When my dad wanted to break the tedium of life, he’d get in his truck and drive off to the nearest sporting goods store. Two or three hours later he’d be back home with a new fishing rod or reel that put a smile on his face. I suspect many men have worn a similar smile, having acquired tickets to a ball game.
Women have their pleasure too. Many of them involve physical comforts. For me, it’s a hot fudge sundae. For my mother, it was the color and gloss of a new lipstick. For a number of my friends, even the thought of a deep massage evokes a sigh.
Jill Smolowe, author of Four Funerals and a Wedding, describes her guilty pleasure in “A Perfect Pedicure.” (Money Magazine, April 2015 pg. 92.) In 2007, her husband was hospitalized with leukemia, so her sister drove from Vermont to Smolowe’s home in New Jersey to look after the author’s 12-year-old daughter. In this way, Smolowe could spend more time with her husband at the hospital. The author was grateful, naturally, and before her sister returned to Vermont, she proposed a treat: a luxury pedicure.
The sister blinked at the notion. “I’ve never had a pedicure,” she admitted. (Ibid 92)
Enough said. The sisters hurried off to a salon for an hour of pampering.
In Smolowe’s words, the experience was orgasmic for her sibling. “Oh,” she cried to one and all in the pedicure shop. “I can’t believe how good this feels! Why didn’t anyone tell me? Oh, my…God…” (Ibid 92) She repeated this refrain more than once until everyone in the place was in stitches. For $25, Smolowe had given her sister a little touch of heaven and, as it happened, had purchased a precious memory. Fourteen 14 months later, the author lost not only her husband but her sister, as well. She had died unexpectedly of stage 4 colon cancer. (Ibid pg. 97)
Smolowe’s anecdote should be a lesson to us all: guilty pleasure is a notion that should be banished from our lexicon Pleasure is a little glimpse of heaven. How else are we to explain the ecstasy on the faces of saints. If revelation is joy, then joy is good. As Shakti Gawain, author of numerous new age books has written: “… life in the physical body is meant to be an ecstatic experience.”
I agree. Look for me at the nearest ice cream parlor once I’ve posted this blog.
(Originally published 4/16/15)