Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sex has a lot to do with it

This pirate, as opposed to the more famous one, is looking at 60. It's not here yet but it's close enough that I've started to make adjustments.

Anyway, I've been looking back at my life and the lives of people I've known along the way and one of the things I see is that there are a number of brutal truths about life that cannot be avoided. One of these is that sex matters if you want to be happy. Sex tends to determine who gets love and commitment and, more importantly, it determines which couples survive. If you aren't enthusiastic about sex to begin with, you will probably never find love. And if you lose your enthusiasm for sex with your partner, you will almost certainly lose that partner.

Trigger warning: it's a lot easier if you are what is now called cisgender heterosexual. Yes, I know there are people who aren't who are happy but there aren't many. And, yes, I know there is good reason to believe that some people simply have no choice in the matter. Maybe it would be a better world if life were fair but life isn't fair and there is nothing you or I or anyone else can do about it.

There is an old joke in the real estate business that if you build your dream house, you will create a nightmare for the executor of your estate. The point being that the house that matches your dreams perfectly will not suit anyone else. The same is true of the supposedly liberating notion of gender. The more perfectly your gender suits you, the fewer potential partners you have. There are only two sexes but both offer far more possibilities. Trading sex for gender is like trading a complete set of utensils in for a spoon that suits you perfectly.

I live near a university and when I get on the train to head downtown I look at all the young people around me and ask myself whether they look comfortable being women or men. The honest answer is that most don't. Most try to hide behind frumpiness. About one fifth are like Sartre's waiter, busy playing at being women or men.

This doesn't sadden me at all. I was no different at their age. If I had to bet, I'd bet those busy playing at being women and men will be happy in the long run. Some will be miserable but most will succeed. The frumps, both female and male, will live lives of quiet desperation. If there is one lesson my life has taught me it's that not embracing your sexuality is like getting divorced—you might end happy anyway but the majority of people do not.

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