My Year of Living Dangerously Or, Lessons Learned From Celibacy

14 Jan

Me, Sad Bunny Close Up

Several Dear Readers contacted me to say that admitting to having clinical depression was brave.  THANK YOU! Admitting to depression is  acknowledging: 1) mental illness, 2)  (some people would say) weakness, and 3) the real killer (given my value system):  being a party pooper. I may or may not be brave. Let’s face it: I am an  exhibitionist, albeit sometimes a depressed one.

It might be more impressive to admit that for quite some time (a year is an underestimation), I’ve been unintentionally celibate. I crave intimacy, enjoy the finer physical things in life, but…

Grover and me

I am lonely. Currently I am sleeping with a blanket that my babysitter gave me. Yup. I am the Linus of the Fifty-Something crowd.

My  friend Peggy–babysitter of several decades ago–now Professor of French Literature at Claremont College, lent me a blanket when I arrived here sans le Blanky-ette. Dear Peggy: Merci! ( I’m NOT giving it back.)

Peggy birthday glasses profile

As you can see, Peggy should have been named Parisienne Patrice Par Perfection, but we grew up in Urbana, Illinois, and our true identities were unappreciated for many years.

Peggy on her birthdayI’m hoping that since PPPP knew me back in the day she’ll forgive me, understanding that I need le blanky-ette now and forever: it  smells familiar, is soft to the touch, and when crumpled has a certain je ne sais quoi sex appeal.

Other than learning to appreciate the joys of a gray, fuzz-balled virtual lover, what have I come to understand  from unwanted celibacy? I’ve learned that I miss that loved-in-some-elemental-overwhelming-yet safe-surrender thing. me in seaIn my sexless state, I’ve come to appreciate the erotic in unlikely places.

belt sticking out of sand

Belt in the sand. Uh huh.

I’ve learned that you can get  intimate joy even when there’s nothing heterosexual goin’ on.  Here I am with Mike– who makes me feel important and desirable. We are at a gay strip club:

Mike and me at strip clubI met Mike in the first 5 weeks after I moved here. Working at the Juice Bar for minimum wage, I was just a woman ringing up cucumber/celery/ beet thingies for the rich. But Customer Mike made eye contact and said, “Come see my office!” I knew he was gay and I knew I would fall in love with him. Mike is from the Midwest! A lawyer! Married To A Wonderful Man! Thank God for Mike. And for that gyrating hot body behind us.

A few months ago, I had a promise of relationship happiness with a man who happened to not be gay…someone I knew a long time ago,  He invited me to Las Vegas. SO: Three days there… spent them mostly on my own. Mr. Sinatra with flowers just wasn’t there. So I learned that I LOVE the pool at Caesar’s Palace–when it’s too cold for everyone but me.

Las Vegas # 3 Caesar's pool Sexy, in a solitaire kind of way. At the end of the trip, I needed a cab at 8AM in the morning, I learned that getting a cab at 8 AM in Vegas is like  finding karma in slot machines. I had to beg–in the land of  somnambulists–for an exit; somehow I got back to LA, and was happy, so happy when  Natasha picked me up at LAX.

Nic and Kir at Bouchon on a very noisy night

I don’t want to sleep with her, but…(Yeah, Dear Reader, I’m aware that you DO.)

SO:  there have been dates over the last year. And dates. And dates. I’ve learned that I’m only interested in someone who is really there. Haven’t met him yet. Or, I met him but he hadn’t yet reached puberty.

ciclavie Bradley

Here’s a round-up of my education:

1) Though I miss sex, I am glad I haven’t settled.

2)  Intimacy comes in all forms–and since the body does fail eventually, it’s important to know the spiritual. I went to church  with a  friend, her husband and two little kids. (The actor who played the bartender/shape-shifter in “True Blood” was there! Looking sad!) We prayed a bit, talked a lot, and when those two children hugged me I felt known. And, DEAR READER: Four-year old Kendrick with the almond-eyed wink asked me questions and tickled my neck…Forget I said that.

3) It’s not the sex, exactly.  It’s the togetherness.

little kids at beach Well, that’s the end of my saying anything that could be considered “what I learned.” I was, after all,  never someone who thought sex was all that important. . .

sin city bedroomBut. Having it once a year in a really nice bed would be fine!  In the meantime, the banana palm in my front yard

palm fruit outside my apartmentspeaks to me. Oh, I know it’s  a tree; a man would be better. But I love the one I’m with…IMG_1795which is myself, I guess. I got here on my own mojo after all.

As you may know, Dear Reader, Mulholland Drive is my go-to for solace: snaky road, expansive sky. A few days ago, while driving on the snaky strip, I pulled the Prius over to one of Mulholland’s Look Outs. To LOOK OUT.

Mulholland look out sign

For some reason, I LOOKED DOWN.

condom package at Mulholland

God Bless You Two, whoever you are: Safe Sex looking out over Los Angeles.

City of angels, sin city, city of  mid-life crisis and joy, a kind of lover. City of my surrender.


12 Responses to “My Year of Living Dangerously Or, Lessons Learned From Celibacy”

  1. Sherry January 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    I started laughing when the banana palm image came into play and laughed to the end. Sometimes it is laugh or cry and you captured it all.


