the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.
Posse, we’re gonna talk about Hedonism today. Lucky us! This is a result of a weird couple of weeks, wherein I’ve unintentionally (but now intentionally) given over to the pursuit of pleasure and sensual self-indulgence. Seems that hedonism and Summer were made for each other, probably because you can sit outside for hours without freezing to death. So… let’s talk.
Years ago I came across a blog focused on hedonism and took The Test to see if I was, in fact, a hedonist. Turned out that, according to their test, I was not a hedonist. Apparently getting up at the crack of o’dark-thirty was the dealbreaker. Which got me to thinking about what that result said about how we think of hedonism in general – or do we? (think that, I mean). I think that site got/gets it All Wrong because their idea of what defines hedonism is an Act – as in, What One Does – and implies that there is only one way to enjoy sensual self-indulgence (and, according to them, it involves a lot of satin pajamas and grape-eating, or things to that effect, a la Hugh Hefner). While I’m all about the more luxurious types of hedonism, happily quaffing a ’95 Krug and nibbling lobstah, I posit something completely different – a more quotidian hedonism (see what they haz wrought? A Musing): I believe that hedonism is defined by the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’, that the pursuit of sensual joy, the tickling of the senses, can happen in nearly any situation. I love to sit in my garden, listening to the birds and the wind through my neighbor’s 50’ tree. In order to do that to maximum sensory effect I need to be up and in the garden before 8a, when everyone starts yelling at their kids and working in their yards. At 6a on a July day it’s a sensory delight that can only be achieved in the stillness of that early morning. Rolling out of bed at 10a isn’t a sensory delight – it gives me hives. Satin tends to give me hives, too. So slippery.
‘Why’ is what determines hedonism, imo. Here’s a (albeit Very Weird) example: I have two acquaintances in this burg, both are cleaning FIENDS! One of them approaches that daily housecleaning with a grim, Puritanical zeal that suggests the only plausible alternative would be to burn the house to the ground while the other just seems to glow as she washes and polishes and sweeps and mops, etc. One of those is a hedonist, imo. And omg. Who would’ve thought that scrubbing a toilet could be hedonistic – yet this woman makes it seem so (this is a real shrug emoji moment but whatever zaps your charger, I guess and she is welcome to come be a hedonist in my house anytime!!!). My hedonistic delights are, mostly, a bit more traditional – a little gustatory delight, a lot of self-care (lordt, DO NOT get between me and a tub of shea butter), quiet moments in the garden, hot monkey secks with Idris Elba (okay, that last one I made up but … c’mon! Idris is the embodiment of HEDONISM!), a vial of vintage Coty Chypre that makes me go ‘oh!’ as my eyes close in ecstasy. A perfect mango. The susurrus of the wind through the giant spruce. Idris Elba, lying Not Quite Naked (yet) in my bed (okay! Okay! I’ll stop). A hummingbird, less than 10” away from me, as he hovers, trying to decide if I’m a threat (double Hedonism Points if he decides to stay)
There are so many ways to be a hedonist. Though I think I’ll stop short of glowing whilst cleaning the toilets, thanks.
Tell me your thoughts. I’ll close my own with an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem ‘The Summer Day’
..I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?’