Studying the History of Families

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Amateur

I’ve worked on variations of this tale for years, finally simplifying it and eliminating a number of characters. I hope you enjoy.

I want to thank and acknowledge the Literotica reader who asked to be identified only as “Jim.” The setting of the story’s final scene is his invention.

Please take a look at Ricardo and Juliana, my submission to Literotica’s 2018 National Nude Day contest.

As always, all story characters engaged in sexual activities are eighteen years of age or older.

* * * * *

By the time my phone started ringing I was cried out. My son and I had a fight, he’d stormed out of the house. I wasn’t sure what we fought about, but that was our pattern. Four, five, six times a week we were in a screaming match over… I don’t know what.

It was Julie.

“Hey,” I said. My voice was weak, my exhaustion unmistakable.

“He’s here. Scott’s got him calm downed. They’re upstairs.”

Tears returned to my eyes. “He’s got a plane to catch tomorrow.”

Julie, voice warm and comforting, said, “I know baby. Scott will come by and pick up his luggage tonight. I’ll take him to the airport. After that let’s meet for lunch, Chia’s at 11:30?”

* * * * *

Scott, well-groomed, polite, sweet and solicitous, came by, told me they’d get Christopher to the airport passport and tickets in hand, assured me things would be okay, gave me a hug.

Not too long ago he’d been as sloppy, disheveled, and disrespectful as Christopher; perhaps there was hope for my boy.

* * * * *

Exhausted and depressed, I’d stopped taking care of myself. For lunch I just pulled my red hair, my most striking feature, into a pony tail, and dabbed on some make-up. To the contrary Julie, already there and sipping from a cup of green tea, was radiant. She wore a sleeveless green silk dress, heels, and if I wasn’t mistaken, stockings; her light brown hair, which she’d grown out, tumbled down her back. Her understated make-up was perfect, her nails carefully manicured. She’d also lost weight, trimmed up, had a nice muscle tone.

Greeting me with a sparkle in her green eyes, a kiss, and a hug, she said, “All’s well, we got him to the airport in one piece, he’s already in the air.”

“Julie, I can’t thank you enough.”

“Glad to help.”

I ordered a cup of coffee and a salad and then did what I’d told myself I wouldn’t do, complain about my son, the fighting, the disrespect, not realizing how long I’d gone on until I noticed Julie’s plate was clean and mine barely touched. I pushed it away; I’d lost my appetite. Julie asked for a refill on her tea. I ordered another cup of coffee and, a bit embarrassed, changed the subject.

“In all my complaining I neglected to tell you how good you look and how sweet Scott was last night. He really helped.”

She smiled, said, “Thank you dear, I’ll let him know.” I knew what she was thinking but, unlike me, she was not a broken record; she’d not revisit the advice I’d repeatedly rejected.

* * * * *

A year ago Julie complained about her son as much as I. Same fights, same issues, or non-issues. She and Scott, like Christopher and I, visited an array of therapists, been subject to a laundry list of counseling. It all sounded good, it all failed miserably.

Then she mentioned Dr. Vanessa Wilhelm, suggested I call her, but I dismissed it, assuming failure was, as it always was, right around the corner.

Still, obsessed with my own problems it took me awhile, but at some point I noticed Julie was taking care of herself and stopped complaining about her son, his name coming up when she’d mention the two of them had a lovely evening, had gone to dinner, caught a film. When I saw Scott he was polite, dressed nicely, and attentive and sweet to his mother.

I asked Julie about it, she credited Dr. Wilhelm. Thinking she might be on to something I visited Dr. Wilhem’s web-site. She was certainly impressive: a history professor at Yale with a long list of publications focused on families and numerous academic awards, enough of which I’d heard of to be dazzled. Still, she wasn’t, and didn’t hold herself out to be a psychiatrist or a psychologist, or even a licensed counselor. I’d decided not to waste my time.

But that was then and, sitting before Julie, this was now.

“Julie, are you still happy with Dr. Wilhelm, do you still give her credit for the turnaround with Scott?”

“Yes, she worked wonders.”

“How does she do it?”

Looking over the edge of her cup of tea, smiling with her perfect white teeth, she said, “I think it’d be best if she explained her own methods.”

