samedi, janvier 24, 2009

Send in the clown

When I was in college, I had a supporting role in the musical "Anything Goes." Even then, I was not seen as an ingenue. I really wanted to be, though. What college girl didn't?

Full of dreams of the other life the stage offered, I would love to have had the chance to be the fresh faced girl finding herself in her lover's arms. But how wonderful to play any part in one of his musicals.

I've always had an affection for Cole Porter's music. I like the irony, the cultural references from the 1930s and 40's, the cleverness, and the lyricism.

I get no kick from champagne
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all
But tell me why should it be true?
That I get a kick out of you?

There's something so wonderfully in your face, but classy, about his erotic lyrics. I suppose perhaps it was the gay male in him coming out (sic).

Some get their kicks from cocaine
I know that if...I took even one sniff,
It would bore me terrifically too...
But I get a kick out of you

I'm looking for the lover who doesn't bore me...the one who will surprise me, challenge me, shatter my prejudices. I'm so good at nurturing that men rarely get past that. I'm cautious, so jaded about love...and I wonder who will see past the facade, and want to know the woman who simmers underneath...hoping to be refuted.

But I'm not an ingenue. No one needs to find me, 'cause I'm not lost. So if "he" doesn't walk in the door, if "he" doesn't have time, if "he" isn't interested in the challenge, then I'm not waiting around to see if "he" (fill in the blank) can be suckered into choosing me. And when he does have time, and is drawn to the challenge, and wants to be chosen as much as to choose...ah, then, we've got something to talk about.

vendredi, janvier 23, 2009

Want me?

Apparently being the subject, or object of lust can torch female desire.

Or at least, that's one theory Daniel Bergner examines in his fascinating New York Times article on research currently being done on female sexuality.

"What do women want?-Discovering what ignites female desire" is a compelling journey into a field where vastly different theories appear to me to be equally convincing--and I'm one of "them."

I've drawn a few possible conclusions.

Female sexuality seems, on the surface, to be both more complex and more fluid than that of guys. The role of culture and conditioning may never be crystal clear. And what we fantasize about in the bedroom may not at all be what we want in the office, or even in the dining room.

But I still don't "get" the bonobos....

jeudi, janvier 22, 2009

No Roberts rules

I admit that I've never thought Dr. Steven Pinker was witty. The truth is, that even if he was being funny, I'm not sure I'd know it.

I mean, the guy is a total braniac--I'm sure my kids would put him in somewhere between nerd and mad scientist.

But "Oaf of Office" is a riot. Read it, and howl.

It helps to know what a split verb is, although Pinker gives you plenty of examples.

It might help even more to care.

But if someone like me can read it and laugh, maybe there's hope for the scholarly Dr. Pinker--a spot on Jon Stewart's show?

There may even be hope for me. After all, I'm proof that complete rebellion against the rules of grammar pays -- not a lot, but it pays!

Must love dogs

It's easy to fall for an animal that loves you unconditionally.

I generally don't have the patience or the extroversion to be a "dog person." That almost changed last week, however.

Driving down Byers Road, I came very close to hitting an escaped Boston terrier. Fortunately, his owners found " Tux" at the vet where I'd left him. For a night, I considered introducing a dog into our house -- and its probable effect on Inky and Precious.

Scratching. Snarling. Puffy fur. Tantrums. Wounds? Blood? Barking...sounds fun, doesn't it?

Our tuxedo cat thinks he runs the establishment, and I haven't been able to convince him he doesn't make our rules.

I've noticed that lots of guys on the dating sites allude to deep relationships with their dogs --often deeper than those they seem to have with their children. Or perhaps simply less complicated ones.

That's by no means true for all of them. Lots of them love their canines and their kids.

But it does scare me a little. It's challenging being a divorced parent, particularly one who might not see much of their kids. It's hard to deal with the sometimes pissy side of adolescents, anyhow. When you have to do it on your own, or at a distance, it's ever more difficult. And easier to blow off.

Married or single, we only have so much energy. When it's tough to love our kids, when our kids are hard to love, do we seek gratification in other, lesser loves? Does it then become less critical to apologize, to resolve that fight, to deal with the ex about weekends and finances and schools?

I'm as much of an absolutist in my own way as are the four-footed infatuates.

Must love kids. Your own.

mardi, janvier 20, 2009

Yes, he's different

I wanted, really wanted to warm up to Barack Obama today. I'm thrilled that a black man could be elected President of the USA. I'm more than thrilled to see the former occupant go back to Texas (though I did feel for him, sitting on the platform while 44 took jab after jab at the former administration.)

I'm so happy that we have an opportunity to reencounter our ideals and reestablish our relationships with some of the more civilized nations (although actually I don't see too many moral leaders among heads of state).

