Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saying It

I know I said I'd cool it, but I only lasted an extra 24 hours without him.

On saturday TMI and I took a train about 20 minutes out of Dijon to visit the little and lovely wine village of Beaune. We explored, shared a salad with toasted chevre and a small chocolate cake, I marveled at the new experience of standing in a hollowed out tree, and moments later, discovered what it was like to receive a line of warm neck kisses in one. It was like making out in a living, creaking, coat.

Back in Dijon and curled in the sheets together, I initiated the unexpected. I had been sure it wouldn't be me, sure I wasn't feeling it or ever going to feel it, yet, for the last week, there it was: rolling around in my mouth like a piece of gum I'd been chewing way too long and needed to spit out. After a bit of provocation, I told TMI I loved him. I told him exactly that sentiment; that it had been waiting in my mouth, and he confided experiencing the same thing. Where I didn't expect to feel anything I felt like I'd bumped an electric fence. He asked me to say it to him with his name. I did. He said it back.

Then, for roughly the next 30 hours, we had unbelievable sex in every sense of the word; literal, suggestive, and up for interpretation.

When I walked back to my place this evening, thinking about possibly being in love, I passed a shoe store and glanced Harry's shoes in a display window. Something instantly tugged in my chest, and I wondered. TMI and I have both conceded that we don't have the butterflies. We don't have the exhileration we believe "love" is supposed to have. And yet we wanted to say it to eachother, maybe without knowing what it meant.

So I asked myself.. what are we feeling that puts those words in our mouths? What puts any words involuntarily onto our tongues, waiting to jump out? The only other thing I could think of that does that is music. Why are those three words such infamous escape artists? After a block and half of fervently trying to put my finger on the sensation I jotted it up as the day's mystery.

Friday, July 29, 2011


OK so, turns out, I have a problem, and I'm gonna spill. I've gained about 6 pounds since coming to France, and, as a petite woman with a small frame, broad shoulders, and an ugly as sin mug as it is, it doesn't suit me. I've gotten unhealthily obsessed with this fact and have, for the past two weeks or so, been so ashamed of my physical appearance that I can barely leave my apartment. When I'm outside, I'm so embarrassed I literally break an anguished sweat and often catch myself running, seriously, running, back to my apartment so I can hide.

It takes me hours to get dressed, the whole process often interrupted by me bursting into a sob as I lean my forehead against a wall. Yes it's retarded, yes there is infinitely more to life; people with real problems; starving children in the world, not to mention good literature, relationships, and beautiful aspects of existence demanding attention, but all the same I'm indulging in this ridiculous misery.

The worst sensation of all is in a store or in the streets where I can see my reflection in a window or a mirror, and I'm hit with an overwhelming wave of shame. I just want to curl up and hide. Those are terrible moments. No one should have to deal with that silliness, seriously.

So I'm thinking of telling TMI that I need to cool it with him until I work it out. You can't love someone else until you love yourself, or so they always say. So there's that.

A Miss Who Misses No Opportunity

So last night at my ritualistically horrible English lesson, my student Scratchy was so moved upon learning the reality of my French existence: a pitiful stipend of €15 a week while surviving off of bread, special K, and green beans from the can while having little purpose in my life other than dancing naked in my apartment to Lady Gaga, writing, and philandering shamelessly with the opposite sex, that he insisted he "show me France" next Thursday. He's on vacation for two weeks starting tomorrow, he insists, and, as he works full time as a mason, has "some money," and wants to pick me up at 9am and whizz me off into .. uh, France, on his motorcycle.

If my mom is reading from the Pacific her heart just skipped a beat. For what it's worth I asked him if he had a big helmet for me and protective gear.

What I'm hoping is that this means a fun filled day of sightseeing to little outlying French villages and hopefully some good food and wine on him. What I'm worried about is that it's going to be bugs in the face, sunburn, and an all day hostage situation. But weighing is for grocers! So I said "you bet your bottom dollar I'll go!" And he was like "...quoi?" and I was like "tout a fait, m'sieur!"

"Let your youth have free reign, it will never come again, so be BOLD and no repenting!"

