I'm not advocating that more men bathe -- Gentlemen, that's a personal choice -- but I do want to go over the importance of grooming, particularly grooming rituals. This is for all of you over-Alpha fellas who need more help with Beta skills. And this is a biggie.
[On a side note . . . in consideration of the number of good Christians who read the blog, I've mostly attempted to keep my heathen ways, and how they contribute to my marriage, to a minimum. I have no desire to lead anyone away from their chosen path to Heaven, Jesus, or Enlightenment -- Pagans don't get points for proselytizing.
That being said . . . there are certain elements to Pagan practice that do not contradict Christian belief or practice in the slightest -- such as the development of personal rituals -- which you might want to consider incorporating into your life in some way. I find that the personal rituals that Mrs. Ironwood and I have developed over the years have added immeasurably to the stability and happiness of our marriage, and I rarely even call on my heathen gods when I do them.
Seriously, "ritual" merely means an action or procedure which acquires additional meaning beyond the inherent with conscious repetition. Buying a pack of cigarettes is a ritual. Putting on make-up is a ritual. Shaving is a ritual. We use ritual all the time, but many Christian sects discourage investigating the usefulness of ritual over prayer, so I haven't addressed it head-on like this until now. But us Pagans are all about a good ritual. This is one that is utterly secular in nature . . . yet can give you profound spiritual benefits regardless of your beliefs.]
Human beings evolved (or were Created, if you like that sort of thing) from primates, and primates we remain. One of the distinguishing features of primates and likely the root cause of our intense socialization (or at least a symptom of it) is the way primates groom each other.
Now lots of critters groom. Most other animals groom their young, but not adult members of the species as a matter of course. But primates continue to groom each other long into adulthood. Indeed, apart from brachiating and throwing poop, monkeys grooming each other is one of the most common images associated with them. In many human cultures (mostly tribal ones) the practice of grooming continues, particularly before important cultural and social events. In Japan, bath houses are public and well-attended.
But in the West, we see grooming as a very personal thing. Men rarely even go to barbers for a shave anymore, just a cheap haircut. Oh, a woman's trip to the spa or salon is as much social as it is for maintenance, but when she's at home, more than likely she does her thing in the bathroom and you do yours and you try to stay out of each others' way. That often leads to resentment and suspicion, if not just irritation and confusion. Sure, you don't need to see your lady bust a grumpy. But avoiding her in the bathroom altogether suggests intimacy issues exist. Long-married couples know each others' bodies as well as they know their own.
And that's the thing: as primates, we tend to pairbond more strongly after mutual grooming.
A lot of marriages in trouble have as one minor symptom this phenomenon of when one party (usually the wife) will insist on utter privacy when undergoing her beauty rituals, or even her commonplace bathing. While the desire for a grand reveal is understandable (and no man looks at a woman the same way after he's witnessed her poking herself in the eye with a pencil . . . repeatedly . . . and paying over $15 for the tool) if your mate's personal bathing rituals are a mystery to you, you're missing out on some serious Beta action.
Seriously, take a bath. Or a shower. With your wife. Not an ostensibly sexy shower, where the goal is to hide your moans from the kids behind the inadequate white noise of the shower, but take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and spend two hours bathing each other.
This is helpful for a number of reasons. First, it helps eliminate or mitigate body-consciousness for both of you. Once you've carefully scrubbed every inch of your mate, it's hard to feign surprise that they have a belly. Being naked around each other in such an intimate, personal, yet non-sexual way helps build confidence -- personal confidence, and confidence in the relationship.
But one of the rules of the ritual is no making fun of other people's parts. This is an exercise in trust and vulnerability for both of you. Your wife making fun of your "tool shed" or the words "cottage cheese" coming out of your mouth at any point in the experience should be avoided at all costs. This is a Beta move, remember: your mission is to establish comfort and safety, not impress her with your wit and prowess.
Some will shy away from this out of pure shyness, or feel that those things are too "personal" to do with the person they married. Others will worry that showing too much will "spoil the illusion" . . .although in truth it isn't usually your spouse who has illusions about your body. But I guarantee the sybaritic experience of standing in a hot shower or lying in a hot bath and being gently and thoroughly scrubbed is akin, no doubt, to how ancient monarchs felt in the bosom of their harems.
