June 4, 2008

Vanilla Pride

I read some absolutely exceptional blogs that have expanded my world beyond my wildest dreams. I am so grateful for the diverse viewpoints and stimulating conversations available to me. But I have a bone to pick with some out there in blogdom. I read posts and occasional comments that have a thinly-veiled contempt for what is termed the “vanilla” lifestyle. Who am I kidding? There’s nothing veiled about it.

I read of disdain for this “vanilla” existence and then find a recitation of basically the life I have chosen to live: long-term monogamy; suburbia; quiet nights at home or with friends; children; movies; reading, etc. In some of the thoughtless throwaway comments, it sounds like a living hell of mind-numbing blandness.

I’ve got news for those who curl their lips with a heavy-lidded sneer of derision: you don’t know vanilla.

I’m not talking about the artificial vanilla whose flavor is plastic and short-lived with a bitter aftertaste. I’m talking about the real vanilla which is rich, exotic, and sensually sweet on the tongue. My vanilla is warm and deeply intense yet mellow. It is not the white-hot flash fire of lithium, it is the smoldering banked embers that last beyond dawn. It’s the flavor to which you return after a night of hot spice. It’s the flavor of home and baking and open arms.

Vanilla is a vibrant and powerful sexual experience that is refined and enjoyed many times over with a single lover. It is the overwhelming, everlasting sweetness of love for a child. Vanilla is anticipating the comforting presence of longtime friends or the exciting tension of making new friends. It is being joyfully subsumed by good music and fine writing. Vanilla is expanding your world with deeper knowledge and uplifting experiences. It is challenging your own precepts with fresh and innovative ideas. Vanilla is a quiet revolution of change from within. And vanilla rightfully takes its place on the spice shelf, one of many good flavors.

Damn straight I’m vanilla, and proud of it. My symbol is not a raised fist, it is an extended hand. My flag is white: elegant in its simplicity, it contains the entire spectrum of light. Let it wave.


Anonymous said...

Elegant simplicity is very beautiful. I hope I've never made you feel unwanted.

Birdie said...

Never, sweetie. I have never felt unwelcome on any blog on which I've commented. (And you sent me such a gracious welcome email, too.)

I am sensitive to the fact that my presence as a commenter might change the timbre of a blog if I make someone uncomfortable. It's a careful balance of honesty with respect for all of us.

bigislandjeepguy said...

i want THIS post to be the "guest blog" on joe.my.god's site.

thank you. you have NO idea how big my smile was when i read this. it is no wonder why i look forward to what you have to write.

vanilla, INDEED!

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Good Grief Bird! Who made you feel uncomfortable? May they be bound to a wheel and sent down a rocky road. Honestly, your comments are of value to me and others not because of your position on things (positions are a dime a dozen) but because of your intelligence and compassion. One must develop incredibly thick skin in this arena. Take that from one who knows.

Patrick said...

Isn't it funny how we'll just be living our lives, doing what we can to make sense of the world, when someone who doesn't know us from Adam's off-ox will come along with a label, a detailed description of who we are, what we do, and why all of it it stupid? It used to bother me until it started to amuse me. When it happens to me in person, I can almost see the speaker's eyes turn inward to his prepared script. That's the thing about morons; they cut across every demographic.

David said...

I'll take a large scoop of vanilla in a plain cone, please.

Wow, gorgeously eloquent. I should be so lucky.

Greg said...

Just great, Birdie!! Very nicely done...love the bit about the all-inclusive flag!

I'd like to add, if I may, the spicey vanilla scent that comes of both kinds of heliotrope flowers, that sort of slaps you across the face and spins you around to make you take another whiff of sweet intoxication!

Java said...

Absolutely wonderful. There is so much more to most people than any label can contain. To some I may seem vanilla. Ha. Vanilla waters run spicy, babe!

Bill said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

I'm Vanilla too. Vanilla Bean gelato from Costco, thankyouverymuch!!!!

I don't know why but my Bloglines wasn't showing any updates from you then WHAM it showed six at once! Now, I'm all caught up.

alto said...

Great post!

I really hope that one day we can all reach a point where validation of our own flavor choices and leanings, whatever they may be, can occur without them being predicated on the derision of anothers.

To tell you the truth, I have experienced quite a variety of flavor in my relatively young life, but over time, after some lessons, some pain, a bit of wisdom, and after beginning to know and engage empathy towards others, flavors that I enjoy are specific to those around me who I am closest to. In that sense, there is never derision, only support and a welcoming vibe.

Cheers to Vanilla!