by John Pavon
“Bachmann Feminism Overdrive”
by Isa Hopkins, editor-at-large
The narrative presented by Congresswoman — and former presidential candidate — Michele Bachmann is divisive, but simple at its core: a small-town Iowa girl finds God after her father leaves, and her devotion to religion and family propels her to political action. It is the sort of tale appropriate for a female right-wing politico, rooted in gender traditionalism and motivated by a sense of Bachmann as an idealized mother figure. The nuclear family is writ large in the story of Bachmann, even as details remain elusive — yes, Michele’s husband Marcus was a fixture on her campaign, and her children have been in photo ops alongside their mother; but Bachmann comes with a sprawling assortment of siblings and stepsiblings and foster children, who are rarely allowed to share the spotlight.
Michele Amble was born the only daughter of David and Arlene Amble, in Waterloo, Iowa; when she was thirteen years old her parents divorced, and her father moved to California. Arlene moved Michele and her three brothers to Anonka, Minnesota, where Arlene worked at a local bank and married a widower with five children of his own — the Amble-LaFave clan was a midwestern Brady Bunch, and Michele — a high school cheerleader — became close to her stepsiblings.
Perhaps Bachmann rarely speaks of the family she grew up in — focusing instead on the family she has created — because they contradict the image she presents of wholesome, down-home religiosity: one of her brothers is a professor of psychiatry at Yale (how much more elitist does it get?), while stepsister Helen LaFave is an out-and-proud lesbian and Obama supporter. Bachmann’s own mother is a lifelong Democrat, of the small-town, working-class, for-the-people variety; none of these figures fit comfortably into Michele’s right-wing zealotry.
And then, there is raevyn.
raevyn came to the Bachmann household in 1997, one of twenty-three girls in foster care who passed through the home over the course of a decade. None of the girls have yet come forward to speak about their foster mother, save one who anonymously told the New Yorker that the Bachmanns had provided her with a sense of structure and family, that she was grateful for their care. raevyn (who considers both last names and capitalization symbols of the patriarchy) is the first to go on the record, meeting me in Toronto, at an independent, fair-trade coffeeshop on Bloor Street. She arrives ten minutes late, rangy and freckled, hair dredlocked and wearing Hammer pants and a tunic top, all made of hemp. The barista greets her by nickname — rae-rae — and she orders a mate.
“Sorry I’m late,” she says breezily, sitting and propping a knee against the table. ”Anti-rape street theater. You know how it goes.” I comment that she seems awfully comfortable in this space. ”My last lunar partner worked here,” she tells me.
“Conventional terms like ‘girlfriend’, ‘boyfriend’ — this language is so gendered, and so limiting. Some people say ‘friend’, or ‘partner’ — but that’s ambiguous, and doesn’t honor the particular intimacy of sexual contact. But ‘sexual partner’ just has a clinical feel to it, so my preference is for ‘lunar partner’, which offers a poetic invocation of the night as well as calling to mind the unique female connection to the moon — it’s a label for a sexual partner which is finally empowering to women.”
raevyn is not at all like her foster mother.
The barista brings the mate, in a large, traditional bomba. raevyn offers the first sip to the lanky, androgynous man, who drinks deeply before handing it over, running a suggestive hand across raevyn’s shoulders as he walks away. Was that her ex?
“He participated sometimes, but no — Ashleigh is off today.” raevyn offers the mate, and I decline. ”Look, I know what you’re going to ask. It’s all stuff I’ve thought about for years, you know; I’ve talked about it with Michele, or tried to talk about it. Stuff like this — her deal was that society has devalued women by oversexualizing them, making female sexuality into this cheap thing. As far as that goes, I was on board; it was eye-opening to hear her discuss this stuff — it’s just that her solution is to take things back, to raise the value of female sexuality again with all this purity religious bullshit, instead of raising female value generally by de-emphasizing the social power of sexuality altogether. It doesn’t matter who you fuck — so long as there’s consent, of course — or how much you fuck, or how often you fuck, how many partners you’ve got — because fucking is beside the whole point. It’s fun, sure, but so is going camping, and we don’t accord dignity based on how people do that. Why is sex such a special case?”
Well, I start to say, probably because of –
“Religion.” raevyn stabs a finger in my general direction. ”Exactly. And that’s the thing about Michele. Take away the religion, and she’s actually kind of awesome — I mean, I don’t know if I’d vote for her, but the thing is, she home-schooled her kids, she started getting involved in politics with us, the foster girls, because we had to go to public school. And she just thought it was sad, that we would go into school and be treated like a number, ignored, not encouraged to our full potential, not made to develop to the best of our abilities — there’s something that’s very empathetic and idealistic about that reaction, you know?”
raevyn takes a drag of mate. ”She might be batshit crazy, but in a weird way, she also awakened me as a feminist.”
raevyn didn’t use the f-word under the Bachmann’s roof — she began to self-identify with such liberal labels when she attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, a small liberal arts school with a progressive reputation.
“I had no money,” says raevyn. ”None. But Michele pushed all of us to think of college, to achieve. I wound up getting scholarships, making it work — I was out of her house by the time I applied but I still had her voice in my head, telling me to go for it. She’s very persuasive when she believes in something. I got to Hampshire, read some stuff, became a pansexual, became an activist — I don’t know that I would have done any of this without Michele. If she hadn’t been there for me, I probably would’ve just stayed in Minnesota, had a kid or something.” raevyn raises an eyebrow towards me, aware of the irony.
(raevyn is not alone in ironic reactions to Bachmann’s politics. Shortly after the congresswoman railed against funding the federal public service program Americorps — calling it a gateway to “reeducation camps” — her son Harrison went to work with Teach for America, an Americorps program.)
raevyn moved to San Francisco after college, and to Canada two years after that; she began the application process for Canadian citizenship last month, forever giving up the opportunity to vote her foster mother, the woman whose activism and convictions inspired raevyn’s own politics.
“Oh, I would never vote for her,” says raevyn, slurping the dregs of her mate. ”Have you listened to a goddamn word she says? Bitch is crazy! But as far as having an inspiring female figure in your life goes, she’s smart, ambitious, sticks to her guns, and cares about people. If she weren’t such a nutcase, she’d really be amazing.”
raevyn stares off into middle distance.
“We kinda stopped talking when she became a national figure,” she tells me, a note of hurt in her voice. ”Went our separate ways. I wonder, now that her presidential campaign is over — maybe I should give her a call.”
“Advice to Men”
by Ryan Ritchie
if you don’t own
a Cadillac, a convertible or a Cadillac convertible,
don’t rent one for your wedding.
say no to the borrowed
pinstriped suit, the fedora and
pass on the destination wedding locale
overlooking some beach community
you’ll never be able to afford.
and don’t assume that a raging bachelor party
in Vegas will make your friends think
(as the douchebags say)
because the single men are pretty sure
you’re a fool
and the married men
save your money and your pride
because no matter how hard you try,
you still look like a pussy.
“The Woman With Tempting Eyes”
by Michael Shorb
on the lookout
for the woman
with tempting eyes,
most figure its one
slipping out at night
to use her seductive globes
to distract good men
with wanton dreams,
sex in a feather bed
sinking further into perdition
with every errant thrust,
a minority of desperate
manhoods claim many
women are involved,
some driving fast cars
through their own
private deserts and
listening to violent
negro music on the radio,
a few of them going so far
as to smoke cigars.
“I Respect the Gent”
by G. David Schwartz
Make sure you tie your shoe
I did respect that gent
And all the places he said he went
And I did meet his son one day
And to mer he did say
That dear old sir
Was a card in lying
But he was a good talker so I
Refused to believe that he did lie
he was simply good with tales
Which sounded like Mark Twain and so
I remember him
as a good old joe
by Ryan Ritchie
a young man in his early 20s sits on a bench overlooking the sun-setting ocean.
the girl on his lap — approximately the same age — faces toward the not-so-busy
street and wears not a smile and not a frown. it’s a
look of indifference, one that suggests she’s letting this guy
run his hands across her arms and kiss her cheeks (but not her lips)
not because she wants the attention, but because it’s not such a hassle just to let him
cop a cheap feel. parked at the red light, I stare through my sunglasses
for about a minute and wonder why this guy can’t
read the neon signs so obviously being sent his way. then I remember.
guys are creeps.
by G David Schwartz
A Mitsubishi is something to see
In cold steel black or dartmouth green
It may look to be cold
But it is red hot mean
A Mitsubishi is something to see
And I will tell you if you ask me
Seen from near or far
the Mitsubishi is a car
“Obits From the Future”
by Mrs. Sowerberry
August 19, 2018
JACKSONVILLE, FL — Football star and conservative spokesman Tim Tebow died due to a diving accident last Tuesday. He was 31.