“Is she seeing people?”

“On referral from people she’s helped. Want me to make a phone call?”

“I’m not guaranteeing anything, but yes, I’d like to at least talk to her, hear what she has to say.”

* * * * *

Julie texted later that afternoon. Dr. Wilhelm could meet me, but I should first complete some forms on her web-site.

* * * * *

Dr. Wilhelm met me at the door of her office, güvenilir bahis the side entrance to a lovely Victorian home. The foyer was flooded with light from several large windows; the interior office, in contrast, had smaller windows, affording its occupants privacy. The furniture was comfortable and feminine and on the credenza were photographs of a gorgeous young man in his late twenties and three adorable Children. I’d noticed Dr. Wilhelm wore a wedding ring, but saw no photograph of a husband.

When I visited her web-site I’d wondered if her photograph was old or photoshopped. It wasn’t. For any women, and certainly for a woman who, based on her background, was in her early fifties she was strikingly attractive with high-cheek bones and intelligent eyes that, along with her measured tone when speaking, provided instant gravitas. Moreover, based on the photograph I’d have said she was black. Now, in person, her light skin, blue eyes, and straight hair made evident the rainbow of her ancestry.

She handed me a cup of tea, thanked me for the thorough job I’d done with the on-line forms, and asked a series of questions whose detail made evident she’d carefully studied my responses. I felt like I was chatting with a friend.

After I answered her questions Dr. Wilhem settled back in her chair and said, “I think I can help. First let me explain what I do here, see if it fits your needs, and I apologize if I get long-winded. I get very passionate about this.

“I need to be clear, I am not a counselor, I have no training as a counselor, I do not have a license. If we need to give me a title, think of me as a life-coach. I’m not sure what that means, but it seems broad enough to cover most anything.”

She turned and gestured to the photographs on the credenza. “That is my son and his children. He’s thirty-one, a successful engineer. He lives here with me, we raise the children together.

“When he was a teenager he and I, like you and Christopher, like Julie and Scott, were at each other’s throats. We visited an array of family therapists.”

She shifted her position and, as she crossed her legs, I caught site of the strap of a garter, confirming my guess she was wearing stockings.

“Each had a different approach, all sounded good, none worked.”

I knew that experience.

Catching the look on my face she said, “I see you made the same rounds,” then continued, “Unhappy and disappointed, the academic in me started digging into what I was being told. What I found surprised me. While these therapies made sense, while they incorporated logical noble-sounding concepts, not only hadn’t they been subject to rigorous testing, they hadn’t been subjected to any testing. I dug some more and discovered that none of the therapies had been in place for more than three years. They were introduced to a big fan fare then, after not helping anyone were assigned to the trash bin and replaced by a hot new, equally untested, and soon to be interred therapy.”

I leaned forward. Maybe there was something here.

“My academic career has been devoted to the history of families, I wondered, could the answer be there? In all cultures, for all of recorded time, humans have existed in families. Maybe how it worked in the past could guide the present.

“Today we treat the eighteen year old male as a barely functional child, but fifty thousand years ago an eighteen year old, husband and father, would, after consulting with the elders, lead the hunting expeditions that fed the tribe. Five thousand years ago an eighteen year old, having learned to farm from his parents, settled in the next valley over with wife and children and built a life. Five hundred years ago the eighteen year old son of a craftsman, having mastered a trade from his father and other guild members, already married and a father himself, set up his own shop. Heck, seventy-five years ago an eighteen year old married his pregnant high school sweetheart and took a factory job next to his father and his friends.

“Today’s eighteen year old? He’s incapable of holding a job or being in a mature relationship so we ship him to a college to live on our money, where he drinks beer, chases girls who must sign consent forms before sex, learns nothing, then comes home to live with a single parent or blended family. We say an eighteen year old is an incompetent who needs to be protected from the world, but history says they’re not and I doubt they devolved that quickly.”

Dr. Wilhelm was right, that’s how I thought about Christopher, unmotivated, immature, inarticulate, incompetent.

“Thus, while my research shows an eighteen year old male is perfectly capable of being an adult, in today’s world he’s not.

