“No, don’t! He will bite you!” Still hands reach down, down until…

My dog, Hank, a rescue whose early origins are murky at best, has the disposition of a pugilist punk but looks, unfortunately, like Ted, the horny little bear from the fevered mind of Seth MacFarlane, except in Hank’s case he actually has a penis, a huge one at that. Naturally, all this cuteness is irresistible to people, and no matter how emphatically I cry “No!” comes the reach and the inevitable nip. I totally understand. You tell me, “No” and every cell in my body swings towards what is being denied. While this tendency over the years has gotten me in some scrapes and more than a few proverbial nips of my own, I’ve always seen my no to “no” as a blessing and possibly one of my better personality traits. But that might be about to change.

I didn’t have much exposure to “no” early on. In fact, the only “no” I got from my mother was, “No time.” As kids, we could flail against her office door with our hair on fire, our limbs half off, or, more likely, armed with a reasonable question like, if and when we could ever expect to be fed again and all we’d hear, as she furiously bashed out her column on her Selectric typewriter was, “No time.  Deal with it yourself.” Being resourceful children, we usually did. And for those who ever wondered: a diet of beans on toast can indeed lead to a fine body and healthy mind.

By the time I was a teenager, her “no” meant a world of “ yes” for me. Some would say I was near feral in my lawlessness, but I never abused the power. Yes, there were gangs of stoned kids nesting in pretty much every room, not to mention my bed. In fact, my house was a real refuge for those poor souls who had parents who dined out on scores of “no’s” It was a shocking alternate world view when one of them would show up at my door, boiling mad because their kid had violated the no-going- out- on- school- nightb rule.

Middle-aged now, I have, of course, met all sorts of  ‘no’s.” No way. No point. No chance. No hope. No talent. An eternal optimist, I merrily ignore life’s harder truths, which means I’ll most likely end my days with no money

Charles, my husband, is big on “no”. Which is a constant source of friction in our marriage. It’s gotten so bad that I begin pretty much very sentence with, “Before you say “no”, let me explain…” Sometimes he will hear me out but the “no” stays the same. Either I am unreasonable (why pay the credit cards, or the IRS for that matter, if all of mankind is going to be wiped off the earth sooner rather than later) or he just takes sadistic delight in turning me down.

My husband, though, might be on to something. “No” is all the vogue now, especially among young girls which makes me very glad that I am not a young man, in particular one with a raging hard-on. Apparently, proper sex etiquette these days is to ask at each step of the way if she is still willing. I don’t know about you but when I was a hot young thing, one, I couldn’t make my mind up about anything and two, when it came to sex, I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing including whether I wanted to say no or not. In the great swirling mystery that is early sex, going along for the ride seemed the best course of action. Sure I might have had a few too many lousy lays but, at least, I didn’t add any psychological baggage by fucking with my or the boy’s head. And, if I might state the obvious, if I were me but a boy, any no would be too damn tempting. (Those getting their backs up right about now about the horrors of date rape, don’t. That’s not what I am talking about. And truthfully, it’s a drag to have to write a disclaimer whenever you talk about normal, lousy, embarrassing, early, teenage sex. Besides, what the hell are you and girlfriends going to reminisce about, roaring with laughter, years later? If it’s a long litany of “no’s” there won’t much of a story there, and it’s all about story)

As fate would have it, just at an age when pretty much every “no” is old hat, I’m about to move into a whole new world of no. And these one’s aren’t to be taken lightly. In my soon to be desert home there is no porno, no gambling and no booze, except in Western hotels but to any true boozer their shitty pours does not offer much in the way of consolation.  I will admit I’m nervous fearing that my true self, the one who takes a puckish delight in bucking all “no’s” will make an unwelcome appearance. No! That can’t be me tripping off the plane waving a dildo, reeking of booze, and stupidly betting on a bright future, can it?