petite anglaise

May 17, 2006

sleeping with ghosts

Filed under: mills & boon, parting ways — petiteanglaise @ 11:15 am

I think we both knew, or at least suspected, from the moment we agreed he should come to Paris and see the concert with me, that no-one would really be sleeping in the spare room.

However ill-advised it might seem, in theory, to see the person who had cast me adrift only two months previously, I knew I was ready. I still love him, granted, but in a completely different way. Whenever I think of what might have been, and wasn’t, I am, quite simply, overwhelmed with relief. Relief which is admittedly tinged with a little regret at how uncommonly compatible we were in some ways I now miss.

When the time came, I was an adrenaline-fuelled wreck, so preoccupied with other worries that I didn’t have time to get excited, or nervous, or both, at the prospect of our meeting.

All I wanted that night was to feel his familiar, strong arms around me. To be taken outside of myself, even if it was just for a few short hours. To share something precious, without incurring any guilt, any pain. To be soothed by the sound of his slow, regular breathing at my side. To be lulled into the first good night’s sleep in a week.

In the morning, before we parted, there were comforting echoes of our old routine: tea, toast and marmalade.

He told me he felt absolved in some way; as if a weight had now lifted. We acknowledged that we have both moved on, but continue to care deeply about each other. There was no awkwardness, no inequality. No sense that one of us was clinging, desperately, to the wreckage, wanting something more.

Only one thing made me feel mildly uncomfortable: at times, doubtless because I was so strung out, I was painfully conscious of a separation of mind and body.

A nagging feeling that I had succeeded in appropriating for myself the very detachment I recently observed, with regret, in someone else.

115 Comments

  1. OH MY GOD!!!!!!

    Comment by old school friend — May 17, 2006 @ 11:38 am

  2. It sounds picture perfect. I doubt I could do it so flawlessly, especially after just two months.

    Comment by BlondebutBright — May 17, 2006 @ 11:41 am

  3. Hells Teeth!! Positively given me the shivers. Beautiful writing…
    Now where’s my little Black Book…

    Comment by Tufts — May 17, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  4. I’m a bit late here…but definitely good to have you back! Stunning post, which rang very many bells. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of my silly self, I have never managed that detachment, despite my efforts.

    I hope the night, despite or even because of the detachment, was as beautiful as it reads here.

    Comment by redlady — May 17, 2006 @ 11:58 am

  5. Oops, despite and detachment featured too many times. Please excuse my lack of vocabulary!

    Comment by redlady — May 17, 2006 @ 11:59 am

  6. A beautiful equilibrium … A piece of art.

    Comment by alcessa — May 17, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

  7. It’s hard to make a clean break. Seinfeld said that breaking up with someone is like trying to push over a Coke vending machine. You can’t do it in one big push, you sorta’ have to rock it back and forth a couple times before you can push it over.

    Comment by homeimprovementninja — May 17, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  8. It doesn’t have to be that hard. All it takes is a bit of acceptance about the current state of affairs between you. Then, as I think I’ve posted before, you can concentrate on enjoying the things that you like about each other, and which drew you together in the first place, without all that relationship stuff getting in the way of friendship.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — May 17, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

  9. Miss Nomer: It’s not as easy as you say…particularly if you actually loved the person. Love and loss is a complex thing. “All it takes…” should never even be mentioned in the same thought processes as love and loss.

    Comment by Dina — May 17, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  10. Very moving post fitted with a lovely picture (see you are the ghost!)
    It takes a lot to sleep together after only 3 months, you were either very brave or completely out of your mind

    Comment by Thomas — May 17, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  11. Dina: I take your point about “all it takes”; think of it as shorthand so that I don’t monopolise the comments. But, built into all of us is something that allows us to move on after meeting adversity: otherwise we’d be forever devastated after the first loss of a parent. So yes, there’s a transition stage, a period of adjustment, and the length of this period differs for all sort of reasons. But when you reach the happy end of it what remains are the things that you’ve always liked about one another.

    And it’s a shame to let them go to waste.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — May 17, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  12. Love is addictive (for you) but I’m not sure toys are suitable substitutes to your romantic way of love. Thomas is right about what is sees (how couldn’t he be?), you seems to be currently the ghost chasing old feelings & sensations.

    Comment by coutho — May 17, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  13. Maybe, but for one night only.

    And toys? Toys are for when I’m, ahem, home alone.

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

  14. i’m just happy you both are still in touch. (er, no pun intended).

    Comment by franko — May 17, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

  15. Petite, What was the reason for your long absence? I seem to have missed something? You seem to be hunky dory. Why all the dramatics with the test pattern and then the silence? Go on everyone chew my head off…I just dont get it. Maybe Trevor can help :)

    Comment by Confused Boy — May 17, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

  16. I could tell you, but I’d have to shoot you.

    Seriously though, I had my reasons, and when I feel able to share them, I will.

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

  17. ‘Toys’ was a bit simplistic. In fact, I understood you were more and more appreciating toyboys (if I get right the 26th point) but I was wondering about your favourite game with them ; dancing together through worlds in endless conversations or more physical occupations.

    Comment by coutho — May 17, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

  18. “To be lulled into the first good night’s sleep in a week”? You planned on sleeping?

    Comment by joeinvegas — May 17, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  19. You said “…we have both moved on, but continue to care deeply about each other. No inequality…….No sense that one of us was clinging, desperately, to the wreckage, wanting something more.”
    Are you absolutely sure about this? I ask because I’m unable to reconcile caring deeply about someone and not wanting something more. Maybe you could explain.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — May 17, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

  20. Fair enough, but I hope you know that you totally rock the free world…

    Comment by Confused Boy — May 17, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  21. Miss Nomer-
    as a girl who lost her mother to cancer i hate to tell you but you ARE forever devastated by the loss.
    it may get easier yes, but the hurt-it never fully leaves you. often rearing its head at the most inappropriate of times just to remind you how your life has forever changed.
    the loss of a man, however, is a completely different animal.

    Comment by sarai — May 17, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

  22. Hey, ho…. so its down from the ‘slightly imperfect seconds department’ to the ‘damaged goods basement bargains’…. and special offers to anyone who can get it up from Rennes…..’breafast included’?

    I’m looking forward to the duet with Tadpole on ‘things that bump and grind in the night!’

