“Music must never offend the ear…must never cease to be music.” (Mozart)
My favorite guest blogger is back! This is “Chris” who not only has an interesting take on my story, relationships in general, and his story, but he is also a great writer and willing to share. Today’s topic: What should we share on social media? Are the most intimate pieces of our lives appropriate for telling the world? I’ve opened up my world but it’s not for everyone that’s for sure! But here are some important things to consider. Enjoy!
In the Bedroom When the Music Stops – Our Digital Age
By Chris, guest writer
I value reading Lizzy Smilez’s blog and I respect her perspective, insight, perseverance, tenacity, and telling the whole truth of things. A few of those truths have, without a better way to put it, struck me dumb. In time, I’ve organized a few thoughts around that silence and Lizzy has permitted me to offer them here.
In telling her now-ex-husband in clear and unmistakable terms that the marriage was over and she was leaving, never to return, she led with the following three statements, and I’m quoting here:
“You have the smallest penis ever. You suck in bed Your beer belly is disgusting”
Um, Mr. Mozart, the music in this bedroom has definitely stopped being music.
I never questioned the truth of these three things as points of dissatisfaction in a marriage gone bad. It had become destructive to health and sanity in a whole series of other ways and for other reasons. I don’t disagree with Lizzy saying these things to him. I’m not attempting to take them out of context. There was a whole lot of misery in that marriage, most notably his alcohol-fueled rages. I get that. Lizzy’s blogged about the whole picture, not just these things, and she includes reflection on her own mistakes. I don’t disagree with her blogging about any of it, or all of it. It simply made me think. Good writing like Lizzy’s does that to people.
I’m a divorced and remarried man with the number of life experiences that come with dating relationships, sex, breakups, marriage, and divorce, and living life into middle age and now having adult children. There are ups and downs. We say things to each other, things that need to be said, sometimes that just seem appropriate in the situation.
I’ve kept in shape, and no one has ever commented to me or to anyone else about me in unfavorable terms about my belly, but I’m probably configured much like Lizzy’s ex below the belly, maybe even smaller than him, and I’ll leave the concert hall and take to the baseball diamond for a moment.
I’ve had the first two strikes called on me at the plate a number of times. They were legitimate and situationally appropriate. When my ex-wife informed me that our marriage was over and that she was moving out, she was as clear with me as Lizzy was with her then-husband about my tiny bat (bat=penis in this analogy) and my tendency to swing and miss, or to keep that little bat on my shoulder when the ball is right over the plate and I should be swinging for the fences. I couldn’t do much about having a small bat, but I did ask her to play the game with me and be my teammate. I had an obligation to do more than just show up, and bat first strike (small bat) isn’t what caused me to strike out so often. It was my fault, and she was right to call me on it, not doing much with the small bat I had and not giving her that cheering-crowd sound in her ears.
In her blog posts, all three of these things have come up several times, using different words, but conveying the same meaning: tiny nub for a penis, sexually unsatisfying, and large unsightly belly, particularly when bare. Of course, the belly became more unsightly by the day, because it was attributable to his intake excess, including a couple or three thousand calories per day of beer alone. In fact the complete title of the blog post about the finality of the split and her words to him was this: “Marriage Hell: You Have A Tiny Penis & You Suck In Bed”.
Yes, that’s as clear as it gets.
Oh, You Read My Blog?
What I wondered about, though, wasn’t the cacophony in the bedroom. The focus of this venue is sharing among divorced moms, and that implies breakups which are almost always painful but which are always in the presence of children. When a couple with children yell at each other, the children usually hear what’s said. Sometimes, they don’t understand, or they block it out, or they try to forget.
However, in this digital age, a blog is there for all the world to see, and it may be out there for a lifetime or longer. Forever is a long time, but yes, perhaps effectively forever. A child, who was ten at the time of a separation followed by divorce, may be reading this later, at age 14, 17, or 20. Did Mom really disdain Dad for having a puny pecker and lacking other skills to make up for it? Most of us don’t do that kind of sharing with our children, even when they’re adults, but there it is in black and white, searchable, quotable, and shareable.
It isn’t just the children or close friends we confide our secrets to this way. It’s our children’s friends, neighbors we don’t know all that well, work colleagues and clients, the pastor of our church, and, someday, our grandchildren who may learn these things about our lives.
Where’s This All Going?
What I most wondered about was whether there might be some good informal rules around disclosures of a bedroom nature, particularly letting all who care to visit hear the squeaks, misplayed notes, poor timing, mismatched physical instruments, and unfinished compositions that came from our bedrooms. If the bedroom part was important, and it really called for a flûte d’amour, how might we decide whether and how to let the world know that he played only piccolo (the smallest and highest-pitched of the flute family of orchestral instruments), and that he played even that poorly?
After all, a belly didn’t appear overnight, and it was there when they met as adults in their 30s. We can put that one aside because it’s there for all to see. His penis probably didn’t shrink during the relatively brief marriage: it was just as tiny while dating, fooling around, engaged, and at the altar saying “I do” as it was on the way to divorce court, although his being drunk much of the time during the marriage couldn’t have helped the working of it. His being inattentive, ungenerous, or simply inept in bed, in addition to his being physically under-equipped for certain activities, wasn’t a good thing, but also not a total surprise one day. No, it’s clear that his behaviors outside the bedroom were so disgusting that the whole of him became disgusting, in every detail, including those obvious flaws that originally didn’t matter all that much. I’ve been there. Most of us have.
