To marry, only to divorce: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler to wait ninety days before having sex, to suffer the pangs and angst of withholding love, in an effort to get love…
Oh, forget it. It’s mad.
And I’m no Bard.
On this day when we celebrate love, I want to take Love up in my arms and let her sob gently on my shoulder for all those times when she’s been used as a prop in a game of keep away.
A kitten sent me a video of Steve Harvey, a talk show host, comedian, actor, radio show host, author, thrice married – a true renaissance man, if you will, speaking about his book: Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I watched the video after Mr. Viking ran, or rather limped quickly but with purpose, from my home with not his pants on fire, but his emotions. It made an impression on me, for sure. The video, that is.
And then The Ninety Day rule was used on me, not in the way Steve Harvey suggests, by Mr. Viking himself.
The gist of the clip is that women should withhold sex from a man for 90 days – The Ninety Day Rule. In those 90 days, that man will show his true colors. He cleverly equates this to the probation period a new employee goes through before being eligible for health benefits from their employer. Does that man deserve your ‘benefits’? Has he said the right things and did what he said he was going to do? Is he who he said he is? In order to truly know, require a probationary period before you send him down to human resources.
90 days up?
Well, get at it then! Heels to the sky, roll like bunnies, burst that waterbed!
While I find Steve Harvey engaging, funny and onto something, that something is a little different than what he believes it to be. Sometimes the little things cause the biggest problems.
Life is not a game. Human interactions are not to be scored, timed, put into quarters or periods. There is no victor. Ever. Each person has a reason for creating an encounter, participates in it according to their principles and agenda, and then it’s a wrap. Take away stowed. Good night, Gracie.
I promise you, there is no winner.
A woman who waits 90 days to have sex with a man, and then determines he is worthy of her ‘benefits’, is a woman who waited 90 days to have sex with a man.
She didn’t ‘get’ the man. She didn’t ‘honor’ herself. She simply waited 90 days to have sex with a man. Will they marry? Maybe. Should they? Maybe. Will they get divorced? Maybe. All those options are possible; anything is possible. And the 90 day wait to have sex with him has absolutely ZERO to do with the outcome.
Except that when carried out like Steve Harvey suggests, with the intent he implies, I would bet that 100% of the time the relationship will fail.
Love is not about playing a game. Love can’t be won. Nor can it be possessed. It can only be given.
In the photo caption for the last post I quoted something Shakespeare really did say (Sonnet 87):
Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing.
Shakespeare has been all over me like a man made to wait out the 90 days. I hit the elliptical the morning after Mr. Viking up and left, and PBS popped up on the TV mounted to the machine. PBS. Not ESPN. Nor HGTV. Nor The Food Network. PBS.
That does not happen.
For the next 90 minutes I watched two episodes of Shakespeare Uncovered. One featured Hamlet and the other The Tempest. Various people associated with various productions of the plays discussed the motives of Shakespeare, their motives in bringing his works to the stage or screen and the experiences they had while being involved with the productions. I was captivated before I even realized what I was watching. Once the subject became clear, I was humored.
I fell in love with Shakespeare in high school. Reading his words, in their other-world cadence with meanings buried in a language I was not taught, came easy to me. The barrier of being difficult to read didn’t exist. And then, oh! the stories, they grabbed me, came to life all around me. No richer stories exist.
I vividly recall one night sitting on the toilet reading Romeo and Juliet. (Yes, I just said that.) For an hour. I could have easily moved to my bed after 60 seconds, but I was transfixed. Or, I had set off on a journey with Shakespeare that left my body on that toilet, but took me somewhere else entirely.
I haven’t read Shakespeare in years. And (sorry, Bard) I hadn’t thought of him until just recently. The first was a fleeting thought, that I only know happened, but the meaning, forgotten. Then another. And again. A phrase would fly through my mind, or a memory that would lead me to a time when I read Hamlet or Twelfth Night. I found myself daydreaming about him. What he was like. What it would be like to sit and discuss love, betrayal, and the human thirst for emotional peace. Have him recite to me his favorite lines, and laugh as he confessed that we misinterpreted many, as he intended all along.
Before watching the PBS documentary, I played hide and seek with Shakespeare in my thoughts. After the documentary, I flipped through thin, cream colored paper with tiny text split into two columns.
The Genius came to get some books he left behind. These books aren’t on shelves but in plastic tubs where they have lived since our two moves. The tubs are in different places in the garage. He perused them for those he wanted and left.
The Genius is a neat and methodical person.