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This month is a slightly unusual month for me. Normally, like hundreds of thousands of other women, as I approach the 4th week of the month I start gripping my sheets and whining and kicking like a little kid, pleading that the universe grace me with just one more week, one more day, one more hour, before the dreaded menstrual cycle.

But this month, something flat out magical is happening. As I tweeted a few weeks ago, Yasmin oral contraceptives are around €5-8 a month in France. Without health insurance, one packet in the US is gonna cost at least $60. So! Before heading to the South week before last, I made a doctor's appointment, pretended to understand a bunch of medical French, picked up my prescription at the pharmacy, and have since been literally rocking on my heels waiting for the cramps to kick in so I know I can start the first pill.

I took oral contraceptives when I was younger and here is what I'm pretty much ecstatic about getting again: 1) WEIGHT LOSS. Dear god, yes. Just, yes. 2) Bigger Boobs. 3) Easier, more regular periods, and, the reason that started all of this, 4) TMI and I can have sex anywhere, everywhere, and all over the place. It turns out a mutual turn on is going for it where we absolutely should not go for it, (trains, stairwells, movie theatres, crumbling architecture from the times of antiquity) and fumbling with a condom is a serious mood breaker.

But this is all "silly and inappropriate for blogging." Ahem.

So what I really want to say is that, yesterday, I put myself on a bus that led me out of the medieval bubble I live in and into the civilized world, where, at the French equivalent of Walmart, I bought a printer. This is important because now I no longer have to venture into the stinking cave of B to print my exercises each week for my English lessons. This IS NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT. When I arrived in France, I was completely dependent on the guy: I needed him for food, French, a place to stay, moral support, everything. Now, with the purchase of this printer, I have at last snipped that last shred of umbilical cord that kept me connected to that mess of a person. And it feels great.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Sheets of Scrutiny

For anyone not in the know, IFFTP is a secret. It is written under a pen name and linked on no personal social networks. This is necessary for me to harbor even the smallest hope of a functional relationship on any level, let alone not having to talk any lovers down from the ledge.

Alas, the current squeeze has found it. And, while I long ago made the decision to plow forth uncensored and unashamed, I'm getting the strong impression that IFFTP has irreparably scarred TMI. Knowing that our life between the sheets is currently in publication has seemingly put the pressure on to such an extant that the poor guy behaves like he's going to jump out a window each time the sex is anywhere below mind-blowing.

Frankly I feel terrible. I would hate to be trying to make love to anything under such assumed scrutiny.

Romance: Life vs Literature

While many of us have learned that romance REQUIRES conflict,
(you can't have a love story without problems: forbidden liasons, misunderstandings, danger, separation, etc.) the majority of us stubbornly cling to the hope that there is a kind of love that transcends this fantasy. We do our best to believe in a real, practical love of the adult world that keeps on sizzling even though it’s without problems. Stories need conflicts, real life relationships need stability. The perfect man is single; your families aren’t feuding; you aren’t dangerously younger and he isn’t a priest; yet magically, with the right person, your heart flutters and the two of you share hollywood kisses, perfect sex, and a lasting relationship. ..right?

As I’m writing this I can’t help but smile at how increasingly unlikely it sounds. As I’ve said before I’ve experienced a sincerely good kind of love, the kind that I’m shooting for in future relationships, twice in my life. Both instances started out with platonic friendships which slowly grew into honest admiration, and, eventually, a delicious elation that comes from a heart FULL of an irristable drug that pumps your veins with a hit of blissful exhiliration with every beat. Wow!

BUT. There's a catch. I’ve been pushing it aside as an unimportant detail, since I’m so persuaded that the above feeling had nothing to do with it, but for the sake of discussion here it is: in both cases neither man was single. Hmmmmmmmmm..

The more recent was Harry, and the more dangerous was a forbidden professor. Last year, while in a committed relationship of my own, I fell and fell HARD for a man 20 years my senior, happily married, and professionally off limits.. but, he made me laugh. The affair escalated to passionate Thorn Birds style make outs on office desks with lights turned out and shades drawn. Fortunately the whole thing was extinugished when I left the country for my future in France, but to this day I think of him often and in the highest esteem as one of the only men I’ve ever truly loved.

