Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"The Greatest Show on Earth"

(The Evidence for Evolution)
-by richard dawkins
As is often the case with dawkins, superlatives can feel like understatement. Brilliant? style, authority, and above all, necessity. The only thing this ethologist, biologist, and former Professor for Public Understanding at Oxford is not, is dispassionate. He's given to occasional fits of rhapsodic waxing over the wonders of life and the universe, which make the "miracles" of mythology or religion seem tawdry.
This book joins "The Selfish Gene" and "The Ancestor's Tale" as dawkins' most towering. The only thing that holds this one back are the tangents and specificity (which will delight many who already embrace his points, but might make this too challenging for any believers who are on the fence). When he's at his best, you won't find a science author more readable...but there are times when even I felt bogged down.
That aside, this is the book that will make you say "Why didn't he write this BEFORE all the others?" In retrospect, it was a glaring hole - all his earlier works assume an acceptance of evolution as a viable (indeed, the only viable) way to explain life on Earth. This one drops that assumption, and offers an avalanche of evidence showing that evolution is far more than theory. Indeed, that which doubters would assume is the primary proof, the fossil record, dawkins reveals as almost an afterthought. Driving that point home is the fact that darwin, who made the greatest leap in scientific thinking ever, did so at a time when there was, for all practical purposes, zero fossil record. Natural clocks, geostratification, continental drift, DNA, and embryological evidence are all fleshed out by richard. Most fascinating is the de-pantsing of the argument by apparent design - with such staggeringly complex and graceful life forms as abound on this planet, all "perfectly" fitted to their environment, how could life be anything other than the result of conscious engineering? That illusion only holds up when you look at a lion or humyn from the outside, however. Inside, biology is a tinker toy mess, with all sorts of staggering inefficiencies which could only be a relic of an ancestor radically different.
His foray into the science behind sea mammals who possess land-oriented lungs, is wondrous. Would you care to guess which is the only animal we now think may have left the sea, then returned, then left again? Make up your damned minds, turtles!
With exquisite illustrations to delight the visual learners, this book is a treasure (one, dare i say, beyond measure).

Saturday, March 17, 2018

more statutory life...

If you're going to be in NYC between now and July, this statue of me was just installed in an exhibit on bodies, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Existentially, in this world of alienation, it's strange to sometimes let myself think about the five naked statues of me out there somewhere in the world...perfect body molds...
I think about the people i'll never meet who interact with the statues every day. I think about those people, perhaps occasionally wondering who the humyn is whose replicated body they see every day...where does he live, what does he do, what does he think...
Maybe one silly, lonely womyn somewhere in Norway, touches my penis once for luck every morning...
Many people feel such a disconnect from their own bodies...
But i also have eight perfect copies of my body out there in the world, from which i'm disconnected.
Silly, alienated thoughts...

