Those of you who are following my blog (and let’s face it, there aren’t that many of you) may have noticed that the posts have dropped off a bit lately. Fact is, life has been very much on the hectic side. I’ve been planning my wedding for a few months from now…and wedding planning, it has turned out, is craziness. Part of me is excited, part of me will be relieved when it’s all over and done with.

But enough about romance…I’m going to use my entry into marriage as an excuse to talk about politics…because of course I am. Thinking about the married state, husbands and wives, has reminded me of one wife in particular. Specifically–oh, how much I miss having Michelle Obama as a First Lady.

Michelle and Barack are such a great model of what a marriage is supposed to look like. I loved her feistiness. I loved that when she and Barack started dating, she wasn’t that interested in being with him at first. He had to prove to her that he was worth her while. She was a strong and successful woman in her own right. I loved the way they would tease and poke fun at each other in conversations.

And now that he’s no longer President, Michelle has gleefully admitted that he got the “worst room” in their new house.

What a contrast with what we’ve got now. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think Melania Trump is a mindless bimbo. That’s what makes this situation even sadder. She is also a strong and intelligent woman. But she is not able to or chooses not to show it. Her role in the relationship with Donald is not that of an equal partner. She is a woman who was purchased by a rich husband, and so she is expected to be a beautiful, silent backdrop to what he does. Some of Trump’s fans call it being “classy” and “gracious.” That Michelle was so loud and so opinionated (and so black!) I’ve always found the concept of a graceful woman a bit suspicious. Too often, women are called graceful when they’re quiet, when they behave. When they don’t raise too much of a stink about things they disagree with.

Now, I have seen the photos and videos of Melania refusing to touch Donald or swatting his hand away from hers. They are certainly amusing. But it’s all so…passive aggressive. Again, it’s a woman who can’t allow herself to express her feelings in the open. It’s hard for me to imagine Michelle putting up with Barack cheating on her as brazenly as Donald did with Stormy. The man would be out on his ass, most likely.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that after Donnie is out of office, Melania will sue for divorce and take him for all the billions he doesn’t really have. The best I can hope for is that my own marriage will not be full of dishonesty and manipulative little games.

It has to be a true partnership, and you have to really really like and respect the person you’re married to because it is a hard road. I mean, that’s what I tell young couples. Don’t expect it to be easy, melding two lives and trying to raise others, and doing it forever. I mean that’s a recipe made for disaster, so there are highs and lows. But if in the end you can look him in the eye and say, “I like you.” I stopped believing in love at first sight. I think you go through that wonderful love stage, but when it gets hard, you need a little bit more. — Michelle Obama

 

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It was true what they said–snooping doesn’t pay off.  You get more pain than satisfaction out of it.  But I just couldn’t help myself, could I?

I sit at the breakfast table, picking at my plate of eggs and sausage.   He shuffles towards the coffee-maker, rumpled and yawning.  The man I love.  The man I know.  The man I thought I knew.

But then I remember that I’ve seen his browsing history.  The websites he went to late at night.  Those pictures of strange men.  I have to ask, even though I realize it will wreck everything.

“Honey, did…did you vote for Trump?”

He turns around and stares.  “What?”

“Don’t lie.  You’ve been reading Breitbart.”

“And you’ve been checking up on me.”  With a sudden burst of energy, he strides out of the kitchen.  “That’s an invasion of my privacy.”

“This is for your own good,”  I plead, getting up and following him.  “You’re only hurting yourself.  The first step is to admit you have a problem.”

“I don’t have a problem.  Conservatives have a right to their opinions, too, you know.”

Conservatives?  But he’s a progressive!  Or…I assumed he was a progressive, because, because…this is the twenty-first century!  Everybody’s a progressive…right?

“What about the horrible things Trump said?  About Mexicans, about…”

“Oh, come on.  The things he said weren’t racist.  He’s only getting bashed for saying them because he’s a white man.”

Oh, dear God.  Not this shit.

“You don’t really think you’re oppressed, do you?”