The son of Baptist missionaries Robert and Pamela Tebow, Tim was celebrating his birthday at a family friend’s house when the accident occurred. Eyewitnesses present at the pool party say that Tebow confronted a lifelong fear of heights by climbing to the top of a high diving board. When he reached the top, he walked out to the edge of the board and dropped to one knee (commonly known as “Tebowing,” this method of marking an achievement was named for the quarterback in 2011.) Tebow suddenly lost his balance and tumbled down 33 feet, striking his forehead on the swimming pool’s concrete edge. Paramedics arrived shortly after and pronounced the young quarterback dead on the scene.
Prior to his death, Tebow was embarking upon what was widely speculated to be his final season as a professional athelete. Gawker sports website Deadspin broke the story of Tebow’s negotiations to appear on a Fox Sports Network show called “Faith & Football” beginning in 2019, although neither Tebow’s representatives nor the Fox Corporation confirmed that those talks had taken place.
Even though he and his four siblings were homeschooled, Tebow excelled as an offensive football player in high school, thanks to a special rule that “allow[ed] Jesus freaks with no social skills the opportunity to be part of a team.” Tebow’s high school coach, Adam Hartle, remembers being immediately impressed with Tim: “Here you got a kid who’s enormous, with the strength and speed of an ape and an intellect to match — it’s every coach’s dream.”
Tebow went on to matriculate at the University of Florida, eventually earning the Heisman trophy and allegedly inspiring “the Tebow Rule,” which prevented NCAA athletes from writing messages on their eye black. “It was bizarre,” said an NCAA official who spoke under condition of anonymity. “The NFL already had a rule preventing players from using their eye black as billboards, but we always figured no college student gave a [expletive] about anything besides winning, chasing pussy or drinking beer. Timmy really broke the mold.”
The Denver Broncos drafted Tebow in 2010, where he played as backup QB until 2011, when he replaced Kyle Orton as starter. He remained with Denver for five years before being traded to Dr. James Dobson’s expansion team, the Colorado Springs Blastocysts. An ACL injury in 2016 limited his play time, but Tebow never wavered in his passion for football or his desire to curtail the rights of fertile women.
Pamela Tebow spoke through tears at a press conference on Wednesday: “Thank you all for your prayers and kindness at this difficult time. Our family is grieving, but we are comforted by the knowledge that our Tim has gone home to be with the Lord. His death is a tragedy, but it is a testament to our son’s legacy that he passed on as a result of his overwhelming love for God, just like our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Mrs.Tebow’s comments were met with whoops, hallelujahs, and the occasional eye roll from heathen reporters. Robert Tebow stepped up to the microphone and requested that donations be made in Tim’s name to The Tebow CURE Hospital or Uncle Dick’s Orphanage in the Phillipines, promising that the latter “is way less kid-rapey than it sounds.”
by Nestor Fabal
Sing in me Eleggua, and through me recant this epic tale of Paquito, El Sacaponche, of that timeless man skilled in the ways of the shiest and the creep, of slinking in and out of windows, cheating the day while loving the night, picking the ample pockets of pendejo passerby, the Wanderer, harried for years on end after plundering the riches of this proud and arrogant land of milk and honey, Hialeah as some may call it, all in search of his next ecstatic fix, elusive as the night itself.
Flying by night on a stolen girl’s bike Sacaponche scours the hostile terrain with a pigeon’s sight, keen with night vision, purveying this vast land which he is both master of and parasite to. Is that an open window he sees? Is that house vacant? Did Mr. Fernandez forget to lock his car door? Did he already replace the stereo Paquito stole last week? Was that last week or two months ago? Or last night? Time is but a man-made device concocted to ensnare the lives of other, less ordinary men. But lo, it has no power over a man such as he, El Sacaponche, its black magic fails to entangle him in the grip of its vile, ever reaching tentacles.
But ho! Who does he spy in the deep of night parading her wares thru the city’s labyrinthine streets, but his equal and nemesis all the same, a kindred spirit and demonic tormentor that can switch roles with the bat of an eye, queen of the night, dama de la noche, Carmencita, prancing along with her sways of ghastly delight. The night is illuminated by light reflecting off her vibrant jewels dangling from her ears, nose, tongue and mouth. Her hair sways behind her like a glorious mantle of golden brown with the texture and smell of a wet dog. Rarely seen during the day, Carmencita owns these rambling avenues at night, which call out her name from damp, musty alleyways and dimly lit cabarets.
Upon glimpse of this awesome spectacle does our hero Paquito, El Sacaponche, begin to feel a dash of perspiration streak down the back of his neck, the hairs on his knuckles stand on end and dance the mambo, and that old familiar yet painful wrestling in his groin. “But alas, what is this strange witchcraft, brujeria maldita, be gone ye demons! I am a man, THE man, Sacaponche by name, I have pawned great treasures and dismantled various electronic devices for spare parts, I have seen 1000 sunrises without seeing one sun set, I have held in my hands enough pharmacological substances to treat a small third world country..yet what foul magic does my lady Carmencita hold over me? After many nights that we have lain together, yet by morn away she does go, never before have I beheld her jewel encrusted smile in the glory of the dawn, for elusive as the night Carmencita be.”
T’was, as they say, a dark and stormy night, they only kind that Hialeah knows, and Paquito was again on the prowl for some items of quick monetary consequence that could perhaps help him get thru the night. But alas his resources were dwindling, he was running out of blocks to ransack, for it is simply not safe to hit the same spots all the time. He was on a strict regiment, an assembly line that followed a fixed timetable that would allow the available inventory to replenish itself and offer him some new, choice selections. But since he had all but sacked bare most of the surrounding blocks he had to chart unfamiliar territory and travel to the far off trenches of Hialeah for tonight’s score. Indeed, he would have to go into the very heart of Hialeah, a veritable no-man’s land. And so off he rode under cover of night thru mostly empty, deserted streets. Inside their homes the people of Hialeah willfully and joyfully numbed their minds with television, hour after hour of telenovelas that evoked such fantastical dramas not unlike those of Hialeah itself. Inside in their comfy air conditioned dwellings, it was easy for them to simply forget that for most people, life is hard, life is a dirty, ugly thing with a foul smell that doesn’t bathe often, and that one must scratch and scrap for every meager parcel the gods would chance to throw their way. Most of these people do not realize there are people like that creeping just outside their windows as they laugh along with the television’s laugh track.
And so Paquito pulled up to a house that caught his eye. It was one of those large two story dwellings of Hialeah, with plenty of foliage about to provide him ample cover for his nightly digressions. And much to his surprise, with his pigeon’s eye, he did spy, an open window leading inside. Silently Paquito crept around the front window to check on the house’s inhabitants. He saw an old dusty man with a scraggly white beard and a fat colored woman, slowly self-inebriating themselves in front of the TV. The sounds blaring out from the idiot box were just loud enough to provide him cover so he raced around to the open window and quickly climbed in before anyone could notice. A lone dog barked in the distance.
Once inside his eyes opened wide in shock and awe. The room he had snuck into was extravagantly decorated with statues, incense, cards, tree vines, and all manner of strange archaic esoteric artifacts. There was an altar in the center of the room and religious posters up on the walls. “Santeria!” he thought as he realized that he had snuck into the home of santeros. He promised himself long ago that he would not cross these folks, for even though he did not believe in their brand of mumbo jumbo witchcraft, he did show it some respect and tried to stay well clear of its workings. But alas, times were rough, his belly did grumble much, and his hands were starting to twitch at his sides.
It was then his eyes fell on the holy grail of the room. Atop a nightstand rested several small vials filled with a fluid like nothing he had ever seen before. The colors seemed to glow of their own light and swirled and danced about in their small prisons, yearning to be set free. There were purple, red, yellow, green, blue, all different colored fluids, all gyrating within their vials with a seductive enchantment. Paquito was simply transfixed, utterly mesmerized. He quickly grabbed the lot of them and delicately stuffed them into his satchel.
