Like a lot of writers, I like to delve into the heart of love & romance and offer readers some insights into what I believe does and doesn’t work in the dating and mating game. As a former teacher who on occasion taught sex education, I was however knocked sideways by the results of a recent poll regarding the sex lives of fifteen thousand Britons. Sales of erotic novels have been flying off the shelves and on-line retailers report a massive increase in sales of sex toys. Is it not reasonable to presume everyone is having a whale of a time steaming up the car windows in their impatience to get to the bedroom? It seems not.
Frankly, I’m not surprised by any of this. I know how addictive social media can be and I have to limit my Twitter time, otherwise I could be on it all day. I also know that there is nothing quite so alluring as a person I find attractive, giving me their undivided attention. The ability to be fully present to another is often cited as the mark of very charismatic people and is something that politicians practice in order to win people over. And so it follows that love will blossom when both partners are attentive to the needs of each other. Metal or plastic objects are no replacement for human touch, an ear that listens or an encouraging voice that acts like balm on the spirit after a harrowing day at the office.
How then do we get our mojos back on track and experience irresistible sex to strengthen the bonds of love? I suggest us women keep the gadgets outside the bedroom and bring in 100% of our Va Va Voom Goddess - selves. There is nothing more attractive than a confident woman who feels she is whole and complete just as she is; happy in her body regardless of size or shape. By all means don some nice lingerie and add a few drops of essential oil such as ylang ylang, long regarded as an aphrodisiac and anti-depressant. Being present to the act of love making is the very essence of tantric practice and while we don’t all need to be experts at Tantra, there’s certainly a better chance of real orgasmic fireworks happening in reality than in Cyberland.
Touted in the press as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ meets ‘Sex and the City’.
A woman’s voyage of self discovery begins on the internet leading all the way to Brazil and onto the Andean highlands of Peru.
Devastated from her relationship break- up, Kate Canavan is at a loss until she re-discovers a hidden painting of the triple Goddess from Greek mythology. Her interest in mythology and spirituality is re-ignited. A voyage of self discovery begins with internet dating using the names of each of the Goddesses in the triple myth.
When a health scare intervenes Kate and her friends go together to visit a famous healer in Brazil and a spiritual guru in Peru, where all three friends begin spiritual journeys of forgiveness, gratitude and learning to live in the now. But does Kate find love along the way?
Ferdia Mac Anna (author of cult book to movie Last of the high Kings) says:-
"Funny, informative heart-warming and wildly entertaining. This novel takes the reader on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride though modern romance, internet dating, Peruvian Gurus, wannabes, has-beens and lotharios and brings them home safe and almost sound. This book rocks!'
The final email was from “the diver”, another businessman. He didn’t have a photograph but his message captured my interest and aroused my curiosity.
Hi Persephone, Toot… toot! Hoot… hoot! What a foxy red head you are and you sound like a gal who knows what she wants out a life! Fair play, I’m all for a gal who knows her mind and seduces me with her brain as well as… oh you know! Why call yourself Persephone, when you’ve got the body and tresses of Botticelli’s Venus lol? With your Taekwondo, scuba diving and interest in Incan and Mayan civilizations, I can picture you as a female Indiana Jones. Better than tomb raider any day, I say! Definitely with that red hair, you’d put me in my place… quaking in my boots while hot under the collar lol! No seriously… you demand respect, even from a messer like me! If you want to get in touch send me your phone number and we can arrange to chat. Steve
I wrote back to Steve asking him had he a photograph. I was more interested in
“Elmtree” aka Ray, yet decided not to invest too much hope in him after my previous two experiences. If everything worked out, I could meet him the coming Friday. Meanwhile I was in a mood for experimenting, so two days later I agreed to meet “the diver”, Steve. We had spoken on the phone and he told me he was a representative for a company fitting aluminium windows. I asked for a photograph, and he sent one right back. He was rugged looking with heavy facial furniture, a rather large nose, heavy jowls and a thin line for a mouth. Not exactly my type, but I was sure a lot of women would find him attractive. I found his humour hilarious, even if his hooting and tooting sounded more like a siren call for Jessica Rabbit. No matter, I needed a good laugh. Emails went to and fro and I agreed to a lunch date rather than risk another evening fiasco.
I was beginning to see this as Ella had suggested, “an exercise in dusting off my disused dating skills.” Smirking to myself, I decided to call her and fill her in on my progress.
“Same as you, lovey. I’m in need of a laugh and an ego boost so I’ve two dates arranged for today. First a lunch date and then meeting another guy for coffee at four.” We agreed to keep in touch throughout the day and meet up later to discuss the dates. I felt like a woman on a mission, preparing to take note of all the details to report back to HQ afterwards. It added to the excitement, that feeling of being an intrepid reporter working undercover.
In the Meyrick Hotel foyer, at a table to the right of the central table, which was adorned with a huge floral arrangement, Steve sat folding papers into a briefcase. I recognised him immediately. Hmm, not bad looking, although a little older than his photograph (I was beginning to think that was par for the course) and somewhat untidy, with shirt buttons straining over his mid-section.
He looked up. “Kate?” His eyes took me in. “Hey, you look great! Know something? I’m not very hungry. How about you?”
“I could eat the legs from under the table. I’ll get weak if I don’t eat something soon.” The aroma of garlic, tomatoes and peanut soy sauce wafted past him and my stomach grumbled.
“Yeah?” He looked disappointed. “I suppose you can get some bar food.” He ushered me towards the bar, where the barman came over and handed each of us a menu. I searched for the choice most resembling the aroma that had greeted me.
“Just a glass of wine, please,” Steve said to the barman.
“I’ll have the chicken satay and a bottle of still water, please.”
