First published on PJMedia.com, January 3, 2012 as an advice column.
Dear Belladonna Rogers,
Of all the challenges I face dealing with leftists, one of the most difficult is contending with their anti-Israel bias. I realize Ron Paul has also expressed and mobilized anti-Israeli sentiments, but I, personally, don’t have to deal with them and hope I never do. How can I deal with the growing, overt liberal animus toward Israel?
Chagrined in Chicago
Much of the malicious and inaccurate criticism of Israel stems from two sources: ignorance and anti-Semitism.
If the criticism is based on the first, you can counteract it with facts. Here are four of the principal, hostile myths about Israel and the facts to rebut them.
(1) Israel is a foreign implant, a Western outpost, alien to the Middle East.
To the contrary, Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, who were living there for centuries before Christianity or Islam began. Jews have lived in what is now Israel continuously for more than two millennia.
(2) Israel has imperial ambitions and seeks to expand its territory and dominate others.
When it was established by a vote of the United Nations in 1948, Israel accepted the borders that the UN drew. The year it was founded, the surrounding Arab countries, however, all attacked Israel in an effort to destroy it. Israel ended the war with more territory than it had had at the beginning. In 1967, Arab aggression led to another war of self-defense in which Israel captured more territory. The Israeli government immediately offered to return the territory in exchange for peace. In 1979-82 it did return territory to Egypt as part of a peace treaty brokered by the United States.
It has conducted negotiations with Syria to the north, and the Palestine Liberation Organization to the west, for the same purpose, but neither of them has been willing to make peace with Israel. For that reason the Golan Heights, to the north, and the West Bank of the Jordan River, to the west, have remained under Israeli control. At no time has Israel sought to enlarge its territory by attacking others in an “imperial” effort. Its boundaries have changed only as a result of wars initiated against Israel by its Arab neighbors.
(3) Israel is not a democracy.
The status of the Arabs living in the West Bank is the subject of negotiations, as discussed above. As for the rest of Israel, it is a Western-style parliamentary democracy in which full civil and political rights, including the right to vote, extend to all of its citizens, including its almost one million Arabs citizens, both Christian and Muslim, and to all women. (Full American-style rights are not available to the citizens of any Arab country.) Arabs have been elected to, and serve in, the Israeli legislature, the Knesset.
(4) Israel and its friends manipulate American foreign policy.
This is the canard of the vicious polemic written by Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. They charged that Israel and its friends were responsible for the American war in Iraq, which the two professors opposed.
The president, vice president, secretaries of state, and defense and national security advisor of the George W. Bush administration (none of whom is Jewish), who made the decision to go to war, were not, of course, manipulated by anyone, nor was the United States Congress, which supported the decision.
Indeed, Israeli government officials privately counseled their American counterparts against the Iraq war, believing that Iran posed the greater threat.
When Anti-Semitic Bigotry Is at the Root of Anti-Israeli Sentiment
As for anti-Semitic bigotry as a source of anti-Israeli sentiment – a subject on which Eliot A. Cohen has written brilliantly — here are some telltale signs that this ancient hatred is the underlying cause of the animus against the modern Jewish state:
(1) When people refuse to accept the validity of the facts presented above.
(2) When the critic demonizes Israel and Jews, assigning to them responsibility for things with which they have no connection (e.g., “banking domination of the world,” referring to “Rothschild Zionists,” and asserting that Jews “always profit from war” despite the fact that if anyone “profits,” it is defense contractors whose ranks are not “dominated” by Jews).
(3) When they use a double standard, criticizing Israel for actions they never question in other countries (e.g., when they attack Israel for self-defense, while ignoring rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians, or ship-borne “peace brigades” from Turkey, with armed men on board ready to kill Israeli officers patrolling Israeli waters).
Bigotry is, unfortunately, rampant among Israel’s Arab neighbors, in part thanks to the bombardment of printed pamphlets of anti-Semitic propaganda and short-wave radio broadcasts in Arab lands by the Nazis during World War II. Since then, anti-Israeli hostility has been encouraged by the incompetent, oppressive authoritarian dictators who seek to deflect the anger of those they govern away from themselves.
Anti-Semitism is also making a vigorous comeback in its ancestral home of Europe, where for more than a millennium it was comfortably ensconced, reaching its apex in the Holocaust.
