Sunday, May 15, 2005

"Chemical Reaction," part 2—Taking the long view

Those new to this topic can check out part 1 here:

I’ve learned a few things about “chemical reactions.” One is that my reaction to forbidden desire depends on the circumstances. When I was young (that is, still suffering from raging hormones) and single (in dire need of a good hug, and considerably more), I found having to refrain from having any physical contact with my best friend’s boyfriend excrutiating. Others may have different experiences, but, personally, I found being single a living hell. (In the words of singer kd lang, I suffered from a severe case of “constant craving.”) I expect my inevitable next round of singlehood—many it not begin for at least another two decades—to be much different. I don’t think it will be quite as difficult physically—the fires have banked somewhat over the years. But, for the second go-round, it's getting used to being alone and lonely after decades of marriage that will be excrutiating.

As for the “chemical reactions” that I had after I was married, while the frustration level was, obviously, mitigated by the fact that I had someone to whom to go home, I suffered far more from the fear of falling prey to temptation, and from the guilt that went with both the “reaction” itself and the fear of failing to meet my own standards.

The good news is that, for me, even the strongest “chemical reaction” dissipates over time. Of the three gentlemen whom I discussed in part 1, I still see one several times a year. I’m happy to report that I now enjoy his company, but no longer have “that kind” of reaction to him at all.

As to the actors to whom I’ve had “chemical reactions,” I’ve noticed a very strange thing. It seems to me that, when I was younger, I was attracted to actors who were noticeably older that I (Paul Newman was “it” when I was a teenager), and that, now, I’m usually attracted to actors who are noticeably younger than I. For the life of me, I can’t remember there ever having been a time when I was attracted to actors my own age. Surely I must have been, at some point. Did I suppress (repress?) my feelings of attraction to actors my own age, and/or my memories thereof, because they freaked me out? If my latest little “escapade” is any indication, that may very well be the case. As I was saying in my previous post on this subject, having “a fantasy of the 'chemical' kind that came so close to being realistic . . .” scared the bleep out of me.

I’m happy—not to mention relieved—to report that my feelings for the current actor of my dreams seem to be cycling back to what they were before. That is to say, I find that, slowly but surely, I’m going back to watching the TV show in which that actor appears, rather than just watching the actor himself. And that’s exactly as it should be. (See my first post on the subject of this particular actor, “Doubletake—on not judging a book by its cover, at After all, if the guy wanted only to be oggled, he would have become a model. But he chose to be an actor. And for an actor, “the play’s the thing.”

Eventually, maybe I’ll even stop wishing that I were in his leading lady’s shoes. Okay, so I’m jealous. So shoot me. :)


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