Amy Hartl Sherman is a freelance writer, poet and humorist. A graduate from the University of Illlinois, a retired flight attendant, improv comedian, empty-nester and overall wunderkind, Amy writes erratically as opposed to erotically, and sometimes humorously, while living with her husband, a Chihuahua, a barking parakeet who is minus one toe, and one toe-eating Dachshund. Her sons escaped without harm.All posts from Amy Sherman
Dear Mommies, Menopausal Women, and other Blogger Beotches,
I truly believe in the old adage, “write what you know.” And I encourage anybody taking to their keyboards to do so. But here is a little secret I would like to share with you…it is also important to write what your reader doesn’t already know.
There are recurring themes to many women’s blogs:
1. Kids suck. They mess up your life. They say the darndest things. 2. Women’s bodies change with age, pregnancy and general neglect. Wine, chocolate, and hiding are the best defense. 3. We bleed, we battle hair growth from every possible epidural inch, we stop bleeding and we grow more hair. Oy. 4. We need to love ourselves. But our talk is bigger than our actions. 5. Men can be the wind beneath our covers and we can match them fart for fart.
Which brings me to the phrase, “beating a dead horse.” Please stop pointing its decaying carcass out to me as if it is fresh and new. It’s been seen. It’s been hit. It’s become a bloody mess just like your worst period. Move the fuck on.
Women have so much to offer. We can be funny, insightful and downright brilliant. We are the best at cutting ourselves down and building ourselves up. We are our own worst enemy and our own best friend.
So, for the love of Madonna and all that is holy, dig deep and stretch. Look for unique and powerful angles that will enlighten, encourage, and entertain. Move us, not the damned dead horse. Look beyond our basic commonalities and speak to issues that endure longer than our menopausal hot flashes. Let’s get past our bodies and delve into topics beyond fluids, flatulence, and floppy boobs. We’ve come a long way, baby. Let’s keep going.
And remember, “A smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body.” Author unknown
Inspired by a Gina Barreca article…
“Owwwwww, you’re hurting me…”
My eyes pop open. The plaintive cry is inches from my headboard. I can hear it perfectly through the thin wall of my hotel room. I freeze and listen.
“Owwwwww, you’re hurting me…”
It’s a female voice. No one responds to her plea. She just keeps repeating it periodically…
“Owwwwww, you’re hurting me.”
I listen intently. Is she being raped? Did someone crawl through the window? Or is she enjoying the pain? Hard to say. Whoever is “hurting” her is a silent partner. What is he doing to her? What is causing her discomfort?
“Owwwwww, you’re huuuuurting me.”
It’s weird there are no other sounds. Maybe the rapist doesn’t want to make any identifying noises. If it is rape, I should call the front desk. I envision the police seeking me out because I was registered to the room next door…
“Actually officer, I did hear a woman quietly moaning around three in the morning.”
“Well, she kept repeating one phrase over and over again. It was hard to tell if she was in distress. You know, that fine line between pain and pleasure? She just kept saying: ‘Owwwwww, you’re huurting me.’ ”
“And you didn’t find that odd? You never thought to call the front desk?”
“I did think of it, but if I was wrong, it would be rather humiliating for the people involved. From the sounds of it, nobody was being forced to do anything against their will. I just figured it was some couple doing their kinky thing.”
“Well, a woman was raped last night. Maybe you shouldn’t assume peoples’ sex lives are as weird as yours.”
“God, I feel terrible, but it really was difficult to tell. Mostly I was ticked for being kept awake. I had an early flight in the morning.”
“Well I’ll let the victim know she inconvenienced you.”
Oh the guilt. The dilemma. What should I do? It would help if she’d expand her repertoire. Anything to give me a clue. I wait and listen for something to indicate she needs help.
“Owwwwww, you’re huuuuurting me…”
It’s getting old. I have to get up early for work. Layovers are shorter than ever and I’m a junior flight attendant stuck on undesirable trips that take off pre-dawn. Whoever these people are, they obviously aren’t interested in sleeping. I just want it to stop.
“Owwwwww, you’re huurting me…”
Maybe she’s a working girl and won’t get paid if she doesn’t stick to the script. I feel like a dirty third party. Just when you think it’s over, she moans again. It’s riveting and impossible not to picture what they might be doing.
Who knew my sex life was so banal? The only person I would trust to hurt me is myself. Fortunately myself and I agree pain is a bad thing. I’m not into other peoples’ pain either. Listening to this woman is uncomfortable enough. People who believe there is a fine line between pain and pleasure must see the Grand Canyon as a hairline crack.
I now believe there is a fine line between sordid curiosity and criminal intent because I’d like to hurt this woman. Permanently. I would kill for sleep. I could call the front desk genuinely concerned, then wait greedily for the knock on their door which would, at the very least, interrupt the one-sided “intercourse.”
