Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Killing Me Softly

If you’re going to suffer you should suffer magnificently.

Not sure where or when I first heard that but that phrase resonated with me. Spoke to my slightly untamed and indulgent nature. Was louder and more enticing than the sullen voices and memories of hollow women that would scold me for laughing too hard or too loud, falling in love to often or giving myself over to any real pleasure. Somewhere around fifteen I was sitting at a table in a restaurant, my mother and her mother both whispering, scowling and passing judgment on a group of people three tables over. The group was opulent for sure; many empty bottles and more on the way, food remaining on their plates while they ordered dessert, lots of laughing, cuddling, touching, kisses. I sat there watching this six top of shameful behavior wishing I could slip out from under my chair, ditch the “civility” of whispering women, the clinking of the ice in the cold glasses of tea, the slow, guilt laden, stabbing of food….the glances around the room to see if anyone was seeing them pleasure themselves when the morsels landed upon their twisted-with-envy-and-regret palates. I ached to slip away and let myself plunk bits of food…food that I picked at with my fingers…between my lips. Longed to pick up one of those glasses and let the warm with alcohol liquid slip down my throat and loosen the behavioral corset that bound me so tight that I was incapable of feeling much of anything at all.

I sat there, them shaking their heads, looking over their shoulders, bitter words of “trashy” and “no class” feeling slightly fragmented. My years of trying to please these women urging me to agree, to denounce these people for…and that was when it hit me, denounce them for what? Having fun? Living too much? Laughing too hard, enjoying their food too much, touching? Oh I felt shame for sure but it was at the boorish, uncivil and very clearly jealous snapping of the people at my own table. If this was what you got from living your life by the rules, restraining yourself from feeling too good too often, this holier than thou attitude full of judgment and ugly words sputtered from a tight lipped frown, well then I was ready to go stomping around in puddles, naked, Slim Jim between my teeth, someone’s lips on my hips while I danced to Let’s Get It On.

Now I know there are wicked smart and driven teenagers but sadly I was not one of them so I went about this new, “Gonna get my feel on” thing all wrong. Took a lover, took a lover at 16, as if the fumbling of some 16 year old boy was somehow going to please me. Fail. That was my first of many failures when it came to discovering what made me feel good…although I did find that I derived tremendous pleasure from “seducing” him, so much as it was. The way he would risk just about anything to be with me simply by me giving him a certain look or brushing the back of his neck with the tips of my fingers….the way he would stutter, stammer, tear at my clothes, the way I could get him to follow me behind the building where he worked because I “Simply had to be with him”. Wish I could say that was the greatest 3 minutes of my life, wasn’t but I did start to figure out that I was getting the real pleasure by making him feel.

The relationship was bound to end, fuck I mean we were only 16 but it was doomed more by my pretending it was just for fun when I actually cared very deeply for him. This thing of ours went on into our twenties, both of us in and out of relationships but always lovers. He wanted the body I was freely giving him and I wanted all of him. To this day he holds the record for breaking my heart, hurt me the worst and to this day….I don’t blame him and I would do it all over again. To learn as much as I did, to hide the way my own heart was pounding away when he would kiss me, the pain I felt when he would talk to me about his newest love, the way I cried every time he left. If you’re going to suffer….

Now at almost forty I am often at that “touching bottle filled table” using my fingers to eat whenever I wish, pouring plenty of warm alcohol rich liquid down my throat and still playing around with whatever bit of sexy I might have. Flirt, bend my body, wet my lips and growl saucy things to make people stutter but I’ve found my true pleasure comes from using my words to inspire want. Being able to describe something in a way that drives people to seek out that moment, that bottle, that taste…now that is what truly drives me wild. I’m lucky enough to work in an industry that kind of requires that, unbelievably lucky to have a boss that allows me, often encourages me to do it in my way and…I have this place. This place where I just talk and all you amazing people come to feel me…you simply cannot know how much pleasure you give me.

I spent yesterday just couching. Recovering from a weekend that saturated me in amazing wines, pouring them alongside two men too humble to truly understand how much they have changed me, drinking with, dining with and selling wine to people that either drove hundreds of miles or flew out to be there…because my words, the ones they found here, inspired them to do so. Unreal to me and truthfully a tad overwhelming. I was just a puddle yesterday, drained and exhausted, too tired to do more than fondle the remote but…damn, sweetest exhaustion ever. So while this painfully shy woman suffered a bit from being kind of in the spotlight….I assure you, I was suffering magnificently.


pgrant8258 said...

Dayum Sam, Simply amazing once again.

Even in HMW's respected absence, I'm still here often quietly applauding you, but this post especially made me have to clap loud enough that you could hear.

Your voice tonight was even brighter than the one so many of us have already come to admire and adore from you...tonight it sparkled with magnifcence.

peace always to you and yours,

Thomas said...

Suffering magnificently.

A lesson I learned at the same age--16. I was in a rock singing group. We had just recorded and were doing shows to promote the record. But I hated performing in front of an audience so much that I had to be dragged on stage by the rest of the group--until that first round of applause erupted.

What a feeling of magnicant suffering it was!

Thomas said...

magnificent magnificant, what's the difference?

Wayne Young said...

Whoa. Your blog leaves me speechless. And that's not easy.

Jennifurla said...

This was a lovely read.

Samantha Dugan said...

Wow, what a wonderful compliment that was. Always amazes me, just when I think I am writing to the same 12 people someone lends their voice through an email, a visit or a comment and it is such a remarkable feeling. Thank you so much for the reminder and the gentle push that keeps me writing....I do love it so.