The current wave of virulent European anti-Semitism has caused an exodus to Israel from Sweden, France, the UK, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria, and other countries by Jews whose families have lived in Europe and the UK for centuries.
The main cause? Criminal assaults on Jews by the fast-growing young Muslim populations. The governments in these countries are scandalously lax in protecting their Jewish citizens.
There’s one place, however, where criticism of Israeli isn’t fueled by anti-Semitism, and that’s Israel, whose boisterous democracy regularly generates debate and criticism so robust that they can make relations between American Democrats and Republicans seem positively chummy by comparison.
Unlike anti-Israeli sentiment based on ignorance of history, though, you don’t stand a chance of persuading bigots by using facts, logic, or reasoning, because their attitudes are irrational, deep-seated, and often unconscious.
Education may help with the factually-ignorant. With the deep-seated anti-Semite, nothing will succeed.
When you encounter such a person, I recommend minimizing contact—indeed, if you can, cutting off contact entirely.
Life is too short to subject yourself to an unrepentant bigot, no matter how charming or attractive he or she may appear to be in other respects. I’m with Moses Seixas and George Washington on this: “Give bigotry no sanction.” None.
Here it is, with a bonus eighth mistake — just because I’m a woman.
But first, a few words of introduction. I love men. I’d like to thank the Creator for coming up with the concept of men and then for following through — on what was obviously an amazingly busy week — by creating Adam. Great work! I’ve long been a fervent fan of the male gender, and couldn’t imagine the many joys of my life without them.
That said, the purpose of this column is not to nit-pick, disparage, or criticize men. My aim is to improve inter-gender understanding. You know — like world peace?
THE TWO GENDERS ARE AS SIMILAR AS KANGAROOS AND BANANA SLUGS
They inhabit entirely different biological and cultural worlds, even though they may sleep in the same bed and sup at the same table. What works like a charm in Cosmos Kangaroo makes no sense at all in Banana Slug Universe.
EIGHT MISTAKES MEN MAKE ABOUT WOMEN
BELIEVING THAT A WOMAN IN TEARS IS THE FUNCTIONAL EQUIVALENT OF A URANIUM-ENRICHED PORCUPINE
If you happened to be a teenager in the 1950s, you a had a rare chance to see two opposing world views — completely apart from the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I refer, of course, to two popular songs, the first of which was the immortal Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ 1962 hit “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
Ah, but Frankie, we do cry, as you saw the following year, 1963, with Lesley Gore’s breakout hit “It’s My Party,“ making exactly the opposite point:
We cry in response to sadness, grief, loss, remorse, regret, agony, ecstasy, desolation, loneliness, as well as anger and frustration born of insults, injuries, slights – to name a tiny fraction of the sources of our tears.
What’s a guy to do?
SEVEN FRANKLY INVALUABLE TIPS FOR COPING WITH A WOMAN IN TEARS
A. Don’t flee the scene in terror. She’s not a radioactive porcupine. You may not have cried in years, but then you don’t have estrogen coursing through your brain, do you? Stay with the crying woman.
B. Try hugging. The expression“a shoulder to cry on” derives from this impulse, which seems to come naturally to women when they’re with anyone who cries. Hold the crying woman in a non-sexual way and let her cry.
C. Don’t suggest she “calm down,” stop crying, or “control herself.” What you don’t understand is that she’s already controlling herself by not screaming at the top of her lungs, clawing at everything in sight, and attracting the kind of attention that leads neighbors to call the police, with the added thrill of seeing your mug shot in tomorrow’s local paper. Let the lady cry.
D. Her crying won’t go on forever and your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to hold her, not to suggest that enough is enough — before it is for her.
E. If you don’t accept this as your mission, don’t be surprised if you’re not the most welcome person in her life, her bed, or her body.
F. If she doesn’t want to be hugged, then ask, “What can I do to help?”
G. If the answer is, “Leave me alone,” then leave her alone for a while, but not for long. She needs to know that you’re nearby and don’t consider her the equivalent of a foul-smelling, rabid hyena.
2. NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT WHEN IT COMES TO EXPRESSING OUR THOUGHTS, MEN ARE FROM HEMINGWAY AND WOMEN ARE FROM PROUST
Women’s brains are different than men’s. One way the difference expresses itself is in language. We utter more words not because there’s something wrong with us, but because our brains are wired differently than yours. Men are from Hemingway, women are from Proust.
Few have expressed this insight with greater concision than Joe Jones in his Top 40 song of 1960, “You Talk Too Much”:
EIGHT TIPS ON HOW TO TALK WITH A WOMAN
A. When a woman says, “let’s talk,” try not to react as if your manhood has just been threatened by all ten of the FBI’s TEN MOST WANTED MOHELS.
Talk is nothing to be afraid of! The answer, by the way, isn’t “About what?” with a look that oozes dread and existential angst. The answer is: “Great!” She’ll take it from there. Sound eager to talk. If she wants to talk, consider it the equivalent of your dog wanting a walk. Go with the flow.
B. If you ask a woman a question, don’t interrupt her response by saying, as you impatiently tap your fingertips on the nearest table, “Get to the point.” The point you don’t get is that our intricate narratives — interlaced as they are with our multi-layered interpretations, embroidered with the richness of our subtle observations, and enhanced by our exquisite cascades of details that might well have entirely escaped yournotice, and without which your understanding of life would be the poorer — are what an answer is to us. As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”
C. You didn’t have to ask that question, but once you have, and once the answer is flowing with the magnificent force of an aria from Carmen,
don’t interrupt or do the functional equivalent thereof, which is looking at the ceiling. Or at that squirrel unearthing an acorn from last summer outside the window.
D. Look a woman in the eyes when she’s speaking to you. Or, as Niecy Nash once memorably told Tony Shalhoub on Monk,as he ogled her not inconsiderable cleavage, “My eyes are up here.”
E. If you don’t want a full female-brained answer, try to formulate your questions so that the only possible answer is a “yes” or a “no.”
F. When a woman asks you a question, note that “fine” or “good” or “OK” are not our idea of an answer. To a woman, any monosyllabic resply is an insult, an affront, a casus belli (“cause of war” for those of you who slept through Caesar’s conquest of Gaul).
G. Put some verbal meat on those bones. We yearn for data and details. Who was in the room? What were they wearing? Who said what? In what tone of voice? What was the reaction of the others? Did anyone seem angry? Take umbrage? Did long-simmering interpersonal antipathies rise to the surface and explode? If so, what happened next?
H. When we ask, “How did the meeting go,” we are so not looking for “fine.”
3. TREATING A WOMAN LIKE A LEPER WITH HALITOSIS WHO WANTS CURES FOR BOTH CONDITIONS WHEN SHE MENTIONS THAT SHE HAS A PROBLEM SHE’D LIKE TO DISCUSS WITH YOU
When she says she has a problem, to her that isn’t the same as looking for a game plan, a business scheme, or a cerebral analysis of her problem, with the ideal and erudite solution to it. She doesn’t want a lecture.
She’s looking for a pair of ears. Yours. And a sympathetic expression on your face. And some brief, quietly expressed, non-interrupting expressions of empathy such as “Jeez,” “Oh, no,” “Oh, my God,” “How could he?” followed by “What a jerk.” After you’ve patiently listened to a tearful recitation of how just one insensitive lout could have been even more exasperating than a stadium full of vuvuzela-blowing fans, what do you do next?
You don’t say, “Vuvuzelas should be legislated out of existence. I’d like to file a brief at the International Court of Justice in Den Haag to ban their manufacture and sale.” While that’s a swell solution to the vuvuzela problem, it’s not what she wants. Give a her a big, nonsexual hug, with comforting comments along the lines of “You’re so terrific, I don’t see how anyone could act like such an idiot toward you.”
4. NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT NOT EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO TOUCH A WOMAN’S BODY SHOULD IPSO FACTO TURN INTO A WILDLY PASSIONATE SEXUAL ENCOUNTER
Women like sex. We really, really like sex. It’s one of the favorite things we’ve ever done. It’s like being happy, only better.
In all this sexual bliss, however, there’s a “but,” and here it is: when you’re hugging us while we’re crying, or hugging us after we’ve told you our latest misfortune, don’t think this is a golden opportunity to segué into hot, wild, pulsating sex.
