Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Premium VanillaRethinking Polyamory

It's holiday time and the end of the summer season. Ice cream is on the cheap. "Go for it!" , the sensuous, and cheap, part of me said. I made my way to the frozen desserts section of the frozen foods department.

I passed right by the sorbet and frozen yoghurt and homed right in on the rich and real thing – ice cream. Nothing less satisfying for me.

First, I considered all the Ben & Jerry's flavors. Terrific though they might be, they didn't grab me. The names always sound more tantalizing than the tastes turn out to be.

I made my way to an Israeli brand of ice cream that is considered quite good. For a sale price I was offered two tubs of one-and-one-third liters of ice cream, the flavors of my choice.

I picked up one without even thinking about it – Three Chocolate Ice Cream. That'll be for the son.

What next? I considered all my favorites. Irish Cream and Cappuccino, Dulce de Leche…Then my eye fell on Premium Vanilla. Not plain vanilla. No, that would never, ever do. From the time I was a child and discovered brown bonnets at Carvel, I turned my back on plain vanilla that my mother loved so well.

Premium Vanilla. I looked at the picture of the real vanilla bean on the label. Surely, it must be real if there's a picture of a vanilla bean on the label. Premium Vanilla. Now that might be a real taste sensation.

Flashback: A nicely-appointed, second-story apartment on some street in Tel Aviv, the name of which I couldn't remember if I was interrogated. The apartment belongs to a man my entire "Polyamorous relationship" with will consist of two nights of fucking. It's amazing what intimate things two people who don't give a good goddamn about one another can do. This is the first night. I recall something about rubber. Yes, rubber. The smell and taste of condoms. Two dinghies passing in the night.

"If I want plain old vanilla sex, I can get it at home", he says to me. It's a statement of what is expected of me more than a comment. I suppose the same is true for me. So, I let the comment pass.

And he was right. It wasn't plain old vanilla sex. Not either of the times. It was weird. Not gratifying. Not moving. Not beautiful. Just Weird and not just a bit nauseating.

Polyamory. It's supposed to be about love. It's supposed not to be promiscuity. It's supposed not to be degrading. It's supposed not to be cheating. It's supposed to be about long-term relationships with people one wants to be in relationships of mutually caring and nurturing fidelity with. I never found that love, just a lot of Weird sex.

Premium Vanilla. Now that is the way it's supposed to be at home. Not just plain vanilla. No, that will never, ever do for the passionate of nature. But Premium Vanilla. Now that's an ice cream of a different flavor.

I was really hankering for that Premium Vanilla. Premium Vanilla took on profound meaning. Premium vanilla: not just a taste, a metaphor.

Premium Vanilla is what we're supposed to get at home. Not just plain old vanilla. Premium Vanilla: Being cherished as a sex goddess. Being desired to the point of madness. Hour-long, candle-lit, playful baths amidst rose petals. Laughter at inside jokes. Multiple earth-moving orgasms that follow endless love making when the world is topsy turvy. Laughter and pillow talk and being made to feel like the most desirable creature in the world. Premium Vanilla. A reason to stay home. A reason not to venture out into a world of sordid sex looking for love, calling it something it is not, making a mendacious ideology of it, feeling dirty and hoping always hoping that next time it will be love.

I opened the package of Premium Vanilla. It didn't look like the Carvel at all. It was a rich beige and looked ever so creamy. I tasted it expectantly. It was plain old vanilla.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel