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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

So we’ve finally come to the end of the debate over marriage equality and our gay friends Imagehave won an unquestionable legal right to marry. Right?

Well, no.

Wednesday’s historic Supreme Court decision invalidating the key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has likely set the stage for a series of arguments in the state houses over the issue. The majority opinion in the United States v. Windsor, written by Anthony Kennedy, essentially says that the Defense of Marriage Act for no good reason allowed the federal government to stick its nose into a state issue, the affairs of family, to single out one group and injure a class of people that one of those states, New York in this case, sought to protect. As he put it:

“DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”

What the decision doesn’t do, however, is make gay marriage the new law of the land. By making this a state issue, the court left open the unhappy idea that it might not strike down gay marriage bans in less liberal states.

Look at the decision on California’s gay marriage ban handed down the same day. In that ruling the court decided not to take up an appeal on California’s law, but this was an issue of standing, not the constitutionality of criminalizing gay nuptials. The state of California had refused to defend the law any longer, and the gay marriage opponents who appealed had no direct stake in that appeal, so legally the Supreme Court didn’t have to argue the substance before it simply passed the hot potato right into the garbage. (The majority opinion in that vote offered an interesting Red Rover game in which Roberts stood alongside justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan against Sam Alito and Sonia Sotomayor, crews as motley as one could imagine.) The decision in Windsor also found an executive branch–Barack Obama’s–unwilling to fight for the DOMA, so a party directed by Congress had to get involved.

Of course, the standing issue is important to this argument for myriad reasons. Standing means that a plaintiff must have been directly harmed or have some connection to the harm caused by a law. In the case of gay marriage opponents, that applies … um … never. As I’ve joked here before, gay marriage does no harm whatsoever to straight people other than directly offend what must be their smutty imaginations. That fallacy was again voiced relentlessly today as religious conservatives again said that allowing gays to freely marry somehow deprived them of freedom. I guess because the act contradicts what they believe, it is a form of mind control. I’m stretching there, but it’s hard to make sense out of such a brutally senseless argument.

But as glib as I’d like to be that questionable legal representation produced a happy effect, Emily Bazelon at Slate, among others, asks a fair question: Is it right that the will of California voters was subverted in this case because their state government refused to fight for a law they passed? Would our joy at seeing gay haters’ asses handed to them on an issue of standing be so funny if this were, say, a water pollution issue that our state refused to fight?

But I don’t wish to be ambiguous. I’m happy for the decision today, that five of the Supreme Court justices called the Defense of Marriage Act what it was–malice against a group of people. A law that disapproved of a class of people one state, New York, was trying to invest with some status and integrity.

You can, of course, read Justice Antonin Scalia’s whining dissent, filigreed with such thumb-sucking lines inveighing against the “black-robed supremacy” of a court gone out of control. It is more tired rhetoric about judicial activism, something Scalia, whose willingness to become activist in defense of conservative causes, ought to be too embarrassed to keep saying out loud by now.  Then there are predictable screeds by National Review editors who try to subvert the logic of tolerance by saying gay marriage proponents are somehow full of contempt. See what pretzel logic man Rich Lowry did there? I’m not the one hating the people I hate. It must be something they are doing. The people I hate must be causing it somehow.

That attitude was institutionalized by the DOMA. That attitude spawned a law of the land. That attitude was why the law came crashing down under its own weight.

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–*We’re not celebrating it. We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses and every day is Valentine’s Day to us.

–*We’re purchasing on an extra sexy nightie, and to make it more naughty, leaving the tag on so we can return it all soiled to Victoria’s Secret tomorrow.

–*We’re putting on our favorite sensual music. “Master of Puppets” by Metallica usually puts her in the mood.

–*We’re eating food with aphrodisiac qualities like oysters, chocolate, asparagus, honey, basil and Gas-X.

–*We’re watching Julie & Julia again and rewinding over and over the scene where Julia Child says she likes a hot cock.

–*Romantic love is a narcissistic bourgeois concept. I am much happier in the jungles of Peru with my bloodthirsty communist group The Shining Path and plan to celebrate my 30th year here by eating banana leaves and wiping my ass with tree bark.

–*I’m wining and dining the woman of my dreams at a romantic dinner, telling her how much she has meant to me and telling her how she and I are going to begin a great adventure in marriage together after I leave my third wife and sundry children.

–*I’m spending money on food, wine and Valentine’s Day chocolate, because if I don’t, the terrorists win.

–*I’m making promises I can’t keep about giving my lover all the things she wants, starting with universal health care.

–*Love is mainly an illusion. Tonight I’m indulging that illusion with Henry.

–*Tonight I’ll be laughing at all the people in relationships who are wasting all their god damned money on an expensive dinner.

–*My wife and I are therapists and tonight we’ll be engaging in projection, transference, parataxic distortion, denial and all the other things that make love great.

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The most recent issue of Playboy magazine features a pictorial with actress and notorious party girl Tara Reid naked. Why might men want to skip this most recent issue?

–*They’ve already seen Tara Reid naked in the film Body Shots.