    Perhaps the scars of abandonment and life as an orphan, even in a happy home, run so deep that you feel that you can justify your craving for ‘approval’ in the form of sexual favours from FB(s?), the Rennes ex-pat, Trevor (??!!) &/or whoever. On the other hand, it may just be self-indulgence of the old ‘I want it now… can’t wait’ variety? It doesn’t speak too well of J in R either? He baulked at making a commitment (for good reason?) but seems quite happy to slip back for a quickie!

    As ever, I’m sure you’ll get your chorus of approval and lots of ‘me toos,…. aren’t we so grown up and mature to be able to adjust to this kind of relationship’. But, maybe the truth is that what started off as a highly readable, fascinating account of the life of a 30 something in Paris could be degenerating into a window view of somone having a breakdown in slow motion? Suggest you look round for wise and impartial counsel before its too late!

    Comment by fella — May 17, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  23. Despite Fella’s stinging remarks… well done, I’d say. After my last serious relationship ended, we dallied with one another off and on for about 18 months, neither of us completely able to break it off firmly (and during which time he met and was seeing someone else long distance) and that continued until he (Thank God!) moved across country to be with “her”.

    Of course we still had our one last night together, and it was sad but also a relief. And it felt like “closure” at last. If you were able to accomplish the same thing in under three months, I’d say that’s something to feel good about.

    And I think Fella’s snide comment about Tadpole was really uncalled for.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — May 17, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  24. I have noted in the past that fella, entre autres, doesn’t like it when I talk about men. Some of my readers tend to be a little too proprietary for my liking.

    But obviously when I wrote this post, I expected some criticism and I knew what I was letting myself in for.

    The blog has been likened to a car crash in slow motion many times, but I’m still here.

    One important point: Tadpole has just been away for two weeks. I would never have a man in the house if she was here. Especially not Jim, as that would be really confusing for her.

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

  25. A breakdown in slow motion?
    Sounds like someone applying so-called wisdom (from one of those books) on a real-life person and being happy for this opportunity…
    Life really is about ups and downs, often enough, and not that much about syndroms of … whatsoever.

    Comment by alcessa — May 17, 2006 @ 6:42 pm

  26. To Fella,
    Yawn! What a moralizing rant. Also, what’s up with the simplistic psychoanalysis?

    Petite,
    It sounds like you’re really doing well. Detachment in this case is a good thing.

    Comment by Zerlina — May 17, 2006 @ 6:51 pm

  27. Sarai: I agree, this idea of “moving on” is simple in theory but more complicated and very difficult in practice. For me, my ex and I remain absolute best friends, eight months later, yet it has been difficult for us, or at least for me, to “move on”.

    I’ll someday completely heal, but I’ll perhaps forever bear the scar of what was “us”. But, proudly so…he was a really good man and still is.

    Fella is really creepy. I suppose that needn’t be said.

    Comment by Dina — May 17, 2006 @ 7:03 pm

  28. Hooray for comfort sex … highly under-rated as a way to soothe – albeit temporarily – whatever it is you need soothing.

    Comment by Nikki — May 17, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  29. Petite, I am going to stick my neck out and ask you a question—What do you really want in a relationship? I think you are sending a lot of mixed signals, both to yourself and to others.

    If what you want is a no-strings, casual sleeping partner/buddy, then I would tell you that you are behaving in exactly the fashion needed to attract one. If on the other hand you want commitment, intimacy, longevity, partnership—well you aren’t going to find it doing what you’re doing. You have to LIVE the life your want and act in such a manner that you will be treated the way you want to be treated.

    I am not trying to “jump on you” or anything—I just want you to be aware that I see a disconnect between what you say you want, and the choices you are making about how you interact with men. If you don’t want “casual” then don’t act casual.

    Petite, I don’t see anything wrong with a casual relationship, provided that is what you really want. But if it isn’t, then don’t engage in one with Jim, Frog or anybody else. You set the expectation by what you allow. Be sure you’ve got the love you want before you give away the action he would like.

    Comment by Small Town Diva — May 17, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

  30. Hi Petite! Welcome back! I was just about to post a slightly worried notice on my blog asking if anyone knew how you were when you reappeared, all happy.

    I’m glad you seem to have sorted out things with Jim. That you’re still friends is great, and if from time to time you sleep together, what of it?

    As for Meetic, I have no experience of online dating, but provided you’re cautious (beware of carving knives and people who find your site via odd searches) I’d say go for it.

    Comment by Rob — May 17, 2006 @ 8:49 pm

  31. Just did the same thing, wasn’t quite as comfortable. You may be comfortable with the relationship, but is Frog? Men can be very good at hiding real feelings behind a seemingly impenetrable wall of whatever it is you expect from them.
    Also I’d just like to point out that all the girls who’ve commented have been really pro-post (I’m only working on pen names here, I could be wrong), whereas the guys have been more reserved.
    Wow, I feel like quite the pessimistic nit here, but having followed your blog for quite some time I’ve realised that 1) I’d hate my partner to be putting quite such personal stuff on internet and 2) I’d read it and would probably react differently to her than I would if I didn’t know the stuff in question. I considering shutting down my blog now that I have a girl who reads it religiously everyday!
    In the end I don’t think it’s disaster in slow motion, anymore than anybody else’s life is, it’s just all there for the reading.
    Oh, and you write amazingly, I quite missed you while you were away

    Comment by Greenmantle — May 17, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

  32. Erratum: not Frog, but J… my mistake!

    Comment by Greenmantle — May 17, 2006 @ 8:55 pm

  33. I take your point. I let Jim have a preview of today’s post, actually, and we talked it through. I think next time I’m “in” a relationship I’ll probably keep certain things under wraps, as I did when I was actually seeing Jim.

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 9:02 pm

  34. Sarai:
    Loss of a parent was the extreme example (I do that, it makes things clearer to me) and I agree that the loss of a man (or woman) is a different animal. But, importantly, different in an easier manner.

    Dina:
    So glad that you could remain absolute best friends with your ex. As you say, one day you’ll completely heal. That’s what I called acceptance (my first post above) and what The Bold Soul refers to as closure.

    But here’s the important bit. We’d all like more (rather than fewer) good friends and people whom we have loved have the very characteristics that mean that they can still be good friends. What a shame if we let them out of our lives.

    (Okay, okay, I know, it doesn’t work if one partner doesn’t want to be a good friend or if you split up because you discovered something about your ex that puts you right off them. But otherwise, don’t waste the opportunity.)

