Almost a year ago, my father gave me some advice about women. Before this, the only advise I can remember hearing was from my mother, claiming to be quoting him, saying, “Keep away from the skirts.” Though it was sound guidance, this simple philosophy leaves a lot to be desired. In the midst of my first relationship in which I had sex, my father and I found ourselves on a highway driving from my family’s house in Hudson, Ohio to the airport in Pittsburgh.
Ever since I was young, I considered my father to be a wise man. He and I rarely talked when I was a teenager; when we did it was rarely jovial conversation. It was not until I went to college that we both fully realized how similar we both are. Politically, our ideology is totally different, but we both believe in it so strongly that we ca not help but be drawn to each other and our respective opinions simply because we love to hear about the things that oppose our own view. It is uncanny how we can argue for hours about anything, political, social, family, or any type of issues, and afterward we are totally detached.
I first discovered this “mental detachment” in my best friend Lee. Lee is Irish, and I am Italian, so since we first met it has been fireworks. We frequently make fun of each other for being a drunken potato-eating Mick or for being a greasy sausage-scoffing Dago. Our political issues tend to be similar, though we will frequently take the opposing side of the other’s argument just to have an argument. This was something I always wished my father and I could have, and something we finally experienced on this drive to Pittsburgh.
Most of the conversations my father and I get into in cars is either about the music we are listening to or what we hear on some kind of talk-radio, unless we are in my car. In that infrequent occasion, most conversation we have is on my driving. On this cold November morning, he and I left for the airport at about 6:30 AM just as the sun was coming up. I decided that listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall would offer a perfect opportunity to discuss a variety of things. We started talking about Pink Floyd and how my father listened to them when he was my age, and how I had just really discovered their impact recently. This led us into the most profound discussion we had ever had to that point.
Though I considered my father to be wise, I never went to him for advice. Rarely do I seek advice from anyone, especially someone who will inherently pass a judgment on what it is that I am seeking advice for. For some reason, my father showed me a new side of himself that morning and we were able to talk about all sorts of things, from family issues to social issues, allowing our thoughts to freely flow to the paranormal preponderance that was Pink Floyd. He eventually flat-out asked if I was having sex with Nicole, my girlfriend of the time. I said I was, and he did not say anything.
It is amazing how, at times when one expects parents to have a conniption they simply remain totally calm. What is more amazing is that my father and I can have a screaming match over the state of the currency in America, but can have a perfectly composed discussion about sex. He proceeded to tell me that young people as well as old have a horrible tendency to interpret sex as love, and that I should be careful to not confuse the two. It was interesting that he did not tell me not make love or even to not have casual sex, but simply to know the difference. I later discovered that once I knew the difference, I knew why he did not have to tell me.
I have written many words about love; these are surely not the last. I have seen love in many forms, sometimes in simple beauty, other times in true physical intimacy. I have had sex both with those I love and, less frequently, with those I cared nothing for. I have broken hearts and had my heart broken, and what I have found is that I have my own advice. I have found that love blinds people’s minds, but sex blinds people’s bodies. People feel sex and interpret it as a wonderful thing, as it should be, regardless of the situation. In the end, everyone secretly (or not-so-secretly) desire to love and be loved, and even if love is not present, sex is a perfectly viable alternative for a heart that does not feel those things.
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