Of course, the day actually rolled around and I was more or less oblivious. Typical.
I’ve thought about several different things I could say about keeping a public sex blog for two years running. I could write up a list of all the readers I’ve had the privilege to meet, and those I’ve had the privilege to get inside. After the mid-year debacle in which a certain other prolific former blogger hate-bombed my email box when I gently suggested in an entry that it’s probably not a good idea for bloggers to chew out their readers en masse on a regular basis, I could’ve written a rather length screed about the unpleasantness of being on the receiving end of the manifestation of someone’s mental illness. I could be writing a grateful and humbled thank-you note to my readers, blessing them for the abundance of fun, fellowship, and kindness they’ve shown me over the last twenty-four months.
This entry that follows is more in the vein of the latter. Because I truly am grateful for everything my readers give me, and because I’d like to have a sense that I’m giving back a little, I have an anecdote to relate.
I made love to someone recently—it was in these pages, but who it was doesn’t matter. While we were fucking, I kept telling him how beautiful he was, and how handsome. I didn’t say the words simply to get into his pants. Those pants had hit the bedroom floor a couple of hours before. I was telling him how deeply attractive I found him because I really felt what I was saying, right at that moment. I wanted him to know how much I wanted him and how good he made me feel. I could’ve gone all day without touching the guy, if he’d granted me the favor of letting me lie there and look at his sweet face, his handsome features, his deep and kind eyes.
There was a moment when we were slowly gyrating against each other, enjoying the slow and deliberate pleasure of it, when he looked up at me in wonder. “I never think of myself this way,” he said. “You make me feel like a completely different person.”
I stared at him for a moment. “So why don’t you allow yourself to be?” I finally asked, before kissing him.
It was one of those moments that could have easily been forgotten. We both could’ve returned to our homes that night sated and stinking of each other, content to let the evening remain a memory. He took it a little further than I expected, though, when I heard from him last week with this email.
You don’t know this, but I fell asleep that night replaying that short conversation in my head. I probably acted like a lovesick fifteen-year-old. You wouldn’t let me go. “Why don’t you allow yourself to be?”, I kept hearing in my head, again and again.
Did I feel like a completely different person, through your eyes? I did. Did I feel beautiful, and handsome, and desirable, and all the things I always feared I’d never be? I most certainly did.
The next morning I woke up and I thought, "What if I really am all those things?”
And I thought, "Why not assume that you are? Why not get up and get through the day assuming you’re all things he said you are?" Handsome. Beautiful. Sexy. Remarkable. Sweet. Hot.
It felt like I’d woken up in someone else’s bed. I was giddy as I thought to myself, "It won't hurt anyone. It won't break laws. Why not try it? What if you did it as an experiment? Say, a week? One week of thinking of yourself as handsome?”
It was strange. I really wanted to try it, to listen to this unexpected voice—your voice—urging me on. But then my own voice intruded. “It’d be ridiculous because you’re not handsome at all,” it said. “You’re as far away from handsome as it’s possible to get. That’s why.”
Your voice spoke up. "Do you think I was just kidding with you? Pitying you? Being kind, in a moment of passion?”
I wanted to listen to your voice in my head that morning. Not my own. I stepped into the bathroom. Looked in the mirror. I had sex hair. My face looked slept-upon. But I was handsome. I didn’t have to believe it. I didn’t believe it, yet. I just had to say it to myself.
I am handsome.
I was walking down the street during rush hour on the way to work. "Lift your head up," I told myself. Have you ever noticed you always look down as you walk, to hide your face? Stop looking down. You're handsome."
I do it. I am handsome.
In the coffee shop. The server is amazingly cute. He could have anyone he wants. “Don't tilt your head down when he speaks to you. Look him in the eye. You're handsome."
I look him in the eye. I smile. I wink as I wish him a good day.
He gives me a free cookie.
I decide to let myself be handsome all that day. Then all that week. And I swear to god, it’s working. I haven’t changed physically, but the world is changing around me. People react to me differently—men and women both, and not just in a sexual way. It's not my imagination. The more I say it, the more I believe it. The more my confidence grows, the more inclined the world is to get out of my way–or, better, to help me step aside and admire me as I pass.
It’s novel, and it’s sweet, and I love myself in a way I haven’t for over thirty years. I am handsome.
You were the start of this. You did in a few hours what a succession of expensive therapists had never been able to do. You changed the world for me.
You and your words.
Now. I have some disagreements with the basic moral my lover has drawn here. It wasn’t me or my words that changed his world. He did that all by himself, by being open to the truth, open to the universe, and showing a willingness to believe in the best parts of himself rather than to run away from them. And if I can get pseudo-mystical for a moment: you can do that, too.
I get so much email from readers who wish their lives were like mine. Or if not exactly like mine, richer and more free, in a direction they perceive mine as being. If there’s anything I wish to have accomplished after two years of blogging about my sex life, it’s to impart a very specific message: your life is not entirely on rails. You are in control of many of the aspects of your existence that make you unhappy. If you’re dismayed with the way things are going, seize the wheel and steer in a direction that’s better for you. Good things can happen to you. You deserve every single one of them.
You are handsome. You are beautiful. You are a wonderful person with an abundance of good qualities. (Well, a couple of you are real shits, but chances are that if you were one of them, you wouldn’t have read this far. You’d already have written your snarky little comment about how I should get a real job, and gone on your merry way.) Good people in your lives have told you these things before; I'm repeating them to you now.
I have encountered so many men in the last two years alone who long to subscribe to these truths about themselves, but are so frightened to believe anything good they hear—or are so used to ignoring the compliments—that they shy away. They cringe, and deflect, and discount.
Anything not to hear what they so desperately wish was reality.
Yet these things are truths. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are handsome. You have a good, sweet soul. Why not believe it for a day? It won’t hurt anyone if you do.
Why not believe it for a week? You won’t break any laws.
Why not act as if it’s true, for good, and watch how the world changes around you? Because it can, and will, if you so much as allow it.
That’s what I wish for each and every one of you. What gift could be sweeter?