I had the pleasure of attending the first meeting of the share and self-help group, Fannying Around at Sh! Portobello Thursday night. Fannying Around is the brain child of the indomitable Sarah Berry, editor of Foreplay Magazine, and all around fabulous chick. There were a dozen of us in attendance, all from varying walks of life, all bringing our various issues and personal relationships with our own fannies to the group.
It didn’t take much wine, or much prodding from Sarah before one thing became obvious; we women want to talk about our fannies and our sexuality. As we all laughed and shared, it also became obvious that we all remembered times in our lives when we felt alone, when we felt it wasn’t safe to share, when we kept our feelings,our questions and our thoughts about our sexuality to ourselves.
I found myself thinking about the ancient tale that rears its head in multiple forms, but the two most memorable are The Wife of Bath’s Tale in The Canterbury Tales, and The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell. In both stories a knight is forced to marry a hideous hag. On their wedding night, the hag offers her bridegroom the choice to have her lovely in the marriage bed for his eyes only and hideous during the day, or to have her lovely during the daytime for the eyes of the world while reverting to a hag at night. In both tales the knight leaves the choice to his bride. Because he gives her the choice, she rewards him by always being beautiful. When I first read these stories, I remember thinking how interesting it was that the true beauty of a woman comes through when she has a voice, when she gets to choose. There’s nothing beautiful about victim-hood nor about being powerless. And when our voices are not heard, we are powerless.
Thursday night, the basement of Sh! was electric when female power, with female voices sharing and being heard and affirmed by each other. And the beauty was as evident as the power. Afterward, a good group of us took all that beauty and all that power right on over to the local pub and continued on.
The Fannying Around group will meet once a month starting in January. I plan to be a regular. I love being around powerful, vocal, beautiful women.