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Archive for June, 2010

For the second time this year, my friend Kim has had to tell a guy who offered to pay her for sex to get lost.

Though Kim is no bombshell, she’s certainly real-world hot.  Great bod, killer personality, enough sexual dynamism to ignite World War III.  Men write poems to her in European cafés, chat her up in bars despite the presence of their wives and girlfriends, and friend her on Facebook to tell her she’s still their “best” even if it’s been decades since their roll in the hay.

When Kim was younger, she liked being a sexual supernova.  No shame felt she for her wanton ways, her colossal lustiness, her stereotypically manly ability to separate sex from love.  She wasn’t a man stealer or desperate fool.  Kim was a healthy sexual being, as whip smart as she was sensual, as capable of meaty conversation as she was blowing minds in the sack.

Then all in the same week, stuff happened.  First, she had to tell the gentleman who wanted to pay for her services she wasn’t that kind of girl.  Next, she got propositioned by a married male friend with a new baby.  Then, a lover from the distant past re-emerged with an ill-timed, monstrously pornographic email.

But the real doozy was the text message from Matt, the one man with whom Kim had fallen deeper in love than any normal woman deserved.  For a year, she’d enjoyed a passionate but inconsistent romance with Matt until he picked up and moved to Hawaii for business.  Though Kim was trying to move on, whenever he contacted her, tiny red hearts poured from her eyes.  A month had passed without word, when all of a sudden, in the midst of this already strange week, she got a text.  Matt wanted to know what she was wearing.  All this time, Kim had been pining away.  Matt was only sporting a woody.

As she gets older, Kim wants love, a family.  However, she hasn’t wanted to shut off the erotic valve to suckle the Goody Two Shoes one.  But after this crazy, sexed up week, Kim came to a painful realization: the men in her life don’t see her as an intellectually gifted, emotionally sophisticated feminine force who just happens to like to get it on.  She’s a fantasy, and like all flights of fancy, she dissolves in real life.

My dear friend is suffering the Marilyn Effect.

Marilyn Monroe might have been the sexiest woman ever to have lived.  However, she was also the most notoriously heartbroken, bowling over everyone from dorks like Arthur Miller to superstuds like the Kennedys, yet being ditched as soon as these guys had their fill.  By the end of her life, the loneliness and rejection tangled with the reality of losing one’s charm to old age.  Legend tells us Marilyn just wanted a baby and a man to love her.  But no one could see past her intoxicating sexuality.

“People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person,” Marilyn once said.  “They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.”

My girl Kim is tons healthier than Marilyn, though she’s starting to feel just as tragic.  She fears becoming the washed up floozy who one day turns into the unfortunate spinster.

It’s easy to blame men for being schmucks whose thoughts originate from the lower portion of their bodies.  Easy to blame a society for creating double standards.  But like every arrival at a crossroads, the question shouldn’t be, “how’d I get here,” but, “where do I go now?”

To imagine my friend no longer giving into her appetites is like imagining God turning off the spigot to Niagara Falls.  But that’s what Kim’s decided to do.  No longer will those of us who love her salivate over stories of sexual intrigue or envy her bawdy invitations from men.  Kim’s done.

Sure, it’s nice to know your booty is so good, dudes will pay for it.  Nice to find out an island of hula girls can’t distract a man from wondering what clothes you’ve got on.  But at some point it’s much nicer to be in love.

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Moms have it easy.  Included with apple pie among the staples of American life, mothers get baby showers and their names tattooed on bikers’ biceps.  Put a TV camera in front of your face and who do you say ‘hi’ to?  Mumsy.

Dads are definitely the neglected parents, probably because they have to fight the rep of being emotionally unavailable disciplinarians who wear their socks up to their knees.  Too many of them have skirted the task of child rearing, thus becoming public enemy number one in their children’s therapy sessions.  Books are written on how to be a good dad, non-profits are started to get young males to engage with their kids.  You’d think all men were cut out for were grunting at dinner tables and mowing lawns.

I don’t have a father.  Well, of course, I have one, I’ve just never met the man.  I like to think he’s a Saudi prince or Bill Cosby, and one day soon, I’ll get a call.  Bill and I will enjoy a tearful reunion then he’ll wire a heap of cash into my account.  At least enough to pay off my student loan.

When you’re a “fatherless daughter,” – yes, it’s a syndrome – you’re supposed to become a drug-addicted high school dropout pregnant by the age of sixteen.  As fun as that might have been, I somehow managed to avoid this fate.  Maybe it’s because I have rock hard survival instincts.  Or maybe because I had something just as good as a dad.

I had a stepdad.

Stepdads are supposed to be even scarier than regular dads.  You’ve seen the movies, haven’t you?  Stepdads come off friendly but always end up being psychotic serial killers who try to bump off your entire family.

Thankfully, I got a kind, generous, non-murderous stepdad.  He came into my life when I was already sixteen, so mostly past the bitchy, resentful period of girl teen angst.  He supported my creative aspirations and Kerouac fixation, and never batted an eyelash when I told him my plans for marrying Simon LeBon.  My stepdad wasn’t a substitute.  He was the Real McCoy.

My stepdad, like lots of men from his generation, was raised by one of those sock-to-knee wearing, emotionally distant papis of American myth, which may explain why he and other Boomer dads rock.  These guys know their own fathers did their best.  But unlike them, lots of today’s dads participate more fully in their children’s lives.  In turn, their kids get more than a “wait-‘til-your-father-gets-home” keeper-of-the-wallet.  They get a buddy.

Our relationships with our families aren’t so hot in America.  We live far away from them, cringe every time they call, complain about having to go home for the holidays.  But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my travels, it’s how marvelous it is to have folks in the world who give a darn about you no matter what you do or say, no matter how your career is going or how often you land flat on your ass.

