Grazie, Prego

I have a language exchange partner.

He’s Italian.

He’s asked me to marry him.

Neither of us is looking to date (or anything of the sort with) the other – we genuinely just want friendship through language sharing, as we each improve our own abilities in the other’s native tongue.

In a way, we hardly know one another.

Yet, we chat (via messages that are mostly text and sometimes voice) and send one another photos and videos and updates basically every day… yeah, every day, I think…, so it feels like we are closer than we are.

We are honest and open with one another… in a way, it is an extremely low-risk situation for us both, you could say… I wouldn’t say yet that we are friends, but I no longer describe him as ‘my conversation exchange partner’, but as ‘my buddy’…, because he really is a buddy to me, and I hope I am to him.

We know about highs and lows in love and heartbreak for one another; we talk about finances and healthcare systems and death – so much death right now in his part of the world, but we never seem to dwell longer than is respectful; we get nerdy about grammar and explanations of turns of phrase; we share about work (we have very different jobs yet similar setups); I sent him my song before I shared it with almost anyone else (Since he isn’t great with English, he said, he could be a good testing ground for sharing it…, which he said after encouraging me through my nerves of wanting to make the instrument side of things go well, but being worried at my skill level…)…, and he knew what and whom it was about, without a doubt (It was not about him, of course, but someone in my life here.).

(“Comunque si. Sei cotta!😂,” he said after reading the lyrics. Anyway, yes. You are cooked. (A phrase which here means, “Out of your wits in a crush on this guy”) 😛

And, what’s extra fun is that our time difference and lifestyles actually line up perfectly that when I’m getting up and going to bed happen to be perfect times for him to be messing around, messaging me… so we have two good chunks of time every day to be in communication with one another.

And it really is fun… honest and fun.

I think meeting this buddy of mine has been one of the most valuable parts of this year so far.

And I am extremely grateful.

Post-a-day 2020

Shower time(!!!)

Showers.

There are two things that have been on my mind regarding showers tonight.

Naturally, as is the case with all amazing ideas that arise in the shower, I’ve forgotten one or the other at least five times since they first came to me while I was showering half an hour ago…

Fortunately, though, I got them both back safely into my consciousness, and wrote them down before I could forget again.

The first: Shower buddies.

Whenever the idea of showering with someone is portrayed in film or television, in books, or even in conversation, it is almost exclusively approached as an erotic experience.

The same is true with physically exploring another’s body – it is never never anything but an arousing, erotic experience for both (or all) parties involved.

But why must they be so?

There is a photo – simultaneously dreadful and adorable – of me as a baby, climbing carefully into the shower to join my dad, my bum covered in you-know-what (Obviously, my mom had a sense of humor about it.)… we got to be shower buddies, sharing the space and showering simultaneously, my dad and I.

When I was older, but still a child, I had minimal space in the house that was ever granted to me entirely – that is to say, nowhere was guaranteed to be my own space for long.

This, of course, included the toilet and the shower. (Yes, I have this one terrible memory of sitting on the toilet while my sister showered, and my brother walked in and told me to scoot forward, because he needed to pee… I am proud of 7-year-old me for refusing…. but I digress…)

Whenever my sisters needed to shower, they got to shower.

If I was already preparing to shower, it was no matter, they just hopped on in with me and adjusted the water to their preferred temperature (quite hotter than I liked it, actually).

At first, they had me shower with them in order to make sure I was showering and to show me how to shower properly (I didn’t exactly love showering or bathing as a younger child).

Eventually, though, I turned into more of a coincidental affair that no one really minded, and that I actually found fun.

In one sense, I enjoyed learning how my older sisters showered and how their bodies were – though, to be fair, they already walked around in towels or half-naked or naked for an hour or so after every shower anyway – and, in another, I enjoyed the fun of sharing an event with someone and in such an intimate, one-on-one way.

It might sound a bit absurd, but it really was a fun event for me as a child.

At my mom’s house, it was only ever an exchange of space – she would finish and step out of the shower, and I would step directly into it, without turning anything off.

But, at my dad’s house, it was all too common that I would end up showering alongside at least one of my sisters… and I loved it.

Fast-forward to grown-up days.

I really would love to be able to have a shower buddy again.

Bathing at all the onsen in Japan, I learned to appreciate the human body even more than I had before, and especially to appreciate nudity not as something wrong or weird, but as something that is natural and that merely has a certain time and place in society.

I also learned to be comfortable with my own naked body… and to be comfortable with my own naked body around other people… and to be comfortable with my own body around my friends and their own naked bodies…

I guess, now that I’m really thinking about it, I actually did have showering/bathing buddies in Japan… it was silly at first, but it became rather fun for me.

‘Hey, what do you want to go do this weekend when we get together?’ a friend asks… ‘Onsen!’ was my delighted reply.

And it wasn’t so that we could go be naked together – that was always a way-after thought – but because I love having out in all the lovely baths in onsen… it’s one of my favorite pieces of Japanese culture, onsen.

