Metaphorically speaking, each of us wears many hats. You may be the lovely wife, yet also the payer-of-bills and balancer-of-checkbooks. You are…MOM…but you’re also “Sis” as well as the rebel-daughter of the family. Same concept with men: Shoveler-of-Snow, setter-of-mouse traps, bread-winner, occasional stud, investigators of things that go bump in the night and on it goes. Obviously your hats are going to be somewhat different. So far…so good?
When you’re dating, most of these hats remain in the closet, or possibly they haven’t even been invented yet. On super-date # 3 when you’re both looking to the possibility of getting laid, who the hell cares who’s going to handle bill-paying in the distant future? At that moment, you are both wearing matching hats: It’s the “I am charming, funny, sexy, scintillating hat.” That’s how it’s supposed to be.
But then…something begins to happen. This is a good thing. It’s necessary, but it’s also a little dangerous. Sometimes…sometimes, you will need to talk to the person wearing the stud or studess hat, but for complicated reasons, they have some other hat on…and you just can’t pry it off.
Or…as is the case with a lot of women, you have soooo many damn hats pushed down on top of your head, you think your neck is going to snap. You are the nurse/soccer mom/ dutiful-daughter/ grocery-shopper/ best friend to old college roommate/gourmet chef/ guidance counselor, and then, I’m supposed to turn that all off and become sex pot in 4.3 seconds? Are you insane???
Like Jacob Marley, tis a ponderous chain of…hats we have forged, plus we are expected at a moment’s notice to toss all of ’em off…except the desired one at the moment. That, my friends, is a difficult balancing act and is probably a highly accurate way to describe the reality of life: Whole bunches of hats to wear: the faster you can switch em…the better.
In the Sack: Now, here is a category that is really strange and complex. Judging by the divorce rate (the result of crashing and burning from trying to wear too many hats?) we, as a country, aren’t doing all that hot. The marriage rate is WAY down as well. Who needs all the stress? Who needs men? Women? Things aren’t all that groovy.
Itches and Scratches: I believe, again metaphorically speaking, that when it’s time to go nite-nite and turn off the lights…and become a strange, sexy, amorous, gorgeous sex object, after X number of years it’s a pretty difficult hat to put on, mostly because of that one unforgivable sin: You’ve gotten to know each other. You know where it itches and you know where to scratch. That should be a good thing. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it isn’t.
Amnesia: I have this developing theory that if some couples could just get bonked on the head, get a shot…take a puff? and thus lose their short-term memories, they just might have a blast with each other! Way down deep (hopefully) the guy or gal you married is pretty much your type, the one you chose over all the rest. The only crime is, you’ve become accustomed to them. Is that a sin punishable by death? I don’t think so. But there are invisible, psychological pitfalls just waiting to gobble you up.
When the Solution is the Problem: In every single sport, the more accustomed you become, the more adept, the more efficient, the better you are. That’s not necessarily so in bed. Oh, you still have to have every one of those traits, but there is one more parameter you need. Strangeness and that is a hard one to achieve, because the better you get…the less strange you become. So, are you saying that I have to become someone else? Well………maybe. At least sometimes. If you’ve gotten the whole thing down to a science, a sequence, it’s time to get bold and daring…knowing full-well that it could tank in the short term.
Edwardo and Eleanore: Let’s say, you have your ritual set up. Every Friday night and Sunday morning, it’s…time. You put on your special sexy underpants, a dab of perfume…or olive oil, put on Johnny Mathis and…away you go. This time, deep-six the whole ritual. While your mate is reading or sewing or taking out the trash, GO FOR IT. You are no longer (fill-in your name here), you are now…Edwardo, a wealthy but immoral Spanish bull-fighter. You don’t care about love. You don’t care about anything…except getting some…right now. Or… you are Eleanore, the quiet, bookish college girl…until someone touches your (fill-in some body part here) at which point you become Scarlet Harlot. I’m just using examples here, you have to come up with the specifics yourself.
