Moist Beavers

There are a few things that my ears like:

1) The fffftzz sound of a beer cap being pried off;

2) When I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, come back to the bed, and flip over my pillow, making the whole thing cool and soft again;

3) Green gemstone earrings, especially when they’re nestled next to a white, flower-like thing, thus creating a dreamy and romantic atmosphere that makes me believe once I put them on Kenny Rogers could stop by at any moment to serenade me with “Lady”;

4) Eavesdropping.

The other day, my ears had a mighty fine time eavesdropping on a couple of women in the sauna at the gym.

It was a very cold day, and the sauna was a very warm room–the only place where the marrow of my bones felt heat seeping in, melting the ice.

I love the sauna.

More importantly, I love the sauna when loose-lipped ladies with exposed breasts start sprinkling water onto the rocks and words into the befogged air.

Once the ladies start sprinkling their words, it’s important that I lean back, which allows the heat from the wall to work into my back; inhale deeply, which allows the cedar scent from the wooden benches to permeate my skull; and close my eyes, which allows my ears to eavesdrop on the words without my eyes getting distracted by waggling areolae.

What my ears heard this particular day was an exchange between two mostly naked women, the dominant one of whom proved herself comfortable with a variety of public exposures:

Dominant Breasts, asserting themselves: “So I’ve been seeing this new practitioner. She does spiritual massages.”

Listener Breasts (get a load of the ears on those melons!): “Hey, that’s cool. How is that differ–”

Dominant Breasts: “It’s just been amazing, like, I knew I needed this kind of bodywork before I could move on in my life.”

Listener Breasts: “How does it–”

Dominant Breasts: “I went the other night for my first session, and there I was, flat on the table, and she was pushing into all these places in me I’d never felt before, and all of a sudden, tears! It was such a release, such exactly what I needed. I’m going to get on a regular schedule with her so that I can continue the therapy.”

At this point, I cracked open an eyelid and took a gander at the speaker, noting her thick blonde hair piled high into a carefully tousled bun. Yup, that looked ’bout right. As my lid slid back down, my eye managed a quick side glance at the fourth woman in the joint, a Full-Nudie Lady up on the top bench; every last one of her girl bits seemed to be enjoying the eavesdropping as much as I, and I’m here to tell you life isn’t complete until you’ve seen a labia grin.

Responding to the revelation of tears during massage,

Studiedly-Neutral Listener Breasts: “That sounds intense. It’s great you’ve found something that’s really working for you.” Faking a “Woo, but it’s hot in here” fan wave in front of her face, Listener Breasts grabbed the edges of their towel with surprising dexterity and began to rise.

Dominant Breasts, doing what such breasts do (taking over the room like they built the place) : “Actually, I also had a really intense experience last summer.”

Resigned Listener Breasts, slumping back onto the bench: “Oh, really?”

Dominant Breasts, getting, if possible, even more perky (nipples threatening to tunnel into nostrils): “Yea, it was unbelievable. Eight women and I went on an eight-day canoe trip. They all are in my same Master’s program–in counseling–and so we all knew each other but hadn’t really had a retreat together, until this trip.”

Listener Breasts, looking dehydrated, almost flapjackian: “That’s a special–”

Dominant Breasts, paddling the canoe of memory: “It was such an amazing journey for all of us. It was more than mere bonding. It was transformational. We all got to the camp site that first day and built a fire and gathered around it, making a unity circle. Within minutes, we all were sobbing. We sat there for hours, all of us, just crying and crying.”

My eyelid threatened to rise again, so as to ease the execution of an impending eye roll. Putting a finger upon it, I feigned an eye goop crisis and clamped the thing shut.

Listener Breasts, hanging limply but gamely carrying on: “You guys must all have–”

Dominant Breasts, buoyed by the increasing emotion of the narrative: “And then, for the next eight days, that’s all we did. All day, every day, we just cried. It was so beautiful.”

At this point, Eavesdropping Breasts (aka “me”) knew it was time to gather her towel and bolt for the door, lest a snort of derision befoul the detoxifying airs.

At moments like these, I realize–with gratitude–that I’m just not woman enough to understand that level of need. Some years back, I read a local woman’s memoir about her transformative, emotional journey in a canoe as she paddled for 65 days and experienced spiritual healing. At a key moment in the story, she communed deeply with her womanhood and then symbolically smeared her menstrual blood on a rock.

My impatient reaction of “Oh, fer chrissakes. You have got to be kidding me” echoed all the way to a nearby lighthouse.

The thing is, while I like tears and find them helpful in processing stress and pain and joy, my tears come on fast and blow through just as quickly. I feel, process, and move on.

But crying for eight days with eight women?

That’s sixty-four kinds of hell, which is a pretty significant chunk of my Book of Ten Thousand Hells.

By the second day of that trip, after the third portage during which my canoe-toting compatriots’ muffled sobs drifted out from their overturned boats, I’d be plum out of tolerance.

Hollering “Snap out of it, you self-absorbed whiners,” however, would only result in an emergency stop for intervention and reparative therapy.

Instead, I’d wait until the canoes were back in the water, and then, as the strokes hit their rhythm, I’d purposely swamp my canoe and use the ensuing chaos as my opportunity to dive deep and, under cover of water, swim far, far away from all the estrogen- and leisure-fueled Feeling and Caring.

Surrounded by the natural, freed from the artificial, I’d make it my mission to seek out better beavers–

the kind who don’t have time to sit around crying,

the kind that have actual work to do.