As he turned to leave, he saw at the doorway the fat lady standing. Her eyes were huge orbs of black with a taste of vile and hatred, squarely locked on his person intent on destruction.
“Oggun, proteje me!” she whispered and with that Paquito was off like lightning, quickly back out the window and onto his bike in a flash, pedaling away in no time at all.
“How did she hear me?” thought Paquito, “I was quiet as a mouse, bruja maldita!”
As he was racing down the street he heard the fat woman scream out, “Oya! Come to me in my hour of need! Give chase to this foul retched scoundrel and bear onto him the wrath of all of your powers!”
It grew very quite then. Unnervingly quiet. Paquito could only hear himself breathing deeply, the bicycle chain rattling, and the vials clinking around in his bag. Then, as if on cue, the winds began to pick up and in the distance he began to hear thunder crashing. As the thunder grew stronger the night sky began to fill with flashes of lightning. Seconds later a torrential downpour of rain began to fall over Hialeah, and Paquito was still far from home. He decided to duck into one of his familiar alleyway hideouts and wait until this unseasonal downpour subsided.
“Curses!” thought Paquito, “I knew I should never have stolen from those santeros, those people are fucken weird!” It was then he began to hear police sirens. At first they were distant, but they were drawing closer. Paquito decided to stash his stash and began to fumble about rustling for a safe hiding spot for his bag. The sirens got closer and closer until finally he heard them no more. The rain had stopped too and all was quiet once again.
“Can it be?” wondered Paquito, “Am I free to go now?”
Paquito thought this might be his chance to race home so he peeked out of the alleyway and checked both sides of the street. Nothing. It seems Hialeah’s finest were no match for El Sacaponche tonight. But just as he walked out of the alleyway to check if the coast was clear, he was violently snatched up by the back of the neck and slammed down to the ground. The next few seconds were a hazy blur but Paquito remembers covering his face with his arms as he was pummeled by fists and boot kicks all over his person.
“I’m being robbed,” he thought, but once the shellacking subsided and he opened his eyes he realized he was surrounded by none other than five of Hialeah’s finest, doing what they do best. The very sight of them made Paquito’s stomach wrench. There they stood, with their high and mighty posturing, their shaved heads and authoritarian demeanor. Plus they were all so extremely fat, just incredibly rotund with rolls of mass protruding from their bodies in ways that were just not natural. But he knew most of them, and alas they knew him as well.
“Well, well, well, what is it now Paquito? What are you hiding out here for?”
“Nothing man, I was just riding my bike and it started raining so I came here to stay dry till the rain stopped. I wasn’t doing nothing.”
“Is that right? We got a call from la santera Aurora from down the street, she said a burglar took some of her things. You know anything about that?”
“No man I don’t know nothing about that.”
“Oh yeah? What’s this then?” said one of him, brandishing Paquito’s not so cleverly hidden satchel.
“Alabao chico, I don’t know, that’s not mine,” cried Paquito.
“You’re right Paquito,” said the leader of the pack, “That stuff isn’t yours. You stole it. Y’know, we’re getting tired of your kind around here, giving our city a bad name. We got better things to do then run around town chasing petty thieves like you.”
Paquito was thrown off by the use of the word “run.” He honestly could not picture any of these fat-asses doing anything remotely close to running.
“In fact,” the officer continued, “what d’you boys say we don’t take him down to the station this time and instead, let’s take him for a ride and really teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.”
The rest of the swine laughed in agreement. It was now that Paquito really began to panic. Where were they going to take him? What were they going to do with him? For a second, he wished he had just been getting mugged by regular hooligans, he was less afraid of them than of these power hungry mongrels on steroids. As a few of them grabbed him and stood him up, one of them looked inside the bag to see what items Paquito had confiscated.
“What is this shit?” he grimaced, “Man you mean to tell me he was just stealing some stupid perfume bottles?”
They began to jerk and manhandle Paquito over to one of their cars, and at the same time one of the cops let curiosity get the best of him and decided to open one of the vials.
“I’m doomed,” thought Paquito, “I really fucked up this time, how the hell am I gonna get myself out of this one?”
Just then the cop opened one of the vials. The green one. The second he opened it, a very powerful, pungent odor shot into the air and surrounded the officers. Some of them began to cough. They all stood transfixed in a daze for a few moments as time itself seemed to stand still. The fumes were dense and had a green glow to them which permeated the air and floated all around them encasing them in a green tinted, translucent bubble of sorts. The officers just stood there in a daze watching the pretty green fumes circle and dance between them as they inhaled the potion deep into their lungs.
“Take your hands off me,” yelled Paquito, “You’re all a bunch of PIGS!!”
In that instant, the officers let Paquito go and stood motionless as if in shock. Suddenly they began to keel over in pain, grimacing and moaning on the way down to the floor. Paquito stood there in utter disbelief, although lucky for him he was not suffering from any of their symptoms. Then he started to hear the officers make strange noises, animal noises almost. They were coughing up phlegm, blood and mucous, one of them began to vomit. Their eyes became bloodshot. They began to rip and tear at their uniforms. Then Paquito looked at one of their faces. It had changed. It grew more oval in shape, the cheeks were now even fatter. He looked again and he saw his nose swell up and become wider. Then he noticed their ears, they were stretching out as well. Paquito was in fact watching the officers change into something else, change into –
“The vials,” Paquito thought, “those santeros and their fucking black magic!”
And now Paquito looked before him and what he saw was something that both marveled him and also scared the shit out of him. The cops had all turned to pigs. They were no longer human. They simply groveled at his feet making frantic piggy squeals. A few of them pissed and shat themselves. Paquito walked among them as they scrambled from out of their now-oversized uniforms. Unable to stand properly in their new incarnations, the officers simply splashed about in some of the muddy puddles that had formed from the rain earlier. Unfortunately, Paquito could not stand around and enjoy this moment of utter poetic justice for much longer. He heard more sirens on the way so he knew this was his only chance to get away.
He quickly hoped on his bike then looked back at his bag with the vials in it. “Maldita madre!” he cried and sped away, leaving his score for the night behind him amid the groveling little piggies. Paquito made it home safe and sound that night, with one more amazing tale to be told. But, he would not forget the unbelievable events that unfolded that night which saved him from utter doom. For even though things had worked out in his favor tonight, he once again promised himself to never cross the followers of the Santeria religion, and to never ever again doubt the powers of their black magic.
“On the Psychology of Sex and Other Retrogressions”
by Greg Sapp
Revolutionary discoveries in brain science provide new insight into the differences between men and women. Evolutionary psychology is the emerging field of theoretical biology that explains everything. It can tell us what we are thinking and why we are thinking it, before we’ve even thought it. That’s because it is not us doing our own thinking; it is our genes. And our genes are only concerned about one thing: reproducing.
Thus, when we think about sex, we are merely submitting to our genes’ demands that we get busy replicating them. From this simple biological imperative, we’ve developed elaborate social and cultural institutions, including everything from spank-the-naughty-girl Web sites to bikini hot dog saleswomen for men, and from seedy romance novels to drawn, candlelit bubble baths for women, all to compel us to lunge into reproductive behaviors against which we really ought to know better.
From a gene’s perspective, sex is relevant is only because it happens to be the means by which humans procreate. Sexual arousal is just a mind game. If we fertilized eggs by sneezing, for example, we’d live in a nasally obsessed society. We’d be infatuated with nostril size and shape; a woman might have surgery to enhance the firmness of her rhinion; and the sight of a damp, glistening philtrum would drive men absolutely insane with desire. Males would snort black pepper in order to enhance their performance. Hay fever sufferers would be sex symbols.
The fundamental difference between men and women is that they have totally incompatible reproductive strategies. Men seek to distribute their seeds as broadly as possible, the underlying rationale being that sheer numbers increase the odds of siring a viable offspring somewhere. It is basically broadcast insemination. Women, however, lack such reproductive mobility; thus, they must be selective, not only for superior physical potency and intellectual prowess, but having money surely doesn’t hurt, either.