Do calm seas a happy relationship make? Can we really find that kind of love that makes us “ooh” and “aah” without any bumps in the road? Let's be honest: love in the "real world," can we ditch the fiction and still keep the romance?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Loving Lead On

After a weekend in bed which could feasibly be called a hostage situation, I find myself in two states of mind: in a sexually explorative haven, and in a frustrated envelope of "The Lame Side of Love." When we're cuddled up, locked in one another's arms, or staring into one another's eyes (which I'm almost CERTAIN is a challenge to get the other person to say it) the words "I love you" are running through my mind like news stories under a television reporter. But despite this impulse I know, now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I absolutely am not falling in love. And, as I seem weather beaten and armored enough to recognize that I'm merely growing attached to his affection, I'm confident that I won't fall into the delusion that it's him I love; he feels wrong for me. The result is feeling a little guilty, a little depressed, and wondering why I can't seem to end up with the real thing.

I haven't talked to him since he left, but when ever I'm considering spilling the three words, I remember Harry, and I know that it would be wrong.

On the positive side, (debatable if you share my mother's opinion) the days spent in bed submerged in constant arousal, hours of foreplay, and French spoken lustily in TMI's rewardingly delicious voice, were wonderful. For instance, after being locked all morning in a passionate hugging/squeezing each-other-until-breathless marathon, (seriously,) TMI said "show me your tongue." A little shy at first, but coerced by his long sensual fingers at my lips, I did. TMI stared and breathed "ho la la..." as he pushed the two fingers into my mouth. Extrêmement agréable.

Later however, in a rare moment of privacy when he had gotten up to jump in the shower, I wrote mom about the insatiable sex drive of my partner. She wrote back "careful, he sounds a bit obsessive." Then referring to one of her best girlfriends in the 55-60 box, said "Lilly's husband is a sex maniac and she HATES it!" I laughed aloud.

All these good and bad feelings together got me thinking about the label "leading" someone on. Or, as it is often morphed to beyond high-school to sound a little less juvenile, "stringing" someone along. What exactly is that? Am I doing it if I can almost certainly say I will not fall in love with TMI? If I were a good person would I say so and stop seeing him? And honestly, when having great sex and growing attached to someone, does ANYONE really have the strength of conviction to do so?

Friday, July 22, 2011

La Douleur d'Amour

All right, so not that I want to break the chimerical haze of sensual and exploratory love-making that's drifting over IFFTP right now, but I feel obligated to mix in a little jolt of reality. The aforementioned sugar: Wonderful, but I totally came out of it with a UTI. Ouch. Just an honest word of warning for any of you out there getting ideas.

So after an embarrassing doctor's appointment I'm now home with a 1-time antibiotic and a glass of cranberry juice. Ahhh real life. Can you believe people ever pull romance novels out of this stuff??

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Night before last and at dinner with friends, the waitress brought dessert lollipops with the check. I surprised myself by assailing TMI with a meaningful glance over the table as I slipped one into my purse. We made a hasty exit and kissed Hollywood movie style up the stairs, fell through the door, and made sugary love four HOURS, breaking all sorts of new and exciting sexual boundaries with a surprising level of comfort and confidence... and a lollipop.

The same night after trying hopelessly to go to sleep in-between four sessions of passionate and breathless love making, I said, exhausted, "we're insane." But, some time later and after some further reflection, I changed it to "..or maybe just sensualists." We do, after all, close our eyes when eating French bread, bury our noses into books and relish the smell of old paper, and shudder with pleasure when we nip an earlobe, intertwine our fingers, or kiss one another's necks.

In the early morning, TMI commented that maybe together we were experiencing things that some couples only think about while they meander through their every-day-ordinary relationships with every-day-ordinary sex. And, as we were young, it was something special.

And now the good news: There's definitely a chemical compatibility between us that I have never experienced before. The result is that I feel like I'm finally starting to meet, get to know, and learn to trust my sexual self; and it's exhilarating, liberating, and over due.

