There is a scene in this season’s finale of Downton Abbey where the Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) laments to fellow spinster cousin Isobel:
“I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it?”
I am obsessed with this show, but this line may be my favorite. The fact that at the age of 41 I am comparing my life to the Dowager (a polite way of saying rich old widow), tells you all you need to know. I don’t see myself in antics of bitchy Lady Mary. Nor in perpetually weepy Lady Edith. No, I relate to the smartass spinster.
I’ve been ashamed to admit it for a while now, but it’s official. I’ve lost my hojo.
It’s been gone for three years now. I’ve contemplated putting an ad on the side of a milk carton, but I really wouldn’t want to “time-lapse age” my hojo into what it might resemble now. Craigslist lost & found isn’t really an option because that would surely get me murdered and stuffed in a woodchipper. I really wish I knew where my hojo wandered off to. Is it an environmental refugee due to drought? Did it choose to run away for a better life with someone more worthy? Was it stolen and held ransom somewhere awful, like Buffalo?
There was a time I was totally confident in my sexuality. As I’ve written before, I had my share of fun in college. A LOT of fun. The best moments of my life until this point and the memories I measure all sexual experiences against. Seriously stiff competition. So when I started dating and married a closeted gay man I figured I could sacrifice sex for a man who enjoyed antiquing and nouveau Mediterranean cuisine. I never lost the urge though…
About 4 years in, I seriously wanted an affair. I tried desperately in fact, pursuing and planning only to be rebuffed in the end by a man with better morals than I possessed. In the end it pushed me to move out of state to try and save my marriage from the daily temptation of seeing the object of my lust. Little did I know the move was all a con so my husband could be closer to his affair target. The irony. I wonder if anything would have changed if I stayed and didn’t take no for an answer. Maybe that was when my hojo got the urge to run away from home. I’d never before been refused sex. Anyone I wanted, I could at least get them into bed. Even if I couldn’t always get the relationship I wanted, I could still get my freak on. And it fueled my self-confidence knowing I could turn men into Jello whenever I wanted. I was like a female Bill Clinton. Until that time.
When my marriage ended, I tried to make up for lost time. Being in my mid-30s, I was at the peak of my sexual desire, so the experts say. I ho’d it up for a while. Maybe the seeds of hojo doubt were planted when Psycho J with the anger issues could only climax by leaving handprints on my ass. Perhaps it was when the hot, young Serb with the finest six-pack I will ever see in my lifetime thought it was cute to poke at my muffin top. Maybe the hurt of starting over after 10 years out of the dating pool made me a little insecure. I pushed on though, trying to get my groove back.
And then my peak period seemed to converge with the Dark Ages. I hit a streak of men with performance issues. I could excuse the first one, he was pretty drunk. The second? Pretty sure he was a virgin. Door number three? Trigger happy. A friend joked that maybe I was the problem. Like a “cooler” in a casino. I just killed men’s erections. Normally I appreciate a good joke, but this time I wondered if there was a hint of truth in the punch line. So that was it. I took myself out of the dating game. Three years of celibacy later, I am still searching for my hojo, like all the men I’ve ever dated looking for the elusive G-spot like it’s hunting for Sasquatch.
I miss my happy hojo. The girl who could find herself walking the streets of Montreal alone at 4:30 am after an epic night of partying with a bachelor party of strangers. What happened to the days of dressing up like Mrs. Robinson for Halloween with a posse of young Benjamins? Where was the girl who had no trouble making out with a felon (unknown at the time) in a strip club where I felt sexier than the strippers? I miss those stories. I used to be fun. I used to be self-assured. I used to feel hot, dammit.
Now this week I find myself the recipient of an email from the one man who rejected me. I saw a shadow, much like Punxsatawney Phil. Could it be my hojo? It made me smile to know that after all this time he still thinks of me. Even if it isn’t quite an indecent proposition, I find myself savoring this moment.