So, for those fathers, and stepfathers, who’ve decided raising a kid is the most important job they’ll ever have, I offer a big kiss and huge thanks.

I may even get a tattoo.

Happy Father’s Day!

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The planet has been consumed by World Cup Fever, but you’d barely know it from life in the US.  Most Americans will tell you soccer is boring and wholly uninteresting because it takes so long for anyone to score.  But I’m here to tell you those people are wrong.  In fact, if you’re a woman, this game was made for you.  Here’s why:

5.  Va Va Voom

Soccer has two 45-minute periods with a 15-minute break in between.  Once the clock starts, it doesn’t stop.  No wimpy time-outs, no bringing proceedings to a halt if players get hurt, no bratty coaches interrupting to throw hissy fits.  The players go until time runs out.

A field full of men who can sustain vigorous physical activity for ninety minutes straight?  Goal!

Besides, any knucklehead can catch or throw a ball, and with enough practice, lob it into a hole. But can you bounce one off your foot, upper body or head and send it sixty yards into a net?  Me either.

4.  Mama Mia & Obrigado

Soccer offers pure theater, especially from those gorgeous Italians.  A ref makes a bad call and the Italian teams beat their chests and fall to their knees in prayer position calling out to the Holy Father.  Remember the Frenchman who was penalized for headbutting another guy in the torso in 2006?  The other guy was a hunky Italian who’d said something about the Frenchman’s momma.  The Italians turn the game into a Fellini film.

And check out the Brazilians.  When first learning about soccer, I was told European players are trained since boyhood, but most Brazilians learn the game while playing barefoot on the beach as kids.  Thus, their skills are organic and their bodies flow around the ball like magical beams of light.  Imagine the Harlem Globetrotters playing a real game of basketball and you’ve got Brazil on a soccer pitch.

3.  Cultcha

If you want to get the differences between the world’s cultures, watch soccer.  You’ll see the streamlined efficiency of the Germans, the haughty fluidity of the French, the measured fervor of Argentines.  And there are histories here: colonial powers competing against former colonies and rivalries going back to the era of kingdoms.  Soccer is so much more than a game.

2.  We are the World

I lived in Germany during the last World Cup, and saw first hand how soccer is the biggest sporting event in the galaxy.  World War III could have broken out, no one would have noticed, too busy were they sitting in front of televisions watching soccer.  What I loved most was seeing the entire planet in one place: Sweden was there, France, Mexico, Ghana, Korea, countries I’d never even heard of.  Being a soccer fan connects you to the global community.  During those two weeks, you imagine the entire planet coming together to celebrate both the Earth’s cultural mélange and the beauty of the human body and soul being pushed to its edge.  Am I the only one who thinks that’s awesome?

1.  Pure, Unadulterated Hotness

You knew this was coming: soccer players?  Absolutely out of this world.  You can keep your weirdly tall basketball players, tank-sized footballers and gangly golfers.  Baseball players, too – playing a sport in which you can wait around in a field lazily munching chewing tobacco does not a stud make you.

Soccer men have movie star faces and bodies like Roman sculptures.  When my Vanity Fair came this month with Annie Liebovitz’s shots of some World Cup heroes in their skivvies (above), I cried.  How could God create such masculine perfection but make it accessible only in the pages of a magazine?

The miracles soccer players perform are Olympian, their physiques are Adonis-like and their athletic triumphs have made them, to many, the closest we have to gods on Earth.

Oh, man, have I got the fever.  Bad.

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At a party recently, I saw one of those beautifully campy dames who looked as if she’d just stepped out of a B-movie circa 1955.  Blood red lipstick, cattish eyes streaked with thick eyeliner, jet black Bettie Page haircut.  But the pièce de résistance was her slinky, cheetah pattern dress.   

“I want one of those,” I said to my friend.  “To go with my cheetah pattern wallet and cheetah pattern shoes.”  

“You’re not allowed to wear those patterns yet,” my friend informed me.  “’Cause it’d mean you’re old.” 

My friend says only old ladies wear cheetah patterns, or really, any kind of animal print, in order to recapture their lost youth and feel sexy.  Once my friend alerted me to the fact, I saw women in animal prints everywhere; a woman at work in a zebra print sweater, a lady on the bus crammed into a tight leopard skirt, a chubby chick in snakeskin leggings.  And yeah.  They were all old.      

Surely, there’s a difference between vintage clothing store / B-movie cheetah print dresses and Neiman Marcus / business meeting zebra sweaters?  The former are sassy and hip.  The latter are grandmotherly and old-fashioned…er, right? 

And what about the trend that happens every so often, when all the “it” girls rediscover giraffe print purses and boots made of alligators?  Flipping through the party pages of a magazine recently, I saw a foxy gal in a silk dress patterned like the fur of a tiger.  She couldn’t have been more than twenty-five.   

It’s not only old biddies who look for hotness in the skin of an overgrown feline. Besides, twenty-year olds in tiger get ups can look just as desperate for attention as fifty-year olds in zebra garb.  Maybe older women just know how to work it better because they more fully embody their sexuality.  Finally, after decades of livin’ and lovin’, they’ve got the guts to wear the hell out of a leopard print dress. 

Dressing like animals makes women feel sexy, puts some “why don’t you come up and see me some time” into our step.  What starts with Hello Kitty panties in college culminates in zebra print brassieres at bingo.

I guess I’m somewhere in between.  Thus, I will continue to wear my cheetah shoes, flash my cheetah wallet and I may even buy a dress.  Animal prints are for the sexy ladies.  Inhibitions are for the birds.

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