Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Inspiration of the Erotic Kind

Saturday night my two grown daughters and I watched my DVD of "Oklahoma!", the 1999 London stage version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. It stars Hugh Jackman as the cowboy,
Curly, who fights the upstream battle of courting farm girl Laurie. If you like Hugh with mutton chop sideburns and ten inch claws, you really need to see him sing and dance. And smile. What a smile...

On that rare occasion that you encounter a guy who can do drama and comedy and sing the lead and do his own dancing, all live, and manage to exude 100% testosterone all the while, you have to be pretty impressed. It's no wonder that show made him a star.

So from this height of masculine glory we descended to our normal lives: my 12 year marriage replete with steady, if usually ordinary, happiness...my elder daughter's ongoing struggles with her six month relationship with her sweet, if sometimes challenging, boyfriend...and my younger daughter's continuingly fruitless search for a guy decent enough to date. "Ah Hugh," we sigh, "maybe you're simply the only perfect man on the planet."

Hugh Jackman hasn't exposed his flaws in the manner of, say, Hugh Grant, but he has them. We all know that. Nevertheless, as long as he keeps them under wraps (and smiles a lot in that way), we can go on in blissful ignorance. And frankly, I think there's genuine value in our doing so.

It's sweet inspiration.

Nothing inspires the libido like perfection. I don't believe the libido is just a mating instinct, or a mere thirst for physical pleasure. I think it also can be the soul's yearning for the ideal. Day to day we can put up with life's little imperfections and disappointments, but each day also desperately needs a bit of beauty: beautiful music, pretty scenery, well written prose, lovely art, well-crafted entertainment. Day to day we can live with the flaws and foibles of ourselves and our fellows, but on a truly good day we enjoy the presence of a person we can at least imagine to be perfect.

My soul sings when I see Hugh Jackman smile. He is the definition of beaming: shining bright and warm like the sun, filling the gray and gloomy corners of my mind and heart with the sunshine of sweetness and good humor. His brown eyes are so perfectly what one wishes all brown eyes could be: deep and clear and captivating. There on the TV he cannot physically reach out to touch me, but the touch of his brown eyes is utterly palpable, and serves perfectly well as an embrace.

When he gathers the frightened Laurie in his arms and shushes her sobs, he is the personification of paternal love and protection. When he dances with her he is majesty and grace and princely beauty. And when he sings, pouring his heart out unabashedly in those long triple forte notes, his voice clear and true, he is love as much as any god of love invented by the ancients ever was.

He makes one (or at least me) rhapsodize. And that is just what the libido needs. The soul is so inspired, so excited, so wildly happy at all this beauty, it pours itself out in a rush of desire and adoration. Given a chance, who wouldn't want to kiss this man, caress every inch of him, stare for hours into his eyes, stroke his curls, strip him naked and make love to him?

And interestingly, one finds in this rush of libidinous emotion a certain willingness to look more kindly on the less perfect aspects of life. The happiness that springs from experiencing the ideal is so refreshing, we suddenly see the little ideal aspects of our ordinary mates. That, I suppose, is why a good romance movie (or even a good porno movie) can inspire a couple of ordinary humans to look upon each other with new zest.

By the way, my husband has a very nice smile too.

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