furtively. We eat and enjoy every bite. I add various pleasures, depending on my mood; sometimes we pile all the Cosmopolitans, Vogues, Seventeens, and Playboys on the fire and sing as they crackle and spew. Always we dance and sing, and finally I lie back on the cool fragrant grass. (on a great vintage quilt, I would add) The fire warms the night air. Staring at the stars, I know that this world is mine. I feel the food in my belly, feel it nourishing my body, feel the laughter and strength in my bones; and I am completely and overwhelmingly satisfied." (Rachel Lawrence)
Thank you, my friends. Thank you who came, and you who I thought of. You have enriched my life. You have taught me so much. You have expanded the table that is my life, and piled it high with sumptuous, guilt-free indulgences. Not the sort that leave you feeling light-headed, full, and hungry. But the sort with substance, subtleties, bold spices, and life-giving nourishments.
i sure have enjoyed these last few posts. someday i won't miss the party...
great quote, too. really lovely. none of this "furtive picking" unless it is to remove glue on nails.
Sounds like a fun party : ) Lindalew
its a great quote. i was there in spirit. Maybe one day in body too.
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