“I’m not sure.  I do know that everyone gets offended if I speak up about something.  Does that qualify as oppression?”

Somehow, I should have seen this coming, and yet I’m so confused.  “Okay, I promise I won’t get offended if you’re honest with me.  Why did you vote for someone like Trump?”

“Well, all you hear about him on the fake media is the bad stuff.  There are a lot of good things he’s doing.”

“Like what?”

“He drove the media insane, didn’t he?  And the mainstream politicians.  I loved the way he gave it to that one annoying guy on Twitter, what’s his name…”

“Those are not achievements!  Attacking people is not an achievement.”  I look down at the napkin I’m tearing into little pieces.  “Would you ever attack someone like that? Call them names?  I can’t imagine it.”

He shrugs and turns to the window.

I take a deep breath.  I have to hear the very worst of it.  “What about his comments about grabbing women by the pussy?  Are you okay with that?”

Exasperated sigh.  “Stupid boys talk…”

“He was talking about sexual assault!”

“Women are so sensitive.  Everything is sexual assault these days.”  He turns to face me for a moment.  “Look, I don’t want to talk about this right now.  And I’m not going to let you tell me what to think.  I’m not a fucking cuck.”  Then the bedroom door slams shut behind him.

We live in the same house.  We sleep in the same bed.  We’re a family.  How did I miss this?  What didn’t I notice?

Maybe we’re no longer really talking to each other, each of us focused on our own personal screen, posting our own version of the world.  Too busy telling our story to listen.

I want to scream at him to go fuck himself.  I want to walk away, but I can’t.  Neither one of us can make it alone.  We’ll have to find our way back to each other somehow.

Sooner or later, I’m gonna have to knock on that door.

It should really be called the Department of Desperate Losers, he thought.  Losers because they were not from America, and Desperate because they so badly wanted to get here.

He rubbed his hands together.  He loved this part.  It was the beginning of a fun new game.

In front of him sat a stack of computer file printouts, personally selected for him.

He grabbed the first one and started reading through it.  Her name was Maya.  She was a 15 year old girl from Syria.  She liked mathematics and soccer.  He looked at the file in shock.  Who could have possibly picked this one?  After a moment, he finally noticed the Post-It note on the cover sheet.  “Just kidding,” it read.  He made a mental note to find out who was responsible for this joke.

The next one was better.  She was Vietnamese, and she was past the legal age.  Very thin–he liked that.  But while skimming her bio, he found out she was politically active and had been part of the opposition movement in Vietnam.  In fact, this was why she was trying to leave the country.  He shook his head.  That sort of thing only caused problems.

There was the file of a Colombian girl who was much too athletic for his tastes.  Once again, he congratulated himself on his decision to make full-body photos mandatory with all immigration applications.  “You’re fired!”  he said as he placed her application on the reject pile.

He didn’t want a woman to wrestle him.  He wanted someone who would be as perfect of a wife as Melania.

Ah, Melania.  What a woman.  Always so quiet, and when he gave her permission to speak, always so classy.  And a knockout–that went without saying.

She looked a little sad at that last party.  He could understand how she was feeling.  It was bittersweet for him, too.  They had such good times together.  But he was a realistic man.  And reality was that Melania was past her expiration date.

It wasn’t all bad.  He would get to pick out a fresh new babe.  And Melania would be fine. She would go on to do…well, whatever it was that older women did.

More ladies–from Mexico, from Somalia.  He suspected that his staff was trying to be politically correct and do that whole diversity thing with the candidates.  He breathed a sigh of relief when he got to the women of European heritage.  Finally…this was the good stuff.

Oh, yes.  A blonde from the Czech Republic.  Gorgeous face.  And those knockers.  Talk about merit-based immigration.  She would be getting extra points for sure.

And then a bombshell from Sweden.  A brunette this time, with legs for days.  Definitely a ten.  But not pretending to be someone she wasn’t.  No weird hobbies, no PhDs.  Just solidly feminine.  He could appreciate that kind of honesty.