I haven’t heard her plaintive cry in a while. They’re either finished or she’s dead. Excellent. Maybe I’ll get a few minutes of REM before my alarm goes off. I can’t wait to share this with the crew. This will be worth a few laughs in the van to the airport. Sharing it will help keep me awake until I can grab a few winks on the jumpseat.
Within an hour, I exit my room bleary-eyed and hear the doorknob turn on the door right next to mine. My god, I’m going to come face to face with one of them. It’s so early, what are the odds?
Turns out the odds are good when the captain of my trip, who has the same sign-in time, escorts a demurely smiling blonde out of his room. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain at the moment. Captain Bob offers a cordial “Good morning.”
I’m dying inside. Does he know I know? Just act normal. “Good morning!” Did I sound a little too chipper?
Captains look so formal in uniform. They’re the ones you trust with your life and feign respect for. I will forever hear the haunting voice of this lady whenever I fly with this dignified, salt-and-pepper-haired man. It’s a whole new image. Maybe the wings on his jacket were poking her because she literally loves a man in uniform.
Thank God I did not phone down to the front desk. I would have had to transfer to another base. I won’t be telling this story in the van. It will have to wait until I get to the back of the plane with my peers.
I won’t be napping on my jump seat either. I will be hyper-vigilant, watching and listening for any signs the plane might be acting out of the ordinary, because our beloved “Captain of Pain” fell asleep at the controls due to a night of slow torture. I can hear all the passengers screaming as we plummet.
Yep, instead of napping, I’ll be calling up to the cockpit periodically and whispering throatily: “Owwwwww, you’re huuurrrting me” then hanging up. That should keep him awake. It worked for me.
A friend posted a piece I wrote on her blog, as a guest. Please head on over to Elaine Ambrose’s site.http://elaineambrose.com/blog/matriarch-in-the-making/
“How are the boys?”
“OMG. They’re doing great. Both doing what they love and living where they need to be right now. Brad and I have never been happier. This empty nest thing is practically like being single again. I make it a point to tell the boys we do not want to be grandparents anytime soon. I mean, I feel like we just finished up with them. We love camping in the rv too much. It’s our happy place. I have witnessed how some people get tied down by grandkids. No thank you! We are finally free. It’s intoxicating.”
“Well, speaking of grandkids…Sean and his wife are due in the spring.”
“Oh! Oh. Well that’s so greeeaaaaat! You must be thrilled.”
I have always said jokingly, with a huge dose of reality, “You have to have children, to know you don’t want them.”
I did the status quo. I followed the natural order or things. I adore my children and I revel in their successes. I excel in supporting them in their endeavors, but I lost myself while raising them. I found myself now, and never want to be caught without a compass again. I like reveling in my own interests, successes and self-satisfying endeavors. Imagine that? Cue credits, I am done.
Raising children is like running a very long, very arduous, very rewarding (if you’re lucky enough to make it to the finish line without shitting yourself) marathon. Quite frankly, I’m not the marathon type. More of an extremely brief sprinter. So I am not a likely candidate to ever repeat a marathon. And I definitely would milk the longest rest possible after completing one. Which is where I’m at right now. Still heaving, sweating, kind of amazed, and quite proud I got through it at all. I still put my children first because I want them to do all they can do, be all they can be, before locking themselves into a responsibility as big as children. That’s how much I care. About them.
Go ahead and tell me how great it is to love these little blood relatives because of the “you-can-hand-them-back” clause. Fabulous. I don’t even want one handed to me in the first place. Someday our kids and their toddling offspring can bring a child-proof tent, find us in Colorado by the Poudre River, and visit. Just don’t expect me to keep some little bugger from floating down the rapids. I’m done keeping people alive.
What? He was just here a minute ago!
I completely relate to a good friend who survived horrible combat in Vietnam. He never wants to be responsible for other lives ever again. I so get that. I deserve a medal, not a rambunctious, precocious, food-dependent grandchild. Maybe I’m suffering from my own form of PTSD, but it just doesn’t seem fair that the reward for raising wonderful children is throwing more children at me. Unlimited adult swim is my reward.
The good news is, I am the mother of boys. Chances are, I will be marginalized by the wife and mother-in-law anyway. Especially after I tell everyone I want my gramma moniker to be, “Tito,” in honor of my favorite vodka. “Sure, you can trust leaving the kids with me…as soon as they’re old enough to pour.”
Oh, I will gush over anyone else’s grand-progeny. Happy to do so. Happy for you, if you are happy about having them. Just don’t judge me for being selfish enough to say, “No thank you. I’ll be off the grid.” And by “off the grid,” I mean childless and carefree in a campground, enduring the occasional flashback of screaming kids, with no need to respond. Some things are better left to those who deserve it.