etiquette for bedmates


Unfortunately, not many of us look this good when we’re asleep.  They’re probably models anyway.  Thanks and acknowledgment for the pic to!

YOU SHARE an office with strangers and you make rules.  You share a flat (apartment) with acquaintances and you make rules.  Surely it’s at least as important (and practical) to have rules with someone you sleep with?

If you’re like me, you don’t.  idiosyncratically, some things are too personal, or instinctual, for us to make formal rules for.  We either love or hate the things they do, the people we sleep with.  We literally live with them.

I just thought I’d think up a few things that would serve as helpful, when you’re starting out with someone, when you’ve lived with a loved one for years and years, or when you’re just hooking up (hope it’s not an offensive term to my old-school buddies) overnight with a hot date :

Face-to-face is romantic, but not in the morning.  You know those lovey-dovey scenes where the lovers’ faces are less than an inch from each other as they fall asleep (presumably after doing the nasty) and as they wake at dawn?  It looks good on the silver screen, but not in real life.  Our noses, lips and other bits and pieces will often bump each other, not just awkward but sometimes unsafe.  And then there’s the so-called “dragon breath” in the mornings, when we don’t smell our best.  So we can kiss and enjoy each other’s beautiful faces, just not all of the time, and definitely not when we’ve just woken up.

Don’t grab pillows, don’t pull blankets.  Spouse Mahal and I share everything in life except our pillows.  Because she has the purse and the shopping acumen, she has softer, downier and fluffier pillows.  I have the pillows from the Salvation Army store and leftover sofa pillows with itchy upholstery (just kidding). So sometime in the night, unconsciously or not, I begin to use some of Mahal’s pillows.  It’s alright as long as Mahal isn’t bothered or woken up by such (unauthorized) use, but when I begin to (unconsciously or not, again) pull our shared blanket towards me to preserve heat, especially during the winter, she wakes up and pulls right back, towards her.  I usually grunt, half asleep and don’t care.

The lesson in all this?  First, you have to make sure that there are enough pillows and that the blanket/s are large enough for the user/s.  Second, there has to be thoughtfulness and solicitousness so that pillows and blankets, regardless of whether there are enough, are shared equally among the bedmates.

Snoring, sleep talkin’ and sleep walking.  My eccentricities are not limited to my waking hours, Mahal never ceases to remind me.  I am a terrible snorer, I talk in my sleep and occasionally sit up and walk around the bedroom.  Oftentimes these are just indicators of other things going on in our lives, like an obstruction in our airway, a little too much stress in our lives, etc.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) Mahal is also a snorer, talks and even laughs in her sleep.  So we watch out for each other, know when we are going to snore loudly (it’s when we are very tired or have colds, coughs or other minor respiratory issues) and wake each other up when we’re doing something funny.  It’s just extra dosage of concern for your bedmate that can go a long way.

There are other guidelines we live (sleep) by.  Come to bed observing hygiene, otherwise you get no good night kiss.  No sneaky moves when the other partner isn’t ready for “conjugal activities” ( I enforce this rule too, although Mahal benefits more from the rule, I admit).  Don’t bother the other person when he or she is on a late night shift.  And so on and so forth.  The  guiding spirit of these rules and guidelines is usually being considerate of the other person’s needs and tastes, which is, when you think about it, common sense among people who love (and live with) each other, don’t you think?

Mabuhay and thanks for reading!


Doin’ the Nasty : this Pinoy’s rules of engagement

I promise, promise to be a good boy. Tomorrow!

[ READER’S DISCRETION ADVISED. Many, many thanks for all your diligent readership, will be temporarily signing off for a while; I’ve always been grateful for you being a sounding board off my rants and raves.  It’s been therapeutic for me, and if you’ve gotten anything out of it, I admire you for patience and finding value in oxygen-wasting blogs like this, and if any of you know esposa, it’s just delaying the inevitable but don’t tell her about this episode, heh heh. ]

DON’T BELIEVE couples when they tell you it’s the companionship, intellectual stimulation or growing old together that’s the primary reason for marriage.  You can get companionship from a cat, if that’s what you really want.  Go to the library for intellectual stimulation, cuz I think it’s another kind of stimulation that drives the diehard marriage advocates.  And growing old together is all very good, but 99.9% are more interested, frankly, in the here and now.

