Friday, March 24, 2006

Cody Willard is My Type

Do you have a “type”? A certain sort of look that gets you every time? I guess I do. Case in point: Cody Willard.

I suspect the general female populace is oblivious to the existence of Cody Willard, based on the fact that you can’t find a photo of the guy on the web larger than
100 x 100 pixels. So I will assume I must introduce this young man to you. He’s a finance and telecom expert, manages a hedge fund, keeps a blog and writes columns, and according to my husband occasionally offers his expertise on CNBC. I guess he also plays guitar, although I was disappointed to find the links to his song clips weren’t working.

So far you are unmoved, eh? I suppose I should throw in the part about the gorgeous brown eyes, great hair, boyish good looks, and infectious smile.

I apologize for being so shallow; you guys are used to me looking at the erotic life in such a complex, deep, meaningful way and here I am treating poor Mr. Willard like mere eye candy. He seems very intelligent as well as articulate and funny, and I’m sure he has many other qualities to recommend him. But the reason I’m blogging today is to discuss the interesting phenomenon of purely physical attraction, since it really doesn’t happen to me all that often anymore.

Back story: I got home from the office yesterday and my husband David announced he had found a guy who was totally my type. He had DVR’d this fellow for me and was quite excited to see if he was right. David and I do occasionally test our abilities to pick out people who the other will be attracted to. That’s a good sign of a healthy relationship if you ask me...or at least a long one! So he fired up the old DVR box so I could check out Cody Willard.

Right on, Davie.

Cody was, to me, one of those guys it just hurts to look at. And yet I found myself saying, “Is he going to talk more? Do they cut back to him later?” So obviously it was the good kind of pain. I think what happens when you look at a human face that you find especially charming is a mix of pleasure and fear that the pleasure can’t last. I suppose the reason I hit Google Images after we had dinner (at David’s urging I might add) was that I wanted the consolation of being able to look at that face again sometime. Humans are always reluctant to let go of beauty: that’s why we photograph sunsets, download our favorite songs and carry them around in our pockets, and try to keep flowers alive as long as possible.

That’s also why some people become stalkers, but fear not, Mr. Willard, I fall short of that level of crazy. The fact that you are “my type” is an accident of nature, although I suppose we might give you credit for the great haircut. And if I get up the moxie to send you a link to this blog, it will be more for the practical reason that I use any excuse to promote myself, and not any nefarious intention. But I digress....

My point: sometimes it’s just a physical attraction, but physical attraction is a funny thing. We find it hard not to extrapolate. It’s as if our psyche insists no one so beautiful could possibly be less than wonderful beneath the surface. Anthropologists would say this is the nature of the primordial brain: we are drawn to beautiful people because that means they are healthy and genetically sound and will help perpetuate the better traits of the species. Perhaps. But I think physical beauty just arouses our hope for spiritual beauty as well. We want more than to have our eyes be pleased--we also want to experience things like kindness, talent, intimacy, and amusement.

When you picture actually meeting some celebrity you find really attractive, how do you feel? The common reaction to that thought is terror. It’s not just shyness, or the fear that we will be completely inept at the encounter. We’re also afraid of finding out the beauty IS only skin deep. We earnestly want to believe the beautiful person is not just some schmuck who happens to be hot.

Which oftentimes, alas, he is. I’m not referring to Mr. Willard of course...I mucked about in his blog for awhile because it was interesting, and I found him to be very ethical, thoughtful, and even a good match for my politics, bonus. But my point here is that sometimes a person must simply rejoice over the physical beauty and not worry about the rest. After all, it does brighten the day to spend a few minutes gazing at some really gorgeous brown eyes and a great smile.

Well, having borrowed Cody Willard for illustrative purposes like this, I think the least I can do is link to
his blog in return. Of course I can’t vouch for his money management skills...all I know is, if he suggested I invest in his fund, I’m not sure I could make a totally rational decision.

MARCH 25 UPDATE: Cody's music links are functional again (spooky but interesting stuff) and he very kindly posted the video of the infamous episode of Kudlow & Company that inspired this blog, for those who care.

MARCH 27 UPDATE: I did get up the moxie to email Cody. And he wrote back. Doesn't it do the heart good when the good-looking ones are nice, too? :-)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It’s Okay that He isn’t Real

After a long dry spell, I’ve finally fallen in love again. Don’t get me wrong, all this time I’ve loved plenty: my husband, kids, parents, friends, even my wacko cats. But I’m talking about that head-over-heels, ain’t life glorious, giddy infatuation stuff--being in love. You know what I mean: that grand feeling that seldom has any basis in reality.