    • kwasson2012 January 14, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      That beautiful banana palm is right out my window. People stop and take photos of it all the time–it’s a particularly good specimen. And it’s mine.Thank you for reading and laughing and crying with me.


  2. elainemansfield January 14, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

    Serious and funny. Love is the best antidepressant. I know what it’s like to long for touch. So now instead of an Italian guy, I have a female dog with a bum knee and a shaved leg. I smile wistfully when I spot a used condom package. I hope it was good and full of love. There’s a wise crone smile and a nod of pleasure. A philosophic, I had that once. But it doesn’t stop wanting it now. May you find love. May my dog’s knee heal from surgery. And who knows what might happen after that.


    • kwasson2012 January 15, 2015 at 3:34 am #

      The wistful smile for the condom package, yes! Who knows what may happen, Elaine. Thank you for reading and commenting!


  3. maw14747 January 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    Even when depressed, you are totally lovable and charming. Thank you for sharing. No. Really. I don’t JUST say this because I finally got my 2 minutes of fame in your blog with this post. (SO glad the blankey-ette is doing its job. And yes, the comfort of smell is part of the charm.) I say it because you capture so vividly the pain of loneliness, the need for physical comfort, the pleasure of the senses—whatever state relative to celibacy we are in.
    At least you have a picture with Elmo, are within arms’ reach of a banana palm and live in the city of angels. The latter has more pleasures in store for you. I know this to be a fact.
    So much love, P


    • kwasson2012 January 15, 2015 at 3:36 am #

      I do believe that new pleasures lie ahead. If not, there’s the Olympic spa with my babysitter. Thank you for reading and commenting so generously!


  4. Nic January 15, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

    Hilarious. Love how always make Lemonade –and make me laugh!!


  5. Joanna Folino January 19, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    I have to truly admire your fearless honesty, Kirsten. I don’t know you too well but one can see it in you and your introspective charm. I could not stand Los Angeles after 2 years of it, sad to say. The narcissism in others and myself, the demanding nature of the city and its inhabitants. I longed for the solace of redwood trees and close friends and community in Northern California more than I longed for the stage. Fifteen years ago this was not the case but last year it got to be too much for me. The way you navigate that highway of good and bad, positive and negative in your “city of surrender” takes no small amount of courage. My own family suffers from serious depression, clinical really, and I have had my share of it when feeling purposeless. I need a cause to fight for to pull me out of myself. Causes make me feel valued and kick up my adrenalin. Probably an illusion really. But you…you are such a gifted writer, a rare breed in LA or anywhere. Nothing superficial or false about you. Keep writing. I look forward to whatever you birth into the world. A smart man will see you eventually and adore you. Adore. Is there not something very love-ly about that word?


    • kwasson2012 January 19, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

      Thank you so much for the generous reading! I am flattered and moved by what you feel about my blog. I was just considering becoming false and artificial because that seems to work well, here but you caught me just in time! Bless you! Adore is a lovely wonderful word!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. robinbot January 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Thank you for “coming out” about celibacy. Unintentioned or not, this was gutsy. This was sad and sweet and reflective and hopeful. OMG you could start a club. The “belt in the sand” and all the things you find when you’re sure everyone else is out dancing – this gets too terribly close to home. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kwasson2012 January 23, 2015 at 12:39 am #

    Celibacy coming out! Love it! Glad you like this. There’s actually a lot to be said for this state…I think. Thank you for reading and commenting!


  8. bob o March 21, 2015 at 4:48 am #

    Beautiful article. I usually don’t ever comment but here i sit typing into my macbook while listening to the Moody Blues “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”… and that’s the truth.
    No one knows celibacy like I do. I’m not a weirdo or crazy; just a guy who has avoided most close relationships for the handful of decades that have made up my rather busy life.

    Yup; ever since I said NO to the lovely Bohemian looking girl who asked me to the Sadie Hawkins Dance in high school. I guess I was shy and scared and didn’t dare go. I also sensed way back then that it was a dangerous path emotionally to dare to care and then loose someone later.
    During college, I was asked to go out a few times by classmates and lab partners – but usually didn’t. Instead I studied and focused on goals.

    I almost fell for a female hairdresser, my boss’s daughter and my dental hygienist who called a couple of times; but didn’t and remained alone. Keeping busy helped to keep my mind off relationships. No ties that bind.

    So, why am I a little sad tonight? I thought I had risen above feelings and could follow my path alone without any more problems with emotions
    … then recently at a four day work session, I met someone who made my heart melt. There she was; a very grown up version of the hippy girl who asked me the the dance decades before. The memories came flooding in as though she was back and taking revenge on me for turning her down years before. Only this time she was a married woman and when the four days were over; all of us thirteen participants said goodbye knowing we’d almost certainly never see each other again.

    Maybe its all for the best. As the years have passed, I guess I’ve become somewhat of a perfectionist and everything is working in my life almost like clockwork. Everything in it’s proper place. Why would I want to drop a wrench into the works now and mess things up? Time will pass and as soon as I forget the hauntingly lovely lady and the easy conversations we had during those four work days; I’ll have my old life back … no surprises, no relationship risks and no emotions leading to a guaranteed heartache.

    The only thing I can’t understand is … why am I still listening to the Moody Blues? … and why do I still have a soft spot in my heart for grown up hipsters.

    Oh well, back to work.


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