Intimacy Redefined

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(Intimacy Redefined)

A Different Point of View

Nine months from the day this “stay-at-home” order went into effect, we are going to have a new baby boom. Spring had already begun, flowers were starting to bloom—well, at least trying to bloom what with all the rain—and couples with having to spend time together, cooped up inside the house, with orders not to go out. One’s fancy then easily turns to romance and a different kind of flower will bloom nine months later. We’ll call it the COVID-19 generation. A different kind of virus has infected us, romance is in the air and no mask could stop it from spreading.

By the way, I see people wearing all kind of masks around town and I find bittersweet irony in the thought that Muslim women have been wearing masks for centuries as a preventive measure and most Western nations frowned hard upon them, so much to passing racially motivated laws to prohibit such practice. Now with all the shortage of masks, I see some vindication for their dress code.

Here’s a curiosity that has kept my mind busy lately. How does one keep intimacy with one’s spouse, given this social distancing practice of keeping six feet apart from one another? What’s even worse, how does one even begin the process? When I come home from work, my whole family is eyeing me with suspicion. Where have I been, they don’t know. Who did I come in contact with? What surface did I touch when I was at the supermarket, or using my credit card at the pharmacy, or filling my car with gasoline? I have to burn my clothes outside the house, shower with the hosepipe in the front yard, and enter only after wiping and disinfecting every inch of my being.

Sure, it is a show for my neighbors, but I can’t even kiss my wife without her suspecting me of being in the wrong place and being with the wrong crowd. I spend a better part of each day going from store to store, hoping, wishing, and praying that I would find that all elusive roll of toilet paper or a bottle of sanitizer. You should see the look of disappointment that my family gives me when I come home, dejected, depressed, and empty-handed. When I do succeed, which is rare, it is like Christmas at our house.

We feel joyous, hopeful, and dare I say, happy. One new roll of toilet paper means another few days of stress-free morning rituals when we have no care in the world and all is well. I wonder again, aloud, how does one keep intimacy with these six feet apart, social distancing guidelines in place? We don’t watch TV snuggled up under a blanket like we used to do in the past. There are no “Netflix and Chill” moments in our lives. We sit on the opposite ends of our eight-foot sofa. We have to sanitize the remote control before passing it to each other.

As a matter of fact, I have ordered additional remote controls for each member of the family, so we don’t even have to share any longer. Intimacy, what evil thought that might be?! We love each other; we are deeply committed to each other, but we also care for each other. You can see how with conflicting thoughts abound; there is no easy answer to my curiosity. On one hand, we want to be together as a loving couple. On the other hand, we must keep our distance as a caring couple. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t! If we don’t, then for richer and for poorer becomes intolerable. I may have to be hospitalized for a whole different reason. If we do, then in sickness and in health becomes a big issue.

Yes, the thought of to love and to cherish is so heartwarming, but, till death us do part, does take on a whole new significance. So how does one keep intimacy while staying six feet apart? Well, I have the answer and I am sure you’ll find it a practical, useful, and very pragmatic solution. Those selfie sticks, that we spent a ton of money on a while back, are coming in quite handy these days.

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