There were lots of things I didn't like about Bill Clinton, but you did sense a desire on his part to connect, to engage -- a certain Mike Huckabee realism.

Obama's sober tone today was a bit like that of a college professor who has discovered that half the class was plagiarizing. One more episode, and we are going into detention. A friend of mine with great DC connections told me that some of the columnists at the conservative dinner were struck by his aristocratic airs. I'm not sure if that's what we saw today --but I'm going to be looking more closely.

There's a certain distant quality about him that I didn't notice in the campaign. Possibly that's because difficult times mean that all of us slackers better shape up and fly right.

Funny. All this time I thought he was referencing somebody else.

Not you. And absolutely not me.

PS -- It helped to see him dance tonight. He's seemed to be having a good time, and kidding around, and more relaxed than in other public appearances. Maybe he was nervous. Or perhaps, as I'm sure many conservatives will argue, he's is a bit of the Obamamessiah. I hope he was nervous.

lundi, janvier 19, 2009

Swinging for dummies

It's odd when you know more about a particular topic than the hip, chic, eclectic people who write the articles for the New York Times "Modern Love" column.

A few days ago, the column detailed the adventures of Katherine Ruppe, who found herself a surprised and then an bewildered extra in someone's love life.

Her nerd turned out to be a swinger--complete with married girlfriend.

As I've said before, I know something about swingers. While I haven't had personal experience, I've had enough conversations with some to come a few conclusions.

One is that both swinging and polyamory create complexities, like jealousy, that most people aren't equipped to cope with. The situation Ruppe describes probably is not all that unusual. Another is that swinging, having sex with many partners, requires a certain amount of numbing, or compartmentalization.

Men are usually more comfortable with this than are women--although women are becoming more adept.

Monogamy can indeed become boring, if both partners aren't committed to spicing it up. That explains, perhaps, why some Christian pastors have started producing these R rated books for married couples.

But is bringing a third party, or parties, into a relationship the answer to a tedious sex life?

I'm skeptical. If a couple is having sexual problems, there's usually more to it than sex. And intimacy is something you earn, not something you find by posting on craigslist.

dimanche, janvier 18, 2009


When Paul exhorted his readers to stand up to the principalities, I'm not sure he would have considered Colosimo's gun shop one of them. But read the column in Sunday's newspaper by Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Monica Yant Kinney and tell me how you feel about this gun shop owner.

He sounds like a man who doesn't give much thought to anything but his business -- at the least. At the most, as the city alleges, he may be allowing criminals to buy guns that allow for more killings in Philadelphia and elsewhere.

I know the Rev. Isaac Miller. He's a cool-headed guy.

I admire his guts, and that of the men and women arrested with him, in taking a moral stance against gun violence. The shots and woundings and funerals happen in his neighborhood.

This isn't about fuzzy headed liberalism. This is, as Kinney says, going face to face with the gun lobby, and saying what needed to be said, even in a prison cell. Enough. Enough. Enough.

Feeding at the welfare trough

Remember the outrage when outgoing (YIPEE) Treasury secretary Hank Paulson wanted 700 billion to bail out struggling banks? That wasn't me. With a lot of other people, I took a passive approach--believing that so called experts knew better than I what needed to be done.

Read this article in the New York Times and ask yourself-what should we have done? Now I understand the anger--these banks are using the money, as I've said before, not to lend to worthy consumers, but to buy other companies and strengthen their positions.

This is welfare for the finance sector --affirmative action for the wealthy. I'm sure a lot of these guys who are folks who point their fingers at poor people and say they should climb out of poverty by their bootstraps.

If we'd left the smart men and women at these institutions to figure it out, would we have suffered? Well, apparently, most of the money went to healthy banks. And not a hell of a lot has been done to craft a plan to help investors or others who need credit.

I'll climb back off this soapbox -- until it pisses me off all over again. I think what infuriates me that most is that the scale of the suffering in this country is getting larger every day--while the wealthy continue to enrich themselves. They're good at it, aren't they?

Martin's Dream

Monday, of course, is the day we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. The day before Inaguaration Day.

Forty years (41) is a long time. We recall the life so brutally cut short, but possibly we don't give enough reverence to the prophet.

For Martin Luther King was a prophet. I had occasiona to think about this when I came across his "I have a dream speech."

My daughter, the DQ, is reading part of that speech with a group of students at our Constitution Center this Monday. Part of a local theater group called New Voices, they are young people from Chester, one of the poorest cities in this area, and from suburban Philadelphia (one of the most affluent). Chester, by the way, is where young Martin Luther King attended seminary.

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into…
a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day"

Sometimes progress seems so go in tiny baby steps --and sometimes, as with the election of Barack Obama, in big leaps. Dr. King might not have known how such transformation might occur, but he never lost hope, and faith, that it would.