APHRODITE – Think Before You Make Your Move – February 2017

“Now, predictably, as they moved toward assignation and structure, Stella began to create a sort of arabesque in her mind, a pattern of thought and feeling whose function it was to lead her back to him.”

— From ASYLUM, a novel by Patrick McGrath about a terrifying sexual obsession.

Aphrodite calls the Divine down to earth with her sensual essence. Just because she’s married doesn’t mean she’s not imbued with desire. She has a tremendous yearning for things other than sex – laughter, music, dance, exotic foods, languishing afternoons in the hot tub, anything to amuse her senses.

Now in her 30’s with her children in school, Dani decides to take some classes in psychology at the local college– beginning with child development.

Stuart was one of her professors – an even smile, soft, deep voice, easy way with his body language, and younger than she. His wandering eye settled on Dani once too often, so she decided to ask him for extra help.

He suggested it would be easy to go to his place. She felt like she was having a one-on-one date with The Bachelor – city lights spread in all directions from his comfortable apartment high above the city. Have a drink and talk about child development issues? Really?

Meeting like this began to feel like an assignation – she was stimulated before she left home for class by thinking she had to calculate when her husband would be expecting dinner. Then pivot to organize the kid’s bedtime. And remember to call a friend who agreed to cover for her. Exhausting details, but not for this Aphrodite.

Able to sexualize any occasion, she made a move on him. He was a gentleman, showed appreciation, and let her down gently. She didn’t know he was looking for a wife, but not someone else’s. It whomped Dani. She couldn’t remember this ever happening before – her offer of an entertaining evening rebuffed? Her stomach knotted and she couldn’t catch her breath. It felt awful.

Reflect:

  • Growing up did you have access to the loving gaze of your dad without your mother becoming jealous?
  • Were you free to laugh and flirt with your father, or another man who could enjoy and honor your budding femininity without running over it?
  • Perhaps a sense of ‘otherness’ inherent in male virility was exciting to you, and you laughed as you defined who you were by holding your own against it. Were you excited by this game?

Dani figured out that she needed to scroll back her behavior. She had really miscalculated some cues. She decided to step back and reassess exactly what was missing in her life. Questions she began to consider were:

What do I really want in a relationship? Do I enjoy chasing, or being pursued? What are my values? Do I take myself seriously and demand that others do too? What kind of life do I want beyond my boudoir to be able to express a more authentic me? How else can I spend my ‘passion’ without hurting those I love?

Not every man she pined for was up to the role of lover. And she had a good one at home. She woke up one morning sobbing from a dream in which her palm was open, and resting in it was her husband’s happiness. Was she going to squash that happiness – or not?

Aphrodite – December 2016

Nobody’s Fool

“Aphrodite had the beauty; Zeus had the thunderbolts. Everyone loved Aphrodite, but everyone listened to Zeus.” — Esther M. Friesner

Let me tell you about Simone. She was an Aphrodite, a delicious Aphrodite – vibrant, sensuous, smelling like sunshine, and bestowing her charms on anyone drawn into her magnetic field.

Simone worked in sales at a prominent art gallery in Palm Beach. It was just the right job for someone as delightful as Simone to meet interesting wealthy men. And while Simone had many romances with blue chip boyfriends, none culminated in a trip to the altar. Her 30th birthday loomed like a menacing cloud.

But now Phineas, a handsome New York lawyer with political ambitions, was in the picture and she was sure he would propose. Six months earlier he insisted Simone move out of her apartment and into his condo. He vowed he’d love her forever.

Well, Simone came home one day to dress for an opening in the gallery. She was in the bedroom when Phineas entered the living room with his financial advisor Malcolm. Simone leaned behind the slightly ajar bedroom door thinking she would learn more about his finances. To her horror, Phineas explained to Malcolm that he was planning to run for office and he was about to propose to a woman named Emma in New York. He added, “I want to sell the condo right away.”

Just like that, Simone learned that not only Phineas had betrayed her, but she was also loosing a place to live. Despite the impulse to cause a scene, she kept silent.

At the gallery opening Simone couldn’t hold back her tears. Dorothy, the business director quickly shuffled her to a room away from the crowd and listened to the tale of woe.

Handing Simone a Kleenex, Dorothy said: “You have leverage. Phineas comes from old money and he’s running for office. Decide what you want and make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

That evening, after a bracing Scotch and water, Simone announced in a steady voice: “You used me and now you plan to toss me aside and get on with your career with a woman you hid from me. I emotionally invested in you, losing 10 months of my life when I could have put my energy into a solid, mature, man. You are a cad – with a well-known name. I’m selling my story to the tabloids.”

Stunned, Phineas asked, “What do you want?”

“One hundred fifty thousand dollars. With it, I’ll start my own gallery.”

“I’ll give you a hundred thousand if you sign a non-disclosure agreement.”

“It’s a deal. As long as I can also live rent free in this condo for one year.”

Oh, if only more Aphrodites were as smart as Simone. In one traumatic day she realized she had to take herself seriously, decide what she wanted and make a plan to get it. But many Aphrodite women let themselves get so snowed by love’s awesome promises and their own animal magnetism that they become victims of their own fantasies.

Are you an Aphrodite?

  • How do you regard your body, its sexuality?
  • Do you rely more on your looks than your brains?
  • Do often feel entitled to a free pass due to your beauty/charm?
  • Can you laugh about getting older — or does it frighten you too much?
  • Do you spend lots of money on clothes and makeup instead of, say, a career-building course?

Once you develop your own treasure trove of skills, you will no longer project them on to the man in your life. You are free to claim them for yourself and use them with confidence in managing your world. Then you’ll be an irresistible charmer who is nobody’s fool.