    As for Petite; I think that it’s great that she can remain friends with JIR. As to whether she’s making good decisions (lots of discussions above): she’s an adult and adults live by their decisions, however good they turn out to be, every day of their lives. It’s one of the burdens that is thrust upon you when you grow up.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — May 17, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

  35. Trevor? Where are you? I need help down here. Earn your keep!

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  36. I think fella must be “mal-baisé” and secretly in love with Petite to react like that.
    A jolly good seeing-to by a sexually dominant woman is what he needs…

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — May 17, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

  37. I haven’t read the above comments. I thought your post was the first inspiring one today.
    I identify completely with your analogy. It’s the worst thing, the ghost that won’t go, the lover’s ghost. The lover’s gone. Beyond dead . He went forever when he chose another situation over you, and you both ‘died’- hence the brief and dreadful grief. I’ve been through that recently. Mine ‘died’ when I heard him spell it out, the ‘bottom line’: how he was ‘taken’, and that was the crux of it as far as he was concerned. No mistaking a man in that tone of voice. It kills.
    Yet he won’t quite go, a thing I don’t understand. He visited my blog for months; still does sometimes, for up to seven hours or so a day. He firmly holds on to this imagined relationship he has with my creative life and to all sorts of half way measures. There’s no way I’d sleep with him in this frame of mind, but that’s everything to do with the fact that I’m physically avoiding him. There’s no real difference between mine and your situation.
    I want him to cut me off, plainly and clearly, and dissappear. I shouldn’t cry, or mind. I would breathe again. Breathe again fully in the new atmosphere of a new day. He’s like a ghost that won’t leave a house. And I don’t Want my house haunted.

    ‘As I was going down the stair,
    I met a man who wasn’t there.
    He wasn’t there again today.
    O how I wish he’d go away!..’.

    …To give it a tadpolism!

    Comment by fjl — May 17, 2006 @ 10:00 pm

  38. manc lass – I could almost hear you cracking the whip then. blimey.

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 10:02 pm

  39. Personally, I think most people here are seriously over analyzing the situation. Petite and Jim had a relationship, a very intense one, and now it is over. They are coming to terms with what happened in the way they know how, and are allowing themselves to move on. Period. End of discussion.

    Move along, nothing to see here………

    As for fella, you should be charging by the hour with the psychobabble you sprout forth.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — May 17, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  40. I’m all behind Fella, the Boyo, at this hour of the evening what with the bellyful of whiskey in my body.
    But it was the other character I had little time for. Remember that one with the dark chocolate eyes darting around left right and centre constantly on the look out for a feebeee, buckling up his pants in the mornin. “Well, suppose I’ll be back again, next month”.
    Always a whiff of sulphur about him. Would have ended up boring you to tears with his holiday photographs, probably broke his mother’s heart.

    Comment by Trevor — May 17, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

  41. You’re late. I’m docking your wages.

    Comment by petite — May 17, 2006 @ 10:38 pm

  42. Fella is obtrusive and condescending Petite, but he does have a point in spite of his offending ways. I’m in a similar position to you and I’ve thought long and hard about offloading rambles about love affairs that turn out to be not so good on the blogs. I decided against it, despite the ready readership. I don’t know why you’ve been rejected, but it’s pointless to dwell on it.
    Start targeting Jim with some good tadpole jokes. x

    Comment by fjl — May 17, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

  43. Well actually , I was going to say that if I wasn’t a respectable married laydee I’d volunteer myself.

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — May 17, 2006 @ 10:46 pm

  44. I think you did the right thing – and I don’t know that I can necessarily articulate why.

    Sleeping together is a great way to get closure and show that you still mean something to one another but just aren’t meant to be together………

    You shared a lot – why not one more thing ;)

    Comment by Kasey — May 17, 2006 @ 10:46 pm

  45. I was in almost exactly (from the brief outline she gave) the same position as bold soul, though I unfortunatly never got quite the level of closure from my relationship as it ended alot more abruptly, so I think you are lucky if you have achieved that level of closure. I think people can underestimate how strong the need is after a break up for the physical closeness of a body that knows your’s; that’s why ‘ex-sex’ is so good, if sometimes a little bitter sweet.

    Comment by Ellie — May 17, 2006 @ 11:57 pm

  46. Yes the loss of a parent stays with you forever.

    Comment by Past tense — May 18, 2006 @ 1:42 am

  47. Well, I guess everything is going according to plan.

    Comment by nardac — May 18, 2006 @ 2:45 am

  48. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all telepathic and could read each other’s minds (or at least the minds of those closest to us)…all this stuff wouldn’t be a problem then.
    But we can’t, and so we have to keep ourselves semi-detached to an extent, in order to protect ourselves, our sense of self-worth and self-respect.
    So….I’d say don’t worry yourself or feel guilty about sensing that detachment in yourself, PA. It’s pretty normal, and its a healthy defence mechanism too.
    But on the other hand I’d suggest that, unless you both feel that there’s still an emotional connection, a real possibility that you could get back together with Jim (or Mr F for that matter) then don’t meet up TOO often just for the reassurance and comfort of some intimacy. If it aint gonna work, then it aint gonna work. No use retreating into fantasy. Just be yourself, allow yourself some time to be alone, single.

    Comment by Tom Tyler — May 18, 2006 @ 8:07 am

  49. God. I’ve recently returned from a trip to Paris where I met someone, spent a couple of glorious weeks with him, and now am consumed by thoughts of this person I know I’ll never see again. Petite, grant me the knowledge of how to move on…how’d you do it?

    Comment by buzzgirl — May 18, 2006 @ 8:43 am

  50. between the praise of the sheeps and the fella guy, sometimes comments get me a little depressed.

    Comment by schuey — May 18, 2006 @ 9:25 am

  51. They get you a little depressed? hey, what about me?

    I might have to go all dooce on you all and simply turn them off.

    Comment by petite — May 18, 2006 @ 10:06 am

  52. How much are you paying Trevor?

    Comment by Parkin Pig — May 18, 2006 @ 10:15 am

  53. Why turn them off? Why not just modify to ‘Write your approving comments here’? It seems like bouquets are welcome (& I’ve sent a few of the cyber variety myself) but brickbats are not? As ever, shoot the messenger if you don’t like the message?

    To clarify, no I don’t, never have had, have any kind of ‘proprietal’ feelings, nor does it irritate me when Petite talks about men. (In fact I wish she did talk about REAL men in her life!) I’m being moralistic? Possibly, though I think not. Some individuals have few partners in life, others far more than a few… c’est la vie. I have been very fortunate over the years to have been in a position to observe countless individuals realise their dreams & aspirations, whether in relationships, careers or lifestyles. For a smaller number, it hasn’t worked out that way. In some of those cases, they were simply ill-fated….Thomas Hardy tells it all. A smaller proprtion, though, were always auhors of their own misfortune, continully in self-denial and resistant to any constructive advice from any quarter!