Genes can only program for behaviors, though — not results. Considered in the light of evolutionary psychology, then, homosexuality among men can be seen as a behavioral adaptation to maximize the range of their sperm among an accessible population, and lesbianism is the product of women just being extremely picky about whom to entrust with their ovaries. What could be more natural?
The only reason that men consent to monogamy is that human babies are born helpless and remain vulnerable for years, and thus it is at least marginally worth their while to stick around long enough to teach the kid essential life skills, like how to lie, fight, cuss, scratch themselves, and belch a perfect “yak.”
Thus, according to the radical theory (mine) called the “Hypothesis of Contrasting Codependent Co-evolution,” men and women are actually two different species — albeit with a powerfully symbiotic relationship. Call them, homo sapiens and homo sapienettes.
Taxonomists have based the classification of men and women into the same species by the characteristic that they will mate in nature. Evolutionary psychology raises new questions about this assumption for men. Left by themselves in their natural habitats (ex, their “man caves”), just what they really do when the door is closed is subject to conjecture. Some theorists contend that most men will mate with just about anything in the natural world, if nobody is looking.
This view of the sexes as being separate but codependent is actually quite liberating — which is why most men oppose it with knee-jerk ferocity. Across the ages societies developed patriarchal systems of governance in which men consolidated all means of wealth and power, on the underlying assumption that if they did less, they’d never get laid. The biggest perk to being a king is that you can score any night that you want.
More enlightened attitudes toward gender were slow to gain acceptance. In the 1920s, when he wasn’t writing beloved childrens’ books like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, E.B. White went slumming with the humorist James Thurber, and the two of them collaborated on a shocking satire entitled “Is Sex Necessary?” Some readers view the book as an apologia for chest-thumping machismo, but to modern readers, it just makes men look feeble and insecure. Its sub-title, “Why You Feel the Way You Do,” suggests that isn’t their fault; they can’t help it. Evolutionary psychology confirms that observation.
More recently, award-winning political columnist and notorious man-eater Maureen Dowd voiced what many women were wondering with her bestseller, “Are Men Necessary?” In it, she warns of the consequences of “When Sexes Collide,” and it is clear that Dowd believes that crash will leave only one gender standing — ironically, that which sits.
Few honest men would disagree with the common female assertion that “all men are pigs.” Are men literally necessary, then? No. Sperm is necessary — that much may be true — but not so much its meat faucet delivery system, and even less so the hominid with excessive armpit hair to which it attaches.
Why, then, does sex persist? Evolutionary theorist Jared Diamond tackles that subject in his book Why Is Sex Fun? Unlike most of our primate cousins on the evolutionary ladder, human beings manifest a peculiarly conspicuous enjoyment from the act of copulation. So there you have it, the whole reason for contrasting codependent co-evolution is to obtain cheap thrills. It isn’t very evolved. But it sure makes Saturday nights a lot more pleasant.
by Cheryl Anne Gardner
I was in a hurry to get up to my room. I hated business travel, but the swanky hotel bars made every trip just bearable. I shouted, “Wait,” and a slender calf in red leather pumps jutted out to stop the elevator doors from closing. I stumbled in, tripping over my bag, my open umbrella, and my own damn feet. My new oxfords hurt my feet something awful, but they looked sharp, and for this meeting later today, I had to look sharp. I looked over at the leg and said, “Thanks.” Then I shook the rain out of my hair and straightened out my tie.
“You’re welcome,” she said. “Name’s Jim, as in slim … cause I like a little spicy beef.”
I wasn’t sure I had heard her right. Maybe I had rain in my ears. They hadn’t popped since I got off the damn plane.
“Yeah, you heard me right,” she said while chewing on the second or third Cheeto she’d popped into her mouth. Her fingers were orange, and so was the lacy push-up bra that had pushed its way clear up to her chin. Orange like that creamsicle ice cream I used to love as a kid. She was young, very pretty in a sass-your-ass sort of way, perky tits, and I felt my face get a little hot. Even if I had had one word rattling around in my head at that moment, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it, so I spent about five minutes admiring the carpet and the advantages of having such a busy pattern in an area that obviously saw a lot of filth. The advantages of such a thing were so many that I completely forgot what floor my room was on. She picked a floor for me, and in doing so, shifted her ass in such a way that the very short apple-green suede skirt she was wearing slid all the way up to her shoulders. I got a premium view of her in the overhead mirror. It, too, was dusted Cheeto orange.
She bent over a little more and wiggled herself at me. I thought I was gonna pass out. Why are elevators so hot? Maybe I have malaria.
“Whatta ya waiting for?” she asked, but there was no conceivably logical answer I could find that wasn’t scribbled on the inside of my boxers. I reached out with one finger and touched her. Then, she told me to go ahead and taste it, so I put my finger in my mouth, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t taste like a Cheeto. She smiled at me, so I grabbed her hips and went for it like they taught you in all those stupid business assertiveness classes. She gasped and her head hit the wall.
For about five minutes, the elevator pitched and bowed, swinging so wildly on its cables that I thought for sure we were gonna die. Yeah! Fuck that meeting. Fuck shitty air travel. Fuck my boss, and fuck his boss with the rolled up presentation I had in my briefcase. I just wanted to die right then and there.
She didn’t say a word.
The doors opened just as I was zipping up in a fluster. I could taste Cheeto on my tongue. I got off, no idea what fucking floor, as another suit got in, and just as the doors were closing, I could hear the crinkle of another Cheeto packet and the low whisper of her sexy sultry voice, “Name’s Jim, as in slim … cause I like a little spicy beef.”
“The Life of Kurt”
by Michael Wolman
Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to honor the life of Kurt, a man whose years cannot easily be summarized in a few paragraphs — although one of his little-known talents was doing just that for other people. Sometimes he was so concise, all it took were a few words. “Mikey,” he said to me once. “I can sum up your life in five words: ‘Not as good as mine.’” Then he slapped me on the back, even though I had a terrible sunburn, and laughed that laugh of his — that high-pitched cackle that sounded sort of contemptuous if you didn’t know him, but was really just Kurt’s way of letting the world know he was enjoying life. That was the Kurtmeister for you.
He was just so… Well, first of all, he was tall. Really tall. At least 6’4″. He loomed over people. Just flat-out loomed. And he had more money than anyone I’ve ever known. Kurt wasn’t a great family man, or a kind man, or even a particularly bright man, but he was always the richest guy in the room. Partly this was because he was phenomenally wealthy, but it was also because he liked surrounding himself with people who were struggling financially, to “demonstrate trickle-down economics in action,” as he put it. Then he would shotgun a beer, unzip his fly and — Well, you can guess what happened next. It was hilarious.
Some people get married and start families; others start foundations or serve on town councils. Kurt made millions and millions of dollars through persistence, savvy, and inheritance alone. His assets ranged from mutual funds and bonds to jewelry he would pick up on trips to Argentina that he refused to discuss for some reason. Kurt believed that above all else you should do what makes you happy, and money is what made Kurt happiest. And he was great with it. Very frugal. All the way to the end. They say you can’t take it with you, but that’s exactly what Kurt did: he’s being buried with his beloved money today. Piles and piles of crisp, unmarked, nonconsecutive Benjamins, stacked alongside him in that platinum-coated coffin for all eternity. Who else but Kurt would have the sack — the bone-deep honesty – to go through with that? No one. Just Kurt.
Some people didn’t get him, and he was OK with that, because he was confident in who he was as a person and didn’t waste time worrying about what other people thought of him. For instance, he would give these noogies where you’d just be like, “No, come on, Kurt. Stop, that hurts!” And then he’d put you in a headlock and keep going, because he knew that we’d all laugh about it later. And people who didn’t understand that about Kurt just weren’t going to like those noogies no matter what he said to them afterwards.
But I didn’t come here to talk about noogies. I came here because my wife told me I would never see her naked again if I didn’t. Kidding, kidding! See, that’s exactly the kind of joke Kurt would have appreciated if he were here with us today. Sadly, however, he is not.
Why? Well, as you all know, Kurt had quite the reputation with the ladyfolk. That may seem inappropriate, or even crass, to mention in this setting. But lovemaking — or “shattering the meat tunnel,” as Kurt called it — is a beautiful and natural thing, the most intimate expression of human connection. If Kurt was guilty of anything, it was of loving too deeply, both in the sense of making love to dozens of women and in the sense of having a freakishly long penis — according to his fourth wife, anyway. In the end, Kurt simply dipped his wick into one too many melting candles. It’s a mistake any one of us could have made. Kurt won’t be the first to die from spreading too much love, and he won’t be the last, and yet it is no less tragic. Alas, no good deed goes unpunished.
