Why the Italian Waiter Made Me Cry: Confessions of a Reluctant Celibate

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The author with Italian Waiter (left) and his son (we thought? on the right). Editor’s note: I think everyone who was working this restaurant was related and they were all this beautiful.

It was a gorgeous early evening in San Diego. I suppose most early evenings are gorgeous in San Diego but as I am from the Midwest, it was a particularly luxurious experience for the sky to be so blue, the clouds to be so white, the air to be so fragrant, the breeze to be so delicious on my skin. This is how I experience the world. Sensorially. Sensually. Sexually.

I was with old friends who know me well. Old friends who love me for who I am. Old friends who support my strengths and laugh with me at my own idiosyncrasies. We were at the infamous mecca of media, “freaky fandom and glorious geekdom,” the San Diego Comic Con. And I was free of responsibility, free to be my most full of wonder self. Authentically open to respond and react with glee and appreciation. Open and happy and full of life force.

That’s when I saw him. That’s when he smiled at me over an Italian menu. That’s when I cried. That is why I cried. Because I was so open. Because away from this playground, in real life, I was unable to allow myself to be this open to joy. Because I am a reluctant celibate.

There are those who do not understand that being in such an open, child-like place is sexual for me. I don’t mean that in some dirty, secretive, what the hell happened to her, kinda way. I mean the pure open channel of excitement and adventure and discovery and exploration is born of my connection to life force. And that life force, when met with an attractive man who emanates those qualities of vitality and vigor, wants to merge with what it recognizes. Seeking union. Seeking altered states. Seeking more joy.  Primal and passionate power. Sex makes me feel free and without it, I feel trapped.

He was beautiful. And dazzling and sexy. And he focused attention on me like a blazing tractor beam. It had been so long since any man had openly looked at me in the eyes that the rest of my desolate nervous system spontaneously reacted. With tears.

This man was a professional waiter. He was not into me as a person. But he was Italian. And really deeply Italian. While his look was not about my internal mind and soul, it was appreciation for me as a woman. Not in a creepy way. Not in a patriarchal, demeaning, possessive, predatory, disrespectful way. But an essential, I love women, they are amazing glorious creatures who fascinate and delight me way. I recognized his joy. His inherent love of life. His powerful life force that radiated as sexual intimacy.

I cried because I feel the same way about men. I love them. I may hate their violence in the world in general, and their irresponsibility in my personal experience, but I actually love them as a whole. How this man looked at me, and I suspect most women, is how I look at men. As glorious difference. As mysterious beasts. As puzzles and partners and possibilities. Adventures and adversaries and allies.

I cried because I had been celibate against my will for a long time. I am a person who, in previous relationships, had been free to exercise my penchant for play and pleasure persistently. But within the last couple of years, after relationships ended and self-growth began in earnest, I was unpartnered.

And it hurt. It hurt my soul. It hurt my emotions and it hurt my body. I felt the lack of sensual and sexual energy in my life in all my parts. So I did a lot of yoga. And I went to ecstatic dance. And ritual. And I wrote. A lot. And I cried and tried to just get laid sometimes. Yuck. Nature helped the most. Swimming and hiking and camping. I felt like I could find some solace and sensuality there. Like the San Diego sun.

So now I carry with me this Italian waiters smile. He won’t remember me. But I will remember him because he reminded me that joy is good. Life is a sensual experience. Just because I am not currently engaging in the sex act itself, there is sex all around me if I am open enough. It may not be the personal intimacy I miss and crave, but there are delights to be found. Even if they make you cry. Especially if they make you cry.


robin biopicRobin lives her life somewhere in the mythic middle of magic and the mundane. Collecting experiences through traveling and teaching: some have been captured in anthologies, newspapers, magazines, and professional journals. Most recently she was a contributor to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. Follow her adventures on Instagram: robinroams

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9 Responses to “Why the Italian Waiter Made Me Cry: Confessions of a Reluctant Celibate”

  1. RoseCamelia says:

    Men. Almost daily I wish I weren't attracted to men.

    "I may hate their violence in the world in general, and their irresponsibility in my personal experience, but I actually love them as a whole. How this man looked at me, and I suspect most women, is how I look at men. As glorious difference. As mysterious beasts. As puzzles and partners and possibilities. Adventures and adversaries and allies."

    Yes. All of that paragraph. Yes. I wish I could write so well. Thank you, Robin.

    • LaxMom says:

      I am happy to report, after testing yesterday, that in person, with the teen boy, mom-mode switches on and crush-mode on his therapist switches off.
      However, I left my purse in his office (not on purpose, I swear!) and with boy not around….sigh.

      I am ok just having a crush, and I am happy to keep this one teen-dreamy. Because guess what?! I'm finally dreaming about someone not my ex!!! (I hate my subconscious sometimes). That therapist may be helping me more than the kid!

  2. vladazhael says:

    That's a whole lot of feels expressed really, really well.

  3. squidlips9 says:

    Really vibrant and beautiful writing- thanks for sharing it.

  4. CleverManka says:

    I have no idea why comments are showing up in italics. Maybe it'll stop soon. Sorry.

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