And finally, let's not forget the small but poignant pleasures that come at 4 am, when, nearly asleep and cuddled up in the dark, you hear the breath of someone warm sleeping next to you. France is rainy and cold outside, but I'm warm and safe with one of the French. It feels healthy, like eating raw almonds and drinking kombucha. And I guess, though just as skittish about relationships, fidelity, and the L-word as ever, good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lovers on the Lame Side of Love

Let's be honest: there is more than one kind of love. There is no such thing as the ultimate and superior "True Love" nor is there only one way to get it right.

I am starting to suspect however that there are at least one or two ways to get it pretty wrong, and I want to issue a warning about the deceptive nature of one kind in particular. It frequents the hearts of late teens, early twenties, romantics, sensualists, and naivetés. I'm talking about when you are not in love with a person, but in love with them loving you. The entire relationship circulates around craving their fidelity, their attention, their desire, their friends, their family, their email inbox and their facebook password. When you have it, things seem rather dull. When there's even the slightest suspicion that you don't have it, one can become an emotional, lovesick, clingy, mess of a person.

We've been there, right? I'm a glutton for relationship talk and I'm fairly certain I've heard the common cry of dismay that this sentiment inspires around the table frequently. When person A wants person B to want them so badly, person A forgets to ask themselves if they even want person B to begin with.

Come to think of it, can we actually classify this as love or just a sinister decoy that preys on insecure or sentimental hearts? How can we be so desperate for another person's approval that we actually forget the person? I've been there: I would call my relationship with K before moving to France this all over, and I stuck it out for years before I realized that under all the layers of my needs for self affirmation, K himself wasn't in my heart. Are you following me here? Lovers on the lame side of love: Are we loving people, or are we loving love?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sex and Sentiments in the South

The town of Sauzet is too beautiful for words. The afternoon I arrived, I moved my hands affectionately over sun bleached stone walls, climbed some ancient steps, and looked out into the Rhone valley: Olive trees, lavender fields, and distant mountains. While I opened my mouth wide to try and breath the whole dream into my lungs, a french cat purred and bumped its head up under my chin. No joke, these are my most precious dreams realized, and the sight moved me to tears. TMI's family thinks I'm completely insane since I'm, in their ears and eyes, an illiterate emotional retard.

Meanwhile TMI and I have been doing what we do best: thinking far too much while "bumping like rabbits" on every solid object in the South of France. Honestly I've NEVER been with a guy with such a drive. Every time he touches me the next thing I know I'm being thrown into a bush, into a closet, onto a table, under an olive tree or into a lavender patch. I thought the "wanna go again" line 3 minutes after sex only happened in movies and fanfictions written by blushing pre-teens, but evidently, it also happens in the South of France.

All the sexual energy is leaving us rather frustrated however because, last night, we were able to bring to light a sentiment shared between the two of us that would damper even the most fervent of sex drives. While we seem to be growing uncomfortably attached to one another, (aka becoming possessive, or insecure, or jealous, or worried) we aren't falling in love- the usual payback for the attachment troubles.

In final words I'm growing fatter than ever and TMI's sexy chic mom is calling the crowd into the kitchen for tiramisu. Plus bientot

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who Has Time to Wait?

Today while I was reading in the little cafe I live above, Zorba the Greek came upon a 90 year old man planting an almond tree."What, Grandad! Planting an almond tree?"

The man says "my son, I carry on as if I should never die." And Zorba says, "-and I carry on as if I should die at any minute!"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Words from a Wistful Without

Considering it's usually my conversation starter at any and all "girls night out"s, I've put this off for a surprisingly long time. Honestly there was a small part of me still harboring the hope that it would be unnecessary if I just held out long enough.

There is one rather substantial detail that I've been omitting on IFFTP that may better explain why France hasn't been the sexual haven many of us think it's cracked up to be. I have never had an orgasm during sex. In fact, I have never even been in the ball park of possibly having an orgasm during sex, ever.