I just became very comfortable with the whole showering and being naked with others – including friends – situation.

(Fun fact: I met my ukulele teacher in a bath at an onsen while on a snowboarding trip in Japan… we started lessons together a few months afterward.)

And so, I want to bring that back into my life, I guess.

Why would I love to have someone in my life?

Right now, because I want a shower buddy… 😛 (I am totally cracking up right now, but I really do mean it!)

It definitely teaches cooperation (and agility), it inspires a sense of childlike silliness, and it is just a little bit crazy…, all of which I think are wonderful things to have in our lives. 🙂

Also, in terms of exploring bodies physically, can we not learn to touch another’s body – say someone’s ripped abs or arms or legs, or beautifully shaped back, or even someone’s buttocks (Can you tell this one has happened to me??? Several times, actually…) – either clothed or not, with fascination and appreciation, and not have to make it an erotic affair?

Think of how a blind person might explore another’s face… it is not for erotic reasons but for getting to know the person.

Sure, a sighted person can see the other’s body, but how much do we really see?

I would love to explore my partner’s body, every bit of it, in a non-erotic sense… just as we get to know and to spend time with someone’s personality, I think it is important that we get to know someone’s bossy and spend time with it in its natural state (i.e. not aroused).

That isn’t to say that arousal need be denied always and forever – just that it has its own time and place, and isn’t always what’s called for (or best) at certain times.

So often, I hear people talk about wanting the lights to be dimmed or out when they are going to be naked in any way, even and especially around their partners, because they are ashamed or embarrassed about some or many parts of their bodies…

Would it not be better for everyone, if partners took the time to visit and explore and get to know one another’s bodies fully, in the light of day, so that they can be that much closer, more intimate and loving and accepting and appreciative of one another, more wholly so, after dark (and at all times)?

My opinion, of course, but I think it would be totally fabulous for both the individual relationships and for society at large.

……….

Okay, moving onward…

Second thing: Clothes.

One of my favorite things to do when showering is to enter the shower with clothes still on me.

It’s not something I do all the time – not by any means… it’s just something that I love, whenever I have the opportunity to do it.

When I was little/younger, I always had to do it because I had somehow gotten myself and my clothes absurdly dirty, such that the clothes could Not be put in the hamper in their present state – they needed to be rinsed off first.

Occasionally, it would be and still sometimes is because I have gotten myself caught in the cold, cold rain, and just want to get myself warm as quickly as possible… peeling the wet, gluey clothes off myself before entering the shower not only would have taken forever, but it would have frozen me even more, leaving my skin so exposed(!).

Most commonly, it was because I was in my swimsuit, and I needed to wash out the chlorine immediately, so as not to ruin they suit…, so I just got int he shower with the suit on, and then peeled it off and washed it quickly before washing myself.

These days, though, it is mostly just because I need to hand wash something that I am wearing (not necessarily a swimsuit)… a bra or underwear, sometimes socks or shorts, very occasionally a shirt or leggings or pants… and it’s sometimes because the items must be hand-washed, but most often because it is loads easier to do a quick hand wash in the shower than to do a whole load of laundry (that I may or may not have) just for the one item… also, if I need the one item soon or often, and I had only worn it just enough to be not fresh anymore, it really doesn’t need to go through such intense washing as the machine would do… a quick rinse and scrub is sufficient.

In fact, in winter, I have two of this particular shirt that I wear constantly, and so I always hand wash them in the shower.

Year-round, I wash almost all my sports bras in the shower… it started because I was required to hand wash my running bras, but continued because I have more work-out shirts than I do bras, and, as I have admitted before, I am not great with getting laundry done… I practically avoid it until I’ve been out of options for at least a few days*.

(I am getting loads better at it, actually, though I still have my moments of avoidance from time to time…)**

Anyway, I sometimes will hand wash something in the shower just because I want to experience the amazing feeling that is entering a warm shower, dressed.

If you haven’t ever tried it, naturally, I highly recommend it. 😉

Well, those are the two shower things that have been on my mind tonight…(!)

Happy bedtime, folks! 🙂

*In high school, we began “Swimsuit Day”, my best friend and I, because she loved wearing her swimsuit top better than a bra, and because I inevitably ran out of clean underwear, and didn’t necessarily notice until post-shower in the morning before school…, so I would grab a bikini bottom instead… and it became a thing that we did together for a day or two every time I needed to do laundry (obviously, I improved my awareness a bit, and so was able to give at least a day’s warning before “Swimsuit Day” was to take place… also, nobody ever really knew why we did it or how we determined when it would be, but plenty of people knew that it was “Swimsuit Day”, whenever it was… and some girlfriends actually started joining in, wearing swimsuits under their uniforms along with the two of us on “Swimsuit Day”…

**Did you lol at that unintended pun???… because I certainly did. 😛

Post-a-day 2020