He would gladly save her from the terrorist hellhole that was Sweden.  He felt a tiny twinge.  Was it sympathy?  Maybe it was an erection.  Whatever.

Might as well end it right here, he figured.  Could it get any better?  Who knows, but he didn’t have the attention span.

And then he was hit with another one of his brilliant ideas.  Why not have both the Czech chick and the Swedish chick come over here and fight it out?  The lucky winner would get his hand in marriage and American citizenship.  Of course the entire thing would be filmed.  It would make a fantastic TV show.  They could wrestle in…in something.  He would figure it out later.

There was a light knock on the door of the office, and Seth peeked in.

“Having fun, Mr. President?”

The President spread his fingers over the desk.  “This is so great, Seth.  So great.  Thank you for this.”

“Excellent.  Take your time, Mr. President.  We’re discussing some policy issues in the other room.”

“Good job, Seth.”  This was his genius, he reflected–he had such fabulous people working for him.

The door closed again, and Donald went back to ogling pictures of hot girls.

“Being President is seriously the best job ever,” he thought.

One of the more amusing aspects of traveling around America’s little motels is the reading material you might find in your room. While staying at the Sweet Breeze Inn on my vacation trip last week, I ended up perusing a 1960s Ann Landers book encapsulating some of her life advice. I believe it was titled “Since You Ask Me”. Some of the advice was quite outdated–Ann took a firm stand against interfaith marriage, for instance. But other parts of the book sounded like they could have been written today. In particular, there was a section talking about how not everyone is meant to be married. Ann wrote about women who don’t have the desire to get partnered up–and how she rarely received letters from those women asking for help, because they were, for the most part, content with their lives.

As I get older, I’m turning into one of those women. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that I’m a person who’s happier when she’s not in a relationship. A relationship requires compromise, it requires a give and take. There’s no way around that. I get frustrated about having to give up time and space to a partner, and that’s not fair to either one of us. I like to spend my time doing the things I’m passionate about. I like writing. I like being involved in volunteering and politics and social events. Whether it’s because I’m the creative type or because I’m just plain selfish, I don’t want to have to sacrifice all that for another person. And I definitely don’t want to have to listen to a guy bitching and complaining because I want to go to a protest rally or want to go out dancing.

Our culture is in such a fevered rush to pair everybody up, as if our life isn’t complete unless we’re part of a couple. As if we don’t represent something complete as an individual. The problem is there is already so much going on in my mind and my soul that I have trouble making room.

So I have to say that it would take a lot to convince me to try dating again. I would have to be sure that my partner would recognize the real person I am, instead of trying to change me or make me over to match his tastes. I would need the freedom to still follow my passions. And I don’t know if any of that is possible.

Because inevitably, a relationship would require that I give and change as well. And like those single ladies who never wrote to Ann Landers, I kinda like my life as it is right now. Is this a bad choice on my part? Am I too self-centered? Am I settling for something less than? And if so, why do my wrong decisions make me feel so damn satisfied?

Conservatives are not opposed to contraception.  They’re fine with me using contraceptives, as much as I want to.  They just don’t want to have to pay for them, either with their tax money or increased insurance premiums or whatnot.  But as long as I’m paying for them myself, it’s all good.  Or so they tell me.  Because they’re all about freedom for everybody.

So then why does every conservative rant about insurance coverage of contraception inevitably end with the suggestion that I shouldn’t be having sex?  There was Foster Friess joking that I should stick an aspirin bottle between my knees, the way the good girls used to in his day.  I’ve listened to endless talk radio hosts discussing this issue and somehow, it always comes down to “What about just being abstinent?”  Sure, I guess that’s an option–it’s not as if I need to enjoy my life.  While I’m at it, I could also spend my free time flogging myself for my many sins, but I think that custom is as passe as celibacy.  It also doesn’t help that the guys promoting virtuous behavior get caught trying to pick up men in airport bathroom stalls.

