Thursday, March 3, 2016
The Birds and the Bees
This is another one from the "Scenes from family life" series, so the whole family appears in the picture, including the father. I realize that sort of thing doesn't sit too well with some of you, so be warned.
My father has been helping me get ready for my wedding to Nora the whole morning and just when it seemed that the atmosphere couldn’t be any more strained, my mother barges into the room.
“Are you girls almost ready?” she says.
She startles us into freezing still. A moment later we resume what we were doing, but we are still on the edge of our nerves with the anticipation of the guest that is about to follow my mother into the room, until it becomes obvious that no one is following my mother at all. Then, resentment replaces our fear. There was no need to call us girls if it was just us. Again, she has broken the unspoken agreement to call her girls only when she’s showing us off to the lady members of her society.
Then again, with my hair tied up in rollers, it’s not like my father is helping me get ready by teaching me to tie a Windsor knot. And it’s not like Nora is my high school sweetheart. Under my pale green satin smock I’m already wearing my bridal lingerie while my father is still very much everyday looking in his pale pink polka dot chiffon blouse and tight white skirt. With bitterness, I reflect how my father and I laughed when my mother announced she was joining a society of empowered women, and that she would take control of her life, and ours too. Now, little more than two years later, my father is doing my hair and makeup before my wedding to one of the women of the society.
“Are you ready to do my hair?” my mother asks.
“Just about,” my father replies.
“Anytime you’re ready,” she says, and watches my father do some finishing touches.
“There,” he says, “That’s all for now.”
He takes another smock from a hook by the mirror and shows it to my mother.
“Put the smock on, first,” he says.
“You’re the boss,” she says, but instead of taking it from him, she just puts her arms slightly forward. Obediently, my father pulls the sleeves of the smock on her hands, arranges the front, then moves to her back to tie it.
“Make sure you tie a pretty bow,” she says, mockingly.
“Yes, ma’am,” my father says. Although none of society ladies are here, the honorific seems somehow appropriate even to me.
Before she sits down, she moves her chair across the room so that she sits down facing me.
“Seeing how you’re getting married today,” she says to me, “I need to tell you about the birds and the bees.”
“All due respect, mummy,” I say, stifling a chuckle, “But I’m twenty four years old. I think I know what there is to know.”
She pauses until I finish speaking, but she makes no sign of acknowledging what I had said.
“Well you know that usually,” she begins, “The man puts his penis in the woman. But sometimes, it’s the woman who puts her penis in the man.”
“How is that even possible?” I ask.
“Of course, biologically the one with the penis is the man,” she says, “But a woman can get around that by using a prosthetic penis.”
Silently, I look at her. She moves her head to each side slightly, as my father fusses with her hair. He is doing all he can not to meet my gaze.
“But does that make sense at all?” I ask after a while, “I mean biologically? It’s not like a real penis, like the man’s, is it? The woman can’t feel anything, right?”
“Oh, there are some double sided models that let make it very enjoyable for the woman,” she says dreamily, then suddenly stops.
“But that’s beside the point,” she says, more alert, “The reason why a woman would want to penetrate the man, and not the other way round, is that a lot of times, sex is about power.”
“Power?” I repeat the word that she has been using as her mantra the past two years.
“The balance of power in the relationship between a man and a woman, to be more precise,” she says.
“I don’t understand,” I say, “What has power got to do with biology?”
“Precisely,” my mother says, “Nothing at all. You see, when a woman is more powerful than the man, she sometimes doesn’t want to relinquish her power in the bedroom to the man just because he is the one with the penis. Instead, she reinforces her power by taking on the role of the penetrator.”
“What about the man?” I ask carefully, “Why would he agree to being penetrated?”
“Well, he doesn’t have to,” she says, matter-of-factly, “He doesn’t get asked at all.”
“That seems a little cruel,” I protest.
“Maybe so,” she says, “But you have to look at the big picture. With power comes responsibility. Being a powerful woman is not just about making your husband wear skirts and dresses, and penetrating him with a strap-on at night. It’s about taking care of your husband, too. Providing for him. Making sure he has everything he needs or wants, and not just lots of pretty dresses.”
I pause to take in what my mother is saying to me.
“When you have sex that way,” I begin glumly, looking more at my father than my mother, “Does it hurt?”
“I imagine it does,” my mother says, “At least at first. But there are ways to make the first time a lot easier.”
“Like what?” I ask.
“Well, now that you’ve asked,” my mother says, then turns to my father.
“How much longer do you need?” she asks him.
“I’m almost done with you,” he says quietly, “Then I need to brush out Tommy’s, I mean, Isabelle’s hair.”
Both of us blush at the mention of my girl name.
“Why don’t you get ready first?” she says, “I need to show Isabelle something.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he whispers, and continues to work on my mother’s hair in silence.
After a minute, he is finished. I can tell that even my mother is nervous as she doesn’t wait for my father to take her smock off, but divests of it herself, dropping it on the chair.
“Come with me,” my mother says to me, “You can take off your smock, too.”
Even though my modified gait is completely hidden under the voluminous skirts of my wedding gown, one look is all it takes for my father to know about the buttplug I am wearing, and I know he knows by the way he looks away and can’t meet my gaze at all. Wordlessly, we stand in the hallway, waiting for my mother to get dressed. Despite the small space, we stand apart from one another, not so much out of embarrassment but because except for the color, our gowns are very similar and the skirts fill up pretty much all of the hallway.
Eventually, my mother finally comes down the stairs. She’s wearing a long, pale purple satin sleeveless pantsuit. Noticing my mother’s square shoulders and muscle-toned arms, I can’t help but fantasize what Nora will be wearing.
“Well,” she says, pausing, “Boys?”
I can help but feel resentment again, as if she was mocking us.
“There’s no need for that,” my father dryly says, as if reading my thoughts.
“Don’t get your panties in a bunch,” she replied, “You girls will always be my boys, no matter what.”
She steps between us and links arms with us.
“Well?” she says, “Isn’t it time we made our son a husband to a powerful woman, too?”