Tagged: Sex, Food and Religion

>> Monday, March 10, 2008

 
I was “tagged” recently by Shot in the Arm, a fine young Miss from the heartland, and also not so recently by Michele and The Dating Trooper. I’ve yet to respond to any of them, so I suppose it’s time. The rules are simple: I divulge 7 random facts about myself and then tag 7 others. But since I don’t really want to pressure anyone and I’m not that big on rules, I’ll just mention 7 of my favorite bloggers and blogging friends:

Dating is Warfare
Sexagenerian in the City
Rimarama
The Squawkery
Must Love Tots
The Bookdiva
Dooce
Journey Mama

OK, that’s 8.

They all have interesting things to say and I return to their words again and again. (And if they want to tell us seven random things about themselves, I can't wait to read about it!)

One:

I had my first boyfriend/girlfriend kiss when I was four years old. I went to a Christian preschool (of course -- where else would I get my first kiss?) and 5 year old Michael was my boyfriend. (This is not the Michael I ended up marrying 16 years later -- just an interesting coincidence. Or is it? Hmm...) He and I liked to meet inside large painted barrels in the playground. One day, Michael said he wanted to try to kiss me the way grownups “do it on TV”. He stuck out his tongue, leaned in, and we kissed. We parted and I rubbed my mouth clean. Then we did it again. I didn’t like it, but I liked it. I can’t explain it any better than that.

One day, our school teacher caught us kissing behind the bookshelves -- probably filled with Curious George, Danny and the Dinosaur, and Jesus Loves Me books. Our teacher had short dark hair and hard features. She wore a white dress that buttoned down the front and was cinched at the waste with a wide belt. When she saw us, she pulled me up off the ground by my hair, pointed a finger at me and said, “I never want to see you doing that again. Never! Do you understand me?!”

I did -- at least until I was 13 years old and could resist no longer. Little Michael, however, did not get punished -- an interesting double standard from the 70’s. Apparently, I could "bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan" -- but not kiss boys until I walked down the aisle.

Two:

I like vinegars -- all kinds of vinegars. If I discovered I could no longer eat chocolate, I would be disappointed. If I discovered I could no longer consume vinegars, I would be crushed. I have bottles of balsamic and red wine vinegar in my office drawer for emergencies.

God bless vinegar!

Three:

I bought my wedding dress from a used clothing store for $7.00. It wasn’t a wedding dress, just a dress, and I sewed little cream-colored beads onto it to fancy-it up a bit. It was very simple and reminiscent of the 20’s style. I didn’t want to wear a fluffy white wedding dress because I didn’t want to be defined by my virginity (or lack thereof), and traditionally women wear white as a symbol of their sexual purity. It didn’t occur to me that white could also stand for purity, as in pure love, and that it’s just a beautiful (non) color. But I was fresh from women’s feminism classes in college and I was in a fightin’ mood. So I wore my meager little dress.

While I wouldn’t go back in time and do things differently, I’d go all out if I got married again today. People would have to wear sunglasses to avoid the glare beaming from my perty, white, shiny dress. Because I'm that pure.

Honey? Wanna do it all again?

Four:

I was Baptized at vacation bible school when I was 10. I wasn’t particularly religious and my Mom and I didn’t go to church, but it sounded like a good way to kill two weeks, so I signed up.

One day I sat in church with my campmates and watched as the preacher baptized a few kids in a small pool of water behind the pulpit. Our preacher -- he must have been around 30 years old -- stood knee deep in the water while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a white pair of shorts. He had nice tanned legs, dark hair, and a delicious smile. He beckoned one of the girls to come forth and join him in the water. He spoke a few words to Jesus, took her into his arms and dipped her back slowly into the water as if this was the final dip at the end of a sensuous tango. She emerged wet and, I imagined, full of religious fire.

When I saw this, I had only one thought: Baptize me now.

I suppose I should thank my budding libido for saving my soul.

