CONCUPISCENCE

I’ve rarely heard this word spoken. I know what it means and when Emma Thompson spoke it in her role as Nancy in the film “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” I was surprised. Later I thought it was the perfect time to trot that word out and think about it. It means strong desire, especially sexual desire. And, for the first time in her life, Nancy was greatly desirous of many things related to that topic. The scene where she reads her “wish” list to Leo is a momentous moment for her and, I wonder, how many of us have a like list with no one to fulfill it? Or no one who is able or willing to fulfill it?

I see Cupid’s name buried in concupiscence. Cupid or Eros was the child of Venus and Mercury. The word cupid came from the Latin cupere which means to desire. I’m sorry in modern times that Cupid is portrayed as a fat baby with a tiny bow and a quiver of arrows. I prefer the depiction of Eros the Greek’s god of love and sex as shown above.

You might remember that lust was one of the 7 deadly sins. Joining anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony, pride, and sloth which were a heavy burden for early Catholics to bear. The relief of their sins often entailed giving money to the church and receiving other penences meted out by clergy. Well, of course, Nancy would know all this—she taught religious education during her career. She was very well versed in concupiscense. In theory, if not in fact!

I don’t know if you have seen the movie, but please do. It is marvelous for many reasons. Older women, young men, sexuality, body image, sex workers, marital sex, nudity, candor, honesty, and yes, lust, all handled in one film shot mostly in one room, with two very talented actors. Daryl McCormack, Leo, in the film was pitch perfect in a role that could have gone wrong and did not. And Emma Thompson, brilliant! A Goddess!

I was moved, blazingly happy, wishful, jealous (a deadly sin) and hopeful as I watched the film spellbound. I cried at the end—for joy, really. Nancy and Leo’s conversations took place in one small hotel room, over four different sessions. Nancy learning to ask for and receive what she wants: intimacy, orgasm, and self-awareness. And Leo got what he needs: understanding, trust, and respect.

Maybe we should consider adopting a more vigorous and virile image of the god of love, sex and desire. It might be a very positive change. It certainly was for Nancy.

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