I once schlepped all the way out to Malibu to get a past-life reading. Malibu was not convenient to me, as I have always been a regular, not-rich person—and trust me, Malibu is not for the middle class. But there I was, heading an hour out of my way to hear that I was a male silversmith in one past life, and in another, a 19th-century French woman who enjoyed her rose garden and wearing pants. Go rebellious, possibly gay, French me!
When I returned home, my then-husband said, “I’ll give you a past-life reading—an hour ago you had a hundred more dollars than you do now.”
OK, it was a good line. But what is it with men and their lack of interest in anything magical? Just the other day, I told the man I’m dating about how I’d had some richly deserved bad karma come my way. “You don’t really ... believe in karma, do you?” he asked.
I own a set of tarot cards and have read them faithfully every month since 1988 (they told me when I was going to get married, and they warned me about September 11—I am not even kidding you). I lived in Los Angeles and worked for a horoscope publication, for heaven’s sake. I’ve been to a pet psychic, had my face read in Chinatown and my aura studied in Santa Monica. Of COURSE I believe in karma.
I think that in this life, you put out white rocks and you put out black rocks. If you put out more white than black, you get more white rocks back in life. OK, just reading that back to myself, I know I sound completely insane. But as ludicrous as it seems, there’s part of me that really believes!
But I’ve never met a man who does believe, at least not any men who don’t wear Birkenstocks. You never see a man headed out to the magic shop to buy crystals when he’s getting over a breakup. Men don’t create an image book of the next person they want to bring into their lives. Men never go online and have their runes read after a bad day. After a bad day, men go online and ruin themselves with pornography. That’s what men do.
I know not every woman believes that the universe has a plan, or that everything happens for a reason. Heck, I don’t even necessarily believe that one, if you get me on a cynical day. But women are far more willing to accept that there’s more out there than meets the eye. Women love a good ghost story, or one of those meant-to-be tales that seem like more than coincidence.
Is it just that we’re illogical ninnies who don’t want to face reality? Are we more sensitive, and therefore more attuned to things we cannot see? Or do men secretly think you really can get your palm read and it will come true, but it’s not manly to admit it? [Editor's note: We don't.]
My ex-husband and I had an undeniably haunted place. The person who lived there before us had had AIDS, and he didn’t die in our apartment, but the last place he was conscious was there. Music would just start playing from our stereo—and always The Cure or Underworld. We’d walk in and the sound from a single piano key would still be reverberating. Our VCR would rewind for no reason. He was a “be kind, rewind” kind of a spirit, I guess.
And even though my husband, Mr. I’ll-Give-You-a-Past-Life-Reading, scoffed at my cranio-sacral therapy and my saint candles and my blocked chi, it was he who physically saw the ghost one day. (And ran out of the room like a girl when he saw it. I’m surprised he didn’t crash through the wall and leave his outline, like a cartoon character.) My cynical ex did not complain when I brought home some sage, burned it and politely asked the ghost to leave.
And he never said a word about how that ghost never bothered us after that.
I guess for me, life is more fun if I feel like there are some things that just can't be explained. Don’t prove to me that there’s no Loch Ness Monster. Don’t tell me I don’t really have an emerald-green aura. As long as I’m not staying in bed for three weeks because Mercury’s in retrograde (and by the time you read this, it’ll be back to bother us! LOOK OUT!), what harm does it do? What’s wrong with a little fairy dust in this land of GPS and DNA tests and wi-fi connectedness?
Look, maybe I’m wrong. Everyone thought I was crazy when I wore pants in the 1800s, too. C’est la vie.