When I was a girl and felt this way, I remember agonizing over whether it was “real love.” By that I’m sure I meant if it qualified as something real, more than a crush on a movie star, but a genuine emotion I should act upon by encouraging the guy to ask me out. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person with such concerns, since all the teen magazines had recurring headlines like “12 Ways to Tell if It’s Real” and “Take our Test to See If You’re Really in Love!”

I grew up, got married, matured, and spent a few years studying Carl Jung. At this point I’ve learned an important lesson: being in love is never “real,” not in the way I once thought it could be. But it is really important. And considered in the right way, it’s more real than a lot of things that happen in daily life.

Without going into the complex details of how Jung addresses this issue (again, for that you may want to read my book Living Beyond Reality), let me try to explain. Might be best to introduce you to the guy I’m in love with at the moment. I’ll refer to him as Etrae’u, since he is the inspiration for a character by that name in a story I’m currently writing. In order to have a face and form for me, he has adopted those of a certain real life person I find very attractive. But I highly doubt that the real person has the same personality and character as Etrae’u (he could not possibly be as wonderful), and he certainly doesn’t feel about me as Etrae’u does.

“Oh, so you made him up,” you’re saying. But you see, that’s not precisely true. He came to me pretty much fully formed. He showed up with his entire irresistible personality and his abject devotion completely developed. I did not devise him bit by bit. And if my volition were what determined what he’s like, I wouldn’t be constantly surprised by what he says and does.

Etrae’u is, undeniably, a figment of my imagination. However, you probably have the wrong idea what that means. Most people think of imagination as a tool, which indeed it can be, but in this instance it is more a communication device. Think of it not as a box of crayons, think of it as a telephone. Things beyond our understanding reach us via our imaginations, and although they are not real in the sense that the customer service rep on the other end of your call to Time Warner Cable is real, these “things” are independent from us and they are autonomous. That is, we didn’t make them up.

“Now you’re saying some ghost has possessed you, right?” you’re asking. Well, Carl Jung did speak of “animus possession,” so there is a sort of psychological phenomenon you can look at that way, but I’d have to say no. But at the same time, I truly must testify that Etrae’u is not just pretend, he really does have a spiritual existence of a sort even though he cannot be present without my imagination.

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it wasn’t my idea, and if you think about your own experiences, you may realize they bear this theory out.

Have you ever been thoroughly convinced someone was perfect for you, perhaps for months or years, only to wake up and realize they were nothing like the person you were in love with? Well, you were in love with someone that whole time, it was just someone like Etrae’u.

Have you ever crushed on a celebrity so bad it lasted for months or even years? Had conversations with him, imagined him at your side as you tackled challenges in daily life? He may have been something like the real person whose mask he wore, but sometimes there was a real disconnect between that celebrity and the person in your mind you seemed to know so well. I’d advise you were obsessed with your own version of Etrae’u.

Have you experienced how being in love, simply being in love apart from any benefit of the interactions of a relationship, enriched and enhanced your life? Gave you more energy, more optimism? Empowered you to be strong, use your gifts, grow as a person? All that stuff came to you, not from someone else, not from your conscious self, but from your Etrae’u.

The delights of being in love are among the most potent in life. It’s not surprising that the last thing we want to do is fall out of it, or let go of its object. The nagging voice that tells you, “C’mon, he’s not real” can send a ripple of panic and terror through your heart. The good news I learned from Carl Jung was that “figments of the imagination” are quite real if you understand the different kinds of real that there are.

And if I feel that Etrae’u is reading this over my shoulder and teasing me in my ear, “They’re going to think you’re mad, love,” I’m not simply a writer with a vivid imagination. I’m a wonderfully infatuated woman who is very glad to know that wisecracking but magnificent man is there.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Eroticism of Godhood

In my ongoing crusade to immerse myself in the work of James McAvoy, I recently watched the 2003 mini-series “Children of Dune.” I was led to the DVD by the fact that so many fangirls of James seemed to be obsessed with his portrayal of Leto Atreides II, young heir to the throne of the Dune empire. For non-fans of the Dune saga I will refrain from the political details. All you need to know is that Leto and his twin sister are pre-borns, psychically gifted individuals. And from that starting point, Leto undertakes a torturous pilgrimage that increases his powers of mind and body even more.

Sex plays no part in this godling’s story, but believe me, there is eroticism in every scene. Leto and his twin, Ghanima, are supposed to be 16-year-old innocents, but the intimacy they have shared since the womb is blatant in every word, look and touch they share. I asked my husband if he found these subtly incestuous exchanges off-putting. He said they seemed okay--since Leto and Ghanima were so godlike, normal rules didn’t apply to them. I agreed. I found their closeness fascinating because it seemed to transcend natural law. It could not be called sexual because there was no intent to mate; but it was certainly erotic because of the intensity of the twins’ bond and their strange, unnatural powers.