So, in light of this short coming, what makes good sex? Im not singing Handsome Parisian's praises for no reason. He's cruelly handsome, his hands are the size of dinner plates, and he kisses softly and makes love.. raucously. I've learned over the years that what I get out of sex just comes out of a different filing cabinet than what I get out of stimulation. Excitement, noise, the well being of my partner ...exercise. I'm sure this isn't an unfamiliar song for every woman out there, right?

All the same, last night, I strayed from my usual path and decided to make an effort to what was written off long ago as a lost cause. Details aside, the episode ended with a very impressed parter and an INCREDIBLE smack down of sexual frustration on my part.

It's such a let down that lately I've been thinking of going to women. Seriously.

The elusive orgasm. I want to know about it. Are you a proud owner, a hopeful hunter, or a wistful without?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Expo of Modern Relationship

Today we went to a relatively rad art expo.

I like him- I do, and there is an allure to intimacy. I think. But it may be too soon for me to try and open up to someone in the way that a relationship requires when the love-stains all over my heart haven't begun to fade yet. It's wrong that when we're talking/cuddling I'm thinking about Harry. It's probably also wrong that when we're having sex I'm thinking of Handsome Parisian. Thinking of him and cursing his name for ruining my sex life.

The last banner for IFFTP said "some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people won't settle for anything less." I have a fear of settling for less. I've done it. I've done it twice and I never ever want to do it again. Not to mention every time I hear a woman say the words "my boyfriend" she immediately sounds like she's in a cage to me.

But this all sounds very negative. The soft peach fuzz truth around this sour fruit is that he's intelligent, cuddely, tall, receptive and thoughtful. I like him. I miss him. And next week he's taking me to Montelimar, a town in the South, to stay at his family's place for Bastille weekend. It's probably going to be wonderful. Dang!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I would like to take this time to name my English student "Scratchy," after his late baby squirrel. He is my age, nice looking, a non smoker, and one of those rare specimens known as "French Surfers" from the South. Understandably he comes with an air of nostalgia for the male species back home in the islands, wearing T-shirts and sporting surfer guy hair.

While I have long suspected that the only reason he comes to my lessons, since I'm the world's worst English teacher, seriously, may well be our age proximity and my not entirely horrible cuteness quotient, today he surprised me by offering to take me on a visit to Dijon's surrounding areas "some Sunday," "when he has time."

He also had a lot to say about me potentially finding work in a vineyard. I shall investigate this.

And in secondary news, I've been thinking a lot about dreams this week. Windows to the subconscious? Vast reservoirs of cryptic info about life, spirituality, or human psychology just waiting to be deciphered? Or are we unaccountable for any of the trouble our brains get into when we let em' off the leash each night?

Lately I've been dreaming about having a pug dog puppy and forcing cuddles on his tiny squirming body. I don't generally like dogs; and I've always found ownership of the small pathetic ones kind of a perverse display of a desire to dominate a lesser and submissive being. I've also dreamt of surviving a zombie apocalypse by fleeing to the ocean and staying with a pod of dolphins for 8 days, befriending a tree that had skin instead of bark, and always, alllwaaays, dreams about Harry. He emerges, full of love an reciprocity, and my chest fills up with warm delicious sunbeams; until the the sight of my ceiling extinguishes them with a swift bucket of cold awareness.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The R Word

Things are definitely on the brink of domestic with TMI, which, I'm gonna be honest, has me concerned for IFFTP. Yes, I desperately want to go to back to Paris and share my passionate encounters with the French God of Sex with the blog world. Yes, I want to go out and make eyes/brush up against/ and be shockingly forward in the language of love with the young and hot French populace.

But lets be honest. When a guy, THE SAME GUY, is sleeping in your bed 3-4 times out of the week, throwing a modest tantrum when you accidentally call him by another man's name, and frankly stating that he will A "hate you" and B "never see you again" when you ask about sex with others, exactly how single can you be, really?

So what is it? What exactly defines a relationship? When the jealously starts? When the exclusivity starts? Or did it start somewhere back there with the sex?

There was no verbal confirmation, but I have to say it: I think I might be in a relationship. And what's worse, when he isn't around, I'm starting to miss him. I predict an abrupt readership plummet by at least 15%.

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