Monday, March 12, 2018

playin' in de-banned

When i was a teen, my comedic hero was george carlin. His messages of anti-hypocrisy and anti-censorship resonated in me with clarion force, and he remains more brilliantly funny than any humyn i've ever heard. In all the subjects he took on, there was only one that made me pause - his contention that you can joke about anything. His example, rape, pushed the limits of my youthful idealism. I did my best to agree with him, even though i couldn't conceive of any context in which i would joke about rape. Over two decades later, i finally caught up. My brother, an ethical vegan, had decided he was going to eat shrimp again. Considering this, i asked whether he was going to take a toothpick and rape them first.
I recently moved to San Francisco, to offer the world my voice as a humorist, essayist, musician, and poet. I chose this city because my views on nature, politics, religion, and sex are so ahead of the curve, that i figured i needed the most famously progressive city in the world.
Within my first month, i got banned at an open mic for performing a piece that was labelled "racist". To say that i was stunned is an understatement - in my writings and personal life, i could roll out a parade of evidence attesting to my anti-racist cred. But i knew my writing could be challenging - indeed, i wouldn't give a spit for it if it weren't. Who said that if art doesn't make you uncomfortable, it's not art? And mark twain said (i paraphrase) that all the protesting, politicking, and proselytizing will never change the world one tiny smidgen as much as laughter.
The piece was one i'd never performed publicly. It's so audacious that when i'd finished writing it, i shook my head in giggling wonderment for a few minutes, not convinced it was even mine. I wasn't sure what it was, except perhaps subversively, ridiculously brilliant. The message was twofold - an indictment of how we let words control our emotions, and a grand attempt to pour humor on something horrible (racism), thereby taking away some of its power. I'd always been offended by the notion of "bad" or "titillating" words that automatically incite a certain feeling in us, regardless of context or intent. An intelligent person controls their words, not the other way around.
My piece centered on "the N word". Comedian/activist dick gregory might give me a dirty look for even uttering a phrase so apologetically wishy washy as "the N word". Whatever words you use, say them or don't, but trust your intent. In my piece, which on the surface has nothing to do with race, i never actually said the word. I walked right up to that hot emotional button, and enacted a dance of humor and freedom, circling the word relentlessly, never touching it, but never backing away. I offered up the piece as one possible anti-racist tool or tactic.
Part of the inspiration had been a dave chapelle sketch, a spoof of "Leave it to Beaver", which was even more in-your-face. If i danced around that six-foot button, dave stood next to it and kept dropping five-pound rocks.
Many in the black community have re-claimed that word, often coarsely...but sometimes eruditely or artistically, and the effort itself has noble parallels. You don't have to go far, especially in this city, to find a homosexual who decided that no one would ever again hurt him with the word "fag". "Cunt" has also been the subject of reclamation and empowerment.
I chose that setting, an anarchist bookstore, as the first and perhaps only place i'd do the piece. I didn't know whether it would accomplish what i wanted it to (or more to the point, i wondered whether only a black person could get away with it). I chose that audience as the most hip and progressive i'd find. I chose a night when there were both white and black in the crowd. I had total faith and fearlessness.
And in that performance, my instinct seemed right on. I knew i had the crowd...i could feel a vibration of uncertainty, but people were smiling and laughing and right there with me. When i finished, the reaction wasn't forced or faint. Over the crowd's applause, a black man in the front row stood up and hugged me (partly, as it turned out, because he wanted to protect me from any possible backlash).
And then when i got home, a text came banning me. I didn't get upset, or protest. If you're going to wear the shoes of a provocateur, you've got to be unafraid to take lumps. I had nothing but faith in the good intentions of the MC who banned me. I chose to believe that everything would work itself out. I didn't even approach people who'd been there to ask, "Were you offended?" When people approached me, i spoke openly. One fellow, not knowing i'd been banned, enthusiastically told me i should do the piece there again.
I realized that were i black, i probably never would have been banned. If so, there was tremendous irony - a non-racist performed an anti-racist piece, inciting another non-racist into a racist act.
Whether my piece was brilliant or crap, is beside the point.
Laughter is healing.
Art is dangerous.
Brilliance and fearlessness are two different things. When you have both, you might change the world.
Or get yourself shot. Could go either way.

Postscript: Four months later, i was unbanned...but not because of any conviction on the part of the MC, i fear. He's trying to re-establish goodwill in the artistic community, after two subsequent bannings have caused a backlash. I don't know whether i'll return, especially since it's conditional on my not making anyone uncomfortable. It's sad, as i'm quite sure that he believes in (and indeed practices himself) the disturbing imperative of art.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

