Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Power of Authenticity

If you are good at what you do professionally, especially if you work in customer service, people open up to you.  Probably it is actually part of your job to let them do that even if it is also part of your job to hurry them along so you can go help someone else (a challenging task no matter who you are).

As far as I can tell, the search for connection and authenticity is always on the list for everybody (barring the occasional oddball).  Sometimes we get the chance to feel this with someone.  Sometimes it is mutual.  Sometimes we get to be the person who holds the space for someone else to experience it.  And when we hold that space professionally, it is easy for people to get confused.

Alfred has been bending my ear about sex, kink, polyamory, violet wands, unique vibrators and a variety of travel tales on and off for the past two hours. That is when he gets down to it; he has all of these interests and his wife, whom he loves, does not like any of them.  For those of you just tuning in, kinky man/vanilla* wife is a story I hear so often I could write an anthology that no one would read because all the stories would be the same.  It is a very difficult situation and one for which I have a ton of sympathy.  Despite my current phlegm-tastic state (I have a bad cold) I think he can sense the sympathy.  When he allows me space to talk, I try to get to the crux of his question -the answer to which turns out to be "sit down and flip through the book and see if you want it"- but it takes us close to an hour, through considerations of counseling and coercion, to get there. When he has made his purchase choices he hands me a slip of paper, politely saying that if I have an interest this is his fetlife profile.

Earlier this morning someone talked at me for a few hours, interrupting answers for which he asked, to later say in an email exchange that he liked me.  When I was a stripper, I was pushed into a date with someone who "fell in love with me" only having seen me dance.  Add your story here because I could go on and I bet you have your own example of this.

Maybe we can blame it on privilege, but I would rather say that connecting on an authentic level is so powerful that it is easy to forget that what we experience ourselves may not be true for the person opposite us.

Alfred was really nice.  It sounded like he knew a lot of things and was pretty smart too.  Getting caught up a little in "OmG! Someone likes me!" I considered for a few moments keeping the little slip of paper.  And then there was this thought "What can a man, who is in a difficult marriage and doesn't give me more than 1/16th the air time he takes for himself, to whom I am not attracted, possibly add to my life that I want?"

I came up with nothing.

*vanilla is a term that many people use to indicate sex that is not kinky.  Some people dislike the term because some others use it in a derogatory manner.  Please note: I think vanilla is one of the finest flavors.

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