Last Sunday, I headed up to NYC. It was time once again for a meeting of my Gay Men's SM/Spirituality Discussion Group. (The Group Which Without A Catchy Name Or Anagram, although one of of the members referred to it as "Sex And Spirit," and that kind of works. Although maybe "Leathersex And Spirit" might hit it more closely.)
Here's the great take-away that I took away: "Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing the wind."
Isn't that great?
It's from Ecclesiastes, I believe.
I talked some about my recent chain bondage experience, and just how well it went off, and how well all of the chain bondage scenes I've done have gone off pretty well. This despite the fact that what I've learned during these many years of doing chain bondage from the first experience way back when with GI Joe Skin until two weeks ago could be printed on the back of a playing card. In other words, not much. And it's not a thing I think about much while I'm doing it, I just do it. Combine that with the fact that I do it pretty well, and I wonder if perhaps I don't have a particular gift for it.
There's lots in christian spirituality about gifts. One should use one's gifts, not hide your light under a bushel basket. And one should not get all puffed up about one's gifts; they're given to you so that you can do God's work in the world.
Before meeting up with the group, I met up for lunch with an recent acquaintance. We had a good time. Whenever we're together, I'm always struck by how remarkably similar we are. When he describes some life situation or other, I know how the story ends, because he does just what I would do, or says what I would say, or responds how I would respond.
So the recent acquaintance celebrated his fiftieth birthday not so long ago. We were talking about prospects of romance for Men Of A Certain Age, and he came out with something that gave me pause.
"Y'know, even if I were to meet a great guy, who turns me on, and we have a fun time in bed, and we get along great, and who laughs at all my jokes, and who makes me laugh... I just wonder... I mean, at my age, I'm pretty set in my ways. And a relationship would mess all of that up."
Carrie Bradshaw Moment: Am I too set in my ways at this point in my life? Has that ship sailed for me?
Relationships involve compromise. We know this. The last time I moved in with a guy (Disaster!) there were lots of compromises. My desk went into what had been his darkroom. I gave up my great kitchen for his ridiculous excuse for a kitchen. My objets d'art didn't "work" so they were canned. I had to purge my wardrobe twice: once to fit in the closet space afforded to me, and again because he deemed some of my clothes to be "wrong."
I could never do all that now.
But hey, what if it didn't involve sharing living space? That would reduce that problem, right?
Or would it?
"Now let me get this straight," I could here him saying, "We can't see each other this Sunday because Sunday is specifically reserved for you to sit in Starbucks reading the New York Times for four hours?"
So is it true?
Am I too set in My Ways?
At this point, My Ways are shorthand for My Life, right? And I happen to like my life. My life isn't something that just dropped from the sky the other day. It's the distillation of of years of listening closely to the music of my heart, and tentatively, after a few cautious steps, and then with assurance, learning how to dance to it.
Not that me and this hypothetical guy couldn't make our own music together and turn my solo into a pas de deux, But let's be clear: that would not be an easy or graceful transition.
So it looks as though the stakes are raised higher still. As if they weren't already stratospheric.
Hope still springs eternal.
Maybe, just maybe, we'll be so perfectly matched that he wouldn't consider giving up his four hours spent reading the New York Times at Starbucks on a Sunday and it would only involve us deciding who goes to who's Starbucks.
It might happen!