strobel fleece prize

My sister and i were talking the other day, and the author lee strobel came up. He writes defense-of-faith books. I love my sister, but she's a devout believer - perhaps even a fundamentalist. I came THIS close to saying what i think - if strobel's the smartest thinker christianity can muster, then they are in deep fucking doo-doo. When i read one of his books, i kept waiting for a single point of logic...for one single shred of critical thinking that would get a community college student something higher than a "C". I gutted out three excruciating chapters.
But i didn't tell her that, because it feels almost cruel to pick on something so patently indefensible. It feels almost sadistic to point out to basically well-meaning people that over 99% of their fellowship are obviously what could only charitably be called bullshit christians...people who put in the lip service, but if challenged to live their lives in accordance with their savior's words, they would show you the door (and then lock it). Despite all the towns filled with churches filled with people filled with open wallets, religion holds zero sway in this country in any matter of importance. Zero. What, i'm going to kick a believer when they're down? Our government, our economics, our mores...the decisions that steer this country, in terms of what we do with our resources, how we treat each other, and how we interact with our global neighbors, have nothing to do with any spiritual agenda. Jesus' sufferings may have your lips, but santa's toys have your heart. Over 99% of all "believers" hold two concepts more dear, more high, and more sacred than anything else - materialism and individualism. And in the service of those values, they know that the separation of church and state is an absolute MUST, otherwise we'll be as pathetic as the amish (which they are, except in the one or two ways they're not). And even though they disparage it, believers know they need REAL fucking science on their side.
Maybe there is a god. By definition, nobody can know, and people like strobel are either fools or charlatans (at that level of popularity, you'd be smart to bet on the second). There is zero scientific evidence to support faith, and an avalanche of psychological evidence explaining why some people believe (or claim to believe, which may be the majority demographic).
If you truly need to believe, then do it. If it makes you a better person, i'll cheer. But DO NOT talk about it. Just go about your business, and keep your yap shut. At this point in humyn history, religion is FAR too dangerous a toy. For anyone.
I would say wait until humynity has grown up before trying religion again...though at that point, of course, no one will want to.
But i didn't say any of those things to her.
Deep down, it was a compliment to her that i even wanted to...a sign of how comfortable i feel around her...i want to be myself entirely, which is a rather sacred gift.
But i didn't. Love only goes so far in this broken, dissembling world, before good intentions crumble into contentious hurtfulness.
Ah well.
I love you all.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