It’s the intimacy that’s the bread and butter of any coupling (maybe that’s why it’s called coupling) and although there are many kinds of intimacy, the intimacy of touch, thoughts and deeds, it’s the intimacy involved in the heat of the night, the passion in front of the fireplace (the heat becomes self-generated) and the satisfaction of giving pleasure to each other that drives the engine of marriage and cohabitation.  I don’t go so far as to use the word / concept love, it probably exists and survives parallel to companionship and intimacy, and I don’t doubt it thrives in a marriage, but it’s a bit too abstract to discuss in this rant and rave.

As the relationship matures and the passion finds its comfort level, we make compromises with each other on what each is comfortable with, but with many men (and a good number of women) the perennial staple is the sex, there’re no two ways to say it (and so I won’t be misunderstood).  You can take away the trimmings, the fancy cooking, the yearly cruises, and the fancy hi-tech gadgets that drive away the boredom that inevitably sets in, but you can’t take away the sex.  Because when you take that away, the three of you (you, your spouse/partner, and the relationship) are in trouble.

Wow, that was a LONG intro.  I just wanted to tell you my rules of engagement as regards Doin the Nasty, use of the latter term is encouraged as there are still a few delicate ears out there and quite a few aunts and grand-aunts email me every now and then to complain about grammar and spelling, I’m sure they notice the content as well.  By the way, they aren’t really MY rules, they’re esposa hermosa’s.  When you think about it, she cooks the great-tasting and never-boring meals, she supervises the laundry ( I just assist half-heartedly unless we’re about to do the nasty), supervises the housecleaning (I just assist half-heartedly unless you know the rest), wakes me up for work and puts me to sleep every night, and does just about everything else to make me happy, so I supposed it would be small payback to let her handle THIS aspect of Living With The One You Love.  I just pretend to co-sponsor the Doin the Nasty legislation :

Never on consecutive days.  This is probably the most important rule of the kingdom, I guess it’s her kingdom so it’s a queendom, argghhhh.  Why so, you must ask?  Well, it’s a hard and fast rule for her that if you do it every day, before long it becomes tedious boring and bereft of meaning, because doin the nasty must of course be consummated with love and passion, which is just about the most ridiculous rule for me, and I guess 99.9% of the men out there (that 99.9 number keeps popping up), cause re doin the nasty, I subscribe to the pizza rule, which I once saw on a gamey T-shirt, saying something like Sex is like Pizza : when it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s not so good, it’s still very good, and if you’re like me, you probably got the meaning instantly.  Nevertheless, she’s the coach, and I’m just the star player.  The second-best player, I mean, cuz she’s also the playing coach. Ayayay.

Never when she has an early shift the next day.  How bout MY early shift, you might ask?  Well, I never complain about the risk of not getting enough beddy-bye after Doin the Nasty, and once I complain, there’s the grave danger of her changing the mind about Doin the Nasty, so once a Nasty’s scheduled, I just keep quiet.  And concentrate on preparing for Doin the Nasty.  Notice how focused I get when it comes to Doin the Nasty? 🙂  Other notes : it follows that because any nocturnal activities are performed with a view to the next day, there is also a reasonable curfew to be followed (usually 12 midnight, but negotiable), after which no Doin the Nasty is to be allowed.  Such is life !

Miscellaneous rules.  Kiss and makeup Doin the Nasty and Pity Doin the Nasty is heavily discouraged, let me explain.  If we have an argument or tampuhan and make up later, Doin the Nasty is a way of one or the other doing it as a favor (so she says), so it loses its importance as a meaningful act, OK I get that.  Neither of us too (usually me) should use pity as a way of getting to Do the Nasty, as it also cheapens the act (really?)  Common courtesies like hygiene and being pleasant to the senses should be observed (I try not to forget that too often), and conscientiously observing the noise level while Doin the Nasty (usually my problem, but she has her moments as well) is strongly recommended, for the continued peace and harmony of the household.

All told, if I remember the Rules and stay out of trouble on the right days (remember the first rule?), I get to Do the Nasty and keep my pistons humming, figuratively speaking OK? There might be a few other rules, but these are the ones I remember for now.  Esposa hermosa is usually no-nonsense and runs a tight ship, but she also has a golden heart, and I never miss the twinkle in her eye.

Do you have your own rules for Doin the Nasty?  I would love to hear them sometime.

Thanks for reading!