During an interview, the late Nobel Laureate author Gabriel Garcia Marquez once quoted a Brazilian songwriter: “Love is eternal, for as long as it lasts.” When it’s over, a very small penis that might have once seemed cute or sufficient with assistance can become a hideous deformity and not just substandard for vaginal penetrative intercourse, but reflective of his inadequacy of character and inadequacy as a person. At some point bad music really is so bad that it isn’t music anymore. A small pleasure tool becomes a torture device delivering only frustration and disappointment.
When Little Secrets are No Longer Secrets
I’ve understood the vulnerability of consenting adults. As soon as we strip naked and stand before another person, or climb into bed together, let alone send a candid selfie these days, we’re giving knowledge and secrets away, warts and all. In my case, it’s a carefully-guarded little secret that’s no longer a secret. For the rest of us, it’s our kinks, our insecurities, and those other parts of our bodies that we’d rather die than have the world see.
A man may feel the need to sniff shoes while wearing his wife’s bra and looking at very particular porn, or a woman may need to be spanked while being told she’s a dirty little slut. There’s nothing wrong with any of this. Maybe she spanks him and selects the porn. They’re just examples. We each like what we like.
We also can’t control what comes up over a pitcher of margaritas with friends after work. We don’t get together friends to laugh and talk about buying a new toenail clipper. We talk about what’s unusual, and an ex-husband having a two-inch erection and scrotum of matching size is bound to come up at some point, especially after the third glass.
I’m merely wondering here whether our written words in the digital forum of ideas need to pass our internal test for appropriateness, and what that might be.
Who Makes those Rules and What Are They?
Well, I definitely don’t make the rules for anyone but me. We each have to resolve our own factual and ethical questions. The one question that most of us have to decide hundreds or thousands of times per day is this: “What ought I do?”
First let’s tackle the basic factual consideration: Is it true? Lizzy prides herself in blogging truth in matters of fact, and that’s a very good beginning. We can get ourselves into legal trouble, and not just ethical peril, when we state something publicly about another person that’s factually untrue and of potential harm to that person. If the other person can prove that they’re untrue, we’re exposed. Of the three things that caught my eye, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, whether someone sucks in bed is purely a matter of opinion, judgment, and preference, so it doesn’t raise factual questions at all. Once we’ve decided that what we’re about to say or write is true, or, like an opinion, not subject to a true/false determination, then we move onto the less clear considerations.
We should ask whether doing this will doing this harm me or relinquish my human dignity? If it will, we ought to ask whether it’s necessary. The fact that something is unnecessary doesn’t mean that we should not do it, but only that we should think about the harm to self. We all do a bit of harm to ourselves when we lash out in anger, or address negativity in another person. We have to ask ourselves whether the good that comes out of it is better than the harm we do ourselves by doing it.
We should ask whether this is revenge or something we will regret a year from now or maybe ten years from now. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “My human soul is never so strong or noble as when I forego revenge and dare to forgive an injury.” Outing someone’s bedroom failings doesn’t raise issues of the nobility of the soul, but it is worth considering what I gain and lose by doing this, weighing the costs and benefits. Being the bigger person, as we see it, means doing the difficult things that make us the bigger person.
We ought to ask ourselves whether we already told our ex that we forgave him or her for some particular flaw or misdeed. Forgiveness simply means that we promise not to use it again against that person going forward. If I accepted an apology, and said the words “I forgive you for this”, then I probably shouldn’t write about it as a negative thing in a public forum later on.
Will doing this foreseeably harm my ex, even if that is not my intention? If the intention is to harm or hurt my ex, then this isn’t a consideration, but the considerations listed above it are. If I keep it generic, and no one but those closest to us during our marriage would ever connect him or her personally to this criticism or fact that presents that person in a negative light, then go ahead.
I’m just a guest-writer with a first name here, and no one is going to think that my specific ex-wife was overly demanding on the baseball field. Likewise, no one is going to think less of her as a woman for settling for me, for signing such a poor hitter to her team and playing exclusively with him for a period of years to yawning crowds through losing seasons before releasing me on waivers. She did release me, and it turned out well for both of us. I’m today thankful to her for having the strength to do that. However. I’m also glad that she didn’t blog about my game in a way that was identifiable to people who know me now, years later.
In closing, I didn’t write this to disagree with anything Lizzy has written. I enjoy and applaud her writing, including the rawness of feeling that she often conveys. I simply related this to my own situation, when the music has stopped being music, as it does in most intimate relationships at some point earlier than ‘until death do us part.’
One woman acquaintance said it rather well in a conversation that I was part of a few years ago: “If a man has a small penis and he’s nice to me and tries, then I wouldn’t make an issue of it at all. However, if he turns out to be a selfish jerk, then everyone’s going to hear about it.”
That seems perfectly appropriate to me.
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