“The reason? Think how different today’s families are from what I described. In the past children lived in close physical proximity with a single set of parents on whom they modeled their behavior and who expected them to contribute their labor to the family. Fathers and especially mothers, who were constantly pregnant, were türkçe bahis worn out by their late thirties; the boys had to become men.

“Today teenaged boys’ lives are centered on friends and electronic gizmos; they don’t model themselves on their parents, but on each other. The single mother is ubiquitous; married couples don’t endure. Mothers and fathers in their thirties are in their physical prime and if they take care of themselves will be for decades after that. So while the ‘typical’ historical family offers a blueprint for raising men, we can’t recreate that family in the present.

“So I started to look for untypical historical families that paralleled the modern world and found them in the families of the well-off: merchants, bankers, nobility.

“Women in this class married older men chosen by their parents to cement family alliances. They’d have two or three children, too many heirs fighting over the family fortune could lead to disaster, and, as in modern families, husbands and wives drifted apart, not divorcing, but living parallel lives, rarely seeing each other.

“The boys born of these relationships did not work side-by-side with their fathers, they rarely saw their fathers, whose time was consumed by their occupations, be it prince or merchant. Child rearing was women’s work.

“The mothers? Here the research was harder; historians don’t write about women. But we know these women formed close social networks with the other women in the same social position and that their sons were raised in this network. The boy’s socialization came not from their fathers, but from his mother and her friends and, most importantly, when he became a teenager a mistress drawn from these women.

“Don’t think of this mistress in modern terms, secretive and tawdry. She was older, in her mid to late thirties when it started, and it was the mistress that readied a young man to be an adult, provided wisdom and guidance, inculcated him in the ways of society. These relationships lasted a lifetime; the mistress was the love of the young man’s life. The mistress knew there’d be a marriage – she understood that woman’s role, it was a role she once filled – and knew this woman would become part, as she had, of the mistress’ social network.

“I want to be clear: these women were powerful, they raised, were the confidants, provided the lovers of the most powerful men of their age, but lived in a throughly feminine world. They took care of themselves, dressed beautifully, thrived in a strong long-lasting networks of female friends, and it was in this world, under the guidance of these women, that boys became men.

“And in that age of short life spans, with fathers rarely making it to their fifties, these young men were ready to assume their place in the world as adults.”

While her story, her research, were fascinating, I didn’t know what it meant for me. She saw it in my face.

“Your wondering what I’m suggesting for you?”

“Yes.”

“History shows that an eighteen year old male is ready to be a man. So why aren’t they? The reason, we don’t treat them as men, don’t, as these women did, give them a role model of mature femininity, but instead become their nursemaids. I’m suggesting we act like mature woman and expect our sons to act like men. They’re ready to be adults, they want to be adults, let’s be adults and invite them to join us.

“While Christopher is overseas take the opportunity to reclaim your strength and femininity. Get to the gym, get strong; pamper yourself, dress up. Julie’s a wonderful woman, strengthen your friendship with her and her friends. Reset your default. When your son returns you’ll be a strong woman supported by others like you. Don’t take care of him, don’t mollycoddle him, don’t nag him. Instead let him see you as an adult and treat him as an adult. Your son knows he’s flopping around. When he returns, weaned of his dependence on mommy, be a powerful presence, a woman he’ll respect. He wants to be an adult. When you present yourself as an adult you’ll be amazed by how he responds, he’ll want to join you.”

* * * * *

I wasn’t sure about Dr. Wilhelm’s advice, but who could argue with Scott and Julie, so I followed it, found I loved it.

I ate right, went to the gym, got my five foot four inch body back down to 120 pounds, 36-24-35, dug out a college dress – size two – looked good in it.

I paid attention to my hair, which regained its fiery red luster, and make-up, grew out my nails, painted them pretty sexy colors, wore clothes frilly and sexy, chose underwear that matched.

I took bubble baths, made weekly visits to the spa, luxuriated with massages and facials, manicures and pedicures.

I decluttered, redecorated.

My sex drive returned, I dated, found no man who thrilled me, invested in several vibrators.

Most importantly, I spent time with Julie and her friends and in them found a network of women unlike any I’d know. Smart and assertive, trim and fit, confident, they respected and supported each other and welcomed güvenilir bahis siteleri me without vetting or question. They also eschewed traditional romance. Even the women with small children, even the several who were pregnant, were not in steady relationships. They hadn’t rejected men, all had men to call on as escorts when necessary, but talked about them as if they were fashion accessories.