Relearning the Dance of Cohabitation

[ NOte from NOel : Am momentarily stumped for accidental migrant

topics; I ran out of batch stories a long time ago; and for the

(fleeting) moment I’ve decided to temporarily stop writing senti letters to the anakis. Since I have committed to bother you more often this year (via my crazy site and these quite sociable Yahoo!groups), I have to extend the reach of my self-proclaimed expertise, which you will shortly read about below. Happy reunion to Judenite Batch 82 kabatch at John and Caroline Sy‘s residence, munch munch munch, welcome back to Tom & Ineng Agustin of Johnsonville, happy 18th wedding anniversary to Ambassador Anthony and Mary Ann Mandap, and don’t worry about those temporary stumbles on your way to keeping your 2011 resolutions, the best part of falling down is getting back on your feet ! ]

The past meets the present: Mahal, your crazy blogger and son Nigel

Dear batchmates, schoolmates, brods, officemates, kabayan and friends :

WE ARE, all of us, creatures of habit. Everything that gives us the foothold of familiarity, the rote of routine, the monotony of muscle memory, is what we usually go with, three-quarters of the time. Unless you’re the flaky fellow who does the same thing 99 straight times and expects a different result on the hundredth, we are nearly everyone of us addicts to repetition, human GPS jitterbugs when it comes to our regular haunts and places of work, residence and repast.

For this reason, I have had to unceremoniously unlearn all the things, habits and quirks I had accumulated when I officially re-tied the knot after 10 years of binatahood. For reasons of modesty, I refrain from mentioning the other half of my new partnership (unless totally necessary). The most symbolic of reminders, the ring that sits on my finger, is there everyday to tell me that my life is no longer just mine, but there are other things I must get used to.

SLEEPING HABITS. What has taken the most out of the way I have expected to live with myself is the way I sleep. This is harder than it sounds. Do you see in cinema the way some comedians toss and turn as they zzzz through their eight hours? How about the inert way some sleepers just curl up in a corner, hibernating between midnight and dawn?

Well, I’m somewhere in between, not needing a whole length of mattress as I’m not an “active” sleeper, but not a single-position “mantika” sleeper either. I adjusted somewhat the last few years of being a stowaway, hitchhiker and parttime rodent wherever my gigs have taken me in my temporary adopted land;  taken whatever bedspace available, whether it’s half a single bed, a sofa, or the unoccupied corner of a Pinoy boarding house, having learned not to move too much wherever my back hits the bedding, never to complain, and to wake up whenever my snoring gets too loud.

As you can imagine, this bohemian lifestyle has presented some practical problems as soon as I decided to remarry: in the first place, the marital bed can no longer be the solitary hole-in-the-wall I have gotten used to.

Now, whenever I turn, I consciously rotate on an invisible axis without taking up any more space lest I disturb my nighttime companion; I try not to flail arms and legs too much despite the natural need to stretch and curl even while in deepest sleep; I tended to do this as evidenced by memories of my teens and 20s, when upon waking up, I would see blankets, pillows and even books and magazines flung to the floor. My unruly limbs no doubt being the guilty parties.

This deserves a separate paragraph : Most of all, I have told esposa hermosa never to hesitate and wake me up whenever my snoring bothers her, I have even contemplated those devices that inhibit or totally prevent snoring, my sinusitis, semi-obstructed airway and probably the reality of aging have aggravated this somewhat. She has gamely complied, and has even taken to taking her revenge during our waking hours. I just have to be on my toes for a night’s raucous snoring.

EATING HABITS. But there has to be a high point when you shift your paradigm of living : since getting re-domesticated, I’ve been a spoiled sow, running the gamut of Pinoy turo-turo : adobo, sinigang, menudo, kaldereta, paksiw, binagoongan, you name it, I’ve had it. It’s just my luck that asawak (Pangalatok for the wifey) grew up watching Mom work in a karinderya and has itchy cooking fingers all the time, every time.

To allow me (and herself, by extension) to go hungry is unthinkable, and she constantly thinks up and revives every recipe you can think of, my tum-tums and I can’t conceive of a more ideal situation.

For perspective, I went to McDo probably five times a week prior to her arrival, and it wasn’t just for the free morning paper. The last three years in NZ I’ve never gotten tired of the McDo merienda of cheeseburger, fries and frozen Coke, the McDo Big Breakfast of hash browns, white coffee, bacon McMuffin and jam on toast, it was Ronald McDonald, HamBurglar, Grimace and Birdie all the way, every day. Would it then be a surprise that I’ve gained at least five kilos of “happy fat” since the Big Plunge?