    Doubtless, your many admirers will consider this to be condescending and patronising again….. but I would be disappointed if the ’30 something Lost in France’ ends up as a dejected 40 something who could have fulfilled her dreams but didn’t.

    As for Mancunian Lass…..don’t you remember I did offer to date you, … wasn’t it behind the gasworks on the Ship Canal? But only on equal terms, thanks. Domination is degrading to both & escapism for life’s inadequates?

    Comment by fella — May 18, 2006 @ 11:15 am

  54. Fella you are absolutley riddled with prejudices. You are one walking closed mind. It’s a shame to see you. (You forgot to tell us about the ‘ex lover category’ that ran at the mere sight of you. Or was this everyone….?)
    I’ve just turned forty but look ten years younger (go check out my photos on my blog.) I’ve travelled endlessly and I’ve had all kinds of men friends ad lovers. I’ve also done the full kiddy thing….because it’s been quiet recently, and one recent lover let me down, that makes me a dejected forty something does it? I suppose I can’t shed a tear about an isolated incidence, for fear of being classified !
    So sad these ‘Fella’ advisors are still around.
    ….Petite did you ever invite his opinion or does he have other condescending self -appointed visits to make in the village.

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

  55. Well as a mum from the dark ages I’m not at all sure what I’m doing reading all this (my original interest was in Paris, and your mothering, as I have daughters of a similar age) I grew up in the pre-pill/pre-abortion days, when being sexually active was a high risk activity. The general thesis then was that men would promise anything, tell any lie to get your knickers off. How things have changed. Tell you what though – I’m not sure I envy you. Seems the world of young women is a mite too complicated for me. Personally, I liked the excitement of novelty. Sleeping with someone who thought I was good enough for “familiar” pleasures but who didn’t fancy sticking around didn’t appeal. Still, it takes all sorts, and this is an education for me.

    Comment by Mo — May 18, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

  56. Mo, the general thesis hasn’t changed all that much. It’s just that since the ‘dark ages’ women have enjoyed taking off their knickers….(!)
    And people have learned that there’s a big difference between being careful and being prejudiced. Nb pre-pill era was as sexually active as today, it made no real difference. Victorian era even more so. ( Then there are a ton of other era related issues.) Fella’s awful attitudes take us back a century in society norms. Heaven help a London East End woman running into him on a dark night ( actually perhaps that’s a little harsh…)

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

  57. Ahhh fella, if only I still lived in Manchester, all you’d have to do is drive up the M1 for a couple of hours, follow the signs for Old Trafford footie ground and I’d be waiting for you outside Lou Macari’s fish n’ chip shop with a six-pack of xtra-strong lager and 2 portions of mushy peas.
    Sadly, there are no more gasworks, Manchester has moved on, and the Ship Canal area is now an urban metropolis of trendy bars and clubs, museums and loft appartments.

    Comment by Mancunian lass — May 18, 2006 @ 12:35 pm

  58. oh gosh. everyone is picking on fella for voicing an opinion. Seems a bit harsh.

    I’ve only skim read these comments, so I guess i shouldn’t put my oar in. I felt a bit shocked after reading this post. To be so completely broken hearted over someone (who to not be cruel, that you broke a family up for, whether it was on the cards or not), and then to be able to sleep with them again, and feel detatched from it, feels a little like you’re lying to your self.

    I noted some time ago that you took off the bit about Jim from your profile overview, and wondered how much contact you had with each other. I hope it’s contact and not control by a more domineering partner.

    Oh well, we all do things that others find morally confusing.

    Comment by Hmmm — May 18, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

  59. and meeting people normally like at tennis club functions or when out hostelling, like in Goodbye Mr Chips

    Comment by Trevor — May 18, 2006 @ 1:21 pm

  60. Tom: “Wouldn’t it be great if we were all telepathic and could read each other’s minds …all this stuff wouldn’t be a problem then.

    Are you sure? Even in the closest most loving relationships there are things that are best left unsaid. And there are good ways, and bad ways, of presenting things that you do say. Introduce telepathy and all that goes out of the window. Would it really be great?

    Mind you, it would also get away with deceit and dishonesty. Clandestine affairs would be out of the window. So perhaps it would be great?

    But then, we’d all have to adapt an awful lot to being able to know everything all the time. We’d all have to become a lot less sensitive and toughen up. Perhaps that would be a good thing. Perhaps. I just don’t seem to be able to figure it out.

    However, there’s a mid ground between telepathy and not knowing what’s going on in your partner’s mind. It’s all about communication, talking to each other, sharing. Get it right and your relationship gets the best of both worlds.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — May 18, 2006 @ 1:33 pm

  61. COWABUNGA!! (For anyone who has seen About A Boy)

    Comment by fistycuffs — May 18, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

  62. Eh (M) Lass, tha’ll be telling me next the’ve stopped exclaiming “By heck as like!” and eating mounds of tripe and black pudding for breakfast? And they call it progress? You never expected the lass to pay for the mushy peas in my day.

    I suppose we could always meet up for coffee at the Lowry … but it wouldn’t be quite the same would it?

    Comment by fella — May 18, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

  63. I’ve said this before, but I don’t seem to be able to make myself heard.

    For me, petite anglaise is about writing, for pleasure. Not always about easy or palatable subjects. Trying to find the right words to express what I feel, pin down complex emotions, sometimes to simply get things out of my system.

    I’m not looking for approval, or validation, or criticism of my actions. The only comments which I really value, are those where someone says that my writing moved them; made them laugh, or cry.

    But obviously if you say something really insulting about me, or my relationship with my daughter, you can’t really expect me not to feel wounded and defensive.

    And to the spiteful, childish and anonymous person from the university of Derby who just tried to “out” me in my comments, thank you. You have just created a whole load of extra work for me as I must now send EVERY SINGLE COMMENT to moderation before publication on this site.

    Just what I needed.

    Comment by petite — May 18, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

  64. O God what a creep. Someone did that to me the other day, put my address on the web because I disagreed with him during a discussion about rape! xxx The owner removed it, but what a nasty bloke, blyme.
    Cheer up I love your stuff, it’s a comfort to me often.

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  65. I second fjl! I know I wasn’t the only one checking in every day during your absence, and thrilled to see that you had returned, alive and well!

    Losers and freaks with too much time on their hands are not worth your thoughts.

    Chin up duck!

