What is it to you – the word decadence? For me, the definition conjures up a magazine image of high priced Chocolate, Dom Perignon, and a professional masseuse working the kinks out of someone’s back on a warm sunny beach with tropical birds chirping in the back ground. Interestingly, the word literally translates “decline” (moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury). Focusing here; however, on the latter part of the definition. The part about excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.
The word can mean so much, and altogether hold different meanings depending on whom you ask. While the chocolate, the bottle of Dom, and a professional masseuse might sound decadent to some people it’s not my version (exactly). My version includes the company of only a few close friends (to me it’s not decadent unless I can share). It involves a warm, sunny day with birds chirping. Not the tropical kind though. I’ve never been a huge fan of humid locations. I’d prefer a warm sunny day here in Virginia, during a time of year where the woodland birds are alive with chatter. I’d prefer to be at my own home, at my own pool. Again, in this way I can share. On hand (because it seems necessary for true decadence) I’d have really good, cold beers for my friends and fresh off the vine fruits and gourmet cheese to snack on. A few years back, I might have opted for smoked pork. But nowadays, I’ve learned that preparing food can be quite the distraction. No, I want fruit and cheese on a platter, cold beers in a bucket nearby, and a couple of great lounge chairs to relax in. I’d have music playing in the background. While I’d usually settle for my typical Spotify playlist, on this occasion I’m going to request a Mariachi band. They’re going to have to take a five-minute break between songs; though, so the birds can sing. That should be good. A warm sunny day, a couple of close friends, cold beer, something to snack on, birds, and a Mariachi band. I’m also going to need a person to pick me up on occasion and take me for a dip in the pool. It’s not that I can’t walk, but I’m trying to be somewhat decadent here. This person also needs to be a masseuse by the way. I mean, why not? If they’re going to be picking me up anyway, why not give me a quick massage? “I’m sorry, what’s that friend?” “You’d like to have someone feeding you the grapes?” That’s not unreasonable, but I can’t have my masseuse do it. She’s busy working the kinks out of my neck. Let’s have a sexy waitress do it instead. Why a sexy waitress? Because that’s what my friend’s would want.
Let’s see if I’ve forgotten anything. Me and a few close friends here at my pool on a warm sunny day in Virginia, drinking high class cold beer, snacking on vine ripe fruits and gourmet cheeses (that someone’s feeding us), getting picked up and taken to the pool on occasion (between massages), all whilst listening to birds and Mariachi music in the background. And now it seems I’ve accidentally walked right into the real definition of decadence. We’re getting real close to a moral decline here (not to mention a horrible hangover). So maybe decadence isn’t so great after all? In reality, maybe it looks more like this: whatever weather I can manage to find on a Saturday, friends that are free, fruit and cheese from the grocery store across the street, and whatever music my friends want to listen to. Oh yeah, and the cold beer that’s going to give me a hangover. Oh, and I hope the birds will be there to eat the mosquito’s.
I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced something truly decadent. Maybe I’ve been there, but didn’t realize it? I’m that sort of character that will find a flaw in any situation. Maybe there’s a lesson here? One that points to the value of friends and Mother Nature over manufactured fun? Or maybe not! I mean, who doesn’t like to be pampered on occasion?
Have you ever experienced something so decadent it’s a near Zen experience? If so, let me know!