During our time together, spring dabbled in unaccustomed public displays of affection, was comfortable wearing less makeup, made love within sight of an unshuttered window, and had the best sex of her life.
It was pretty damned great for me, too.
With all that, why do people focus on how and why it ended? And why was her focus ultimately not on what it was, but what it wasn't? What do those two things say about our culture?
Nothing good.
We had four brilliant months. A starburst of physical and emotional intimacy. Then...nothing.
We met during my search for a home in the Bay area. I was in a temporary situation with a live-in, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive landlord. Spring advertised a room for rent, at a reduced rate in exchange for looking after her kids whenever her on-call job took her away. She was far from where i wanted to be in either Berkeley or San Fran, so it was a sign of my urgency (and growing incredulity at Bay housing rates) that i was considering it at all. She gave the room to someone else, but we had a nice e-mail connection, and i told her it was perhaps for the best, as i'd have probably only ended up falling in love with her.
We soon met. She was a mother, doula, and musician (in about a 9:7:1 ratio). Her work with expectant mothers took her all over the Bay; my San Pablo home was well-situated as a place she passed regularly.
We had a remarkably similar response when we first met - no particular attraction! But being with her was easy and comfortable. She had enough hippie in her that she admired my life. And she loved my writing. There was a no-visitor policy in my home, which cut our potential time together enormously. It's easy to wonder how things might have gone if that hadn't been so. Her life was so busy that we only got together once a week, for a few hours...yet we jumped into each other's lives through Skype, spending an hour a day talking. Even though i loved it, part of me worried it was too much; i was wary of our emotional bond racing ahead of real life compatibility. Hours upon virtual hours we shared in my garage (because of a quiet-house policy). She said she wanted to hear everything i'd ever written (the way to a man's heart is through his stomach...unless he's a writer).
As an almost-forty single mother who struggled with her weight, she had placed herself in a "discount bin" of attractiveness, and i chided her for underselling herself (or even selling herself at all, but that's what this world does). It was ridiculous - she was as smart, beautiful, and loving as anyone could want.
She had two lovers when we met - a dear female friend she'd lived with, and a male friend she used for sex. The former was a swirl of splitting and reconciliations. The latter wanted much more...but she found him tedious, and the sex sub-par. She'd never gone more than a month or so without sex, and believed that none was worse than second-rate. A part of me admired (and envied) that so much. She continued to see them both, especially at first, in part due to my non-possessive attitudes (she was happy to take advantage of that, but told me that she would be very hurt if i were with anyone else). It put us in a funny position - she was talking monogamy and acting polyamory, while i was talking polyamory and acting monogamy. She also had an ongoing flirtation that had been building for years, and was the source of some life partner dreams (for her, at least). At one point, she also arranged a date with a long-lost friend. Did all these associations make me feel insecure, or contribute to my sense of thin ice? Well...yes and no. I understood the "all or nothing" nature of her romantic inclinations, so i knew that i could be bounced mercilessly if the wind changed. But on a deeper level, i was comfortable enough in my spirituality to truly want what was best for her (or what she felt was best), even if that meant sadness or loss for me. Yet deeper than that, i never felt truly threatened by her other lovers - i was confident that my combination of wisdom, humor, emotional openness, and stunning sex would leave any pretenders in my wake. Yet too...i'd be lying if i claimed to feel no sadness whenever she was with another man (her female lover i was more positive about). Part of my sadness was just feeling bad for spring, as she flailed to find happiness, but part of it was the thought that she wasn't giving us a fair chance. For us to truly connect spiritually and sexually, i needed her to be 100% present...and her other lovers might inhibit that.
I didn't want to be booted from her life, but i never quite lost the feeling that that day would come.
It's easy to wonder what we could have been if she'd been free to invite me to live with her. We did have a few ecstatic weeks when we managed two or three get-togethers, including sleepovers. But once we became sexual (and the sex became good), that quickly defined our togetherness. We both wanted more, but sexual healing is pretty irresistible, so we had to just hope that the other stuff would come. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that in four months, we never had any dates that involved leaving the house, and we only watched one movie together (or half a movie, as she easily abandoned "Miss Congeniality" for the comforts of bed and a hard-on).
Which is not to say we didn't get to know each other emotionally and spiritually. We did, and beautifully. I loved the stories of her life, particularly her teen years. The sadness of her father dying...she's possibly the only womyn i've ever met who described a healthy, happy father relationship. He "came out" and left a loveless marriage when she was young. He died of "the virus", but not before leaving her many sweet memories and perspectives. From time to time, i playfully imagined his spirit able to see how well i was loving his daughter (despite our ending, i think he'd still be proud). I also loved her teenage tales in contrast to the sexual wasteland of my own youth. She'd had a number of partners starting at the age of fourteen, most with substantially older men. There was nothing sleazy or predatory about it, and it made me love (and envy and admire) her so much.
Being with her involved the biggest biking adventures of my life! Her car was the chief facilitator of our together time, but i didn't want that to become too great an imbalance. Plus, even though she was only twenty auto minutes away, giving up forty minutes on days when we had only a few precious hours was less than optimal. So i started biking to her. Those thirty-four mile days (through semi-mountainous roads) were pretty epic...including one day when it was 100 degrees. People were being warned to stay indoors, and there i was, pedaling away. My feet started cramping when i neared home, and when i got in the door, they seized completely - i was on the floor for thirty minutes. It was one of the more powerful days of my life...made poignant by the fact that it was a surprise visit. I was just dropping off a highlighter i'd borrowed - a gesture to let her know how important she was to me. Her female lover was visiting, so after a few words and smiles, i was back on the road.