–*They’ve already seen the pictures of Tara Reid naked on the red carpet at a notorious P. Diddy party a few years ago.

–*They’ve not only seen the pictures of her at P. Diddy’s party, but have noticed that she’s undergone several flawed plastic surgeries that make her less appealing and a little alienating.

–*They’ve seen the pictures, noticed the plastic surgery and realized that her neurotic need to be perfect–when she was already pretty enough–also makes her less appealing.

–*They’ve seen the pictures, noticed the plastic surgery, and realized that the Tara Reid they are looking at now is largely a reconstructed Terminator version of the actress and that really they are masturbating to pictures of a robot.

–*They’ve seen the pictures, noticed the surgery, realized that they’re masturbating to a robot, but also likely realized that Playboy so excessively retouches and airbrushes its women that pretty much every woman they’re masturbating to in the magazine is a robot.

–*They’ve seen the pictures, noticed they’re masturbating to airbrushed robots and realized that they are masturbating to an over-culturalized ideal of beauty in the first place and that their responses to Tara Reid are mostly conditioned by tastemakers and scum bags.

–*They’ve already seen Tara naked, noticed they’re masturbating to the Terminator and realized that the whole idea of femininity is over-culturalized.

–*They’ve seen her naked, realized they’re masturbating to R2-D2, and figured out that both men and women share masculine and feminine traits and that the cartoonish version of female sexuality that the silicone version of Tara Reid represents is degrading to both men and women alike and fails to address the fullness of a person’s sexuality and humanity.

–*They’ve seen her naked before, they’ve realized they’re jerking off to Robby the Robot, and they realize that all sexual attraction is an illusion based on a need to propagate DNA and that mostly the female object of the male gaze is an elusive and non-existent semion that represents only the male’s ideal version of himself–an unachievable goal that leads him only to frustration and a lack of enlightenment.

–*Seven bucks? Jesus, the porn on the Internet is free!

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Ashley Dupre, the one-time call girl whose tryst with former New York governor Eliot Spitzer brought about his stunning downfall, has recently taken a position as a New York Post advice columnist, claiming that she’s in a unique position to teach people using the examples of her own mistakes in life. What are some of the insights she has to offer?

–*”Remember, a man and a woman have to establish trust early in a relationship. Make sure he puts the money on the dresser before he gets into bed.”

–*”A girl always has to use good judgment and not engage in unsafe activity. So whenever a man wants to have sex without a condom, make sure beforehand he’s a powerful public figure.”

–*”Sometimes girls have to act out, especially if they had a very repressed childhood. If you have repressive parents and live in New Jersey, you might consider disposing of them.”

–*”Remember, when a guy promises you the world, he probably just wants to get into your pants. Don’t fall for this trick unless he’s from England or Italy.”

–*”Nothing should come between you and your dreams, especially not the Mann Act.”

–*”Young women in their teens often haven’t developed an identity yet. If you don’t know who you are, keep changing your name until you find out. You or the cops.”

–*”Even if you’re with a guy who’s taken on giant industries like mutual funds, insurance and banking, you can’t be intimidated by him. Just remind yourself—you’re the one with the vagina. Without it, Mr. “I successfully sued AIG” doesn’t even rate a 2. Not to a vagina-having girl like yourself.”

–*”Even if you don’t always feel like the prettiest girl in the class, just remember that every girl is pretty when she’s naked in a Girls Gone Wild video.”

–*”A lot of girls dream of making it big in the music industry, but don’t know how to create an audience. I recommend being at the center of a major political sex scandal.”

–*A guy has to respect you first if he’s going to put you in a blindfold and order you to pick up the money.

–*”Sometimes a girl gets in way over her head with booze, drugs, sex, gambling, porn, prostitution, masturbation, gas huffing, day trading … I don’t remember where I was going with this.”

–*”Lead paint remediation is no laughing matter.”

–*”Moms can be very protective. If your mom thinks you’re dressing too provocatively, try telling her to back the fuck off.”

–*”Christmas is a time for giving. Why not get him a whore?”

–*”The road to riches and fortune is not easy. It’s paved with a lot of cock.”



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Last night, I rolled over in bed and gave my wife a playful squeeze.

“Take control,” she said.

“Oooo!” I whispered. “Take control of what?”

“Take control of proposals and awards.”

Yes, my wife talks in her sleep. She’s always done it. I’ve often rolled over thinking she was trying to have a meaningful conversation with me, only to find out that she’s talking to the phantoms of the office.

“It’s not fair,” she said once. When I asked what was not fair, she said: “No incomplete forms.” Another time she whispered, “Research takes a long time. It’s the program.”

Now, I see the lascivious light coming on in your head, dear reader, like a candle in a pumpkin: that these late night mumbles might allow me to prey on my wife’s deepest secrets. That her somniloquies could take me deep into her psyche where no husband should go. That I’m playing a dangerous game by delving into her parasomnic world.

What if I found out something that drove me mad with jealousy? What if I were to poke and prod in a desperate search to find out what she really thinks of my love handles? What if I find out that she thinks some other guy is hot? Not just Jon Hamm, but some actor she’s worked with in an off-off-Broadway version of Chekhov’s “The Bear,” an actor who might still be on our subway line.