27 responses to “Moist Beavers”

  1. lime Avatar

    wow, 8 solid days of crying….just because? yeah, i’m with you and see the value in a good therapeutic cry but 8 days. man, that’s just….dehydrating.

    in other news the thing i believe will stick with me most is labia grin. i think THAT has got to be the best name for a rock band ever.

  2. Jess Avatar

    You’re the best! Next time I symbolically smear gross bodily fluids on a rock I’m going to write “Jocelyn Rocks” with it. And your phone number.

  3. chickens consigliere Avatar

    This was so great. I was there with you, didn’t you see me? I was still wearing my bathing suit, though. I’m a chicken like that. Did you read “The Geezers” post about the family in the airport? I am sensing a trend this weekend with observational anecdotes and I am down with that.

  4. vagabonde Avatar

    I read your post and I was quite surprised that grown women would talk like this. If I had been there I certainly would have felt so very foreign – I just don’t understand going camping with 8 women, almost strangers, then being so personal as crying within a “unity circle” whatever that is – it sounds so bizarre, I mean freakish.

  5. unmitigated me Avatar
    unmitigated me

    Nort. I would have been doing a lot of fake coughing to cover up the giggles. And I would love to read your other blog…

  6. logo™ Avatar

    The mere suggestion of 8 chicks crying OR 8 days of crying either one would be enough to chase me off,both? TOGETHER?? OMG
    Just no.
    I’m with you, give me a constructive beaver ANY day, I mean DAAA-AAAAM

  7. Pearl Avatar

    All the way to Split Rock… 🙂

    I had a friend get all transformational on me a while back. Buried her menstrual blood in the corners of her backyard.

    I’m going to a “trance dance” with her in a couple weeks. 🙂 I can hardly wait.


  8. Chantal Avatar

    maybe the 7 of them were crying cause they were overwhelmed by the thought of having to spend 8 days with that one. I probably would have cried too.

  9. Lil Avatar

    …symbolically smeared her menstrual blood on a rock.
    My impatient reaction of “Oh, fer chrissakes. You have got to be kidding me”


  10. cathy Avatar

    I don’t have your self control;I’d have told her to get over herself.

  11. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

    Sounds dreadful. But then, so does being in a sauna.

    (But the flipped newly cool pillow, I also love.)

  12. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    You are the queen of innuendo.
    And I’m with you on all counts, saunas, cool sides of pillows, not requiring a daily cry…
    That level of navel gazing would make me feel a little sick.

  13. Jenny Woolf Avatar

    I laughed out loud at this. It’s so well written. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. And I so agree with you about crying with all those women. Book of Ten Thousand Hells? It would fit neatly into my Book of Just Ten Hells, way up there on the list!

  14. Barbara Avatar

    Well now, after reading this, I have yet another reason never to partake of a sauna. Naked white ladies lacking conversational filters? Um-no!

  15. Bijoux Avatar

    Good lord….I’m all about eavesdropping, but I prefer juicy gossip, not stories of spiritual and emotional healing!

    I must be alone in my preference for a warm pillow.

  16. Meg Avatar

    You now know why I never joined a sorority. During rush week, all these young women were crying over sappy poems about friendship and I just had to get the hell out of there and find beer.

    I do wish I had been in the sauna to observe a labia smile, if nothing else.

  17. SmitoniusAndSonata Avatar

    Oh Lord , I’m just way too old for a unity hug .

  18. magpie Avatar

    oh, how i love you.

  19. magpie Avatar

    oh, and the cool pillow? YES a million times YES. it’s why i have three. 🙂

  20. christopher Avatar

    I haven’t experienced being in a gym sauna with naked women.

    But my gut tells me that Dominant Breasts may not be an accurate reporter of events. Maybe she just cried for eight days.

    Love your posts.

  21. A Cuban In London Avatar

    I’m still picking myself off the floor. “Labia grin”. You’re the best.

    Greetings from London.

  22. Nina Avatar

    So I’m all afraid of one of my Wisconsin FB friends seeing this, but let me tell you, after 13 years in the land of Scott Walker, hunting, and people ending their ANYTHING THEY WRITE with “blessings” I can’t tell you what I would pay to see some woman smear her menstrual blood on something. Don’t tell anybody.

  23. Maria Avatar

    You and I need to hang out in the sauna together. We’ll be the ones who can’t make eye contact with each other without snickering.

  24. Maria Avatar

    And, I forgot the name of your password protected blog and forgot to save it, so yes…I need to get the details again, pretty please.

  25. Maria Avatar

    And um….I in no way meant to sound like I was hitting on you about hanging out in the sauna together. But…warning…I don’t bother with a towel, except to sit on because I am not one of those GROSS women who sit naked in a sauna with their moist beavers. And I should like to be referred to as the flattened pancake breasts. And I always use the sauna after my gym workout and have never heard anything so interesting. I always get the ones who talk about how hard it is to find good help or what island they want to go to on vacation. I think I go to the wrong gym.

  26. pia Avatar

    Too funny. I don’t know if I could have kept it together and not cracked up totally. It would have been a very sad sight.

    can’t read those memoirs. I like my memoir women to have a father who raped her, a mother who raped the stable boy–not really but…..These days I’m big on Swedish mysteries. They match winter so well. And not the girl series–so old. Spend a lot of time some would say way too much time trying to understand how one tiny country could produce so many writers and translators who use English in exceptional ways. Well now that I made this all about me–password please!

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