The point is, you might just try a whole new subset of hats, once you turn off the lights. You are Edwardo, but sometimes Sven, sometimes Brad the UPS guy. You are Camille, but sometimes, Lady Primrose… or Candi, with an I, and that’s just for starters. Between the two of you, you can come up with all kinds of combos. What—Do—You—Have—To—Lose?
Changing Gears…uhm…Hats: Here is where it can get really complicated. You are Mom with a capital M. But you are also Wife, with a capital W…and sometimes those two hats clash with each other. Think of Scylla and Charybdis (rock and a hard place) and you’re gonna get smashed one way or the other. There is no hard-fast solution to this one, though its a very, very rare occasion that the two hats are balanced exactly. In general, I tend to side, with the Wife/Husband hat, for one reason. Your spouse will be with you for the entire arc of your life. Your kids, to be healthy and well-adjusted, absolutely must break-away at some point and become their own person…become Dads and Moms themselves. But…there has to be fairness as well. If Mom…or Dad is way out in left field, fairness must also prevail.
Temporary or Specialty Hats: When my mom and dad were still alive, I’d fly up from pilot training, or back from Korea or Japan, where I had 185 guys I was responsible for. As I pulled in the driveway, however, a terrible shrinking ray blasted me and I became Little Henry once more. Had that feeling? It happens mostly with immediate family. They just, flat-out want you to stay twelve-years-old and dumber than algae. Is there anything you can do about it? Probably not. The sad part is, you become a cardboard character and the relationship suffers.
Devil’s Advocate: I have a really weird specialty hat that just magically appears on my head without my even thinking about it. It’s my Devil’s Advocate Hat. When I’m with my religious friends, they’re pretty certain I’m going to hell…which is a distinct possibility, by the way. When I’m with my dark and cryptic atheist friends, I just enjoy the hell out of pulling their chain. And why would anyone want to be an atheist? Expending energy…NOT believing in something? That doesn’t make any sense either. Maybe it’s the years of philosophy, but bantering is (for me) a whole lot more fun, and more educational, than everyone just preaching to the choir.
Do You Wear Any Weird Specialty Hats????
Trading Hats: This is a short and inherently sad scenario. For most of us, there comes a time when parent gradually morphs into child. Mom, who was always the rock, the one with all the answers, has a hard time remembering which daughter you are. Dad, who used to carry you around on his shoulders, uses a cane…or a walker. At this point, it’s up to you to become as good a parent as you were a child.
Giving up Hats: In the military…long ago…I was a jet pilot, also a launch-enable officer of Titan II missiles, occasionally a spy with OSI in the Pacific Theater, A Tempest Officer (electronic bugging). Every one of those hats has gathered dust or gotten moldy over the years. They no longer fit…and must be given up graciously. I also used to be a reasonably good skier. Candidly, it’s no longer worth the possibility of busting a knee or breaking a leg at this point in my life. I sadly and regretfully put that hat away.
Every single one of us must quietly…and continually go through our hat drawer to see which ones still fit, and which ones need to be put out for the trash.
A Big New Scary Hat: The retirement hat. In order to put it on, you have to take something else off. Policeman? CEO? Doctor? Shoe Salesman? At some point, you have to take it off and put it in the closet. And that’s rough. You may need, not one but a box full of hats to replace that one. If done correctly, you can have a blast. But putting on the old one every week and gazing in the mirror, remembering, isn’t the route to go. Which leads us to:
New Hats: These are fun at any age. The best advice I can give you is: Do not ever get to the point where you won’t even try one on and peer in the mirror….metaphorically speaking. Square Dancing? Are you insane??? I used to go to Studio 54! Well…when’s the last time you were there? C’mon, give it a shot. You threw away some hats…time to slip on some new ones.
My hat collection is vast to the point where I hardly know what my Carly hat is any more. You know, the one that makes you…you. Trying to please everyone is so emotionally time and energy consuming. As I mature, the more I appreciate the “wildcards”…older women such as Ruth Gordon or Lauren Bacall who wore their distinct hats firmly on their heads and didn’t care.
I like your new image, Henry! Vast improvement. The trouble with the hats is, some of them really don’t get along with each other. Tough choices sometimes.