    Comment by redlady — May 18, 2006 @ 2:47 pm

  66. Goodness, all of this fuss is making me extra glad to be gay, because no one gay cares if you sleep with one, two or a hundred as long as you play safe.

    As a former literature prof, I hope I know something about writing. I read your blog precisely because you articulate emotion so well and are adept at creating vivid images through language, no easy task. You’re one of the best writers of blogs I’ve found–and I think you are playing an important role in evolving them into an art. So be kind to the “sheep” –I’ll have to count myself as one of them, as I suspect we are all simply trying to express our admiration for your talent (which may be articulated as shared emotional experience).

    Comment by Lisa — May 18, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  67. Petite,
    it is obvious that you are not looking for approval or doing anything pathetic here. But it is only obvious to those, who “want to see”…

    Comment by alcessa — May 18, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

  68. I really don’t get it. If people have a problem with the posts on this blog…DON’T READ IT! why make a big fuss over it?

    I read it now because I find the posts amusing and interesting, reading about someone elses life that is completely different from my own. If that ever ceases to be the case, then i’ll probably stop reading it as much, I won’t be emailing Petite to complain about her choice of lifestyle or the fact I don’t like what she posts.

    And christ fella, could you be any more pretentious?

    Comment by Lee — May 18, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

  69. “I’m not looking for approval, or validation, or criticism of my actions.”

    Unfortunately petite, when you put your life on display through the blog, your writing will not be the only thing that will be up for judgement. While this may be stating the obvious, I am not suggesting you change your style simply to suit your “audience,” so to speak. Blog writing appears to be like any other artistic form in that when the person who created it starts pandering to the critics, it loses the vitality of which it was originally designed to accomplish.

    You have already mady sacrifices in terms of your content, i.e. not talking aobut your work situation. While this was not a direct result of the comments made per se, it still has diminished soemthing from the blog. (Though it is perfectly understandable why you did that.)

    “But obviously if you say something really insulting about me, or my relationship with my daughter, you can’t really expect me not to feel wounded and defensive.”

    You would not be very human if you didn’t feel insulted. As to your relationship with Tadpole, unless it became obvious you were abusing her in some manner, (Which has never appeared to be the case.) then how you choose to raise her is your business. When people comment on your parenting style, they should stop and ask themselves on how they would feel if it were their parenting skills that were being questioned. Those who never had children have no right whatsoever to be judgemental when it comes to you and Tadpole, myself included, which is why I do not comment on how you choose to raise your daughter. Unless you have been through the parenting experience, how can you expect to accurately understand it? It is like going to a Catholic priest for marriage counseling. Sorry, but you don’t go to someone for advice who may have a great deal of clinical and book learning, but no real world experience with a particular subject.

    Shame about having to moderate everything now because of one idiot…….

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — May 18, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

  70. aren’t the comments meant to be a starting point for issues raised during the post? Fair enought petite’s identity should not have to be revealed here. whatever loser tried to do that rightly deserves to be censored. But judging by the comments made for the past couple of years, we (as readers) use this as a “safe” place to reveal certain aspects of our life and our opinions.

    Our views good or bad, should not be subject to such abuse as many commentators feel reasonable to make at fella and the like. I hope that Petite realises that and can see the difference between malicious abuse and the innate side of human nature to give their opinion on the subject.

    I know I read this because Petite is articulate and that she brings up issues that many people can relate to – but this does not necessarily mean I have to agree with everything she says and does. We all have lives outside this interwebnotdom. I hope. Except maybe trevor (who is clearly an alcoholic leprachaun). It’s human nature to question what we see and hear and read, but many people in this commentary box seem to think that they anything “negative” is wrong.

    Golly I’m sorry for being so serious. Hey hey Big Brother starts tonight. Apparently there’s a cross dressing guinea pig lover in the house.

    Comment by Hmmm — May 18, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

  71. Poor Petite, you do seem to be having a hard time in your comments box this time. What a welcome back! In my view you are very courageous to write about your (nearly?) innermost thoughts and personal feelings and we should all tread carefully whilst being allowed to intrude into your private life. Sharing experiences and offering advice are inevitable in certain circumstances but hurtful criticism is neither necessary nor welcome.
    If Petite is brave enough to share her life and remarkable writing skills with us we should all have enough respect to be tactful in our remarks.

    Comment by Sandy — May 18, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  72. Tell us more about the “outer” Petite. Sounds weird. If you don’t know anybody at the University of Derby, how can they have known your name to out you?

    Comment by old school friend — May 18, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

  73. “Blog writing appears to be like any other artistic form in that when the person who created it starts pandering to the critics, it loses the vitality of which it was originally designed to accomplish”.

    Yes!
    But when you’re hearing alot of voices, all with their own agenda, you have to be very confident and well disciplined to maintain integrity. It’s easy to let it slide. Hats off and Huzzah to Petite for that.

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

  74. …by the way Victorian expressions are part of my thing (!) The above expression means very well done to Petite for not giving in to pressure. It’s a real encouragement.

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

  75. Dave: Well, I don’t quite agree that if you’ve never had children, that you have no right to question someone’s parenting style. I came from a very dysfunctional home, and thank God EVERYONE – those with children and those without – raised questions about the parenting in our home. That might well be what saved my sister and I.

    In any case, Fella’s comments are just petty jabs from someone that’s clearly either extremely uptight, extremely envious, or has wayyyy too much free time on his hands. It brings to mind a mental picture of an unhappy person sitting at home at his computer, in virtual darkness, wearing nothing but tube socks and women’s knickers. Sorry, but that’s the mental picture I get of someone that would make comments of that sort.

    Comment by Dina — May 18, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

  76. The “University of Derby”?!
    You’ve gotta be having us on. Ex-Bakewell Technical College?

    Comment by Jude — May 18, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  77. I have no idea who that person is, or what I could possibly have done to incur their wrath, only that in a previous comment (s)he had already said some particularly spiteful things.

    Comment by petite — May 18, 2006 @ 6:45 pm

  78. Oh for God’s sake. It’s a blog. Everyone who comments, whether they say nice things or stupidly hatful things, it’s always the same effect–like writing a letter to an author. They don’t care! They don’t write for you! If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Have it inspire good conversation or see paralells in your own life but don’t be moronic.