Five:

Michael and I have been married for 16 years. I wanted to have kids a long time ago (I think we both did), but I (we?) was too afraid. The power to “have kids” was too awesome, too God-like, and who was I to play God? So I prayed for a miracle. Perhaps someone would leave a little baby on my doorstep. Or my birth control pills would stop working. Or some distant, abusive relative whom I didn’t know would get into an accident and I would be the only one available to look after the baby. (I know -- that’s a horrible thought on so many levels. But desire isn’t always pretty. Thank God I've been Baptized...)

Thankfully none of those things happened and one day Michael and I decided to bite the bullet, throw my birth control pills away, and play God. Twice.

Hallelujah!

Six:

I didn’t know what a garlic clove was until I was 22. Now I keep a nice basket of garlic bulbs next to the stove at all times, and I have a really good garlic press in my kitchen drawer. I use it once or twice a week.

God bless garlic!

Seven:

My husband and I got married in the Lutheran church he attended during his youth. However, neither of us wanted an “overly religious ceremony” -- whatever that means. So, when we met the preacher beforehand who would perform our wedding ceremony, we asked him “not to talk about God so much during the ceremony.”

Of course this was totally rude, childish and offensive to ask a man who had devoted his life to God not to mention The Almighty at our wedding. Clearly, if we didn’t want a religious wedding, we should have had the cajones to get married outside the church. But as I said earlier, I was in a fightin’ mood. (Fightin’, yet ball-less -- a dangerous combination fueled by the boundless energy of a 20 year old.)

At the time I wanted to be open-minded about life and the powers behind it. I’m still like that now -- my “openness” hasn’t changed. However, I’ve gained respect for the faith of others and I've discovered that I also believe in some kind of power -- I just don't know exactly what that power is or where it comes from. (In other words, when I pray, I cast a wide net.) Not to mention, these days I’ll take my blessings wherever/whenever I can get them. Does the Pope want to bless me? Great! Does Jehovah? Bring it on! And the homeless guy on the corner? Thank you, very much! Here’s a quarter...

I suppose I like the blessings and the love and the forgiveness that religion often delivers -- just not all the rules. Sometimes I think the rules are like thorny vines that ensnare us and blind us to the truth. They over-complicate and confuse. I mean, how many words and rules does it take to say Love?

Love without rules. I like it.

Eight:

I better ix-nay all this love talk, because it's starting to sound "preachy." I know this can be bad news from experience. When I was 11, a friend and I got into trouble with an Ouija Board for trying to convince the Devil to forgo his evil ways, embrace love, and "have a few friends, why don't ya?" (Oh, yes I did.) Needless to say, it didn't work out -- apparently, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make the devil drink. We came to an agreement: he let me live beyond my twelfth birthday and I agreed to drop the love talk. Which I guess means you can blame the war in Iraq on me. Sorry.

And that's enough about me...

Strangely, my Seven Eight Random Facts became a stream-of-consciousness writing exercise on sex, food and religion. Now I have a strong desire to eat a large Greek salad and pray really, really hard.

Peace.
 

6 comments:

mimi of sexagenarian and the city,  March 10, 2008 at 2:47 PM  

melissa, this is a wonderful post.
i love it. does the first part constitute a 'tagging' of me? and if so, what are the questions i'm supposed to answer? what [speaking of sex and dating...] are 'the rules'?! kissing behind the 'jesus loves me' books -- naughty!

Melissa March 10, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

Hi Mimi! Here are the "official rules":

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Like I said, I'd love to read anything you have to tell us!

-M

Dawn March 10, 2008 at 5:02 PM  

Kind of excited, my first tag. Might be a day or two before I get to my randomness, but I will, be ready or beware.

And I love how your 7 things kind of all intertwine with one another. Very nice.

shot in the arm March 10, 2008 at 9:25 PM  

That was great! Thanks for being so honest and blunt. :)

Rima March 13, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

The P-Dawg is also a vinegar aficionado. I'm not even allowed to touch his "good vinegar" without asking for permission - he keeps it on the topmost shelf where I could never hope to reach it.

I love the 7 things meme. Thanks for tagging me! I will probably do it sometime next week.

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