Given my thin ice, it's easy to lose sight of how wonderful we were. I don't recall a single fight, and our sex was more emotionally open and connected than most people ever achieve.
It was a bit out of character for me to become romantically involved with a single mother so quickly. When we met, she said some words about her independence that put me totally at ease. Of course, things are seldom so simple...she was emphatically not looking for a new "daddy", but eventually told me that though she deeply desired a life partner, bitter experience had made her unlikely to pursue it without a big push. She'd had a horrible marriage with an unbalanced, emotionally abusive man, with whom she still shared child custody.
We had sex on our third or fourth date - much sooner than i would have chosen, but she was insistent, her logic being that she didn't want to get emotionally invested if the sex wasn't good. I wanted to argue that deep connection is what MAKES sex good, but her point had some merit. We seemed to have lovely potential, as neither of us cared for kink or oral.
And our first sex was...awful!
No, not really. For me, it was charmingly clumsy. Fumbly and self-conscious, but with promise, particularly in how responsive i was. Part of the clumsiness was because i'd told her how effortless and transcendent it had been with my previous partner. It got into her head (which was already a cluttered place, with body issues and other baggage). She was also self-conscious about my size - i'd told her my penis measurements, and she worried that i was too small (i had to smile, as my first love had worried that her next man wouldn't "measure up"...oh, the fickle finger of fortune). I had some of my own self-consciousness, as spring was my first post-pregnancy lover. Some of my own size anxieties did creep in.
The worst thing about our first sex was that it sent her deep into her shell. I only found out a week later that she was so miserable afterwards, she went out to get drunk. But we kept at it, and within a couple weeks, it started getting great. There was one bridge to gap in our preferences...i preferred it gentle and long-lasting, whereas she liked it "thrusty". It was quickly obvious that it wasn't going to be transcendently timeless, but we found a nice middle ground - most of our penetrations lasted the better part of an hour, yet were pretty vigorous. At first, our bodies didn't seem to mesh well. The angle felt off for the pre-penetrative labia-gliding i like, and she had to switch positions regularly, as her knees gave out or my hipbone dug into her, or some such. But we kept on adapting, and eventually found a sequence we adored - missionary, then doggie, then with her on her stomach, and finally that same posture but with me straddling her legs (that was one i'd never done, as it seemed comically inefficient due to the lack of penetrative depth...but she loved it, and anything she loved I loved). Eventually, we even shifted from the fourth position back into doggie. Truly fantastic. I was able to be more thrusty by employing what felt like a trick - vigorous body movements as opposed to long in-and-out. This worked particularly well in doggie, with our flesh making big slapping noises. She liked!
She also laid on me a line i'll remember forever. In the beginning, i was concerned that she get enough foreplay. Her dismissive, smiling response? "Just lick my neck, and stick it in".
One of the reasons i jumped in was because it was a no-condom situation. She'd been careful in choosing disease-free partners, and was thoroughly amenable to my no-latex preference. At first, she said we'd avoid ovulation sex, but when i half-playfully protested, she changed her mind on a dime (it was almost disquieting to be that persuasive, but she wasn't afraid to plunge). With the vigorousness, it was a challenge keeping my swimmers out of the channel. I would plateau and hold myself there...but there were one or two times when a drop got into the cock tube. We both toyed with the idea of pregnancy - i'd had so many reckless impregnation fantasies in recent years, that i told her i'd love for her to beg me to cum the next time we had ovulation sex. I promised i wouldn't...i just wanted to hear those words. Another time, she mused that she should get pregnant, just to keep me with her for a long, long time. I don't think she was entirely joking. I smiled - the wounded part of me wanted it! Rationally, she wanted NO more children, even without her doctor's advising against it, because her uterus had started to prolapse (a condition she treated with a vaginal muscle-improving doohicky). But she never acted out my ovulation fantasy...
She liked for me to occasionally ejaculate in her, especially when it could contribute to my being more thrusty during her heights of pleasure. The first time i came for her, i did so onto her stomach and chest, and it was one of those monumental, specimen jar-overflowing eruptions. She was stunned.
We were both surprised to discover how much we loved her giving oral. It was truly curious, as i'd long since grown unimpressed with other wimyn. Maybe it had something to do with how responsive i was - as a man in his forties, i'd had a handful of "failure to launch" moments, and even for me, that sort of thing can get in your head, especially as my one attempt in the past five years had been a no-go. But spring sparked me beautifully, with oral or without (in the forty-some times we made love, i had to assist erection-facilitation just twice). And her oral was simply beautiful and blissful.
Her favorite position was on hands and knees. Mine, surprisingly, was #3...that was when i most loved to whisper how much i loved her, and how beautiful she was.
As satisfying as her lesbian life had been, being with me affirmed how irreplaceable good cock was for her.
I also experienced something i'd never even known was real - fucking oneself raw. It actually happens! During our sexiest week, we had three sessions in twelve hours just days after a similar bout, and the left base of my cock got raw...i let out little yowlps of pain when i splashed water on it.
One of her biggest concerns had been that i might lose my erection once inside her (a problem with her other male). I laughed at the thought...and then it happened! Once. But that was during the raw marathon. It's funny how that washout almost turned out to be our last time, but fortunately she initiated one last go a couple hours later, which was rippingly beautiful.
Eventually, she laughed at the memory of thinking me too small, and grew amazed at how much love she felt. We played our music for each other, shared amazing meals...i wrote her some marginally-inspired poems, but two that felt beautiful and brilliant.
