Before this particular experience in Denver, I would have eagerly defined myself as a sensual woman, without reservation, and without explanation. Each of you would draw your own conclusions as to what that means to you about me, but before you leave in a huff, allow me to explain myself. In light of this event in Denver last fall, I have decided I need to be more aware of my vocabulary, and the meanings of words.
Last September, I joined my college roommates on a girls' getaway weekend to Denver. While Cindy and I had kept in touch over the years, our contact with Lisa had been spotty. I blame geography; Massachusetts and England were so far away, but I just didn't do a very good job of keeping track of our girl. The Girly Getaway was filled with conversation, laughter, and great food. We shared our triumphs and heartaches. Being together again made me realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends.
|Snooze Eatery with the girlies|
Early one evening, we pulled into a little strip mall where there was a bakery that caught my eye. Lisa and I decided to run in to the bakery to buy some delightful desserts for later, while Cindy got us a table at the Mexican restaurant we had decided to try.
After some earlier confusion at Le Bakery Sensual in Denver, I decided I needed a refresher course on what that word really means.
For future reference, Le Bakery Sensual doesn't involve as many of the senses as one might think. Perhaps if the guys who owned the joint had just named their business the EROTIC Bakery, I could have saved myself a little embarrassment. The young men who worked there seemed to enjoy our pink-cheeked presence. I'm sure my mouth was agape as I peered into the refrigerated glass display case. We thanked them for their time, and scurried off to rejoin Cindy. She just shook her head.
When I told Cindy with some embarrassed laughter what we had seen there, she just looked at me with raised eyebrows, and asked me what exactly I thought a SENSUAL bakery would be selling. I felt a little silly.
Honestly? I imagined the ultimate in baked goods. When I walk into a SENSUAL bake shop, I expect to be overwhelmed by the most delectable aromas, the most tantalizing creations, the most decadent tastes. I was NOT expecting to be bombarded with anatomically correct desserts.
Fast forward to later in the fall. I had forgotten we'd been doing an IMAGE search for Al Pacino on my laptop before we went to bed the night before. During my blog time, I was looking up the definition to use in this piece.
When I typed in the word "sensual," my computer screen was flooded with IMAGES of the word. I am most grateful I was not surrounded by a classroom full of fifth graders. The images focused solely on sexual images, some of them quite tasteful, I might add, but still, more erotic in nature than what I was seeking. So, here's my disclaimer: if you choose to search the word sensual for yourself, I'd recommend clearing the room first.
I gathered myself together, and left the image search and went on the WEB search. Much better. Well, it was what I was looking for this morning, anyway.
I can now see by definition, the word sensual is exactly what I thought, but it's the "esp. sexual" part of the definition of which I was not aware. For me, the true sensual experience is not the opposite of a spiritual experience, it HEIGHTENS a physical experience to the point that it becomes a spiritual one. I am one who loses herself in the gratification of her senses.
Lest I be misunderstood in the future, perhaps I should rethink declaring myself a sensual woman. Is there a better word to describe me? Epicureans devote themselves to sensual experiences, especially fine food and drink. That may be a little "high brow" for someone who thinks Peanut Butter M&Ms are DI-vine. Another synonym is bon vivant, a person who enjoys a sociable and luxurious lifestyle. That's true enough, but seems to ignore the sensory experiences to which I'm drawn, and ignores the realities of living on a teacher's pension.
There is a synonym listed further down the in the dictionary entry that perhaps describes me best: sybaritic, which means I am fond of sensuous pleasure; I am self-indulgent.
The word describes me perfectly, except that I'd never heard of it in my life, and I'm not sure many others would be familiar with it. I feel like I would just get empty stares from others if I tossed that word into daily conversation. I've never heard it spoken aloud in my life, and if I had read it, I probably skipped over it. I may just have to start using it. Its definition is perfect, even if the pronunciation and meaning challenged me at first.
Sensuous pleasures delight me, all of them. Mostly, I am referring to the innocent, G-rated pleasures involving the senses, but I would be lying to say they are the only ones I crave. I am a sentient and sybaritic creature; I am aware of, and take delight in all of the sensory pleasures afforded to me. I am a sybaritic woman, without apology.
Excuse me, I'm going to have to go practice my new vocabulary word, and use it in sentences, until it rolls off my tongue with a little less effort. ;-)
|Having a SYBARITIC experience at the Farmers' Market in Denver!|