There’s an answer to all of our problems, an answer which can bridge our partisan divide, and that answer is oral sex.  Both liberals and conservatives love it.  It will not cause an abortion, it will not have to be paid by anyone else’s insurance premium, and it doesn’t give me the horrible side effects of the pill.  It can be gay or straight.  If one so wishes, it can take place within the bounds of a traditional religious marriage.  It might keep Catholic couples from trying to use that silly calendar method.  It’s an experience of pure beauty and ecstasy, and it unites all of us, no matter who we are, in that one happy moment of orgasm.

So if conservative talking heads wanted to prove to us that they are not, in fact, prudish killjoys, they would promote oral sex.  Instead of advising women “Maybe you should stop having a love life,” how about “Find a boyfriend who will give you head.”  But they will never say that, because contrary to what they claim, they are uncomfortable with women enjoying their sexuality.  Deep inside, they’re still stuck on the idea that sex for women is only okay if the goal is baby-making.

But I’m always open to the idea that I could be wrong.  It’s possible–Tea Party Patriots For Head can happen!  It could be the most powerful pro-life movement of our new century.  And it’s one Tea Party organization that I would be glad to join.

So, one argument I’ve been hearing a lot this week from those who oppose same sex marriage has been that traditional marriage has “worked” for thousands of years.  I have to wonder what “working” means in this case.  If by “working” we mean just “continuing the human species”, then yes, we have done that.  I suppose that continuing to exist can be a success in itself.  But has traditional marriage truly been an effective way of living life?  Women, in particular, have held a shitty and repressed role in marriage for all those glorious thousands of years.  Has traditional marriage worked for them?  Many married human beings have spent their lives being miserable and unfulfilled in those marriages.  It almost makes me wonder if gays and lesbians really want to be a part of the marriage train.

But the basic truth about marriage is that it’s an economic contract.  That is what it has been about for straight people for centuries, with romantic love only being a recent addition to the mix.  That’s why most of the arguments in favor of same sex marriage have been about money, and rightly so.  And about the simple desire of people wanting to be treated like everyone else, which is completely understandable.

I see no good reason not to expand the definition of marriage to same sex partners.  I also can’t help but question the “sacred institution” of marriage itself.  Hopefully we can continue to re-invent our institutions and traditions in ways that make our lives happier and more fulfilling.

Don’t mean to harp on this subject, but it feels like I’m having a new WTF moment every day:

 

*Republicans still divided on the Violence Against Women Act.  It looks like the re-authorization will just barely squeak by in the Senate, but with a lot of opposition from the Rs…because it’s going to extend protections to Indian tribes and same sex couples.  Really??  Mitt is now trying to send an anxious message out to his party:  “Please support this bill.  I want to have a chance in the general election…”

*Women’s wages are still about 77% of men’s wages, and this gap has not budged at all since 2001. 

*The Vatican is reprimanding American nuns for making statements which “disagree with or challenge the bishops”.  Oh noes!  The nuns in question are members of the Leadership Conference, an organization which supported the President’s health care law.  The Vatican has also criticized this group for focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice, and not enough on abortion and gay marriage. (The issues we all really care about…) 

*We now get to read lovely opinion columns like the one from SE Cupp in the New York Daily News (and she’s a Glenn Beck minion, so I should know better, but still) lecturing us about how the best choice Ann Romney ever made was marrying well.  According to SE, if we’re smart enough to find a good, rich husband, we’ll be able to afford health care and won’t have to go on welfare!  Now I know for sure that I’ve been teleported into the 1950’s.  (Or is it the 1850’s?)

*And to finish on a depressing note, a quote from one of the women in Colombia who allegedly had a good time with our Secret Service agents, arguing that she is an escort and not a prostitute:  “It’s the same, but it’s different…It’s like when you buy a fine rum or a BlackBerry or an iPhone.  They have a different price.”  Please, ladies, don’t think of yourselves as a phone or a bottle of alcohol.  We already get objectified.  Let’s not objectify ourselves.

But hey, I’m hallucinating this imaginary “war on women”, right?  Just another hysterical feminist.  Silver lining time:  I know there are other women out there getting as pissed off about this onslaught as I am.  Let’s see how far the misogynists can get without our votes…