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And So – To Bed: intimacy, birth, love, warmth, death

perchance to...................

perchance to...................

And so……..to bed

Isn’t intimacy a funny thing? Funny peculiar I mean – not funny ha ha. Though intimacy that’s funny ha ha can be great too. Having sex is easy. Making love’s different though we often talk as if it were the same. But having fun making love, through having sex – that takes real intimacy. Bodies have sex. People make love. But only people in love have fun with loving sex. I don’t mean just having a laugh – close but no cigar.

There only 30 seconds in and I’ve done it – equated intimacy with sex. Why do we do that? Maybe it’s a man thing. Silly really: most of us I guess have had sex with depressingly little intimacy. And deep, satisfying intimacy, often doesn’t have anything to do with sex; or at least with having sex….. How did I get on to sex when this is supposed to be about beds? Well I guess, as I thought about it, it struck me that just as we tend to associate intimacy with sex; so we tend to associate sex with beds. Oh I know that’s a sweet old-fashioned idea, displaying a pathetically impoverished fantasy life. And no sense of adventure at all. But just because kitchen tables, lifts, grassy knolls, Cantabrian punts or even a death-defying, flying leap from the top of the wardrobe with a cry of ‘Geronimo’ can be pressed into service, so to speak, it’s never really been my thing. Nor have I ever been much attracted to the concept of sex as a branch of Olympic Gymnastics – after all, 1 for technical merit and zero for aesthetic interpretation would be a bit embarrassing. Mind you, it does put an interesting spin on the notion of being a prominent member of the Olympic Movement.

Enough. Back to beds. Aren’t beds funny things? Funny peculiar I mean – not funny ha ha. Think about it: our relationship with beds is probably the most intimate relationship we have with any single thing in life. And it is a relationship; and it is intimate. Our beds are perhaps the only things in our lives with whom we are always actually or virtually, literally or metaphorically, naked. We share many of our deepest experiences in life with our bed. We can be born, give birth, make love, lose love, be punished by being sent to, luxuriate in, be ill in, recover in…….. consummate a marriage in….. cuddle our kids in….. say a last goodbye to a much loved parent in…. have an surprise breakfast or a decadent lunch in, fantasise and dream in, be depressed in, have fun in…a bed: and finally, the lucky ones amongst us…perhaps…get to die in…our beds. In our whole lives, we probably spend more time with our beds than any other human artifact, and if truth be told, more time than with any other human being. Quality time. Intimate time.

Biologically, we are at our most vulnerable in bed: eyes shut, unconscious, unprotected. That’s where the intimacy comes in. Apart from being the site of many of our deepest, most sensual experiences, this inanimate best friend, itself offers sensual satisfaction: cool, clean, fresh white sheets rumpled in love; a cotton palimpsest of a loved one’s body still bearing the intimate scent of her physical presence. Waking early on a cold winter morning, with time to spare, wind-whipped rain lashing noisily against the window pane. Pulling the duvet close around one’s neck. Snuggling foetally into a body-warmed nest of safety. Drifting lazily in and out of unhurried, unworried sleep. F**k the sh*tiness in the world; here, now, at this delicious, snatched, moment of time….I am warm, content, and for the moment …safe. Timeless.

Intimacy. They’re sleeping together. Did he sleep with her? Did she go to bed with him? Come to bed with me. He bedded her (can a ‘she’ bed a ‘him’?). Pillow fights. Opening Christmas presents. Snuggling up. A baby’s sweet and fragile scent…. a toddler’s thrashing arms in restless sleep. This place where dreams are born and lived through; where human life is created….….and ends. She took to her bed….he was confined to bed. Bed-ridden….bed-wetting…..the marital bed…… the sick bed…….. the death bed.

Some artifact……Some friend. Precious artifact……intimate friend.

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