The Semi-Enlightened Man

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Let me tell you something about a kind of man I keep meeting recently. I call him the semi-enlightened man. At first glance, this guy is quite charming. He’s quick to pay compliments, teases, seems outgoing. All good fun. So fun I decide to have a drink with him. While enjoying said drink, I find out he’s open to self-reflection and seems to think about life. What a relief! It’s so nice to meet someone who ponders his existence from time to time and doesn’t go running for the hills the moment someone utters the words “feelings” or “spiritual”.

Maybe this guy is interested in Buddhism and shows me pictures of his recent trip to Thailand. He draws my attention to the three matching prayer bracelets he wears. He has gone on two-day retreats with other, searching people. Just last summer he went to Greece to reconnect mind to body with a massage course.

All nice, I applaud you. So far so good. We’re all improvising our way through life, aren’t we? When someone is honest about it and tries to get to know himself better in order to connect on a deeper level with others, I’m happy as a clam! Waiter, keep the drinks coming!

He goes on to tell me he is very interested in the psyche of women and that relationships are the most beautiful thing. Nice, I think, a man whose focus isn’t just on the more southern parts of the female body! He says sex and intimacy are not necessarily the same thing. He wants to live an authentic life, not one others have designed for him.

Inspiring indeed.

The man suddenly starts telling me that some of the most beautiful women he’s had sex with, “just lay there”

But then there’s a slight change of subject. The man suddenly starts telling me that some of the most beautiful women he’s had sex with, “just lay there”. That men don’t like models, because they’re too skinny. Men like women who are softer and feel good about themselves so they are able to let go in bed. He says you find out how a woman is in life by how she is in bed. He repeats he loves relationships but that he is also very much enjoying his freedom at the moment. And if I want to come back to his place to watch a movie. Wait, what?! So all of the sudden my enlightened man wants no-strings-attached, casual sex?

Now, of course I love that a man likes women who feel good in their own skin, but if the main reason he likes it is because it improves his sex life, what with all the wild, letting-go-type intercourse he’s having, then I think we have a huge problem. As if a woman’s self-confidence should exist first and foremost to please a man in bed. Like it’s all just a big performance.

Here’s a thought: maybe the reason the beautiful girls were just “laying there”, is because they didn’t feel particularly at ease or comfortable with a man who was secretly grading them. Sharing your body with someone is extremely intimate and requires a leap of faith. You trust that the person you’re sharing yourself with, will appreciate you. Not mistake it all for a Cirque du Soleil act.

So what if all the self-reflective, spiritual talk is actually just about getting a girl in bed, so she can start her free spirited performance for Mr. Enlightenment?

I’m afraid that the semi-enlightened man exists (in many slightly different variations), and sometimes I don’t figure him out right away. This guy is so busy talking about how in touch he is with himself and the universe, that he doesn’t even see the person he’s talking to. Yet of course, he has you all figured out and loves to share his wisdom. It goes without saying that he knows you better than you know yourself, having spent twenty minutes with you, mainly talking about himself and his path to enlightenment. Telling a girl she’s afraid to lose control, for example, is a semi-enlightened douchebag classic.

The kind of enlightenment I’m interested in is actually very different and doesn’t require any bracelets or Buddhist retreats: you simply put love in the equation. It’s about realizing how incredibly nice it is to be intimate with someone, even if it’s clumsy or y’all are just lying there. If you’re brave enough to be vulnerable and naked with another vulnerable and naked human being, well then guess what: Nirvana is just around the corner.


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