Jimmy couldn’t be here — his request for bail was denied last night — but he called to tell me that he wants everyone here to know how sorry he is, and that he wouldn’t have done it if Kurt’s mistake had remained strictly vaginal and oral. I told him what we all already know: Kurt lived life to its fullest. Some birds aren’t meant to be caged.
In the case of my own wife, I forgave Kurt long ago. That was simply the price you paid for the chance to be friends with the greatest pal a guy could ask for. BBB — Bros Before Bitches. That was usually Kurt’s motto. All the way to the bloody end.
And so, I think I speak for everyone here — Joe, Dave, and Reverend Franklin — when I say, “Kurt, rest in peace, you big queer. We’ll miss you.”
“Worry of One in Three — Suffering From Lung Cancer”
by Eleanor Leonne Bennett
“Smut ‘N Eggs”
by Kashana Cauley
Nida and I are hipsters because we are black girls who do irony and do not do b-girl wear; that awful mix of baggy pants with tank tops and dresses so tight they look like swimsuits and hair that’s been straightened ’til it falls out and sideways turned hats and little backpacks too small to hold anything. We are the only two hipsters in Wisconsin because Wisconsinites are deathly serious and honest and unironic. Everyone’s dad or granddad or great-granddad was a farmer, and farmers wouldn’t know irony unless it shot up from their land every April.
There are these people who claim they’re doing the same thing in New York. They’re not. They wear trucker hats and drink PBR and go to bad concerts because they think the bands will be funny. The only people who wear trucker hats here actually drive semis for a living. PBR is unironically consumed every night here unless the bars announce something else is cheaper. And bad concerts are too damn expensive. So we’ve been forced to find our own way to be. We have plans and we execute them and even when they don’t work so well, like the whole Smut N’ Eggs thing, we’re there, in the corner, laughing at something anyway.
It was sunny and bright and not too cold for February, and we were finally going to Smut N’ Eggs. Allen’s, the bar that staged it, ran these tiny black and white ads in the weekly paper that seemed tinier because they were cramming too many ideas in the frame. A plate of eggs always sat on the top of the ad, and a woman who was almost naked took up the bottom, the two of them divided by a heavy black angled newspaper slash like they were a presidential ticket. Nida and I thought the ads were funny and pathetic. So we decided to go to laugh at guys who were willing to eat eggs and zero in on smut in public.
We showered and dressed and zipped up our heavy winter coats. Our breath rose up from our mouths in white wispy chunks as we walked to my car and fired it up. Since everyone else in Milwaukee had been out drinking ’til close the night before as usual, instead of going to bed early to wake up and crash a party, the roads were silent and clear. There were fifteen or twenty cars in the Allen’s parking lot, which didn’t have space for more than thirty total. Most of them had that first patch of rust on the part of the body above the back wheels.
“I didn’t know it would be so full,” Nida said.
“Right. Who gets up this early on a Saturday?”
“No shit. I’ve already decided I’m never doing this again.”
“Puh-lease. It’ll be funny. I promise.”
“Don’t make silly promises, girl.”
We got out of the car and slammed the doors shut, and I couldn’t hear anything for a second. Then we walked in there and got beaten with sound. The TVs were going at full speed, all jumbles of noise and flashes of people who only had half their clothes off but were working on it. And the guys watching the action didn’t disappoint. They were exactly how we’d pictured them. Love-handled and handlebar-mustached and completely focused on the screens. Until it became clear that we were planning to stay more than a second or two. Then they got all happy. The kind of happy guys get when they realize they might have the chance to hit on someone who isn’t the waitress. Allen’s had been running this promotion for years. I remembered seeing the ads in college, laughing at the idea that anyone would actually go. But here we were. The first women to have ever made it to Smut N’ Eggs who didn’t work there. All the startled eye contact being tossed in our direction made it clear we were pioneers.
On my way to the bathroom, all the men at the bar turned around on their stools in one big wave. I took a couple extra seconds to throw some water on my face and re-emerged, feeling fresh and new and amused and only slightly creeped out to be in a whole room of guys who were increasingly more interested in us than the actual entertainment.
“Dude,” Nida said.
“One of ‘em’s coming up on your left.”
“Hi,” he said.
His mustache was real thick and feathery and retro, like this was a saloon and there’d be a shootout later, ’round back.
“Hi,” I said.
“You both having a good time?”
Nida started to laugh. She was trying to keep it quiet, but I could hear her over my right shoulder, clapping her mouth over a hiccupy sound.
“You two aren’t lesbians, right?”
“Well, what other kind of women would come in here?”
“Um,” Nida said. ”The kind of woman who likes her smut?”
He wandered back to his seat at the opposite end of the bar.
“That was odd,” I said.
“Yeah,” Nida said.
“This is the last mustache bar I’m ever going to.”
“Right. Total mustache bar visits- capping ‘em at one.”
“There have got to be other ways to do this hipster thing.”
“We could always just get some PBR.”
“Come on. You know that’s not funny here.”
“If this is what’s funny, I’m giving up.”
“There is definitely something funny about this.”
We got our eggs and managed to eat half of them in peace before another one of them came up to chat.
“How you girls doing?” he said.
This one was skinnier than the last one. When he opened his mouth, I imagined him as a talking pencil that twitched a little more than pencils usually do, unless they’re about to break.
“We’re good,” I said.
“Um — um — um –”
“We’re not interested.”
“It is really rude to assume I came over here to ask you that.”
“But you did.”
I leaned into the bar and gave him my best annoyed look. Plastered my eyebrows up on my forehead. Slipped my mouth into one of those judgmental black girl shapes, the one where we take half our lips, roll them into a corner, bug our eyes out and wait for you to finish talking. Nida was quietly whooping behind me again.
“Anyway, we’re not interested.”
The rest of the guys at the bar looked up, startled and disappointed, and turned a higher percentage of their attention back to the screens. We chewed our eggs in silence. When I saw that Nida had cleaned her plate, I gave her the sign and we got out of there.
“They should call that “The Man Cave in the Morning,” Nida said in the car.
“Like they’re a bad am talk show.”
“Anyways, I’m never going back.”
by Eleanor Leonne Bennett
“Man of the Year”
by Steven Stark
(CNS News) There is only “one known Jewish resident” still living in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. That is despite the fact that Jews have lived in Afghanistan for nearly three millennia, and had a local population that was 40,000 strong as of the mid-1800s . . . .
I am happy to accept this award as the Man of the Year 5772, awarded by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Afghanistan, in conjunction with the Kabul Bnai Brith.
Please, hold your applause.
I am unworthy of this honor, as well as the “Fiddler on the Roof” trophy you have bestowed upon me.
I’m glad it was unanimous. (Laughter)
I’m also honored this morning to announce a cease-fire between three of the bitter factions here in our homeland.
I’m referring, of course, to the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. (Laughter)
By the way, what do you call a piece of sandpaper in Afghanistan?
And, what do you call an Afghani with his hand up a camel’s behind?
Now that we’ve got the serious stuff out of the way (laughter), there’s an old Yiddish saying:
â€œ××•×™×‘ ××™×¨ ×˜×Ö¸×Ÿ × ×™×˜ ×¢×¡×Ÿ ×§× ×Ö¸×‘×œ, ××™×¨ ×•×•×¢×˜ × ×™×©×˜ ×©×ž×¢×§×Ÿ ×©×œ×¢×›×˜.â€
It means, of course, “If you don’t eat garlic, you won’t smell bad.”
The learned rabbi who coined that proverb had obviously never been to Afghanistan.
But my friends, we have.
Next year in Jerusalem. Or, actually, anywhere but here.
“In Which a Titanic Crew Member Loses His Cool at St. Peter’s Gate”
by Natalie Grant
Yes, hello — Butterworth, comma, John. Who am I with? I’m here with all the rest of these frozen idiots. Look at me, I have icicles dangling from my nostrils. I have snotcicles. That’s not a fashion statement. Really, Pete?
