Monday, February 10, 2014

Playing the Hand I’m Dealt

Sacchi Green

(Okay, that title doesn't have much to do with my post, but I couldn't resist.)

My first online home, on Live Journal, I named “Reaching Out,” and when, years later, I set up a blog site I called that “Reaching Out” as well. Even for this virtual world I think I was envisioning stretching out a hand to people I couldn’t meet any other way. Hands have layer upon layer of meaning for us, both metaphorical and physical (and metaphysical as well, if one happens to dabble in palm reading or séances or various other psychic phenomena.)

I was going to say that the primary function of hands is to handle things, to manipulate them (“manus” being the Latin term for “hand.”) But I’m not sure that the sense of touch isn’t just as important, and the sense of being touched by hands may be the very first way a baby experiences being in contact with a separate person, long before he or she has any real concept of a being separate from himself. A baby also makes his first discoveries about the world by exploring with his hands, even if his next impulse is to put whatever he finds in his mouth.

Maybe the importance of touching and being touched is fixed at birth, or maybe we acquire it, or at least enhance it, as we learn to interact with others and be part of the world of living creatures. (I’m grouping dogs and cats and various animals along with humans here, since stroking animals is well known to have a calming effect on people.) The touch of human hands is known to be one of the things that elderly people miss most if they’re alone. All of which brings me to the first image that occurred to me when I thought about the topic for this post.

My father, in his nineties, drove to the nursing home to sit and hold my mother’s hand for an hour or two every day (except for the week he was hospitalized for severe Lyme disease) during the year she was there before she died. They could barely hear each other, and she was sinking gradually into dementia, but the connection they’d shared for seventy years was still strong, and expressed through the grip of their hands. She was lucky to have him with her, but he—who had never really expected to outlive her, because men seldom do live longer than women—won’t have that. My brothers and I will do our best, as we do now when he’s still managing pretty well, but he’ll never get over wishing he could still reach out and hold her hand.

That was a form of communication, of course, and it got me thinking about others ways that hands do that. Sign language for the deaf, spoken by the hands; Braille for the blind, read by the hands; hand signals that we all use, whether instinctively or through training.

Then there are the many ways hands have entered into our language. Handwriting; a hand up; a hand out (sometimes for a handout); hands down; handoff; look Ma, no hands; handle; give me a hand; hands full; hands off; handsome (I wondered about this one, but it turns out to have come from the Middle English “handsom” meaning “to manipulate”, first known use in 1530.) And then there are the variations manipulate, manuscript, manufacture, manhandle—okay, that one should actually go in the previous list.

I guess I don’t have much more to say about hands. What, you were expecting something sex-related? About, say, handjobs? Or how hands are especially essential to lesbian sex? Well, maybe I can find a brief passage. Nothing too explicit, though, since my mind has been working along more serious lines.

The setting: a country-western nightclub in Amsterdam in the 80s. The cast: a lesbian cowboy, a blonde with “body by Daisy Mae, face by Princess Grace,” and a mechanical bull. This is just a snippet as the action accelerates.

When my wooden mount slowed to a stop and the room held still, I tossed my hat toward Anneke, who caught it deftly and allowed her smile to widen. Then I shifted my ass backward to make room and held out a hand to her. With no hesitation she let me pull her up to straddle the bull.
Someone, maybe Margaretha, put more money in the machine and set it on "easy"; the music changed to "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places"; and I was in the kind of trouble worth dreaming about.
Riding without stirrups can be an erotic experience all by itself. Riding with Anneke's ass pressed into me, kneading my crotch with every heave of the bull, was sublime torture. Her slim back against my breasts made them demand a whole lot more of my attention than they usually get, while her own luscious breasts...
I nuzzled my face against her neck and gazed over her shoulder at the rounded flesh gently bouncing and threatening to surge out of the low neckline. From my vantage point, glimpses of tender pink nipple came and went. Much as I wanted more, I didn't necessarily want to share.
"Your décolletage is slipping," I whispered into her ear. Instead of adjusting it, she turned her head so her smooth cheek curved against my lips.
"Help me, Toby," she murmured. "Hold me." And I was lost.
I cupped her breasts, gently at first, as the motion of the bull made them rise and fall and thrust against their thin gingham covering. Then I felt her back arch slightly, and her flesh press more demandingly into my hands. There was no way I could help moving my fingers across her firming nipples. I felt her soft gasp all the way down to my toes.
Her ass began to move against me independent of the bull's motion. My clit felt like it was trying to scorch a passage through my Levis. My grip on her breasts tightened, and her nipples hardened and pulsed against my fingers as she leaned her head against my shoulder. "Toby," she breathed, "You are making me so sore!"
"Want me to stop?" I teased her tender earlobe with my teeth.
"No...don't stop...make me sorer still, please, Toby..."
How could I refuse? I unbuttoned her blouse at the waist and slid my hands across her silky belly before filling them with the even silkier flesh of her breasts. Then I drove her to as much sweet, sore engorgement as hands alone could provide. My hungry mouth made do with the soft hollows and curves of her neck and shoulders, feeling the nearly soundless moans she couldn't suppress. Her pale hair was coming loose from its intricate chignon, so I pulled out the fastenings with my teeth and let the golden curtain fall across the marks my mouth left on her skin. Her hair gave off a faint, clean scent of herbs and roses.

