Booknosh.com is pleased to be part of Corbin Lewars’ CLP blog tour and sharing the following excerpt from her book, Losing Him, Gaining You: Divorce as Opportunity.
From Chapter 11: Your Body
Everyone has Aged, not Just You
I considered my body while getting divorced about as much as I thought about the mating habits of tarantulas. I was so wrapped up in my emotions I didn’t care about my body. This isn’t to say I ate nothing but pizza for months straight. I still walked every day and ate well-balanced meals, along with my lover, the pound cake. I didn’t abuse my body, I just didn’t think about it. About five seconds after Jeremy moved out, people asked me when I was going to start dating again. My response was usually, “Never,” but their questions started seeping into my self-conscious. “Dating?” I thought. “I vaguely remember that term. I think it involved the opposite sex.”
For a month or two, the term “opposite sex” frightened me so much I couldn’t process anymore. “Don’t worry, pound cake! I’m still here for you!” I’d call out. And back to my lover’s arms I went.
Time passed and I dared to go a little bit further with this dating notion. “Yes, dating would involve talking to men,” I told myself. “Steady now girl, you can do this. Maybe some day you could have coffee with a man, that wouldn’t be too bad, would it?”
Just as I was running to the store to find another pound cake, a friend invited me out for margaritas and tacos. She had very recently separated from her husband, but was already dating. This alone shocked and horrified me. She terrorized me further by joyfully announcing she went skinny dipping with a man on the second date.
I spit taco all over her as I screamed, “Oh my God, are you insane?” I’m no prude. I worked at a “clothing optional” facility in my youth and still enjoyed being naked. When I was by myself! But with a man I didn’t know in broad daylight? Hell no! Suddenly, being nervous about having coffee with a man seemed laughable. Now, dating a man = getting naked.
No man except my ex-husband had seen my naked body in nearly fifteen years. We all know husbands stop being considered “men” after about five years. Walking around naked in front of Jeremy felt like walking around by myself: neither of us noticed my nudity anymore. It wasn’t that he didn’t find me attractive; he was very good about telling me I looked nice. But that was always when we were dressed up to go out. Naked wasn’t sexy for us, it was real life. I was naked while giving birth to both of our children. I was naked while vomiting with the flu. I was naked while getting out of the bath. I was not naked, doing a strip tease, while offering endless blow jobs. I was naked and sitting on the toilet. And unless that’s your fetish, toilet naked is not sexy.
“You let him see you naked in broad daylight?” I asked my brazen friend.
“Sure,” she said.
“Weren’t you scared?”
“No,” she laughed.
She ordered another glass of wine; I changed my order from a water to another margarita, and braced myself for the horrendous details. She and her date left work early on a sunny day, which Seattleites view as holidays, and met at a secluded spot on Lake Washington. They chatted for a few minutes, stripped off their clothes, and dove in the water. I gasped and shouted, “No way!” so many times, all of the other patrons around us were not only privy to our conversation, they were hanging on her every word.
“You are a rock star!” I said as I high-fived her. “I can’t believe you stripped in front of a man you hardly know. And that you felt good about it!”
“It’s not as if any of us have great bodies anymore. I’ve got stretch marks and a saggy tummy from babies. He has an extra fifteen pounds or so in his gut and man boobs. But we’re still attracted to one another. In fact, the sex was hot!”
The entire restaurant went silent as they listened for the details, which they heard. But I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait. This chapter is just about your body. We’ll get to sex in the next chapter.
Corbin Lewars is the author of Creating a Life: The memoir of a writer and mom in the making, which was nominated for the 2011 PNBA and Washington State book awards. Her essays have been featured in over twenty- five publications as well as in several writing and parenting anthologies. For the past fifteen years she has worked with other writers as a developmental editor, coach and writing instructor. She lives in Seattle, WA with her two children and very large cat.
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