Occupation — Saloon Steward. Of course you don’t know what that is. No one does. I don’t even know. I lurk around tubby grannies in that massive room with the glass bubble for a ceiling, bringing them replacement cutlery and making sure they’re still satisfied with all their pearls and vino and superfluous cash.
Whoa whoa, hang on — why are you letting those two broads in ahead of me? I’ve been waiting all morning, for Pete’s sake! For your sake! Who the hell do they think they are? I mean, not to sound childish here, but last time I checked it was no cuts no buts no coconuts. I’m cold, I’m exhausted, and frankly I’m a bit miffed about this whole gender-based ranking system we seem to have going on here. She popped out a kid and suddenly she’s got an all-access pass to paradise? You’ve been letting chicks by me all day, man! This is bullcrap.
And now three more?! Okay, that’s it. I’ve officially had it. Shit’s going down, buddy, right here right now. Going down like an unsinkable ship.
Womb privilege, that’s what this is! This whole “women and children first” thing is a pain in my ass. Literally. Have you ever tried to stay alive for almost three hours while being stomped on, shoved around and shrieked at, all while balancing sideways on a non-horizontal deck covered in puddles and razor-sharp chunks of ice, attempting to do your duty and maintain something resembling order, knowing full well the arbitrary nature and utter irony of telling people to remain calm while a fifty-thousand-ton object is falling apart all over them? Eh? And then keep afloat in thirty-degree water until you lose consciousness, while a bunch of mommies and their spawn suck lollipops and stare at you from the safety of half-filled lifeboats as if to say, ha-ha, we have wombs and/or recently emerged from one, we have womb privilege? Watching them kick back while you suffocate in water so unbelievably cold you forget that you actually are just a few hundred miles south of Nova fucking Scotia?
What do you mean fair is fair? Like chicks can’t swim? They don’t have legs or something? I mean, I get it, save the uteri so we can continue to procreate our species and all that — if we were the last remaining humans, so be it, but we aren’t, are we?
Say what? Irrelevant, you say?!
Gimme that book, dickhead. The big one with all the names. Right, here we are. So… we got half the kids rescued, and three out of every four women, and — surprise, surprise – one out of every five men. 20%. I mean, Christ. By this count, our odds of survival are worse than that of a blind penguin with Down syndrome. Are you telling me my survival odds are only slightly better than a disabled flightless bird’s? I mean, Christ.
Guess that makes me part of the 80%. Our voices WILL be heard! Occupy St. Peter’s! OCCUPY ST. PETER’S! We are the 80%! Let’s get some picket signs here, pronto. Who’s with me? Who’s–
– hey, excuse me, miss, I’ve been waiting. Yeah, there’s a line here. A queue. “Where?” Are you for real? See this big mob of people lined up who all want the same thing as you? No amount of curtsying or eyelash-batting is gonna get you inside these gates before me, okay lady. Hey! Hey wait! INJUSTICE! THERE’S AN INJUSTICE HAPPENING HERE! ANYONE? DOES NO ONE SEE THIS BUT ME?
Come on Petey, you gotta work with me here. How can you justify this? So I was born with a schlong — my bad, apparently — and yet suffering through a terrifying, lonely, tortuous drawn-out death isn’t enough? Still I gotta wait? I feel like holding us dudes responsible for millennia of sexist societal structures is just blaming the victim here.
OI! GET BACK IN LINE! Don’t touch me! Mister St. Peter did you see that? Did you? She deliberately shoved me! What’s that, Sir?
…Did you just say, “Women and children first?” Did you just say that to me? That’s funny, I could have sworn you just said WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST!!
Screw this. I’m outta here. Yeah I’m aware that I don’t know exactly what’s at the bottom of those stairs, but I hear hell is pretty toasty, and frankly I’d rather suffer for all eternity than spend one more minute standing out here in this meta-anti-postmodern-postmortem shitshow. Come on, 80%! Follow me! We’re leaving! You spoiled bitches can have paradise all to yourselves. You and your pearls and vino and cash and shameless womb-having are, it seems, more worthy than the likes of us â€“ we crew members who were simply doing an honest day’s work by sacrificing our lives for shitty pay and no benefits, other than prematurely meeting a brutal demise.
And I’m taking Wally and the band of steadfast musicians too. Not gonna be the last ones standing this time, eh? Plus I could use a bit of Wagner or something, I’m feeling quite tense now that I’m thinking about how my human rights were violated at the workplace. Petey, if you need us, we’ll be downstairs, playing our violins and violas nostalgically until the ship of discrimination-disguised-as-chivalry goes down in flames.
Gentlemen, I bid you farewell.
Natalie is a writer and journalist living in San Francisco or wherever she happens to be right now. She does have a womb but tries not to abuse womb privilege, especially when escaping large oceanic transportation vessels or entering the gates of paradise. You can stalk her here or here.
“Ask Papa Ratzi”
by Pope Benedict XVI
Infallible advice from the Vatican’s very own love doctor!
You are one of the few world leaders who has yet to send a baby gift. I want one of those crazy hats.
Blue Ivy Carter
Your gift has been my prayers, that you might be so talented and generous as your famous mother and father. Our hats, alas, only come in male sizes, and are unfit for the small, feeble minds of women.
I invite both you to Vatican City anytime for a baptism — all the talent in the world cannot save an unbaptized baby from the terror of limbo. Perhaps your parents might perform for the college of cardinals?
Yours in the Eucharist,
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Defender of the Roman Faith
I’ve finally met the girl of my dreams, and I’m planning to propose to her as soon as I can. The only problem is, she makes a lot more money than I do — she’s this fancy corporate lawyer, and I fix roofs for poor people. She says it doesn’t matter to her, and I believe it, but — I know that if I get her a small engagement ring (the only kind I can afford), her co-workers will laugh at her; apparently, they were really cruel to a paralegal about it once. I could ask her first and then we could buy the ring later, together — with her money AND mine — but doesn’t that ruin all the romance? Please help!
Stuck in Spokane
This is what has become of the family in the post-feminist West: the loss of traditional gender roles hurts us all. You are a decent man, but if your girlfriend is so brazen as to out-earn you, imagine what will come after marriage — she will assert herself as the head of the household, a position that is yours by natural law! This cannot be abided. It is my recommendation that you find a new girlfriend to whom you might propose, who earns a properly proportioned salary to your own. A career woman, after all, can never be a good wife or mother.
Yours in the Eucharist,
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Defender of the Roman Faith
Last week, my toaster started burning the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe into my toast! It’s a miracle!
Blessed in Boise
Miracles are a rare occurrence, and almost never toaster-related. Take this as an opportunity to strengthen your faith, but please stop clogging my email box with photos. They are all very large file sizes, and free storage, unlike Christ’s love, is not an infinite resource.
Yours in the Eucharist,
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Defender of the Roman Faith
“Chocolate Hearts but no Lady Parts”
by Adam Wohnoutka
Valentine’s Day to me was like Thanksgiving in Ethiopia. For the past five February fourteenths, Cupid had sent me a bottle of hand lotion and the following note:
“Sorry, Adam… I’m beginning to think that we’re fighting a losing battle. Have you ever considered getting into men? Well, try and have a good one anyway. It’s strawberry scented.” The fact that women were allergic to my penis and not even a Greek god could reverse my fortunes was depressing enough. But add to it the fun little fact that 98% of Gustavus Adolphus students were in relationships. This meant that the campus was bursting with flowers, chocolate hearts, and sappy Valentine’s Day cards, which were basically reminders that everyone was in love and I was alone. So, when the faithful day came, I decided that I would remain locked in my room, nibbling on Pizza Rolls and lubricating my banana with strawberry paste.
My dream of a strawberry banana smoothie was crushed in its early planning stages when my roommate barged in and said, “You’re not beating your dick. Let’s go get some breakfast.” And so we were off to cripple my pride.
Our first stop was the wall of PO Boxes, where countless women were squealing with glee as they read their admirers’ Valentines. Apparently, all it took to melt a girl’s heart was a $2.99 piece of paper with two naked toddlers on the cover. What a thoughtful gift. These men were really working for that pussy.