Why not? Because we’re still really, really upset! That’s why not! Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that every single opportunity to touch your wife is the perfect time to remind her of how fond she is of Bubba Jr. down there.
This was the characteristically gross move that the great Feeler of Our Pain himself, William Jefferson Clinton, in 1994 put on Kathleen Willey, who had just tearfully informed the sitting president (who happened to be standing at the time) of her husband’s suicide. Good ol’ Bubba began with one of his patented hugs and the next thing the grief-stricken Mrs. Willey felt was the presidential paw on her newly widowed breast.
He says it was nothing more than a friendly hug, and perhaps a kiss on the forehead intended to comfort a woman in despair. She says it was a sexual advance, surprising and unwelcome: a hug that was “more than platonic,” a reach for her breast, a hand that grasped hers and placed it on his groin.
He’s America’s own Dominique Strauss-Kahn, behaving with all the grace and sophistication of a rutting chimpanzee.
Don’t try that Clintonian ploy. Your hug should remain an act of caring solidarity, unless of course, the woman herself suggests by word or deed that she has an idea of what would make her feel much better than even your kind embrace.
5. IN BED, THINKING THAT WHAT DROVE JANE INTO AN ABSOLUTE SEXUAL FRENZY OF ORGASMIC ECSTASY WILL BE A HUGE TURN-ON FOR KATE. AS DIFFICULT AS THIS MAY BE TO IMAGINE, WE’RE EACH — HOW ELSE TO PUT IT? — UNIQUE
Think of sexual relations as a joint (ad)venture, not as a one-size-fits-all (no pun intended) activity that, if it worked great in 1962 when you lost your virginity to a not-particularly-discerning 16-year-old — who also happened to be a virgin — that’ll be the way to go for the next 50 years with nary a modification. It’s never too late to try novel approaches, even if you’ve been happily married to the same woman for decades. Just don’t try that new approach the first night you return from a business trip. Some wives might have an inkling under what circumstances you discovered your titillating new technique.
TRILLION DOLLAR BONUS TIP (PRICELESS, REALLY) FOR MEN WHO’VE READ THIS FAR: Ask a woman what she enjoys the most, even if you’ve been with her for decades, what she really enjoys, or what she’s always wanted to try. Many women won’t volunteer this precious intelligence, but if a man takes a moment to ask this simple question, the answer can go a long way to turning what could be a mundane experience into an unforgettably exquisite voyage to the windswept oceans and the highest mountains of star-filled galaxies neither the woman nor you has ever visited in your entire lives.
This is a stunning example of the truth shall set you free. You wouldn’t believe just how free until you’ve asked and acted on a woman’s reply to that one simple question.
6. YOUR WIFE ISN’T YOUR MOM. IT’S AN EASY MISTAKE TO MAKE, THOUGH
This mistake comes about when a man assumes his wife or significant other is going to behave exactly as Mom did, not only by picking up his socks wherever they may roam, but by being a stoic, kind, him-centered woman as long as she lives.
As fondly as as you remember your mom, there aren’t too many women like her and like the impeccable June Cleaver now. And, not to put too fine point on it, you’re no longer a little boy or a teenager yourself. Try not to hold your wife to your mother’s standards, as wonderful as she may have been. Your wife is a completely different human being, with a different childhood and different parents from your mother’s who grew up in a different era and will never be exactly like your mother. It’s an unreasonable expectation for her to have to meet.
If you had a good mother, you experienced her as someone enormously devoted to you, whose major goal was to protect you and prepare you for your present life. She poured countless hours, days, nights, weeks, months, and years into concentrating on you. The best of wives will try to do something like that, but it’s never going to be quite the same again.
For one thing, your wife thinks of you as an adult, a person who doesn’t require the constant support and intense concentration your mother believed was necessary to devote to you. You mother may have seemed to be as omnipresent and omnipotent as Alexander Portnoy’s memorably-depicted mother in Philip Roth ‘s magnificent 1969 novel Portnoy’s Complaint. (Note: that one brief, exquisite novel by the peerless Philip Roth has more literary brilliance and unforgettable wit than the entire opus of the late Saul Bellow.)
Portnoy’s mother was endowed by her creator with magical, gravity-defying powers that enabled her — and, as far as Portnoy knew, her alone — to suspend slices of peaches in Jell-O. This was nothing less than a miracle to Portnoy’s boyhood eyes. How did she do it? With what supernatural powers was she endowed?
