Intimacy, between those in love, is what you get to enjoy with one special person that you don’t share with anyone else on earth. It means, the partner you think of as ‘one in a million’ is actually 1 in 7.325 billion. It’s recognizing the state of ‘being in love’ as a blessing. It’s why falling in love feels destined.
If you truly want to grow old with the one person you love most, intimacy is sacrosanct. It’s not to be trampled on by others, or diluted through the disclosing of what makes you, as two, one.
Intimacy is being on the same wavelength. It’s how attentive you become when the other enters the room. It’s in how close you stand and sit. It’s in the tenderness of talk and the eagerness to listen. It’s accidentally-on-purpose brushing up against each, repeatedly, in the course of a day. It’s in the glances, the face making, the hand signals, the code spoken, the names given, the notes passed, the cards signed, the double intendre of places mentioned, music played, words whispered, initials added to wet cement, and carved in wood, and formed by toes in wet sand. It’s in hands held while falling asleep.
Intimacy is disguised as brooches, beads, bangles, bracelets and bands, accompanied by promises made, many of them etched in silver, or gold, and crowned with jewels.
And, as we age — especially those of us who are women without children — we begin to wonder, what’s to become of those tangibles?
No, not so much the house, or car, or investments requiring named beneficiaries early on — but the special gifts, the private collections, the photographs, the love letters, the anniversary and birthday cards, the journals, the trinkets, the lockbox keepsakes.
What’s to become of our rings?
Because these decisions, too, are intimacy matters, emblematic of what two people in love quietly cherished about each other.
Historically speaking, older gay men have shown the tendency to become involved with much younger men, paving the way to name their last dalliance as a beneficiary, and leaving single men in their 30s and 40s much better off (financially) than they might have been otherwise. It’s one reason given to account for gay men as having the highest rate of disposal income in the nation.
Successful lesbians rarely adopt such pecuniary practices late in life. Instead, we tend to make the nieces and nephews we never knew, of siblings we seldom see, our beneficiaries. It might account for lesbians averaging the lowest rate of disposal income — in the world.
I’d like to see us change that (sans the May-December gay tradition) by taking more of an interest in the welfare of younger lesbians who are making an earnest effort in their struggle to get ahead .
Since knowledge of herstory is power, I’d like to think we’ll each donate our personal papers to the June Mazer Lesbian Archives, housing a century of lesbian and feminist artwork, manuscripts, books, records, and reference material for free access by researchists, historians, writers, feminine studies and interested parties.
And, too, my hope is that more seniors will find and friend women who are 10-15-20-25 years younger; women who share our individual interests and personal values; women who demonstrate the kind of work ethic that proves a credit to our communities.
Mentor them, fund them, gift them with something worthy of being treasured, recorded, and passed on to the future generations of ‘us’.
The time spent needn’t be intense, nor the gift substantial.
It simply needs to be meaningful enough to remind both the giver and receiver that objects soaked in love should never be taken lightly, nor disposed of easily.
Because, ultimately, intimacy matters.
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Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine 2015
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IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true-love story
by Marguerite Quantaine
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