Speaking of, my roommate’s girlfriend sauntered over, grasping an envelope and stretching her jaw muscles in preparation for the near-future fellatio. She leapt into my roommate’s arms, gushing about how much she loved his stupid goddamn card. Actually, it was my stupid goddamn card. I had written the entire poem within, as a matter of fact. That’s not to say my roommate hadn’t added his own personal touch. He had written “Happy Valentine’s Day” in bubble letters, which was much more deserving of a blowjob than conveying complex emotions in iambic pentameter while also choosing a fitting rhyme scheme.
After 30 seconds of public indecency, the girlfriend asked, “Will some lucky lady be receiving a card from Adam Wohnoutka?” I informed her that, other than the one that she was ramming a schlong down her throat for, I would not be sending out any cards. What would an honest Valentine from me say anyway? Most likely this: “Love is… getting drunk enough that you’re willing to have sex with me.”
Before I could escape Valentineville, it was suggested that I check my box for any possible love letters. Of course, we all knew how it would end. The thing was: My misery served as an aphrodisiac for my roommate and his gal pal. In fact, I was convinced my inner torment was the only thing keeping them together. And so, for the sake of their relationship, I entered my combination and stuck my hand into the mailbox. Normally, my hand would be decorated in cobwebs when I pulled it out. But not this time. This time it was grasping something. (Singing) Something I had never seen before. Something for every man to adore. Something to make the inner lion roar. Something to help the wounded eagle soar. Something pure as a disease-free whore. ’Twas a valentine.
For some reason, my first instinct was to buy a box of condoms. I guess I’m just old-fashioned that way. Before I could rush out and pick up a dozen Trojan Minis, however, there was still the business of opening the envelope and finding out who was raring to bathe in Adam’s love juice. Who could it be? There was this amblyopic girl across campus that had her eye on me.
I imagined myself penetrating Lazy Eye McGee as I dug into the package, which gave me an erection that would have been instantly detectable had I not been wearing my boner-masking pants (The pants also served as vagina repellant). My penis snug against my inner thigh, I read the inside of the Valentine. By the time I had finished, the expression on my face matched George Lucas’ after he watched “The Phantom Menace” for the first time. There was a silence and then the girlfriend grinned. ”It’s from your mom, isn’t it?” she said at the height of cuntery.
“Yes,” I replied, my special pants’ services no longer required.
A bruised ego before breakfast. Good times. By day’s end, it would look like Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ.”
With my libido ravaged beyond repair, I entered the cafeteria. Apparently, it was Bring your Bouquet to Breakfast Day because everyone with a vagina was cradling a collection of roses. What I wanted to do required a pair of garden shears, a drum of K-Y Jelly, and a handgun; but, since I was a coward, I decided it best that I quickly consume my food and slither back to my room, away from all this love and companionship mumbo jumbo.
I had nearly finished my Valentine’s breakfast when the girlfriend strutted over with a monstrous white cake (obviously a symbol of her purity) and presented it to my roommate. In pink frosting was written something along these lines: ”I am forever grateful that you continually drag your scrotum across my face.” I tried my hardest to escape the situation, but I was forced into consuming a piece of the love cake, which felt very much like accepting a load from my dear roomie’s fire hose. I wiped the white frosting from my lips and scurried back to the dorms.
I had planned on overdosing on Children’s Tylenol when I returned to the room, but something unheard of happened when I pushed through the door: I got into the holiday spirit. Those ever-present feelings of shame and inadequacy were momentarily clouded by love and romanticism. I wanted to do something special for — my penis. I lit a couple of candles, poured a glass of wine, and warmed up some two-day-old garlic bread. Barry White serenaded the two of us as I got tossed by eight ounces of bargain bin Merlot. And then I made thirty seconds of sweet love to my trouser snake. A perfect afternoon. Nothing could ruin it. Not even the fact that the strawberry lotion seeped into my pee hole and burnt like be Jesus.
After another strawberries and cream session, I was gasping like John Goodman (masturbation made up 90% of my exercise program). And so I drifted away into a land where girls and boobies and va-jay-jays weren’t just cruel myths. Turns out girls won’t have sex with me in my dreams either.
I was awoken from my sexless slumber by my roommate, who was prodding my testicles with his big toe. ”Clean up your semen,” he said. ”We’re going out.”
“Where?” I yawned.
“Paglias.” Great. We were off to a pizza parlor to raise public awareness of my relationship retardation. I was about to make an excuse when my roommate blurted, “We found you a date.”
At this point, most people would go ahead and inquire as to whom said date was. I, on the other hand, sprang to my feet and disappeared into my bedroom. ”I’m getting my sweater,” I announced. And I was the only human being under 75 years old who needed a sweater every time I went out.
I waited until we were in the car to ask who the lucky lady was. I was certain she was a mutant-like creature, but I didn’t care. I had something resembling a date on Valentine’s Day. Who knew? Maybe I’d almost get to first base.
“Jackie Myers,” my roommate replied. ”She’s meeting us there.” I think I fist bumped my penis. For Jackie Myers was slightly above average looking. You hear that? Slightly above average. I mean, her calves were as thick as Christmas hams, but she was still semi-attractive. Best Valentine’s Day ever.
When the girlfriend, my roommate, and I took a seat at a shitty little booth, Ham Calves had yet to show (She was most certainly dolling herself up in hopes that she’d receive a coat of Adam’s premature glaze). Scanning the room, I noticed that I was the only one without a partner at my side. A few love birds were glancing at me out of the corners of their eyes, silently thanking God that they weren’t me. I couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces when a plain girl with cankles cozied up next to me. That would show ‘em. Until then, I’d play the cool lone wolf. I ordered a kiddie cocktail and sipped real cool.
After roughly twenty minutes, the waitress returned and recommended we order an appetizer while we waited for my date, who was surely lost in her hometown. My two escorts, perpetually anxious to remind me that I was single and they went through economy size boxes of condoms weekly, ordered the Sweetheart Shake, which was a crappy strawberry milkshake with two straws. The server scribbled on her notepad and turned toward me.
“Sweetheart Shake with one straw,” I murmured.
Midway through my Solo Shake, the girlfriend’s cell phone began ringing. She removed her busy paw from my roommate’s pocket and flipped open her cellie. ”Where are you?” she hissed into the receiver, covering her mouth with a hand. There was a voice on the other line that sounded a bit like a girl who had received a bowling ball for her birthday. The only words I could decipher were: ”weird,” “pathetic,” “little,” “uncomfortable,” and “creep.” After the squawking ceased, the girlfriend bowed her head and whispered, “I know.” Then she hung up. I wondered who it was.
I packed the remaining half of my Pizza for Two into a cardboard box (the only box I’d be handling for quite some time) and headed out the door. My roommate was already in the car, nearly mounting his girlfriend. He would be handling a box very soon.
When the couple dropped me off at the dorms, my roommate was already rolling a condom over Cupid’s arrow in preparation for some parking lot penetration. I briefly considered spying on them but I ultimately decided that I could use yet another night alone. So what I did was I popped my pizza into the microwave, rolled it around my penis, and gave the oven-baked dough the business. I imagined that I was pounding a low-class Italian prostitute named Consuela, which was quite arousing. Within thirty seconds, the Valentine’s Day Massacre had ended with a bang. And a whimper. I tossed my date’s half pizza into the trash with my pride and took my greasy sausage to bed.
And, with that, the streak lived on: 19 Valentine’s Days, 19 failures.
by Kashana Cauley
I am writing this email to formally express disappointment that you’ve chosen not to return my phone calls or texts. I searched the Internet for this email address because now that two weeks have passed I have a bit more to say to you than text messages or voicemails allow. Our first date went rather well; I am disappointed that you appear to disagree. With all due respect, you couldn’t have possibly decided that we’re not suited for each other for the reasons stated below:
- We were both on time. We appeared at the exact minute we were due to meet. Earliness implies nervousness; lateness disrespect. But people who are on time are precise, like pistons in engines. I’ve known my whole life that I should be with someone equally precise; you understood the concept better than anyone I’ve ever met. Life is too short to be with the early or late. Since your Facebook page states that you are thirty-three, it is not surprising that you are mature enough to understand the importance of being on time.
- You repeatedly touched your face during dinner, which is a sign of female attraction to a male. I am aware of what the twenty to twenty-five men standing behind me at the bar looked like; you couldn’t have possibly been directing this gesture to them. It is undoubtedly important for you to be with someone you find attractive.