Isn’t it right and proper that everybody, even my wife, have the right to a private internal life where she can imagine scenarios, ponder, reflect and work out the troubles of the world by herself in peace without my second-guessing their meaning?

After all, if I did find out something suspicious, wouldn’t my perception of it be completely disproportionate to the actual reality, which is usually pretty silly?

Indeed, wouldn’t a guy’s obsession with his wife’s internal life lead him to jealous ruin? Didn’t Orpheus lose Eurydice forever when he looked back at her and she was still in the land of dreams? I ask you, weren’t the Ancient Greeks and the rock band the Romantics onto something?

And yet the truth is much stranger than any anticipated by these questions. Because, in fact, my wife Stephanie only ever seems to talk about her work day. That’s it. That’s all she’s got. I’ve seen the deep internal workings of the soul, and it looks a lot like a memo from human resources.

Now I know my wife’s not a dull person. She has a great sense of humor and great observational skills and likes to tell stories and laugh. I’m really dumbfounded as to why, when she’s sleep-talking, she never recites lines from Shakespeare or even Neil LaBute for that matter. God knows she reads their monologues enough when she’s awake. And yet the things that make her fear, the things that stir her soul, the things that tickle her dreams are all straight out of the Staples catalogue.

I had a psychology professor in college who you might call the anti-Freud. He not only dismissed the idea that dreams held important symbols but stressed to us all the time that dreams were usually just the prosaic trifles of everyday life–washing dishes, talking on the phone–organized only haphazardly into scenes so that the brain could make sense of them. I’d never heard the mystical world of psychology put in such crass, unmagical, horrifically boring terms. But I liked the contrary approach and after a while espoused it myself for the sake of perverse iconoclasm. Now, when people are asking me what their dreams mean, I really love to kill the wave and say, “I doubt seriously your dreams are important.”

Still, when Stephanie talks in her sleep now, I have started playing a really strange game. I actually try to engage her in the terms of the discussion. Not because of what I think I’ll find out, but because I want to be with her where she is. I want to understand. I want to be privy to the secrets of her night world.

“It’s the program,” she says sleepily out of nowhere.

“What program?” I reply.

“The program.” She starts to look confused at this point, as if I don’t understand, yet I keep mercilessly asking because I feel like maybe I’ll learn something about the subconscious–or at least how to remain compliant with NIH grant application rules.

She starts to mumble. She can’t get her point across.

“The fasafafafafafa…….”

And that’s it. She’s gone.

What have I learned? Was Dr. Buss, my psychology professor, right? Is there nothing to learn here? Will I one day unlock a sort of Jungian-Enigma dream code within my wife? A Rosetta stone for getting to the bottom of her ineffable world? Or am I doomed to talk about bureaucratic protocol like they do in Office Space?

Perhaps it will always be just a little bit lonely–wherever it is my wife is going off to. Maybe I’ll just have to let her navigate Ultima Thule by herself for a while, knowing that it’s her journey alone, but happily anticipating that she’ll eventually come back to me.

On the other hand, maybe she’ll wake up and we’ll have sex. You never know.

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–*Finishing the roof

–*Waxing the car

–*Getting a bikini wax

–*This really great pop song written for our favorite Ukrainian restaurant in Greenwich Village, Veselka.

–*How we just can’t enjoy this sexual act when the United States is going to socialist hell.

–*How for a minute there during foreplay we thought we had almost grasped Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem of formal mathematics.

–*Wittgenstein’s concept of language games

–*Your mother-in-law’s concept of language games

–*Chang and Eng and how weird their sex must have been

–*Why does our cat get upset when we do oral?

–*The perfect ending to our 1,000 page novel.

–*Shit! I forgot to get a baby shower present!

–*Shit! I forgot to brush my teeth!

–*Shit! I forgot to scrub with Purell.

–*Angelina Jolie

–*Brad Pitt

–*Obama Girl

–*Obama

–*”I wonder if Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is on DVD?”

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–*I was mad

–*I was out of control

–*It just felt better

–*Didn’t have any snappy comebacks

–*It was a demonstrable crime of passion, and after all, I was in Turkey.

–*Don’t have a lot of book-learnin’

–*I saw her first

–*Man is a violent animal. It is in our genes to be territorial and combative. It is how we survive in a world full of natural enemies and … just kidding, I was bused to the town hall by a Republican political action group

–*I was just doing what Kevin told me

–*I was just doing what Rush told me

–*The tools of skillful diplomacy had no longer worked to my satisfaction as an undersecretary of the Defense Department and I decided to press for invasion

–*The pitiful man insulted Dear Leader

–*I wanted his gold, therefore I took it

–*I wanted his iPod, therefore I took it

–*I wanted his degree from Harvard, therefore I knew no other solution than to beat him over the head

–*If a woman wouldn’t tear out the hair of another woman to hold onto the man she loved, well then that ain’t no kind of woman at all.

–*I’m a meerkat and nothing gets done in my colony unless I eat the young of my competitors

–*Seemed easier than actually reading the entire 1,000 page health care bill.

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