Natural Fibers

You are the air I breathe.

Romance is often figurative. It’s not the hearty literal verb of living or loving, even. It’s soft and tender.

I like words and images, so romance really works on me. I’m a song, story, poem, sweeping anything kind of person. I’m weak knees at a soft whisper. I don’t think that makes me silly, naive, or less important. It in no way diminishes my intelligence or my self respect.

It’s a part of the way I’m made, how I respond.

Romance gets a bad rap as being ridiculous, unrealistic, but I think it’s helpful to broaden the definition and to think of romance as a point in time, a feeling in that moment.

When I was in college I took a Women’s Studies class. We listened to love songs and broke them down in discussion. The point was to find where the lyric was degrading or disempowering to women. While I am a feminist, I didn’t like the class.

Carol King’s “Natural Woman” was one of the songs. I remember highlighting, “Your love was the key to my piece of mind” and “If I make you happy, I don’t need to do more.”

Sure, if you take the lyric away from Carol’s smokey voice, her piano, and put it like that, in quotes, on a stark white piece of computer paper, I guess it can sound needy, dependent. You could say “Natural Woman” is pathetic.

You could, but you would be wrong.

Every time I listen to her song, I picture a woman, sometimes it’s me, waking up—rumpled sheets, a glow of morning dawn. I see her flushed and feeling, in that moment, as if nothing else matters.

A Sunday morning, tea and toast, maybe the newspaper or a movie with her person, her lover. She feels, and that’s the key. She’s not making a list, setting goals or running for office. She’s no make up, behind closed doors, she’s intimate.

The song is romantic, it came out of a moment like that.

Now, at some point sexy Sunday woman will have to get dressed, go to work, pay bills, go buy toilet paper again, pick up kids, she may even need to arrest someone or go off to war. But who the hell wants to listen to a song about getting money from the ATM, or a conference call? No one.

That’s why there’s romance.

Life is nothing if it’s not felt. She may be all kinds of independent, toe-to-toe with the good old boys, but in that moment, with him, she’s . . . saturated, well loved and loving freely.

I think that’s perfect and allowed.

Women are allowed to feel. We are allowed to want, need, and be vulnerable. That’s not wrong, doesn’t mean we’re not badasses. The women that fought for the rights, privileges, I enjoy today didn’t want me to stop feeling.

In fact, they are the reason I get to be female, in all the glory that entails. Some of us have a romantic heart, they would understand that.

Men sing songs about “dying without you” or “I’m helpless in your arms,” “under your spell.”

“You are in my veins” is a personal favorite.

No one ever calls them pathetic, it’s romantic. A gesture, a moment when an attraction, a love, is so powerful that it feels like the person is actually coursing through his bloodstream. Oh yeah, that’s something.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Come Back to Bed.



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3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Oh, this one is great. I have always wondered at people so one-dimensional that they have a hard time picturing a strong woman as passionate in other ways. I recently saw “Beautiful”, the musical about King. It’s worth the ticket:).

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