Obviously I have to strike a balance between eating happily and living healthily, but for now I am not complaining. It’s just that for every hard run or grueling night at the mill, I end up with comfort food of my childhood, a mountain of rice, and I end up fighting a losing Battle of the Bulge. Oh well, there are worse problems.

FREE TIME. By far the most dramatic part of getting married again is the realization that your time, especially your free time is no longer yours to spend. Those endless hours reading, watching every stupid rerun on TV, watching mediocre sports matches just because your favorite team/s is on, and playing Mahjong Solitaire and TriPeaks Solitaire are no longer lazy options (thanks for reminding me, Atty Lilibeth Cueva ) whenever you’ve got nothing better to do on the rainy weekend.

It’s a fair exchange really. You go on endless window shopping sprees, stalk weekend markets for knick-knacks and bric-a-bracs that no one wants, take endless walks on hillsides and meadows, in short drive yourself crazy when you should be napping to your heart’s content.

In return, you get to live with someone who knows how to make you happy, and when you grow old, you get help when you misplace the dentures or forget your daily medication.

**               **               **                  **

In our day and age, we no longer expect our kids to take care of us after we get sent out to pasture, or even depend on the tender mercies of extended family when the haze of forgetfulness sets in. In the end, we either look out for ourselves, or tough it out with the love of our lives.

 More than a fair exchange, really.

Thanks for reading !


Note to JeffLu : Deconstructing Death & All His Friends

[ Notes : Thanks loads for the Fujian tea, BroSonny, acknowledgments again for the insane jokes, RobinTong and maraming salamat for the early greeting, QueenHedy ! ]

Dear Jeff :

I’m not sure if the news I received in the e-group from BrotherKirby almost two weeks ago was correct, especially since no one in the batch has responded, at least electronically. Far away from home, most likely I’m just unaware that all who wished to pay their respects to your mom just went to The Sanctuarium without much fanfare.

Regardless, may I just belatedly express my deepest sympathies for your loss.

It would probably not be an exaggeration to say that your mom was a remarkable individual, capable of so much love and being loved, that you had no choice but to love her back. Anyone who raised a fine kabatch like yourself and your sister must have been a wonderful person, and I wouldn’t mind betting my bottom peso on that.

I confess I can’t readily relate to the twin events of profound sadness in your life, especially with one coming so soon after the other. I can only begin to imagine the void it must have created in your heart. The weird thing about Death (do you mind if I capitalize it? Seems a little more respectful that way), in my dyslexic mind, is that despite its consuming inevitability, starkness and finality, so many of us put off thinking about, dwelling on, or even planning for it.

Not just because it by its nature is not a pleasant subject (who wants to discuss Death? As in Oh, by the way I almost died today? Really? What a coincidence, I thought about dying naman ) but because human nature detests thinking of tomorrow’s complications at the expense of today’s pleasures, no matter how ill-advised, prudent or reckless.

Not even the promise of justice and retribution in the afterlife that all religions dramatize is enough to make us prepare for this event.

Circa 1970s, and on the far end of the island where my mother was born near Masbate, I saw my then 101-year old great-grandmother only once before she died, bless her soul, and between incoherent lapses and ponderous pauses, she told me about being a young girl in Rizal’s generation, the cruelties of so many economic, military and cultural upheavals, and last but not the least, how she missed smoking.

Through it all, the most urgent question my naive toddler’s mind wanted to ask her was : Are you afraid to die Mamay? I realized though that it was unneeded. Her exuberance as well as the palpable relief with which she faced the end of her earthly existence was for me, enough sign that hers was a life well lived.

But enough of my rambling.

Even when he is so close, breathing down our collective necks we deny Death’s presence, sometimes especially when the end is near. Why is that? Is it because since Death is a thing that can’t be truly felt except as a first-person experience, we can’t comprehend it until our own final moments in this world?

Which brings me coincidentally to another aspect of human existence that is difficult to describe unless it is actually experienced first hand (a redundancy).

Do you agree kabatch that Love, like Death is by nature a journey of the self ? You can read about it all you want till your eyes water, but it is more or less undefinable unless and until you’ve fallen in love.

As always, I hope you excuse my rambling as a haphazard and disjointed expression of sympathy Jeff. But one last thought I have while thinking of your mom is that, happily, she gains the eternal pleasure of rejoining your dad. I can’t help thinking of Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve in Somewhere in Time, the last scene, or Mel Gibson and his character’s wife, the execution scene in Braveheart, and, not the least, Leonardo de Caprio and Kate Winslet, the “flying” scene in Titanic. Choose from anyone of these and you capture how I see them now. Mushy, but effective.