But he left one tub open, the books tumbled about, with a large, green, hard-backed tome on top, facing up. In a perturbed fashion, I grabbed the tub. I have enough to do with this move, I don’t need to put back that which you disturbed. Then my eyes settled onto the gold-stamped title:
and the Sonnets
Thomas Mark Parrott
If I had a satchel in which to toss all the signs and spirits and messages and knowings felt during the last 2 weeks it would need to be a satchel big enough for all the actors who have ever uttered a word written by William, himself. It will take some time for me to get clear on why Shakespeare is so present with me right now. (By saying that, I don’t mean his spirit has decided that of all the people in the world he wants to come camp out with me, but that I seek something from him so I’ve drawn his energy to me.)
I brought the book inside to where I write. Where it was immediately buried under paperwork.
The morning after Mr. Viking left saying, I’ll call you tomorrow, he called. This time we dispensed with small talk altogether. Nora Roberts has never gotten two people to ‘I have to tell you how I feel’ faster. He fearlessly spoke of the skirmish within over his desire to throw gasoline on the ember of our encounters and the need to focus on stitching his heart back together after losing his brother, while also waiting for the gaping wound on his foot to heal enough to even get stitches. After 10 minutes of trying to articulate what his heart was feeling he said,
I have to get all of this straight before I can tell you what I need to say. Can I call you in an hour?
I’m going to head to the gym. Can I ring you when I get back?
Maybe this is something we should discuss in person.
Thanks to the Bard, my workout went from one hour to two. As soon as I walked in the door, desperate for a shower, a text arrived. Mr. Viking was warming a seat for me at a local establishment, awaiting my arrival. I called him back, because my texts go by way of Nepal on the back of a yak when sent to him, to say I’d be there.
Our meeting lasted for four hours. Near the beginning, he looked into and through my eyes and said, I’m going to tell you everything.
And he did. He wanted me to know who he is, what drives him, what pains him, and what he needs to focus on now. And then the talk turned to me.
We’ve spent less than 24 hours together and I feel like I’ve known you all my life. When you spoke about my brother it really affected me. He would have died if he saw you. (Mr. Viking has a sense of humor.) He loved redheads. If he was going to pick out a girl for me, it would be you.
But I can’t do this right now.
He described how he was not ready to take on the expectations of a relationship. He had a lot of work on the horizon, especially after being sidelined by his foot injury and then blind-sided by his brother’s death. He needed to focus. Embarking on a love affair with a woman seemingly hand-picked by his recently deceased brother is only carried out effortlessly in films. In real life it can make one wear undergarments on the outside, or drive away from the gas pump without having taken the pump out of the car, or leave the stove on as you depart for a romantic weekend in Big Sur.
Not the stuff of focus.
I want to do this right. I need three months. Maybe two and a half…three.
I don’t know how he interpreted my smile, but I was grinning for Steve Harvey. He nailed it. (To the kitten who sent me the video, Thank you!)
Three months. 90 days.
We spoke openly and honestly about courting, relationships, needs. We told stories. Naturally, eyebrow raising connections linked so much of our lives, even as children, although separated by 10 years in age. I told him about the transformation I’ve undergone since the Pocket Call. How this magical journey has lead me to redefine what is important to me in life. In some cases that new definition could be called obscure or unconventional, unique, or just weird. How traditional relationships and their patterns felt foreign to me. Not part of how I am to live out the balance of my days here. By the nature of living fully present in the moment, I am focusing on what’s happening right in front of me rather than developing expectations for what is to come. How both our needs would be met with his request for time.
Instead of one of us playing keep away with whatever is deemed our most valuable asset in order to
manipulate the outcome of a courtship insure that it would be given into the right hands, Mr. Viking put the brakes on so he could tend to his needs, one of which was to care for his own emotional well-being, solo.
His 90 Day intent is pure, whereas withholding something in order to entice is not. I should clarify that Steve Harvey did not suggest that withholding sex is a way to ‘get’ a man. He did focus on the need for women to give themselves 90 days to get to know a man. But the message was cloaked in jerseys, and helmets and pads – game playing attire. He hilariously describes why women are like air to men – the first four reasons having to do with our bodies. The connection wasn’t subtle.
Instead of starting off deceiving, doing what it takes to “…win in love…when playing the ‘dating game'” ( quote from the intro to Steve Harvey’s book, Straight Talk, No Chaser – How to Find, Keep and Understand a Man), Mr. Viking spoke honestly about his needs.
My need to allow friendships to develop and not be stunted by explosive romantic encounters (I’m by no means using that as a euphemism for sex – explosive romantic encounters can involve zero touching.) clicks perfectly with Mr. Viking’s needs. By each of us tending to our needs first, we naturally set in motion a way of discovering our compatibility. By not focusing on a victorious outcome, Nature takes its course.
Instead of playing keep away, we are taking a line from The Poet himself,
Thou art too dear for my possessing.
Today and always,