“Now, predictably, as they moved toward assignation and structure, Stella began to create a sort of arabesque in her mind, a pattern of thought and feeling whose function it was to lead her back to him.” — From ASYLUM, a novel by Patrick McGrath about a terrifying sexual obsession.
Aphrodite calls the Divine down to earth with her sensual essence. Just because she’s married doesn’t mean she’s not imbued with desire. She has a tremendous yearning for things other than sex – laughter, music, dance, exotic foods, languishing afternoons in the hot tub, anything to amuse her senses.
Now in her 30s with her children in school, Dani decides to take some classes in psychology at the local college– beginning with child development.
Stuart was one of her professors – an even smile, soft, deep voice, easy way with his body language, and younger than she. His wandering eye settled on Dani once too often, so she decided to ask him for extra help.
He suggested it would be easy to go to his place. She felt like she was having a one-on-one date with The Bachelor – city lights spread in all directions from his comfortable apartment high above the city. Have a drink and talk about child development issues? Really?
Meeting like this began to feel like an assignation – she was stimulated before she left home for class by thinking she had to calculate when her husband would be expecting dinner. Then pivot to organize the kid’s bedtime. And remember to call a friend who agreed to cover for her. Exhausting details, but not for this Aphrodite.
Able to sexualize any occasion, she made a move on him. He was a gentleman, showed appreciation, and let her down gently. She didn’t know he was looking for a wife, but not someone else’s. It whomped Dani. She couldn’t remember this ever happening before – her offer of an entertaining evening rebuffed? Her stomach knotted and she couldn’t catch her breath. It felt awful.
- Growing up did you have access to the loving gaze of your dad without your mother becoming jealous?
- Were you free to laugh and flirt with your father, or another man who could enjoy and honor your budding femininity without running over it?
- Perhaps a sense of ‘otherness’ inherent in male virility was exciting to you, and you laughed as you defined who you were by holding your own against it. Were you excited by this game?
Dani figured out that she needed to scroll back her behavior. She had really miscalculated some cues. She decided to step back and reassess exactly what was missing in her life. Questions she began to consider were:
What do I really want in a relationship? Do I enjoy chasing, or being pursued? What are my values? Do I take myself seriously and demand that others do too? What kind of life do I want beyond my boudoir to be able to express a more authentic me? How else can I spend my ‘passion’ without hurting those I love?
Not every man she pined for was up to the role of lover. And she had a good one at home. She woke up one morning sobbing from a dream in which her palm was open, and resting in it was her husband’s happiness. Was she going to squash that happiness – or not?