Been There, Done That

Mr. A and Ms. B have been married twenty years; when they wed she was a virgin, while he had had intercourse a few times with someone else. Their wedding night was an unconsummated mess, resulting in tears and confusion. Several days later, on their honeymoon, they tried again—“and we failed again,” Mr. A recalled. Her vagina didn’t get wet enough, he couldn’t get his penis in, and eventually he lost his erection. They each took turns blaming themselves; the next morning they took turns blaming each other. For years, sex was an infrequent, discouraging hassle. Now they can’t remember the last time they did it.

Without the wedding night and the honeymoon part, of course. Some people are just not suited sexually, whether they are virgins or have decades of intense sexual experience. The best thing for them is just to stop massaging themselves into a relationship they are simply not meant to maintain. I didn’t realize that soon enough, so the wedding night and the honeymoon happened years after the “Mr. A and Ms. B experience.”

Of course, the linked post that started out well just had to end badly. Just like every sex advice post I have ever read:

If it took God a week to create the world out of nothing, couples need at least that much time to create a sexual connection out of nothing.

I don’t know about God but sexual connections kind of create themselves without any effort on people’s part. You can’t create desire if it isn’t there.

The quoted blogger ends the post with the following inanity:

I feel bad for Mr. A and Ms. B, who didn’t do anything wrong.

As former Ms. B, I have to object. Of course, these people did plenty wrong. They married somebody they did not desire and spent 20 years punishing themselves and their partner for not desiring each other. They sold their sexuality for the price of fulfilling a social mandate and probably produced a bunch of miserable, sexually unfulfilled children in the process. And if you read the post carefully, you will discover that the female part of this tragic sexual equation is still trying to force the unhappy, sex-deprived husband back into the misery of sexless monogamy.

Interest in Politics

Students in my afternoon section told me they never heard the words “welfare state” and “austerity measures.” I asked them in English to make sure and they just batted their eye-lashes and looked confused. Nobody knew about the protests in Spain and Italy and nobody had any idea about what is happening in Greece.

“Don’t you follow the news?” I asked in exasperation.

“No,” the students drawled, looking very bored.

“Why???”  I asked.

“We don’t watch television,” one student explained.

I don’t watch television either but that doesn’t prevent me from following the news.

Internet generation, my ass.

Why Are Women’s Halloween Costumes More Sexy Than Men’s?

I’m so overwhelmed with work obligations right now that I even forgot that today was Halloween. When I started scrolling down my neglected blogroll, however, I was reminded of the date by the proliferation of posts that try to answer the question of why there so many sexy women’s costumes for Halloween and so few sexy costumes for men.

The usual answer of “because women are sexualized by society” makes no sense to me. This is a very Puritanical, prissy society we live in where people tend to have very unhealthy attitudes towards any exhibition of healthy human sexuality. Remember folks having heart attacks when Sandra Fluke mentioned the word “contraception” in public?

This Puritanical uptightness is precisely the reason why female Halloween costumes tend to be on the sexy side and men’s don’t. Halloween is a carnival, and a carnival always has the following meaning:

Bakhtin’s theory of carnival, manifest in his discussions of Rabelais and “forbidden laughter” in medieval folk culture, argued that folk celebrations which allowed for rowdy humor and the parody of authority offered the oppressed lower classes relief from the rigidity of the feudal system and the church and an opportunity for expressing nonconformist, even rebellious views.

Halloween offers women a rare opportunity to exhibit their sexuality freely. At a carnival, the popular imagination identifies an issue – in this case, an inequality in terms of sexual freedom between men and women – and brings it into the open at least one day a year. This is definitely a very positive phenomenon because it offers evidence that the problem is identified and recognized.

Women who wear all of these sexy costumes at Halloween are agents of important social change. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with donning different kinds of costumes, of course. At a carnival, one should play out the issue that bothers one the most. If sexual freedom is not an issue for you personally, then you won’t be tempted to enact it, and good for you. But judging people for addressing this inequality in a playful way is neither productive nor fair.

Political Systems

In class, we are talking about Spain’s political parties.

“I don’t get this,” a student exclaims. “Why are you saying that Partido Popular is a conservative party located to the right of the political spectrum if it supports all these social programs?”

So I had to explain that political Left and Right have different meaning in different countries and that President Obama is located to the right of Spain’s major conservative party.

Then I told the students that the other major political party in Spain is the Socialist Party.

“What is Socialism?” I asked.

“It’s like what Obama is!” several students responded in unison.

So I had to explain that Spanish Socialism has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama.

Then I moved to the Communist Party of Spain.

“What is Communism?” I asked.

There was a pause and then one student suggested in a small voice, “It’s like what Obama is?”

I think now everybody is completely confused.