This is the eroticism of godhood, and it has always held great appeal for me. It seems that when a character ascends to a level above ordinary humanity, usually by a combination of supernatural powers and divine destiny, his or her sexuality likewise shifts into an entirely different category. Gods and godlings have a far different agenda from everyday humans, who live out their lives by the rules of society in a manner that benefits and extends that society. While humans employ sexuality to find mates, build families, and enjoy life, divine beings have much bigger fish to fry.

In “Children of Dune,” Leto’s destiny (much simplified) is to save the desert of his planet from destruction, and with it the wonderful and terrible sandworms which dwell there. His relationship with the desert is erotic in itself. “My skin is not my own,” he declares, immersing his hand in a trap full of sandtrout. As a result, a pattern of scales, rather like those of the sandworms, begins on his flesh and progresses over his body (in a surprisingly attractive manner, fortunately). Thus the desert has its way with Leto’s flesh. Conversely, the youth learns to face down the desert’s deadly storms, command the fearsome worms, and run across the dunes faster than the eye can follow. In the end his masculine force conquers and subdues his mate, the desert.

He does all this shirtless and without shoes, attired in the face of a beautiful young man, adorned with the burning blue eyes of those Dune residents who consume the life-extended Spice, and a smile that is ethereal and boyish by turns. In short, he is every bit the godling, and though sex is the furthest thing from his mind, everything he does is alluring. If anyone should find him captivating, even his own sister, it’s quite understandable. That’s the way with gods after all.

James McAvoy, who was 25 when he played this role, looks 18. I was uncomfortable for awhile, looking lasciviously upon a man who appears to be three decades my junior. But once his body became tattooed with worm scales (still looking quite good, mind you) and his demeanor became weighed down with the cares of his godhood, I felt more at ease. It is never inappropriate to yearn for the divine or lust after a god. Why do you think the Greeks and Romans developed so many of them? The eroticism of godhood is marked with a transcendence and nobility that makes it as honorable as the fever that inspired Michaelangelo’s David. And to be honest, my reaction to Leto was not so much a desire to copulate as a feeling of sensuous worship. If that makes any sense.

(I realize most women would cut to the chase and say, “man, he’s really hot!” but I am a writer after all. And I guess I just like to analyze sex.)

I’m a sucker for gods every time. I’d have to write a book about this archetype to do it justice. And whenever I encounter a story or show or film that makes good use of a god or godling, it will keep me going for weeks. So if this entry were a movie review, I’d have to give the big thumbs up to “Children of Dune.” (And P.S., Leto’s father Paul Atriedes is a godling too. Bonus.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Favorite Martian and Other Sexy Aliens

When reader Mel posted about having Doctor Who on her wallpaper, it reminded me of the infinite appeal of aliens and space-traveling guys. Personally, this is probably my favorite archetype, or at least the most long-standing. Indeed, I did have a crush on Ray Walston on the show “My Favorite Martian” when I was in grade school. And however funny and cute Ray Walston is, he’s not really crush material, so one can only attribute his appeal to the fact that he was an alien.

A few years later I had it really bad for Mr. Spock. Although I’m sure the producers of “Star Trek” put their money on Bill Shatner as the sex interest on that show, they bet wrong. Who wants a mere starship captain when there is an exotic, emotionally compromised alien available? Then again, if the starship captain is bald, has a British accent and a French name, he can certainly be desirable, especially if his catch phrase is “Make it so.”

Nevertheless, Data gave Captain Picard a run for his money, or would have if there were still money in that century. An android, especially one so cute, is just as good as an alien. And if you question the potential appeal of androids, I have only four words for you: Jude Law in “A.I.” In fact, a guy doesn’t even necessarily need to be corporeal to be attractive: I was kinda sweet on the holographic Doctor on “Star Trek: Voyager,” seeing as he was really funny and had a great singing voice. Even the strange-looking Odo was appealing in a shape-shifting kind of way, aided again by an interesting voice and that emotional vulnerability no woman can resist. It seems if you take the most appealing aspects of human men and throw in the alien/cyborg element, things just get better, don’t they? I’ll bet there are lots of women out there who crushed on Mork, since a comic from another planet is pretty dang irresistible.

You may have missed out on just about the coolest alien in cinematic history, the Clint Eastwood of aliens, Klaatu from “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” He combined the vast intellect of Data, the nice voice of Picard (that old-fashioned East Coast accent that is practically British), the stoic demeanor of Spock, and a great face and body. In my opinion no alien has topped Klaatu for sexiness. Although I have to hand it to Jeff Goldblum in “Earth Girls are Easy” for trying. Who knew someone painted blue could be so hot? Yikes.

