The next day, her husband of 16 years, Rande Gerber, wished his Instagram followers a Happy Valentine's Day, posting a photo of his wife reclining poolside in a tiny bikini, looking uncannily taut and smooth.
His caption is, She got flowers and I got her. Happy Valentines Day@cindycrawford.
What are insecure, aging women to make of Gerber's response?
I don't know about the rest of you, but I love it. It moves me, the way only old love can, with its utter defiance of convention, its indifference to hard facts. Sure, we all long to be accepted for exactly who we are. But aren't we more than sagging flesh?
I have never had such a fulfilling sex life...I feel totally secure with him. Often when we make love I see him as he was 30 years ago.Maybe as long as we have imagination and recognize what it is we really, deeply desire, the distinction between fact and fantasy is trivial, even if we're not supermodels or movie stars.
I spent this Valentine's Day alone. My kids and I exchanged kisses, hugs, and chocolate, and then they had sleepovers with friends so the house was all mine. I nibbled Lindt chocolates while watching a movie my kids would have hated and then I read in bed till I fell asleep. Did I mention I was surrounded by cats and that there was a magnificent snowstorm in progress? That I slept with Pablo (my cat)?
Other years this solitary state of affairs would have depressed me—but not because I don't enjoy my own company. I would have despaired (or at least pouted) only because of this damned Third Eye I've got. In Hinduism and other esoteric, mystic traditions, the third eye is associated with extraordinary perception and out-of-body experience. But my third eye seems to have been hijacked by a nasty Republican or a punitive middle-manager, sometimes a controlling Jewish mother, or one of the mean, popular kids from high school, but it is always someone who bitterly disapproves. The Eye sees an 80-year old crazy-cat-lady in pajamas, alone in a big house (while the rest of the world is having sex), gobbling chocolate, a frigid agoraphobic who will never, ever have sex again, never to spoon or cuddle again, never to love or be loved, who will die alone in shame/squalor/anonymity. And with lots of wrinkles.
It's probably the same eye that makes me edit a sentence nine times.
I've tried to poke out this eye, but it won't budge, so at some point, I must have just turned the damned thing around. I redirected it to other Valentine's Days with Rambo, the ex: that unwavering annual ritual of supermarket flowers, tacky lingerie, and mandatory sex followed by hours of criticism and weeks of The Silent Treatment.
I really do love movies, books, chocolate, cats, snowstorms, my house, and the pleasure of my own company.
What if I'm not lonely or lacking, just alone? What if I'm happy, but because my happiness isn't for reasons I think are valid, I'm duty-bound to be miserable? Fantasies of the perfect Valentine's Day, the perfect family, lover, or life can help guide us, but they can also get in the way of our experience of what actually makes us happy.
The day after Valentine's Day I finished reading the critically maligned novel,"Fifty Shades of Grey," (which has sold over 100-million copies, so the joke's on the critics). It shares a lot of the same criticism that was heaped on "Twilight," which is no surprise. In fact, "Fifty Shades" author E L James started her literary career sharing her work on a "Twilight" fanfiction website. The aim here is not Literature, and that isn't the criterion on which these books should be judged. These blockbusters represent the highly individual erotic fantasies of two middle-aged moms—they're not supermodels or Pulitzer-prize winning authors—and they appeal to ordinary women.
As you know, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is porn. (Erotica, if you prefer.) (Or Adult Romance, if you must.) And one of the great things about it is that it's written by a woman. The difference is point of view, emotional attachment, a genuine storyline, and proper reverence for the Almighty Clitoris, for starters. But instead of applauding women's erotica, feminists are outraged at the political incorrectness of the Dominant/Submissive paradigm, citing the novel as an endorsement of abuse. Even the BDSM camp is pissed off, patiently (boringly) explaining that "Fifty Shades" gets it all wrong and is foisting a lot of dangerous misconceptions on an already ignorant public. Yawn. (The funniest is Anthony Lane's review of the movie in The New Yorker.)
But since when is political consensus a prerequisite for fantasy or arousal?
I downed the book pretty much in one go and enjoyed it, and that was probably because I didn't read it like a novel. When something didn't work for me, I just did some quick mental editing and pouf! it was gone. For instance, when Ana, our heroine, repeatedly misuses the term "subconscious" or makes reference to her writhing, panting "inner goddess," that gets shut down. Whenever Christian, our hero, says Ana is "bewitching" or "beguiling," that goes, too. Embarrassing transcripts of their email correspondence which try too hard and fail to be witty and risqué...No. The list of edits goes on and on—how many times does she have to run her fingers through his "copper-burnished hair" or remind us how hot he is?
There was one section, in particular, that rubbed me the wrong way (don't) where Ana's broken some rule and is about to get a really serious spanking. The beautifully built-up scene is interrupted by Ana's somewhat unprecedented fear and Christian's bewildered, touching sensitivity. At that point I had to stare off into space and do a mental rewrite before I could return to the book. Those flaws don't matter, in the end, because E L James and I were collaborating, as lovers do. In pure fantasy, though, there's no need for negotiations or consent.