My song today is ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’. This 1954 blues song was written by Willie Dixon and was first recorded by Muddy Waters. It was initially released as ‘Just Make Love to Me’. The song reached number four on Billboard’s magazine's ‘R&B Best Seller’s Chart’. In 1961, Etta James recorded the song for her debut album ‘At Last’.
Was any teenager to ask equal numbers of men and women, “How do I make love?” I am reasonably sure that he would receive widely different answers from both sexes, and that there would be little marrying of the male and female minds. To most men, ‘making love’ and ‘having sex’ is one and the same thing, and is part and parcel of the same act, but to every woman who ever lived and loved, it means much more.
Please let me acknowledge from the outset (contrary to popular belief) that when it comes to providing first-rate service in ‘the restaurant of romance’, I have dropped and broken as many plates as the clumsiest of waiters wanting to impress his table guest. Like any testosterone-charged bull in a china shop, I would have as many crashes as I did crushes. While I never promised more than I could deliver to any young woman, it did not stop a few of them from promising everything to me and essentially delivering nothing.
I first set off on my teenage crusade of winning over all the hearts in Christendom (Halifax, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Dewsbury) when I was around 17 years old. This was my stage of life when I felt at my most attractive to the opposite sex. I could sing, dance, and fight as well as any young man from Windybank Estate, and when possessed by a James Dean lookalike, this trinity of personal abilities was good enough to gain me easy access to the hearts of most young women in my realm of romantic conquest. I had been a romantic combatant on the battlefield for several years before my dear late mother gave me the best piece of advice ever regarding the opposite sex.
While always having been blessed in the good-looks department, my confidence plus any additional positive traits in my personal wardrobe of attraction made me popular with both my mates and the young women. For some reason other than these attributes, however, I always seemed to finish up with the most beautiful young woman at the end of the night, while other mates (who were as handsome as me) usually fared far worse with the attractiveness of their ‘last-dance-of-the-night’ partner. While we have moved on sixty years into a different century since my teenage years, I am sure that the choice of partner for the ‘last dance’ still carries the same message to the dancing pair?
What was this piece of motherly advice which advanced my amorous intentions better than any other she ever gave me I hear you ask eagerly? My mother smiled and said, “Billy, if you don’t ask, you never get!” I always wanted to dance with and date the most attractive of young women, and following my mother’s advice, I would always ask the most beautiful one I laid eyes on to dance. I must confess, I carried enough confidence and positive expectation which never led to surprise when the beautiful young women smiled obligingly and took the floor with me. As far as I was concerned, ‘this was the way it was meant to be’.
One Saturday night at the dance in Cleckheaton Town Hall, a group of us approached half a dozen young women standing together at the side of the dance hall floor as they secretly eyed-up the male talent looking in their direction. The group of mates I was with eventually gathered the courage to ask the bunch of young women to dance, and before I realised it, they were in the process of approaching their female prey halfway across the dance floor. I was being left behind and started fearing that I would find myself being landed with the ‘booby prize’ in the female draw by the time I caught up with them. Strange though it may seem, by the time I arrived to ask the remaining girl in the group to dance, I could not believe my eyes! Every girl in the group had been asked to dance by my mates except ‘the most gorgeous girl in the lot!’ I could not figure out why I had been left with the best of the bunch. While I knew that I was popular with my mates, none of them liked me enough to leave a succulent peach in the fruit bowl while they took the plainer apples and less succulent bananas as a preferred taste.
Later that night, my attractive date told me that it was not the easiest of social lives being the most attractive-looking girl in her crowd of peers. When asked to explain, she started to point out the obvious, saying that most young men never ask her to dance because they feared she would probably refuse their advances; thereby leaving them to make the ‘walk of shame’ back to their jeering mates shouting ‘loser’ at the poor chap whose offer to dance with the beautiful lady had been so publicly declined. Also, she pointed out that because most young men wanted to get ‘as much as they could’ from their association with women (even on the first night), they often made several crude assumptions as to which young women they would be better ‘getting off with’ as they approached a group of females awaiting dancing partners. At long last, I knew what my mother had been trying to tell me!
While I am no expert in the field of ‘lovemaking’, I have learned my most important lessons in life from my greatest mistakes made. I learned early on in my romantic life that women’s needs are rarely the same as men’s desires, and even when they are, they rarely occur at the same time. I would learn that ‘lust’ and ‘love’ can be the closest of bed partners as well as being the most emotionally distant. My own love lessons evolved through the process of trial and error assisted in large measure through my early attraction, association, and intimacy in my late teenage years with more mature and available women. In later life, while I also had my experience and work as a marriage guidance counsellor, and a Probation Officer to reinforce such knowledge, I would also have to say that being one of two people in a failing marriage that ends in an acrimonious divorce teaches one a lesson about intimacy and sexual dissatisfaction not learned elsewhere.
The most important thing I would learn in love and life was that to a woman, sexual intimacy is as much (if not more) a means to get emotionally close to her partner than being just a means of acquiring physical pleasure. I learned that whereas men require a degree of physical intimacy to have their male egos stroked, their sexual appetite satisfied, and their manhood validated, that women required and valued emotional support more than man could ever imagine. Without the vein of emotion running through every rock of romance given to them, every woman will know that what she holds in her hands will never amount to being more than ‘fool’s gold’. While women value compliments more than men, they need to hear the truth delivered with verbal care and sensitive selection, that were their male counterparts called Pinocchio they would be faced with too many long noses.
I have spent a lifetime ‘falling in love’, combined with a few long periods of ‘being in love’. My small understanding of a woman’s mind leads me to the conclusion that sexual intimacy is never a destination, but a path that can lead to emotional bondage and mental union with a soulmate. It is perhaps the most ironic of all ironies, but until a man stops having sex with the woman in his life, he will not discover how to make love with her.
One of my greatest assets in the weapons of my romantic armoury was my willingness to make myself emotionally expressive and emotionally vulnerable. When one likes oneself, it becomes so much easier and less threatening to be ‘found out’. Indeed, I now know that honesty and vulnerability cannot be separated. I also know that any man who is prepared to make themselves emotionally vulnerable to any woman automatically will be less of a threat to them, even the strongest of female personalities. Any man who is not afraid to cry when emotionally moved by a sad/happy film while sitting alongside his woman will learn more quickly than most males, that there is more than one obvious use for having a box of tissues to hand.
I will end today’s post with the observations of the Jewish female comedienne, Joan Rivers, who blamed her mother for the inevitable dissatisfaction in her marital sex life. Joan said, “All she told me was
that the man goes on top and the woman underneath.' Joan went on to explain, “For three years we would go to bed at the same time nightly, and we always slept in the same bedroom, even if we had shared a few discourteous words during our day. For the first three years of our marriage, I religiously followed mum’s advice and nothing exciting ever happened. Within ten minutes, we would both be fast asleep in our bunk beds.”
Love and peace