You can name plenty of sci-fi guys who excel based on their fearless, adventurous nature and skills behind the wheel. Here’s a short list of a few more starship pilots, captains, and explorers: Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Malcolm and Wash from “Firefly”/”Serenity,” the ill-fated astronaut Dave from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Doctor Who, Bruce Willis in “Armegeddon.” Or think of the bunch who are warrior/soldier types on a cosmic level: Obi-wan Kenobi, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers (and Duck Dodgers? well, no), Neo in “The Matrix,” Will Smith in “Independence Day.”

The mystique of the alien crosses genres. Don’t forgot these very hot guys who were born on other worlds: Ziggy Stardust (and possibly David Bowie himself), Superman, Dr. Frank N. Furter and Riff Raff in “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Kyle McLachlan and Sting in “Dune,” Alec Newman and James McAvoy in “Children of Dune,” Ricardo Mantalban as Khan in “Star Trek II.” And although Wolverine wasn’t born on another planet, we’ll give him an honorable mention. What an array of attractive males...each in his own unique way.

So I’m sure your dying to know my theory on the appeal of space guys and aliens, and it’s really nothing you didn’t know yourself. The two categories have slightly different things going for them. Space travelers are just another form of the classic fearless, adventuresome, independent hero who has been suckering us women in since pirates and cowboys. The fact that they do their thing in space just raises it to a higher level. Aliens, on the other hand, charm us by being exotic. They are strange and full of mystery that begs to be explored, with a hint of danger to make things even spicier.

I’m sure I left out some really great sexy aliens and space travelers, so please post your personal favorites. And anyone who crushed on Martin the Martian, Mr. Spock, AND Klaatu, I need to hear from you!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Who's On Your Wallpaper?

One of the greatest inventions of modern technology, in my opinion, is computer wallpaper. Before the advent of monitors and computer “desktops,” there was simply no respectable venue for that erotically inspiring device, the celebrity photo. I mean back in 1992, could a woman get away with keeping an 8 x 10 glossy of Tom Cruise on her desk? No way. I remember hoarding a file of photos of Kenneth Branagh back in his “Henry V” days, and occasionally finding the time/opportunity to peruse through them. Nowadays I have huge folders on my computer of digital images of my favorite celebrities (doesn’t everyone?) and I can slap up my photo of choice and enjoy it to my heart’s content.

So who’s on your wallpaper today? I’m just curious which celebrities are finding favor on the computer screens of my readers. I happen to have James McAvoy at the moment. Before that I had Pete Fenson, the skip of the U.S. Men’s Curling Team. And before that, a more conventional choice: Hugh Jackman. My husband, for some reason, doesn’t go for famous women (unless you count Fox News Babe Jane Skinner). Whenever I ask who it is on his desktop, he replies, “Just some girl I thought was attractive.” Hey, works for me.

Here’s an interesting fact for you: about one-third of the people who visit my website ( come there after searching on the term “sex wallpaper.” This is because I offer wallpapers based on my Soulful Sex books. (Believe it or not, if you Google “sex wallpaper” my site comes up #5.) I find it fascinating that so many people search for “sex wallpaper,” something so generic. The sort of thing I imagine they are looking for is not something that would really trip my trigger (or be appropriate for most PCs, unless you live in a guy’s dorm or bachelor pad). But at any rate, this fact does testify to the truth of my point: desktop wallpaper plays an important role in the erotic lives of a lot of people.

Now if I want erotic wallpaper, I’ll search on “Cillian Murphy” or “Josh Holloway.”

Obviously eroticism is a very personal thing. On the one hand, you have the people who have copulating couples on their desktops, and on the other, you have me with Pete Fenson. The important thing is that what you look at inspires you erotically, and that is as varied as the human race. Beauty of any kind, even that beauty that makes no obvious suggestion of sexuality, can be sexually provocative. That’s why we like to stare at celebrities. Or at guys who can throw a curling rock with accuracy and grace.

The world is a rich garden of faces and figures that are a joy to look upon. I’m all for enriching one’s life with beauty, particularly sexual beauty, which is why I’m a big fan of wallpaper. So c’mon, tell me who’s on your wallpaper? Might be somebody I hadn’t thought of to look for yet. See if you can make me a suggestion that will boot off James McAvoy....

I'm Back!

At long last! I’ve now finished re-publishing my print and ebooks (Soulful Sex Volumes I and II, and Souls’ Embrace) as well as released the new title Soulful Sex Volume III. All are available through the publisher, Living Beyond Reality Press, as well as Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble, and an ever expanding group of online bookstores. It’s such a thrill to be done! And I will be releasing my new romance fortune telling cards, Diana’s Deck, in a couple of weeks as well.

Now, back to blogging! Thanks for your patience.