God bless you and your family always.


Rescratching the 7 Year Itch

[ Notes : Sincerest condolences to the family of JeffLu on their loss, many thanks to Mr RobinTong for the forwarded jokes and emails, to tse to Mr RodneyDiola for the kind comments, and a special thank you & acknowledgment to a special couple that was kind enough to share their story with us below. ] 
 Dear kabatch and friends :
DESPITE our fragmented civil status and sometimes hilariously unreliable state of mental health (relatively speaking) it pleasantly surprises us that occasionally couples come to us for advice. 
Don’t laugh. Early this century one muggy p.m, a childless couple that lived a few flats down  approached us and asked Koya paano ba makashoot na shoot kung gusto naming makabuo?  Seemed that the hubby & wifey had been trying for more than a year but had yet to hit the jackpot.
Noting that they had been cohabiting (and presumably practicing some form of contraception) a while back, and having been told that their form of control was all-natural, we told them matter-of-factly, kung ano’ng ginagawa nyo nun para makaiwas ng baby, baligtarin nyo lang ang skedyul nyo ngayon
Believe or not, childless couple took this tip to heart and they now have three, count’em three kids. All born within a year of each other.
Now here come composites of conversations (oral, written and electronic) between us and a couple who separately (they are both friends of ours) solicited our worldly experience regarding couple trouble :
ANGEL sez : NOel, I don’t know anymore if I love my husband. When he was courting, everyone approved of him, he was the perfect gentleman, and never tried to convince me to be intimate until of course after we were married.  Ideal sya, in other words.  It’s been 15 years since, and while he has been sweet and supportive, there’s no more spice to the relationship.  To compound matters, I’ve met someone who I think I’ve fallen for, and while I realize I need to break up with him, I need to do it in person (he’s overseas), and I don’t think hubby understands this. Without judging me, please give me some guidance.
LUCKY sez : I don’t care if she takes advantage Kuya, the fact is I love her as much as I did the day we wed (he found out about her guy recently), he may or may not be deserving of her love, but the fact is, Angel has too much to lose by leaving her family and chasing the guy.  My main focus right now is saving our marriage by all means and if this means wooing her back from scratch I’ll do it.  I know I’ve lots of failures and shortcomings but I want to be the man she thought she married.  Can you spare some words of wisdom for our sakes?
               **               **               **
Let me first convey how flattered I am albeit in sad circumstances that you’ve turned to me for advice, gosh knows I’m an unlikely source.  Be that as it may, let me do my best :
LOVE and the resultant relationship that blossoms between two people is fraught almost from the very beginning by the inevitability of compromise.  Without going into too much detail, a thousand and one details that used to be resolved by one decision-maker become the compulsory agenda of the meeting of the minds of lovers committed to a life together.
Whatever the level of compromise, as long as you know that the road ahead will continue to be full of challenges and that marriage or commitment remains a journey and not a destination, partners in a relationship will continue to keep their perspective fresh.
Seems to me that at least one of you is confusing cause for effect. 
I’m not sure Angel if the two events happened nearly the same time, but just because you fell in love with another person doesn’t mean you’ve lost the love for Lucky at this point.  Could it be that the perceived effect, your falling in love, might be the cause instead?  Inasmuch as that involves a judgment on my part, I’ll leave that hanging awhile.
And just because, Lucky, you’re going all-out to win her back and save your marriage, doesn’t mean everything will go hunky-dory and your desired outcome will follow.  Not the best intentions will always produce the best results, and believe me when I say I hope I’m wrong.
I’m not trying to discourage you, love is an intangible quantity that never falls out of the equation in deriving the calculus of marriage.  But if you want to make a rational, complete and worthy attempt at understanding the foundations of your marriage. you must be ready to discover the prospect of its demise.
It seems trite, but if you rediscover the things that made you fall in love with each other, assess yourselves if you can find it within you to make those things part of you again, I wouldn’t be surprised if you can ignite the smallest spark that survives in your relationship, though it doesn’t seem that bright now.  What have you got to lose?
Before I bore you to death even before you decide on what to do, may I just touch on one last issue : Angel, wouldn’t going all the way to the guy’s side just to tell him you don’t want to see him anymore kind of defeat the purpose of your announcement?  If your desire to sever any romantic ties with him is your sincere objective, are you not risking too much by seeing him personally?  Just my two cents.
Hanggang dito na lang, thanks for your faith in our counsel.
Thanks for reading !