So why did i never lose that feeling of thin ice?
Because of how our time limitations kept us from doing the shared processing necessary to keep us in emotional balance, with expectations and hopes aligned. I knew i was fantastic at that kind of analysis, but we just never had the time. Which is perhaps the great irony of our relationship - if we'd had the time, it's entirely possible we would have broken up much sooner. Many of the disparities were unchanging from the start. My non-possessiveness against her all-or-nothingness, the lack of overwhelming physical desire, her non-nudism, her cosmic faith that things happen for a reason, her occasional fondness for inebriation, and the absence of any shower of mental sparks. We connected intellectually...but there was never any burst and flow of ideas. Unburdened by the all-or-nothing mindset, i was capable of cherishing what we DID have...but i knew about the princess fantasies and dreams she'd had as a child. I smiled at them, but deep down, the ice never thickened.
On top of all that was my awareness that after five years without sex in the southern bible belt, i was moving to a progressive city with all sorts of amazing wimyn who might appreciate me enormously. I shared that sentiment with's so hard to be wide-open honest in the romantic arena, when we're all basically just minefields waiting for that wrong step...
But as a lover, i knew i wasn't as connected and present as i could be. We were having great sex, but always there was this tiny feeling of being a tap dancer playing to a merciless crowd. I covered it, but there were once when my finger drifted away from her clit, and she casually pushed it back into place.
Yet we worked so well, for so long. We could easily have gone a year or two, had i been only interested in preserving our status quo. But like a hopeless compulsive, i kept pushing toward total honesty...and was a tiny bit stunned that she took it so effortlessly. She'd told me that she preferred gentle half-truths to being hurt, but my life had gone too far down the no-secrets path to turn back. For a while i imagined that maybe we had miraculously found a state of grace where truth is the highest beauty.
I never met her ex or her current lovers, or any close friends or family members. I met a few neighbors, and her wonderful dog, whom i miss dearly...
And one of her children.
Which i'd never expected. She was very careful about compartmentalizing her romantic life. But after a few months, she asked whether i'd like to meet her youngest for a few minutes in the car, when she picked him up from school. The offer threw me - i didn't expect it for many more months, if ever. I was caught on that ice. I've had such a love affair with children, and i was seized with the fear that he'd see right through me. My charm, such as it is, is in my transparency. Kids don't fool easily, though. I told her my misgivings, then finally said i'd be honored. It went well enough - i wasn't prepared for how ridiculously adorable he was (at least as adorable as any child can be, in this neurotic world we adults have given them). Even though i felt far from my best, he seemed pleased and curious. Later, she said it was the first time either of her kids had met someone she was schtupping.
Of the people in my own life, the one person i wanted her to meet was my sister. I thought they would hit if off. Which is great...but also revealing, as my sister is pretty hardcore middle of the road.
Spring said that on a visual, carnal level, she loved how in shape i was (it made me happy to hear that, on several levels). She half-seriously bemoaned the fact that i wouldn’t put any effort into making myself more attractive. I had adjusted quickly to her being overweight. We would take walks in the hills around her house, and she got winded so easily compared to me. But in terms of the desire and joy i found in our lovemaking, i soon cherished our relationship as the least shallow i'd ever had. After a lifetime of being a slave to obsolete instincts that draw men to hyper-fertile females (and a media culture that exaggerates that tendency beyond any bounds), i felt like i'd finally risen beyond shallowness...though i guess that's not exactly a compliment anyone dreams of hearing. By the second time we made love, i stopped seeing her extra pounds, and was so fucking proud of that.
Yet that was the landmine that blew.
I told her one day that i was a little sad over our conditioning disparity, because it meant there were physical experiences we could never share (liking running up and down a mountain, or biking seventeen miles). Was my word choice clumsy? Yes. But the BOOM that hit felt like it came out of nowhere. A lifetime's worth of body issues came crashing down on her head, and she threw me away, and that was that.
Which i accept - but it's not the reason she bolted.
In the swirl of her hurt, she missed something very meaningful and loving in what i'd revealed. My sadness over that one small aspect meant that the end of our relationship was no part of my consciousness. My musings implied that i saw us together for a long while.
But she was starting to see me as the answer to her childhood princess dreams...yet she also had to have some inkling that she hadn't aroused the full depths of my spirit. She'd told me she was having the best sex of her life, but there was no mirror declaration on my part (indeed, this was the second lover in a row i'd affected so...but i was still waiting for my own). I'm pretty sure that's where her explosive rejection came from. Subconsciously, maybe it was also easier for her to preemptively avoid the pain of a breakup that involved me being attracted to another womyn. Spring even spoke to me cruelly, which was SO out of character. I think she'd been walking on some thin ice of her own, right from the start.
Aren't we all?
In the months that followed, i kept waiting for her to come reclaim our friendship forever, and maybe even get some more mileage out of our amazing sex run.
So many times i thought of writing her...
But we couldn't. Or wouldn't. And i miss her, oh i miss her. I even sometimes fantasized about her sexually after the breakup, which was very out of character for me.
We were brilliant, during the most unrelentingly stressful time of my life. I finally escaped San Pablo, and she adored my new home in Haight Ashbury. It was near where she'd once lived. Such sweet love we shared there, in the far too short time we had.
She couldn't throw me away in person - she said she wouldn't be able to resist me. A selfish part of me wanted that scene, but i didn't try to force the issue, because i knew i wasn't her fantasy prince incarnate.
She was wonderful. We were wonderful.
Lonely hearts trudge on...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