And then there were the two things that struck me most powerfully.

The first was, of course, the thing I was looking for. These women had close, near intimate, relationships with their sons. Whether teenagers finishing high school, college students, or young men in an assortment of jobs – stockbroker, plumber, firefighter, nurse, lawyer – their sons were trim, well-dressed, and treated and were treated by their mothers with a mature respect a universe away from my son and his goof-ball pals. The sons seemed to provide their mothers the companionship the absent boyfriends would have.

The second thing? As I said my sex drive had returned, and for the first time in my life I found myself attracted to women.

And then one day in the sauna with Julie – we’d joined a women-only gym – wearing towels, sitting close together, talking, I leaned into her. Julie turned, offering me the more comfortable flat of her shoulder, and placed a hand on my thigh. We were sharing space, it was wonderful, and then she leaned into me and kissed me. Her thin lips were soft and my lips, as if powered by their own intelligence, moved against hers and our tongues entwined and I was groaning into Julie’s mouth. She closed the space remaining between us and wrapped her arms around me, kissed my jaw line, moved down my neck to my breasts, to my nipples. I reached for her, thumbed the thick hard nipples of her breasts.

We covered each other’s sex, slipped fingers inside, thumbs found clits. When we came our groans echoed in the small room and afterwards I was in Julie’s arms and she kissed me and said, “Perhaps we should go back to my place.”

* * * * *

“I’m glad you felt free to tell me, it shows I’ve earned your trust. Julie will be a wonderful lover .”

“Dr. Wilhelm, I don’t understand, I’ve never been attracted to women, never seriously imagined making love to a woman before, this comes out of left field.”

“Well, over the past months you’ve begun to see women in a new way, haven’t you, appreciating for the first time how truly attractive and beautiful they are?”

It was like she’d read my diary (if I kept a diary).

“Yes.”

“And you don’t feel like you’re about to change teams, become a lesbian.”

“Not at all, I still like men, though I’m having trouble finding the right one. How do you know all this?”

“Jessica, what you’re going through is perfectly normal.”

Waiting for an explanation, I said nothing. Dr. Wihelm understood.

“As we’ve discussed, historically women have been ignored. We know all about the Athenian male of 350 B.C., we know almost nothing about the Athenian female. Luckily, the women I’ve been studying were devoted correspondents, many of whose letters, uncataloged and unread, are in museum archives. They provide a historian an intimate glimpse into their world.

“While these women lived out of the public eye, they were powerful, which drew the attention of competing power groups, the church, universities, others, who condemned them, often with ranting strings of vitriol. Among the most common accusation was that they were dens of lesbian activity. At first I dismissed the accusation, what man hasn’t called a woman who rejected his overtures a lesbian? But when I read these women’s letters it was clear the attacks were not wholly imaginary. While the claims that these women were engaged in ongoing lesbian orgies was an invention – it says more about the men who made them than it does about the women – it is clear that many, and I suspect most were involved with each other, and why not? These women, fit and active with sex drives to match, had built intimate personal supportive relationships with each other. Who wouldn’t want a lover like that?

“What I’m saying is that as you reclaim your strength and femininity, a desire for like-minded women is the norm. With Julie, with the women you’ve met through her, have you ever felt more comfortable, more cared for?”

The truth was I hadn’t, and I told her so.

“As to the right man, I’ve found as women adopt the practices I’ve suggested their tastes and priorities evolve, for a time no guy seems right. When you’re done he’ll be standing right in front of you.”

* * * * *

When Christopher first got to Europe our Skype chats were, at best, short and unspecific. I was happy to get a grunt from him, overjoyed by words, flabbergasted by sentences, paragraphs unimaginable. But that changed. I dressed nicely, did my hair and make-up, found a private place where I’d not be interrupted, thought about what I wanted to talk about, listened to what he said instead of focusing on what I’d say next, and when he said something I agreed with I told him so. No nagging, no complaining, no prying. Responding much faster than I’d have imagined, Christopher was soon opening up, sharing the details of his life, seeking my advice.

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