I must have missed that chapter....but you know as well if not better than I, when you put yourself out there and get more praise than bullshit, well it makes it easier to step out on that stage again.

Now if only someone could make me speechless my husband, my coworkers and a few bloggers would be elated! You are too kind and as always, thank you for taking the time.

Awe, how very sweet of you to say and how very inline with my message here. I get so embarrassed when people compliment me, so baffled by what it is they see but....damn it feels so fucking good. Thank you lady!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Nothing I love more than suffering magnificently. It's one of the great tools of comedy. But here you've elevated it to art. You dazzle.

You have a wonderful storyteller's gift for making me wonder at the beginning of your tales, "Where is she going with this?" You lead me around by my meat compass showing me your childhood, your formative sexual years, and the whole time I'm completely engaged (engorged?) yet not sure where we'll end up. But I trust your voice, and I trust your talent, and you always take me to a place that is unexpected yet beautiful. And you make it look so easy, which is what proves you have a superior gift for storytelling. You just dash this brilliance off in the middle of the night when the rest of us are sound asleep and drool is running down our chins.

I'm sorry that this is just a longwinded way of saying the much-loathed "Great Post!" If you set out to inspire want, well, you certainly succeeded in my case.

I flashed back to being a teenager and having to host a talent show. I wrote my own jokes and was afraid I'd bomb. I was scared to death to do my monologue, but my drama teacher encouraged me, and when curtain time arrived I summoned up the courage to go out there and tell my jokes. I mostly bombed. But I got one huge laugh and the wave of laughter that washed over me changed the course of my life. I spent the rest of my life trying to catch that wave again, and so, now, whenever I need that feeling of warmth and acceptance I know how to get it. I pee in my wetsuit.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Note to self, never borrow Ron's wetsuit.

Ron My Sweet Love,
I am eternally grateful to that drama teacher of yours, that change of course brought you here....there are no words large or important enough to explain what your entry in my life has meant to me, how much it has brought me and how I cherish you, your talent, your humor, your love and appreciation of me and whatever it is I do here. Thank you My Love....I adore you.

Thomas said...


Check your email.

Charlie Olken said...


The juxtaposition of this personal expose with your F & W rant raises the art of wine blogging to a new level.

Poodles, beware. You can't hold a candle to the brilliance of this blog.

Amy said...

Yes. I agree with everyone. Sam is a fantastic writer. But today, I went to her blog page just to see her sweet face and smile.

chris said...

I'm shy and would never guess that you are "painfully shy." I see you as humble, sensitive and courageous.

Romes said...

Ok - I'm here, just thought I'd let you know... And, moved as always - enough to fly 862 miles to be with you!

Sara Louise said...

I like this, a lot. Suffering magnificently... it's fantastic!

Samantha Dugan said...

What a rock star.

As it turns out even when it comes to writing a wine blog I do what I want....what makes me feel good and can I just tell you when you praise me like this, feels oh so good. Poodles have nothing to fear from me love, not even sure we are playing at the same park at this point...many wine bloggers don't see what I do here as real wine blogging and the thing is, I'm okay with that. I started this blog hoping to reach out beyond the already wine obsessed, reach new people that don't want to hear about brix, coco and cherries, I think it's starting to work....

Awe, you are too sweet. I miss you!

Oh trust me, I am so very shy....wish you could feel the knots in my tummy right now just thinking about having to teach a class tonight. Would love to be those other things you said but shy is the only one I am sure of.

Finally! Kidding of course and I am still floored that you and Travis came all that way...you two are absolutely wonderful people and you humble me so.

Just fits sometimes right?

Thomas said...


Did you notice the "rap" style--in 1961!

Another Day of Crazy said...

Suffer magnificently, love magnificently write magnificently... you do them all with passion and express things the rest of us feel but can't articulate. As always, brava!

Nancy Deprez said...

Sounds like a great weekend done right - glad you had a great one with friends from afar. Hardly suffering, but I see what you mean! :)

Samantha Dugan said...

I did, you cats were badass.

Another Day of Crazy,
Oh look at you being all gushy and stuff. You are too sweet my dear friend.

Oh girlie trust me, I suffered plenty but as I said, it was lovely.

Dave said...

Darlin' Sam,

Late to the party, yet again, trying to catch up after a week of Mondays. My heart sank when I opened your Cannot Wait post learning I had let an oyster opportunity slip through my fingers (I do manage to get a few in my mouth usually). It sank even further reading your follow up. You work too damn hard to have to put up with that shit.

Back to the present, Ron has summed it up most eloquently. I can only add that this post took me back to a conversation about the use of embedded links in writing and how they interrupt the flow and cause distraction.

While reading this it dawned on me that a part of what is so compelling in your writing is your ability to take a short phrase (the “civility” of whispering women, e.g.) or often just a single word that becomes a mindlink causing us to merge and incorporate our experiences without losing touch with your voice, the flow, and most important the feeling.

Keep up the great work.

Samantha Dugan said...

Dave My Sweet,
Thank you for the very sweet words and the oyster condolences, was crushing not to fulfill my desire for them but at least I get a second chance. Yeah, the link thing...just fucks with my flow and I hate finding them in the middle of sentences that I read so I sure as shit aint gonna use them here.....very often anyway. I adore you kid and thanks for posting!

Another Day of Crazy said...

Got this, this morning, and it made me think of this post and you...

Faut souffrir pour ĂȘtre belle...

Could be translated literally as 'one must suffer to be beautiful', or perhaps more loosely translated, suffering creates beauty.

Samantha Dugan said...

Another Day of Crazy,
Damn girlie, that you thought of me while reading that is beyond moving to me. Thank you beautiful....