naked nurse 17


Dear naked nurse,
What damages us most...the absence of pure love, or the presence of poisoned love?
-forlorn in Flagstaff

Dear forlorn,
That's a question for the bullshit philosophers, not a professional like myse-
Oh, wait. I AM a bullshit philosopher.
Yeah, i'm coming up empty. Even bullshit philosophy apparently has its limits - who knew??
I recommend you invent a word, one that feels fun rolling around your tongue, and walk around whispering it to yourself. Make up a definition. Or not. It's all YOU, baby.
If you need help, take my word for today - "haroopie". Go crazy.
rhapsodic ramblings,
the naked nurse

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

"Survival of the Prettiest"

(The Science of Beauty)
-by nancy etcoff
A flawed, delightful read. Nancy attempts a comprehensive overview of the part beauty plays in humyn relations. Her main point, that the appreciation of beauty is natural, is well made. She offers cross-cultural and infant studies that leave little doubt that not only is beauty appreciation inevitable, it's also largely immutable (for the individual, not the species) - there are all sorts of automatic triggers we follow from birth to death, too many of them unfortunately a relic of an era when procreation was the primary goal of sexual interaction (in particular, the male pursuit of hyper-fertile females is a instinct that serves us poorly in a time when the vast majority of sexual interactions are recreational, not procreational).
Nancy's work serves as a rejoinder to those who have proposed that "beauty" is just a social construct used to oppress wimyn. While her point has merit, i rather think the truth lies between the two extremes - yes, our desire to BE beautiful and POSSESS beauty is natural, but our patriarchal society takes these tendencies and amplifies their worst aspects, to keep wimyn "in their place". Even though etcoff nods toward that reality, her dismissal of the "beauty myth" is more than just a marketing creation of her publishers (though that was a factor, no doubt).
She has occasional blind spots - for example, in writing about how men use less of their vocal range than wimyn, she encourages the reader to assume there is something natural about that, instead of just reflecting of a culture which discourages male emotional expression.
But the main flaw of this book is that it sometimes relies on personal polls as evidence, though there are few things more unreliable (or flat-out deceitful) than what people say about themselves.
When she confines herself to scientific evidence, her work is compelling and provocative. The best part is where she dives into our self-destructive cultural assumption that beauty equals goodness. And there are plenty of other gems. Three month-old infants prefer to gaze at faces that adults also find attractive, including from races they'd never seen. Wimyn are attracted to men who smell least like themselves...unless they're on the pill. And do you know why you prefer a mirror image of yourself, while your friends prefer a photo?
Throughout, etcoff's use of quotes and anecdotes is damn near perfect. Nonetheless, given the flaws and the fact that modern scientific discovery moves so quickly, one would be justified in reading only the wonderful concluding chapter. Etcoff's central contention is that instead of negating beauty as a means by which wimyn relate to the world, we need to incorporate it into a larger paradigm - the universe of smarts and character and independence. Even though the feminist/scientist part of me leans a little more strongly in the anti-beauty direction, her point is both considered and fair.