- During dessert, when I showed you the spreadsheet I’d prepared showing dinner options for our second date, you smiled and said it was “cute.” Spreadsheets are not always greeted with such unabashedly positive reactions. I imagine the attached spreadsheet which catalogues all the reasons that wouldn’t fit in this letter regarding why our date went well will provoke an equal level of delight; I’m sorry I won’t be there to see it. It is hard to find suitable partners with the proper love of spreadsheets.
- While we were not able to set a time and place for our second date during dinner, as you were stepping into your cab, you promised to call me. I cleared the next week in my calendar, I waited patiently for contact from you confirming this stated interest in calling me. It is surprising and a little disappointing that you are not always a woman of your word, but I forgive you and look forward to our next phone conversation. If you were truly uninterested, you would not have promised to call.
I look forward to speaking with you soon!
Institute of Follicular Study Releases Hair-Raising Report
by Paul Lander
The Institute of Follicular Sciences recommended, whenever possible, when one gets hair extensions made of real human hair one should consider the added, but worthwhile, expense of having a DNA test done on the hair. A spokesman stated, “You really want to make sure it comes from an actual human donor. Trust me, one poor woman thought she was getting a full head of Korea’s best locks. However, it turned out, somewhere in Missouri, a Newfoundland named Pickles spent two months with an underbelly that looked like a reverse Mohawk. The only way the poor woman found out her extensions were 100% Newfoundland was when a neighbor’s Maltese jumped on her noggin and tried to mate with her newly bought extensions.” In a non-related matter, the Institute also warned people with Swedish extensions find themselves starting every sentence with the word “Ya” for no apparent reason.
Paul Lander is Producer/Consultant for XM/Sirius’s “Hey, Get Off My Lawn”.
NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: Report to Your Bunkers!
by Janice Arenofsky
Given the extremely combustible international situation–Madrid subways beset with unwaxed linoleum, Middle East inhabitants disenfranchised of voting rights and credit cards, and a polluted China saddled with an embargo against cheap exports and struggling with slanderous accusations of watching Western TV –the Department of the Homeland Byways and Back Roads urges all American citizens to hunker down in their bunkers.
Ideally your bunker is situated near a strip mall or hospital for easy access to budget shopping and psychotropic drugs (you may need both “comfort” categories if things don’t go according to Homeland’s preferred scenario of “Shock and Awe,” which will be discussed in future emergency alerts). In the event, however, that you were unlucky enough to receive a high number in the bunker lottery, which may indicate that your underground location is less than perfect (beneath septic tanks, port-a-potties or sewage lines, for example, or adjacent to demolition centers, cemeteries or airports), please do not cry or whine about quality of life, luck of the Irish, cyanide pills and the like. We at Homeland do not countenance threats of suicide or the Second Coming, and it’s too late for bribery or implementing the euthanasia override. Furthermore, the federal relocation program applies only to felons, high-school dropouts and immigrants who entered the country more than 25 years ago but still can’t speak their native tongue. Unless you qualify for this program, your family on the whole stands a better chance of surviving nuclear war, ethnic genocide or any other man-made holocaust or unnatural disaster if family members remain calm and shrug off any inconveniences such as drooling, itchy crotches or third-degree burns.
Should you wish to exchange your bunker for a high-rise condo near the water, please list all real estate on Craigslist. But a word of caution: Not all members of that one-percent of the very rich are endowed with integrity, so run any imminent switch-er-oo past your accountant or lawyer. Let them decide whether you made out like a bandit or were robbed of your hard-earned blue-collar wages or welfare dollars.
Also, the DHBB reminds all bunker-oos to supply their safe McRooms with sparkling water, NASA freeze-dried munchies and solar batteries. Continue to recycle through the nuclear winter by segregating CDs, DVDs, GEDs, JDs and MVDs from re-usables such as tp, rsvp, ddt and wmds. Continue to pursue the sustainable life style even though you may doubt its sanity. Remember, we’re only as happy as the degree to which our positive attitude motivates us to get on with life, find closure or tweet. Whatever.
This fully funded federal agency wishes not to panic the citizenry, but one of our highest paid employees (we reserve the right not to publish Andrew’s name, but he does accept voice mail after 9 a.m) failed to push the red button above the medium-sized coffee pot in the lunch room, which unfortunately delayed the execution of our fail-safe, digitally-enabled warning system. As a result, for a little while in the History of the World, Andrew was the only person to know our country was under siege and also a little low in Kleenex. But by now everyone except people in movie theaters, hospitals and 747s, where cell phones are prohibited under threat of losing all your minutes, knows that our national security has been jeopardized by nuclear weaponry located somewhere in the South Pacific–maybe the Philippines, Tahiti or one of those other godforsaken islands where fishermen in flimsy boats are always drowning during typhoons two miles off the coast.
The Agency does not have an exact fix on where these weapons of mass destruction stem from, but we’re thinking that with a little world cooperation and all of using our GPSs, we should have the location real soon. Of course if we had a little world cooperation, we might not be in this jam to begin with. We might be in another kind of jam, but not the kind frequently accompanied by vaporized bodies and apocalyptic films. In any case, if you or any other person in your bunker thinks you know the exact location of said nuclear weapons, please call 555-1212-1234. Ask to speak with Bob.
It goes without saying that the Agency will disavow all knowledge and negative consequences if this Bunker Alert fails to get you off your butt and into your bunker. Good luck and may the force be with you!
“Sexism: A Users’ Guide”
By Kelly Anneken, managing editor
Jesus Christ, you people again? Don’t you have anything better to do than read a quarterly online absurdist humor journal? Like autoerotic asphyxiation? Or your taxes?
I got kicked out of Zuccotti Park and never got my handout. Even worse, Richard Parker didn’t maul the cast of Jersey Shore like he was supposed to — he joined them! Watch for him next season, I think he’s a love interest for Deena? Or maybe Paulie D, they all look the same to me.
I hitchhiked back across the country, and now I’m working as a psychic out of this efficiency apartment in the Tenderloin. Mostly I tell hookers their fortunes for a dollar. I always say, “Later tonight, you will suck a dick,” and it always comes true! I’ve finally found my calling, but Isa McStupidpants got my pager number somehow, and she won’t stop making my pager spell “BOOBS,” which I guess is her way of saying I have to write my dumb column for the Hobo Pancakes ”Sexism” issue.
So here it is. I’m typing it on a computer at the library, so I hope I can get it done before my time at this workstation ends ten minutes from now. There’s a bum waiting to use it, and he looks like he really needs to rub one out.
Ahem. Sexism! What is it? Where does it come from? Why should you care?
I ran out of time, so I had to finish up my research on the street. Fortunately, I ran into my friend Beatrix, who is a real font of knowledge on most subjects. I’ve also heard that she’s the queen of the N-Judah reacharound and a real beast when she’s coked up, but I haven’t seen it firsthand because I don’t like hanging around with Russian mobsters. I figured she’d be a good person to ask, since before she was Beatrice, she was Bernard, so she’s seen the whole sexism thing from every angle.
Lucky for me, Beatrix was a Women’s Studies major at a community college in Iowa before she moved to San Francisco to fulfill her dream of being an actual woman, and she said that there’s a few different kinds of sexism. Misogyny is hatred of women, like Men’s Rights Activists and beer commercials. Misandry is hatred of men, like the Michigan Womyn’s Festival and beer commercials. Transphobia is fear of transsexuals, like my ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t go see theÂ Rocky Horror Picture Show with me and beer commercials. Then she started talking aboutÂ misandrogyny, which I thought was the name of a pretty cool drag pageant, but Beatrix said it’s actually fear of intersex people, which I told her I totally understand, because I’m usually pretty freaked out by people who hang out in the middle of a street, even if it is a four-way stop. She said she meant people who were born with both girl and boy parts, like Jamie Lee Curtis, so I had to cut her off and just tell her fortune before I went back to the library. As if anyone could ever be afraid of Jamie Lee Curtis!
So that’s all I have for you this quarter, readers. I need to get off this computer, because another homeless person seems to need release. She’s* welcome to it. With any luck, Isa won’t be able to find me again, because I’m leaving my pager right here on this library computer desk. I’m sure some intrepid person will be able to use its vibrate function the way God intended.
*Actually, it’s another man, but I don’t want you all to think I’m a misandrist about public masturbation.