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This is probably the only time the Alt Sex column will cover the same territory as my new venture, a nice, moderately wholesome blog about kiddie consumer culture (www.gogetyourjacket.com ). I was prepared to let the "expectation of blow jobs on Mother's Day" thing go, especially since US Mother's Day itself is a few weeks gone, but now the Father's Day press releases are trickling in they're not gushing manfully yet, but I suppose that's to follow and the picture that's emerging of the state of sex in the modern Western (hemisphere, not yippee-yi-yo-ki-yay) bedroom is so weird I can't let it alone.
First there was the Mother's Day gift basket meant to get horny, aggrieved husbands with feelings of entitlement to bug their wives for sex instead of going out and getting them a pain au chocolat (the baskets contained paint au chocolat, but that is not at all the same thing). To me, this implies a target audience of couples who aren't having sex, the female halves of which have to be jollied into it with cheesy "romantic" gifts and who, even more weirdly, can be jollied into it with cheesy "romantic" gifts.
And now I have a "New! For Father's Day!" ad from the last place I'd expect to produce a sleazy and ultimately sad commentary on the perceived state of modern child-having marriage: a mom 'n' pop, organic, non-sweatshop-made "family fashion" (novelty T-shirt) company. I mean, women, would you get your husband a shirt that says "Daddy needs some love'n?" How about one that reads, "My wife likes to spoon but I prefer to fork?" Bear in mind that these are supposed to be gifts. What are we saying here? Why not just go to CafePress and make him a shirt that says, "You're not getting any and I think that's pretty funny, har har har!"?
Oh, and men, would you wear it? Would you write to me and tell me why? And if you'd order it yourself and wear it out to lunch (real men don't brunch, right?) on Father's Day to mortify your wife, explain that too. By e-mail, please, you don't sound like the sort of people I would like to meet in real life. I'm embarrassed for those women and I don't even know any of them.
I truly don't. I swear I know a goodly number of heterosexuals one does run into them now and then and the cartoony vision these products are promoting is just not something I see a lot of. I'm happy to report that I don't hear from or even hear about a lot of marriages in which the wives refuse sex out of contempt, complete loss of interest, or utter lack of concern over whether their mates are happy or not. Recently I've been meeting a lot of women who are hoping to regain lost sex drives and lives after having babies, and even they (of course these particular women are the ones who are motivated enough to talk about it) never show a hint of contempt for the men they aren't doing it with. They'd like to do it. They want to want to do it. They've just lost touch with it. Desire disorder is the dysfunction of the day just wait till the drug that fixes that hits the market. People will be all, "Viagra who?"
And while cheesy dad gifts are on the table, I would like to register one more complaint. I don't know what the gift-promoters are trying to pull here, but it struck me as quite completely unfair that after the stupid Mother's Day come-ons, which were both sexed-up and creepily infantilizing, the first thing I got that was aimed at dads said simply that you should get him a bottle of really nice single-malt scotch. What, no boxer shorts on a stick?
Also, on the subject of knowing a few heterosexuals here and there, I was asked if I would comment on the California Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage (um, they were for it). Sure. I have to admit I have nothing particularly pithy to say about legal gay marriage. I'm for it. I'm a lot more for it than some of my gayest friends are, as a matter of fact: they're in the "Why should we beg you to let us pretend to be just like you?" camp, while I'm over here in the "It's not fair that I should get to claim a certain kind of legitimacy for my relationship that you don't get for yours" camp. They pat me on the head. Me, I'm just dorky enough to be all rejoice-y about this, and hope that my Midwestern friend's "spousal unit" gets to make an honest woman of her after, oh, 15 years and two kids. And how can any event that occasions this headline "Star Trek's George Takei to Marry Longtime Partner" fail to produce a "Woo!" and a "Hoo!"?
Andrea is home with the kids and going stir-crazy. Write her a letter! Ask her a question! Send her your tedious e-mail forwards! On second thought, don't do that. Just ask her a question.
Andrea is also teaching two classes: "You've Really Got Your Hands Full" a realistic look at having twins at Birthways in Berkeley, and "Is There Sex After Motherhood?" at Day One Center in San Francisco and other venues.