Do you prefer physical pleasure or mental pleasure?
Being in possession of a human-type body like I am, there is some routine maintenance that needs to be done. Most of that maintenance is not particularly pleasant. It can be invasive, uncomfortable, or downright painful. Yet I persist, partly out of a desire to survive with a workable set of teeth, and partly out of a desire not to look like the bearded lady at the circus.
Not too long ago, I went to the dentist’s office for a cleaning. I haven’t had a cavity in forever, and I actually floss semi-regularly, so it isn’t like I expected any drilling or shots of Novocain. I just expected to have to open wide for jaw-achingly long periods of time while people I only kinda sorta know stick their hands in my mouth and make spine-tingling scrape-y noises on my teeth with metal torture devices. I wasn’t looking forward to it, exactly, but I knew this: for a good half hour, I would be laying on my back with my eyes closed and, due to the aforementioned hands-in-mouth, no one would expect me to talk.
It was the highlight of my day.
As was yesterday evening, when I went for my semi-regular waxing appointment in anticipation of my 30th High School Reunion. (“We are sexy! We are great! We are the class of Eighty-Eight!”) I got my eyebrows tamed, and my goatee removed as a heavily accented and kind woman poured hot wax all over my face and then ripped it off. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt exactly as much as you’d think it would, maybe a little bit more, especially around my eyelids. In order to keep from crying out and being a big baby about it, I laid back on the paper-covered bed and closed my eyes and went elsewhere mentally.
It was the highlight of my day.
Oddly, it was more pleasant than when I got my mani-pedi, largely because the whole nail operation was not passive. I had to pay attention and put my feet in and out of the water on command, and switch hands when asked. My brain was in the room. Don’t get me wrong – there is something wonderfully luxurious about being pampered and having your calves and feet rubbed by someone who rubs calves and feet for a living. It just wasn’t a break the way the dentist and the waxing salon was.
All of which says something odd about me, and I’ve given it an unreasonable amount of thought. Why would I prefer to be uncomfortable or undergo a painful procedure than be slathered in good-smelling lotions and rubbed?
I came up with this answer: I’m not all that in to physical pleasure. Mental pleasure? I’m all about that. I like interesting people and good jokes, and there’s nothing this introvert needs more than a good wander around the recesses of my own mind from time to time. Physical pleasure is nice, I’m not knocking it, but it is pretty easy to come by. I can buy a massage or eat artisan chocolates any time I want. In a world that makes demands of me nearly every waking moment, being able to think my own personal thoughts without interruption is as rare as, well, as rare as me coming home to a Pine-Sol fresh kitchen and a piping hot meal.
Apparently, I will put up with quite a bit in order to get it, including but not limited to ripping hairs off of my face and being stabbed in the gums by strangers wielding miniature spears.
I think this says something huge, and probably not good, about my life. Maybe I’ll schedule a mammogram so I’ll have time to think about it.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook. Lori is a National Society of Newspaper Columnists 2018 Columnist winner, and a New Apple, Readers’ Favorite, and eLit award winner for her latest release, “You Know I Love You Because You’re Still Alive.” She is also the author of the bestselling books “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza,” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.