The Privacy Striptease
Privacy hits a solid wall when we start discussing dating and marriage. How are you supposed to develop intimacy if we want to maintain privacy? How are we supposed to deepen relationships if we are unwilling to open up and be vulnerable? Because you know what happens if people find out who we really are, don’t you?
Lee says: When we were first married, right about the time the ice caps melted after the big asteroid crashed on earth and killed the dinosaurs, Paul was very private. Paul would even lock the door when he showered. Since we lived in a little apartment, having a locked bathroom door meant that I would be doing the pee pee dance until he came out. I had no such issues since my entire life it was verboten to ever lock a door. Something about earthquakes, door jams, entombed by our own ridiculous need for solitude. Needless to say, I fixed him of that little quirkiness. I mean, come on, you expect me to perform all sorts of acrobatics for you, near you and on you but I can’t see you pee? That’s just silliness.
Couples often complain of a lack of privacy from their partner. I find the whole concept odd. I do respect someone’s desire to keep things to themselves and it is always your right to share what you want. However, the mere withholding ultimately is detrimental to you. Keeping it hidden just creates this nasty lump in your psyche that you will often trip over. Not sharing things with your partner is even more injurious since it drives a wedge between the two of you.
Think of secrets, privacy and shame as articles of clothing. As we begin to shed our secrets with our partner, we get a little closer. As we shed our shame, we can open ourselves to feeling loved and accepted. As we relax our rigid boundaries of privacy, we can engage in true intimacy and share deeply with our partner. Think of it like getting really naked. Now, I am not an advocate of having no boundaries. All I’m saying is privacy, as defined by society, or secrecy within an intimate relationship is an anathema.
Now alone time is very different. Taking a moment for yourself or, as I like to think, an adult time-out, is a necessary activity. Whether you put on the ear phones and work out or sneak off to bed a little early to read or even taking a mini vacation without your partner, the ultimate goal needs to be to regroup and be more accessible and available to your partner and other significant people in your life (I suppose your kids, if you have them.) Paul takes time reading or we switch off doing things sans kids. In fact, one father’s day was celebrated by taking the kids and heading off to my parent’s house without Paul. Paul was left alone to write, sleep and pine without me.
Now, most of you won’t consider this privacy but some quiet time is the only form of privacy that is conducive to deep intimacy. I’m not a big secret keeper especially since I’m already a little accident-prone and tripping over my own tongue is just one of those misfortunes I prefer to avoid. This is probably why I can never cheat on my husband. That would involve too much privacy and then there’s the publicity and then there’s the paparazzi and then Gloria Allred would be all up in my business….
Paul says: I think that Orwell made privacy synonymous with freedom. Unfortunately, if you take the kind of authoritarian socialist point of view, the people that did not like Big Brother were trying to do something wrong. That’s the limit of my smarts for the day. With the exception of locking the door when Lee and I are makin’ bacon (tee-hee) I do not require privacy because I have nothing that can’t be seen. No shame in my game.
As far as the kids are concerned, I could care less if they see what I am doing as long as they are quiet. Another option to taking them elsewhere was to build a big, soundproof Plexiglas box but that got all messy with the glue and the air holes.