    Comment by Deepblusea — May 18, 2006 @ 7:04 pm

  79. Sounds like a woman Petite. Looks like you’ve got alot of jealousy at the moment…;-)

    Since I’m talking alot today….can I just say, that perhaps it’s the moment to point out that yes, there are comments boxes on our blogs, but these are not a free for all for personal opinions as if there were no such thing as decorum and polite consideration. If I write on my blog… ” Geez, I’m sick of men”, or whatever- then I say it in the creative writing context. It doesn’t give you, reader, the right to say, ” Well, I expect they’re all sick of you’re ugly face aswell” or suchlike. It’s a comments box for relevant constructive comments, not a freeforall for abuse or malice. Geddit?
    xx pour Petite. I know what it’s like being on the end of it, we all do in fact..!
    That being said most readers are a pleasure to have.

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 7:19 pm

  80. Petite I do like your writing too. I’m a lot older than you, lots more “school of hard knock” learning, so my comments about things other than your writing style are meant in the spirit of cyberfriendship and helping you get the life you want. Hope you understand that.

    Thanks to Leslie for introducing me to your website–now I “know” yet another wonderful young woman whose life matters to me!

    Comment by Small Town Diva — May 18, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

  81. Dina: This is why I very clearly made the exception of cases of potential abuse. You stated: “That might well be what saved my sister and I.” Sounds to me as though this would have fallen under that category (or close enough to it.) as well.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — May 18, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

  82. ..and for some reason, on the blogs, whenever someone says something controversial or corrective, those who are hostile instantly start correcting their spelling mistakes. So, before they begin, yes. I’m aware it is ‘your’ and not ‘you’re’. But after a tipple, do I care a d**mn. No. So be nicer to us you cantankerous lot. We might just have had a hard day! ;-)

    Comment by fjl — May 18, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

  83. I am curious, immediately after reading the post, I had a flashback to all the years I wasted in previous relationship, telling myself I was over it when I wasn’t. Years later, I can look back and see how damaging it was.

    I wonder how may of the negative comments come from people flashing back to their poor decisions and trying to “save” Petite from what they see as a repeat of their own mistakes?

    That’s not really the point of the blog, but I think it shows how powerful Petite’s writing is. Being able to bring out the universal experience for all of us, that’s quite a gift.

    Comment by Sandy2 — May 18, 2006 @ 7:41 pm

  84. Hmmm:
    I hadn’t even realised that there are cross dressing guinea pigs, never mind lovers of them. There’s just so much out there in this big wide world of ours that remains a mystery to me.

    Comment by Miss Nomer — May 18, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

  85. Hmmm, a leprachaun? I’m six foot two in my socks, PA will vouch for that though she’s never seen me without my shoes. As for being an alcoholic, well on the way back from work I might sneek in for one or two quickies and get up to some divilemnt from time to time, before making my way home to watch Goodbye Mr Chips, for the umpteenth time.
    But on another note, I think the whole lot of you have behaved disgracefuly. Those of you who were not downright insulting, had nothing more to offer in her defence than a buckload of unadulterated codswaallop.

    Comment by Trevor — May 18, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

  86. Petite, a note of support for you: your posts have definitely made me laugh, and have caused the occasional quickly wiped away tear (as a 22 year old guy, you wouldn’t have me crying, would you?). I do occasionally voice opinions which may or may not be flattering or agree with you, but that’s the beauty of human diversity: it’d be boring otherwise!

    And so death to outers, and people who take blogs far to seriously! However, I wistfully gaze at my comments box sometimes and wish I had something more exciting to moderate than comment spam…

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Greenmantle — May 18, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  87. I have to disillusion Dina, but I’m a reasonably contented kind of guy, who hadn’t previously heard of tube socks! But I guess I have outstayed my welcome in Petite’s Comments box, so I’ll wilingly take my bat home. It’s your site, Petite, you invest a lot of time & much more in it, so you are quite entitled to have it as you would prefer it.

    My recent comments were intentionally emphatic but were not intended to be hurtful or insulting, so if that is how they have been perceived, I’m sorry and reget that. However, I believe that have ony reflected content and language already in the posts?

    And I do, sincerely, continue to wish you (& Tadpole) well & still have a great admiration for much of your writing and what you achieve, so perhaps I’ll take a peep back in a few years time to see how it all works out for you.

    And I’ll miss Mancunian Lass. Perhaps, ML, I can drop by for a soupcon of Lancashire Hot Pot if I’m ever down your way?

    Comment by fella — May 18, 2006 @ 8:32 pm

  88. FFS, it’s up to petite to choose how she lives her life. Her blog is eloquent and witty. Nuff said.

    Jan

    Comment by Jan — May 18, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

  89. Oh now, some people are just JEALOUS that you write as well as you do and are nasty out of spite (to spite you? well you know what I mean). I love your blog, and was bummed when there were no new posts for 2 weeks… lucky you that you get alone-ish time away from Tadpole… and definitely you should do as you please with that precious time. A lot of what you say helps me put my little life in perspective…are you still in your funky job situation… not a lot of comments on that front lately…

    Comment by magillicuddy — May 18, 2006 @ 9:42 pm

  90. Whilst you were away I feared you weren’t coming back, I hope that this one malicious person doesn’t stop you from blogging because I really enjoy your writing. It was my first blog, and is still the one I check first, because it’s the only one that has ever made me both laugh and cry.

    Comment by Ellie — May 18, 2006 @ 9:50 pm

  91. It was a beautiful post, so well written. Having ploughed my way through all 77 comments, I went back and read it again – as I’d almost forgotten what the original topic was.
    Always did think Derby was a strange place…

    Comment by jj — May 18, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  92. Am I alone in observing that some commentors have taken to thinking of Petite Anglaise as a television program? Am I missing something,clearly visible to certain others,that makes clear that this blog is, in fact, entertainment on par with a “reality show”?
    (“Where have you been / why have you been gone so long?”)

    Petite is a WOMAN. Made of flesh and blood. She is
    brains laughter courage tears daughter mother lover friend.

    She is NOT a target upon whom those who are jealous or embittered have the right to spew their weapons of disrespect. The fact that a comments box is provided evinces her wish for a dialogue of sorts with her readers, with whom she is open minded enough to engage. Only a highly intelligent individual is mature enough to open his/her experiences up to the lens of another in such a way as to connect,mind and spirit.

    I do not think that it is possible for anyone who has gone through as much as Petite has in the past year to emerge unscathed…unchanged. She is undergoing a metamorphosis, discovering herself anew, and if she is generous enough to allow us a glimpse into her journey, she deserves our utmost respect.

    Comment by Belle — May 18, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

  93. “Danger, Will Robinson”, he said, flailing his arms in the air. (Only someone as old as I will understand.)