You should do this at least once a month, and twice is optimal. And once you've developed some confidence, go further: let your spouse shave you, if you dare. That's a huge trust exercise, but a valuable one. Just keep a styptic pencil on hand, and have recourse to band-aids the first few times. Shaving unfamiliar territory can be adventurous the first few times around.
But how does this relate to the BFE (Boy Friend Experience)?
The truth is, women can get 80% of the BFE now with a day spent at the spa/massage studio. While men want respect, enthusiastic desire and admiration with a hooker (or wife) in a typical GFE, women are looking for attention, relaxation, and communication. Usually the only time sex enters into the equation is if the woman is comparatively wealthy, the masseur in question is both straight and hunky, and Mama makes the first move . . . and tips generously.
But how do you provide your wife with the BFE? First, pretend you're 3 points hotter than you are, named Lars, have a European accent and can bench-press 100 lbs . . . with your dick. It helps. Trust me.
From there, the idea is to pamper her body with a whirlwind of intimate health and beauty treatments. Start with the bath/shower experience, only it's one-sided: you do her, at her direction. A tub bath is preferable -- the bigger the better -- but the goal is to make it relaxing. Play some quiet music in the background, aromatherapy candles, the whole metrosexual bit. Champagne or wine is nice, or a pitcher of her favorite mixed drink. One of Mrs. I's personal faves is the Buena Vista Social Club and a pitcher of coconut Mojitos in the summer, or George Winston and highly alcoholic hot chocolate in the winter.
From the bath, I highly recommend a full (non-sexual) body massage.
Massage is one of those exotic arts that mystify most men. Two minutes of shoulder rubbing isn't a massage. Taking an hour and a half to gently work every muscle group from scalp to heel, front and back, without touching nipples or clitoris in anything but a professional manner -- that's a massage. It can take years to do it properly, and some men are so clumsy with their hands they never figure it out. But in terms of things I invested in when I was younger that got me laid, almost nothing else paid bigger dividends than knowing the finer points of massage.
Women complain of stress and anxiety almost more than anything else, so a stress-relieving massage after a stress-reducing bath, followed by a separate shampoo/conditioner/hair mask treatment is bound to loosen her up a bit. And if you really want to wow her, get her some practical but satiny pajamas or a big fluffy robe to slip on afterward. A surprise like that is thoughtful and sensual.
Foot massage? If you do nothing else, rub the soles of her feet. There isn't a woman alive who doesn't eant her feet rubbed. And if you have a foot fetish, bonus points, right?
Spend an inordinate amount of time on it -- long past the point where you're bored. This is about her, not you, idiot. And when you're done, take a break, bring her a light snack while her hair dries, and then start complimenting her. Tell her how luscious her hair smells, how tiny her pores are, how delightful you find those wisps of hair she can't quite keep under control. Assure her that any man in the world would be happy to die for a mere glimpse of her beauty. Tell her all of your friends secretly lust for her. Lay it on thick.
(You think hookers tell the truth? Or masseurs?)
Whether you go the whole road and paint her nails or not is up to you -- I leave that to professionals. But at the very least offer to trim her bikini line . . . and then offer to "test it out" for her afterward. It's her call -- she's in charge -- you're just there to serve her.
But if she elects for the "happy ending", then consider stashing a few chocolate truffles around, and popping them in her mouth just as you go Downtown. The woman who can shrug off with impunity high-end chocolate combined with cunnilingus has not been born.
Follow the whole thing up with an oil or lotion rub-down, more compliments, and/or a trip to a professional salon for details like hair and nails. More gratuitous flattery. More rubbing and touching (at her discretion and direction). Really fill her Beta tank up but good.
And then when she's feeling all warm and cozy and soft and fragrant and relaxed and secure, let her drift away to sleep for a few hours.
That's when you can go have your own shower, re-establish your throbbing masculinity, and wake her later looking studly and ready to take her out to dinner (NB: for most gigolos the high point of their client's evening is not the big penis party, it's the dinner and conversation and flirting beforehand. Being seen in public with a handsome man who is paying her glorious attention is the kind of preselective 'gina tingler that causes otherwise reasonable rich women to pay some dude glorious attention.
Whether you merely groom each other regularly, or you hit her with a surprise BFE when she needs it the most, there's never a downside with becoming more intimately familiar with your spouse's body. It gives you each greater understanding and greater intuitive knowledge of your partner, and that can't help but improve your sex life and your body anxiety issues.
So take a bath . . . with your wife . . . and enjoy the good clean Beta fun!