Dear Aunt Janey,
I tried looking for your e-mail but the Internet wouldn’t cough it up.
The thing is, I have no intention of having children. I also find coitus distasteful so I have to pass on the whole marriage thing. However, my grandmother is staying with us during the holidays and it made me think. Should I reevaluate my whole distaste for romantic relationships? I have friends now but during bursts of loneliness when I turn to them for emotional satisfaction, they’re all busy with their lives. I invest so much into our relationships, reaching out and cultivating an interest in their interests so we can be closer. In the end though I get not a whit of a response to my long-winded emails and carefully thought-out funny texts.
Suffice it to say I can handle being on my own but I just need to make an informed decision about this. In the future if I’m hunchbacked, have trouble walking (like my grandma) because of arthritis and have faulty hearing, would I look back to my young self and regret not trying for a family? I’m comfortable on my own but is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Thank you in advance.
Single-serve rice cooker
Dear Single-serve rice cooker,
You are asking me to look into your future. Unfortunately my prescience is solely dedicated to seeing ways through which I could accumulate massive wealth and be crowned sovereign of a nation.
We cannot really say that the choices we make now will ensure our happiness in the future. Everything is half-chance. I channel Susan Sarandon, with antenna-like ornaments in her hair, in the TV adaptation of Children of Dune: “Recognizing the inherent instability of the universe and making it our own creation – that is the Bene Gesserit way”. We make our choices and we must learn to navigate among their consequences.
The best we can hope for is that we live without regrets. Regret is usually the result of an ill-made choice. As much as possible, choose wisely and deliberately and be prepared for the consequences. There is less chance for disillusionment when we enter into something with open eyes.
Edith Piaf, as portrayed by Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose, lived her dream as a singer. She sang, loved, feasted, drank and took risks in her personal life as well as in her career. She pushed herself too far, lost her voice and her health quickly degenerated. She was still in her mid-forties when she died. On her deathbed, she said: “Non, je ne regrette rien.” I stood in the theater throughout this movie, which was screened during the Cine Europa film festival. Did I regret it? No. Why should I complain? Admission was free.
As we have been told by various songs, books, TV series and movies, we should live in the present. But we should also anticipate the future. Be ready for surprises for some of them will change you and the way you live. The things you thought were right will be proven wrong and the things that you thought were wrong have actually been right all along. You should also be careful for you will surprise yourself to your great agitation or delight.
As to distasteful matters, there are things which by nature are icky and downright harmful. Everything else is acquired taste. Pleasure is relative and it comes in different shapes, sizes, color, scents and tastes. The best way to know what would stimulate and titillate us the most is by letting our senses have free reign. Let that mouth and tongue go rogue. Allow your skin to feel different textures. See some things that a woman, or man, ain’t supposed to see. You will discover that there are things that would make you go “OH!” the first time and “Ohhhh…” the second, the third, the fourth time ad infinitum.
Has the question been answered? Can you offer the letter-writer an alternative option? Off-hand we would say that there are things that may gross you out that are actually fun. Zombie movies, for instance.