    Comment by Lost in France — May 18, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

  94. Ciao Petite. (Ciao all.)
    Once again, good to read your writing Petite. Good also to read those rumours of the book on its way. Well done. Make sure you get a good deal for the film rights.
    I read “Sleeping With Ghosts”. Ouch. You okay? Its never cool to see ourselves showing patterns of behaviour we dislike/disapprove in others. Go back to what you have written before, and to the music you have loved in other ages. There you can find your centre again and regain your balance. I would bet you are still you at heart.
    With regards to Mr Spare Bed, it is a shame things could not work out. Good luck in your continuing journey. Your words encourage many people so take come encouragment from that. Cool dudes await somewhere, no doubt lurking nearby I am sure.
    As for recent posts not being so kind, please do not be too discouraged. All playerz have haterz. Consider it a compliment of sorts.
    Take care.

    Comment by Scott Free — May 19, 2006 @ 12:39 am

  95. “For me, petite anglaise is about writing, for pleasure [...] I’m not looking for approval, or validation, or criticism of my actions” – PA.
    “I think the whole lot of you have behaved disgracefuly. Those of you who were not downright insulting, had nothing more to offer in her defence than a buckload of unadulterated codswallop” – Trevor

    Hang on a minute, mate. That annoyed me. I dunno about what anyone else thinks of this blog or why they visit it, but to me, I come here firstly to bathe in the writing, which I very much enjoy, and secondly, yes I admit, to treat it as a sort of anonymous high-brow literary soap-opera. That’s not as cheap as it might sound: I realise PA is a real person of course, but by remaining anonymous, there is that necessary barrier between ‘author’ and ‘reader’ which should allow us to make personal observations in our comments without invading her privacy.
    Wouldn’t the comments section be boring if it was merely filled with things like “this post evoked the neo-classicist style of 19th Century Italian authors” or “great post, but you split an infinitive here, the verb in that sentence had no subject, and don’t you think the accusative case would have been better than the genetive”?
    OK, I think one or two comments maybe overstepped the mark but in general I think most people find it easier to show their appreciation of the posts by commenting on the content rather than on the writing itself. I hope I speak for many when I say that if I didn’t find PA’s writing wonderful, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I’d feel hurt if I thought that wasn’t taken for granted, in fact. But the inevitable fact is, if you choose your own personal life as the raw material for your literary expression then people will be drawn to that, as there is nothing nearly as interesting in the whole world as people and their lives. There are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of blogspot/livejournal/myspace pages out there in which the hosts write their online diaries, some in great detail. What sets this one apart is without doubt the author’s gift for the written word. Remove that gift and this blog becomes just another “OMG, let me tell you about my weekend, LOL” thing. BUT, conversely, remove the content and all you’d be left with is beautiful words about nothing. The two go hand in hand, for me anyway, and achieving the balance between form and content is what makes this blog so good. Most of the comments here are not “codswallop”, they are genuinely well-meaning advice and opinions written from one anonymous human being to another.

    Comment by Tom Tyler — May 19, 2006 @ 1:44 am

  96. Glad you are back, petite. I missed your blog entries. Don’t let any negativity get you down. Last I knew…no one is forced to read your blog.
    Elle

    Comment by Elle — May 19, 2006 @ 2:36 am

  97. Who else wants to post a huffy, melodramatic farewell comment? My family is asleep, I’m sitting in front of my monitor with a bag of popcorn in my lap and an opened Fresa next to my mouse, just waiting. Please, someone have a breakdown in Petite’s comment box so I can get a good snort in.

    Comment by LJ — May 19, 2006 @ 3:13 am

  98. I love your entries – for the simple reasons that you write beautifully and many a times what you wrote struck a chord in me. It’s always a pleasure to read what you share, though sometimes it can get painful as well, when it’s so close to what I’m going through.

    Anyhow, glad to see you back, and that you seem to be making progress in recovering from your loss. All the best!

    Comment by bemusedtots — May 19, 2006 @ 4:07 am

  99. I rarely post, but would just like to add…
    Just as we watch the TV and grow to feel a familiarity with the actors we see every week and feel in some strange way we have a relationship with them (even thought it is imagined). Some of us readers feel as if we know Petite. Her writing is so engrossing I forget that this her life unfolding and not a beautiful novel I am reading. I just mean that when Petit was absent, I wanted to keep reading the story. I was worried and sad, but am happy to see your return.
    You are an inspiration to others trying to find their “voice”.
    I look forward to learning more about your absence only as it seems to hold some interesting story that you are holding close for now.
    Best to you Petite

    Comment by susjjan — May 19, 2006 @ 7:56 am

  100. This comment is for fjl: Women have always been sexually active? Well, no shit Sherlock, as someone once said. I’m old, not senile (And incidentally, you seem very sure of your “facts” in this murky area of mis-reporting.) My point, badly made, is that once, and maybe still, the price of sexual freedom was much higher for women than for men. In my day, not THAT long ago, abortion was a dangerous horror and single mothers were shunned. I am very very glad that things have changed for women, and admire their refusal to be bound by worn out conventions. I am not “shocked” by Petite, but fear for her welfare, and definitely wish her well. I read incredulously in a recent Guardian article (Yes, I’m afraid I am a Lady Graduate Guardian Reader)that as men do not like pubic hair, a bikini wax was now obligatory. I hope this “fact” is a specious as yours, but that doesn’t seem much like freedom to me.

    Comment by Mo — May 19, 2006 @ 8:35 am

  101. I’m sorry Tom Tyler, I had been drinking, again.

    Comment by Trevor — May 19, 2006 @ 9:01 am

  102. [Mo, the thing about waxing - I don't think it comes from men at all but from the media itself, women's magazines that have suddenly decided this is "essential", just like they tell us that "everyone" is now using botox. It's a load of crap designed to get us to spend money and make us feel inadequate and men (or at least men worth bothering about) don't give a damn about these shallow things, just like most of them don't particularly like make up, or fancy the stick like models the magazines bombard us with.]

    Comment by old school friend — May 19, 2006 @ 9:21 am

  103. fjl says that comments boxes are “not a free for all for personal opinions”, which is rather ironic given that she is very free and easy with giving her own. Many of the commenters posit themselves as liberal, right-thinking people, but God help anybody who puts forward a different viewpoint. Without casting any judgement on Petite at all (who can of course do whatever she likes), and since this has escalated into a wider debate, I think there’s a case for arguing that sex could actually be something meaningful, but fjl doubtless thinks this view is a century out of date.