Okay, that’s enough of that. Aren’t you glad we’re not talking about mouths here?


  1. Now how the hell is anybody gonna write anything insightful after that! I'm gonna have to go attend to myself. With my hand, of course. :>)

    Seriously, though-- our hands are sensory tools, capable of initiating, receiving, relaying precise information..

  2. Funny you should use that as the title. I've always said no one gets to choose the "hand" we're dealt in life...the measure of your life is how you play your cards. If we could choose we'd probably all pick to be born tall, naturally thin, blond, and related to some obscenely-rich family so we could spend our whole shiftless lives not working, playing rich-people games, ultimately dying in some spectacular way, like skiing into an avalanche, or crashing our private plane while we jet from one exciting hot-spot to another. Sigh. But we don't get that choice...besides, if everyone chose that, who would cook the food, let alone grow and pick it?

    But we get what we get and we have to live with it. One of my sons has type 1 diabetes...has since he was a kid. I'd sooner have it myself, than to have learned to give him shots when he'd cry, or deny him food when he was hungry...and now I have to watch as he takes care of himself, knowing he'll have to deal with it the rest of his life, unless a cure is found. We all have our crosses to bear. But how you deal with your load influences the kind of person you become.

    I visited my mom when she was slipping away into dementia, and I held her hand, as your dad did for his wife. Backrubs, massages, all of these are very comforting to all of us. According to Desmond Morris, the anthropologist, it's why we pay people to touch us now, since our culture mostly frowns on touching. So we pay someone to cut our hair, washing it first because it feels good. We pay someone to do our nails, massage away our cares, and teach us physical therapy moves...all because our bodies miss being touched.

    BTW, never been on a mechanical bull, but after your description, I think I've been missing out on a hot time! At least when it's a dual-occupancy bull.

  3. Good post with creamy filling in the form of an excerpt. As usual, I'm wondering how I can possibly follow this and the posts-to-come on this topic.

  4. Wonderful points, Sacchi. I'm sure your mom's passage was eased by the firm grip from the man she'd spent her life with. And I'm willing to bet that despite her dementia, some part of her recognized his touch.

    1. Lisabet, my mother was never too far gone to recognize family members, which was a blessing, although she got to having some very strange delusions. And she always worried about how my dad was doing, so I'd tell her everything about what I'd brought him for meals and how often we all visited. Once in a while, especially after surgeries, she'd ask me if she was still herself, and I could honestly assure her that she was.

    2. Sacchi, I'm glad you didn't completely lose your mother to dementia before she passed away, and your parents must have been a comfort to each other while they were both alive. Marriages like that seem rare these days.

  5. Re: the title and what Fiona says about playing your hand, even the Buddha felt it necessary to spend time as a beggar. The measure of our lives is dealing with what we're dealt.

  6. What a beautiful story about your parents (and it's always heartbreaking to me to think about how one member of a longtime couple often gets left alone at the end).

    Fiona makes a really interesting point above about the way we now tend to pay people to touch us.

  7. That's a nice story about your parents. Sensual in its own way. We didn;t touch each other much in my family growing up. even now I seem to have a kind of force field around me people bounce off of, but i'm a hug junkie, I loved being touched whenever I can.



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