When the barman left, Steve turned to me asking: “Is there a problem with the drinking water in Galway at the moment?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“I always drink tap water.” His face changed from concerned to animated as he launched into the conversation with: “Well, Kate, we’ve certainly had great chemistry with the banter in our emails! It’s been fun! You have to have a sense of humour otherwise life could really get you down!”
“Yes, you’re very humorous…”
“Now, I want to be open and honest with you from the start, so I need to tell you a few things. How are you with that?”
“Absolutely. I agree one hundred per cent. Honesty all the way.” I put on a chirpy voice to deflect from my sudden sinking feeling.
“First, I have to tell you a bit about me. My wife and I didn’t have sex for the last eight years of our marriage. Now I’m not going to crib about her because she’s a lovely woman, but that’s very hard for any man to put up with. And I remained faithful to her while some of my buddies were off having affairs. But I respect women and I didn’t do that to her, even though she often came to bed with her hair in rollers and would turn her back on me for fear I’d suggest anything.” Too much information and this from the person I’d expected to entertain me with his mad-cap humour. I was embarrassed and confused. Nothing seemed to add up.
“I can understand that was difficult for you.” Was that what I was supposed to say?
The waiter arrived with drinks and lunch. The chicken satay came on four skewers and was served with french fries. I was ravenous. “Would you like some?” I pushed my plate towards Steve. Without any hesitation he helped himself to a skewer of chicken, continuing to talk as he did so.
“Now, I was good to my wife in every way and in fact I still do more than my share of parenting, though the kids are fairly independent at eighteen, nineteen and twenty one years old.” He fiddled with the skewer, his eyes transfixed on the remaining two cubes of chicken as though he were forensically examining them. Why was he prattling on in such a defensive manner, unable to make eye contact?
“How long are you divorced?”
He launched back into chewing the chicken from the skewer. “Just separated six months.” His mouth was full as he spoke. “Now the point is, I’m very attracted to you but I could never enter into another relationship like the one with my wife. Do you understand?” He grabbed a handful of French fries and tossed them in his open mouth. What a barbarian! What had happened to his inimitable sense of humour? I was beginning to find him common and coarse. Was he unaware he was wolfing down my lunch? The lunch he didn’t want? I was annoyed that he presumed I would consider a relationship with him. His other hand sneaked towards a second skewer of chicken. I moved my plate away from him.
“It’s seems a bit early to be thinking about you and I starting a relationship – you live quite a distance away and we’ve only just met.”
“Yeah…” He stuffed down another handful of my French fries. “But I would need to know right from the beginning that the relationship would include sex. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand – but it’s a bit early. We don’t know if we even like each other yet.” I signalled to the waiter. “Could you please bring me another portion of chicken satay?”
“Certainly, madam. Will there be anything else?”
“Not just now, thank you…”
“Do you eat this much all the time?” Steve asked. Before I could answer, his phone rang. He pulled it out of his shirt pocket and looked at the screen. “Excuse me. I need to answer this.” He got up to walk out of the bar.
While he was gone, I checked my phone. A message from Ella read: “Just met Mr Loves Himself.”
“Eejit here just ate my lunch,” I texted back.
“Make him pay. This guy runs 5 miles & cycles 8 miles a day!”
I acknowledged the waiter as he delivered a second plate of satay, then resumed texting: “Forget him. No time for a woman!”
“Yep. haf 2 go.”
Steve arrived back and slid in beside me, nonchalantly helping himself to another full skewer. “Kate. Of course we’d get on great,” he said, again with his mouth full. “I just have to have this issue out in the open before I get involved with you. I’m a very giving person and I wouldn’t like to be taken for a fool.”
I looked at him, stuck for words. Then cleared my throat. “To be honest, I find this line of conversation a bit over the top. You have no guarantees with any relationship that you will get every aspect right. I’m sure some women have similar complaints about men.”
“Exactly my point.” Glancing at his mobile phone, Steve assumed a harried expression: “I need to leave for a meeting. Phone me when you’ve thought all this through. Maybe next time we could meet in the evening?”
Stealing the final skewer of chicken, he vanished before I had a chance to comment. Flabbergasted, I sank back into my seat, feeling the wind had been knocked right out of me. Calling over the waiter I asked for the bill along with a stiff brandy. I felt I needed it.
Living in Ireland, Mary Elizabeth Coen is a former Home Economics teacher and lifestyle journalist.
Though she always dreamed of being a writer, Mary Elizabeth took a rather circuitous route getting there. You could say she has had several incarnations in this lifetime from Home Economics teacher to Fashion Editor of a magazine, along with being mother to three wonderful children, Mark, Janet and Emily. Due to demand from clients she opened her own PR consultancy firm specializing in fashion; - the dream job for a fashionista, availing of great discounts on wonderful shoes and vintage clothing.
Unfortunately the five inch stilettos had to go when Mary’s health deteriorated and she received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Work too, had to take a back seat as Mary sought to maintain optimum health and became interested in holistic medicine and personal development. In the process, she developed a passion for mythology, philosophy and the study of ancient spiritual traditions. As a spiritual seeker, she travelled to Mayan sites in Mexico, visited a famous healer’s ashram in Brazil and undertook a shamanic journey through Peru. Mary’s book Love & the Goddess is based on her travels.
Mary is now in robust good health, working as a full-time author and stress management lecturer, while also running a website called Goddess MECA. The acronym is for Mary Elizabeth Coen Assists the Goddess in everywoman through sharing her love of cookery fashion and mythology. Mary brings her experience from teaching, using tools that are practical and easily integrated into every day busy lives. Her clients range from private individuals, to SMEs, to large organisations and bodies.
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