    Comment by old school friend — May 19, 2006 @ 9:51 am

  104. Anyone else spotted a budding comments box flirtation between Fella and Mancunian Lass? Affaire à suivre.

    Comment by Trevor — May 19, 2006 @ 10:20 am

  105. I think sex needs to be meaningful and communicative in a good relationship.
    I’m sceptical about society escalating it into what it isn’t, though, and I’m against society being judgemental towards women for excersising freedom of choice. Sadly, we don’t yet know freedom from century old attitudes, though we ought to.
    I know I’m free on the internet with my opinions. It’s the faithful artist business we were discussing earlier. If your soul’s coming out with something, you’ve gotta say it. x

    Comment by fjl — May 19, 2006 @ 10:44 am

  106. Sorry, I’m having a boring morning, so getting a bit picky and off the point. Old School friend, I hoped the Guardian article was crap, – but don’t they make a rather good job of making women feel inadequate? And isn’t the “sin” now to feel that sex shouldn’t be too casual? As a young woman, I liked to be uninvolved on some occasions too – its anxious availability that worries me – as I’ve said, I have daughters and simply wonder.

    Comment by Mo — May 19, 2006 @ 11:02 am

  107. It seems to me (and I know I will be corrected if I’m wrong) that most of the judgemental comments about Petite’s relationships come from men?

    What, pray, does that mean???

    Petite… the world will always be full of critics but your fans and supporters outnumber them so take heart girl!

    Comment by Julia — May 19, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

  108. It means many of the masses of man see women as sexually-tempting creatures they must dominate, either with their will (which is to me thiny-veiled extremism/bible thumping) or with their bodies. Perhaps its easier for them to objectify women and impose their will on them (moral will, sexual will, or otherwise), than to accept women as free-thinking, intelligent, sensual, awe-inspiring, free beings.

    Comment by Dina — May 19, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

  109. As everybody will now be commenting on the latest post (one of those jolly, light-hearted ones about Tadpole that put a smile on all our faces) I’ll hope Petite will forgive me for briefly deviating here and responding to Mo, since she seems a little worried for her daughters.

    Absolutely, the media does a job (deliberately) of making women feel inadequate. Of course the prime reason is monetary – so they’ll spend a lot of money on cosmetics and even (heaven help us) plastic surgery to “improve” themselves. Recently I bought a copy of a magazine supposedly aimed at a reasonably intelligent 30-something readership and was really riled after reading an article called “12 things we’re ALL worrying about”, or somesuch. Among the trivia was “what is the right time to wax?” (i.e. how long before a holiday or important date), which made me think “er… who worries about THAT?!” – not me or my friends, I’m quite sure. That would be way down our list, after job issues, relationships, family, not to mention big world issues. Yet a lot of people must have read that and thought “oh God, I must be weird if I don’t wax”. Of all the various products and routines the beauty industry tells us are normal, I find this one particularly sinister, because (a) it involves women inflicting extreme pain upon themselves “to please men” (except that as I said before I don’t think that’s the real agenda at all) and (b) because removing all one’s body hair surely makes it look like that of a child, which is a bit dodgy, surely?

    Naomi Wolf wrote very eloquently about similar issues 15 years ago in “The Beauty Myth” but things seem to me to have got way worse since then, with all these lollipop-headed “celebrities” and the rise of plastic surgery. It’s a sort of enslavement to a set of norms that involve subjecting ourselves to a lot of pain and discomfort – what sort of progress is that for women?

    It must be much harder for young girls today to ignore the tyranny of the beauty industry and a culture that tells them it’s cool to behave like a ladette. But I remain optimistic that it IS possible – providing you have a certain degree of self-confidence and a healthy perspective on what actually matters in life.

    Apologies Petite – tangent over! I hope this doesn’t provoke a string of abusive posts from indignant waxers…

    Comment by old school friend — May 19, 2006 @ 2:20 pm

  110. To Old school friend That was a a very thoughtful post and I have no quarrel with it. Like all mothers, I worry for my daughters, not about them, and by extension for other young women struggling to find happiness through relationships in a climate where sex seems not so much a part of life as the focus of it. I know it’s biology as much as psychology – and it makes for an interesting blog!

    Comment by Mo — May 19, 2006 @ 6:07 pm

  111. a deviation…
    I have a 17 year old daughter.
    Recently she invented sex
    When I asked her, scathingly, how the hell she thought she had been conceived if sex didn’t exist 18 years ago she replied ‘In a test-tube’
    Damn! She is right! She WAS conceived in a test tube!

    Comment by Julia — May 20, 2006 @ 2:20 pm

  112. I am a man. On reading this I felt obliged to go and get a bikini wax. On arrival, I was told it was not obligatory. Someone is telling porkies here and I am out of pocket for petrol!

    Comment by Alan — May 20, 2006 @ 9:59 pm

  113. You are an amazing writer. I actually exclaimed, “ooh!” at your closing. I am a writer, and I just say kudos to you for this small piece. I would want to read your book…

    Comment by Tamara — May 21, 2006 @ 6:58 pm

  114. Congratulations Petite! You have made a great progress since you last wrote about your bed stories.
    Keep it up! And tell us when you find that Mr Right.

    Comment by Uranus — May 22, 2006 @ 1:52 am

  115. First of all let me say that I have read nothing in this blog to suggest to me that PA is anything but a caring mother who doubts herself from time to time, as any thinking person doubts him or herself at some point in any endeavor. (It’s the people who don’t doubt themselves and their opinions I worry about.) My objection is to fuzzy logic.

    “Those who never had children have no right whatsoever to be judgemental … .”

    No, in the free world, anyone has the right to be judgemental (a descriptor that is — despite its current connotations — not inherently pejorative). We’re entitled to say what we think, and others are entitled to disagree. It’s different in Iran, but those of us fortunate enough not to be living there are not constrained by the thought police.

    “Unless you have been through the parenting experience, how can you expect to accurately understand it? … you don’t go to someone for advice who may have a great deal of clinical and book learning, but no real world experience with a particular subject.”

    If we follow that logic, a mediator has to have been in an identical combative marital situation in order to give advice on conflict resolution. A therapist has to be a multiple in order to treat MPD. A psychiatrist has to be psychotic serial killer in order to provide insight into those who are. If you’re called to serve on a jury on a rape case, you need to disqualify yourself if you’ve never been raped.

    Anyone can voice an opinion/offer a suggestion to you. The choice is whether you listen to/act upon it or not.

    Comment by Passante — May 22, 2006 @ 2:32 am


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