Even if your wife did prepare sliced peaches in Jell-O for you, you wouldn’t have a child’s capacity to feel the same awe.
Don’t ask your wife to fill your mother’s shoes. Let her be your wife — a unique, different, separate woman from your mother, although one who’ll also take good care of you as you go through your adult lives together. At best, however, you’ll be partners, co-equals She won’t do everything for you just like Mommy. You’ll never be her baby or her little boy, no matter how much you’d like to recreate those halcyon days, when, as Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) wrote in “Fern Hill,”
…I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes…
It isn’t your wife’s responsibility to help you remain a five-year-old, “golden in the heydeys.” Her task is to accompany you on a very different journey, with all the love, good counsel, shared goals, physical presence, and sexual bliss of which she is capable. Dont’ expect her to be your Mommy, too — except when you get sick.
7. THINKING GALLANTRY IS DEAD, ALTHOUGH ITS SURVIVAL DOES DEPEND ON YOU
Why not reach out and open a heavy door (even though we, too, work out), allow a lady to precede you out of an elevator, or do anything else that was once known as chivalrous? Yes, Dave Chappelle likes to say that feminism killed chivalry. But what kind of a man wants to live in a universe ruled by the editorial board of Ms. Magazine?
Gallantry includes the heartfelt bestowing of well-deserved compliments. While there isn’t a woman who doesn’t appreciate a kind word about her appearance, it will improve your relationships with all the women in your life — both personal and professional — if you compliment them on a range of traits, abilities, and activities that have nothing to do with their looks, such as their steadfastness, courage, loyalty, morality, spunk, hard work, devotion to you and your family, kindness, energy, humor, sense of adventure, saintly patience, originality, wit, generosity, tireless diligence, vim and vigor.
Nothing is too minor when it comes to acknowledging with gratitude and deep appreciation what a woman — or a man, for that matter — contributes to your life, that of your business, and to the lives of others. With the invention of email, it takes but a few seconds to express an encouraging word.
8. MISINTERPRETING A WOMAN’S STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTIONS ABOUT A MAN’S LIFE TO MEAN THAT HIS THOUGHTS, WORK, CONCERNS, ACTIVITIES, SPORTS, PRIVATE LIFE, HOBBIES AND CHILDREN ARE SO MUCH MORE FASCINATING THAN HERS THAT HE NEVER HAS TO ASK HER ANYTHING ABOUT HERSELF. AFTER ALL, ISN’T HE THE MOST FASCINATING PERSON AT THE TABLE FOR TWO?
This mega-mistake could be called the Sun King error — named for the French King Louis XIV (1638-1715), who was something of a narcissistic control freak, regulating all around him, even choosing his own sobriquet to suggest that like the heavenly orb at the center of the astronomical universe, he, too, was the center of the world. Which, in 17th and early 18th century France, he actually was.
It’s dangerous to make this error of mistaking a woman’s concern and interest in a man’s life for an implicit message that he’s the only one — between the two of them — who counts as an interesting human being. It can lead to the end of a marriage, a love affair, and even a long friendship.
A word to the wise should be sufficient: such relationships cannot be sustained forever. Women, all women, tire of Sun Kings, and other self-centered men.
No one said it better than Carly Simon:
Send your questions about personal, political or any other matters to Belladonna Rogers at email@example.com. All correspondence with her is confidential, and all names, locations, places of employment and ages of the parties will be changed to protect the privacy of the readers who write to contribute questions
I don’t have as many guys as friends as I used to. Sure, some die and others move away, but I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ve played a part in getting where I am today. My wife and I don’t get invited places anymore. What makes people end friendships or drift apart? I know I’ve made my share of mistakes. What I’m wondering is: have I made them all?
Lonely Guy in Las Vegas
Dear Lonely Guy,
Friendships end in many ways, none of them pleasant. Other than the trains of geography or lack of any sense of commonality, friendships die when one friend reaches a boiling point, a point of no return, a point beyond which apologies and promises just don’t matter anymore.
To stay in a friendship after mistreatment that goes beyond one’s limits is to invite a tsunami of drek that even an ardent masochist would decline.
Some of us have lower boiling points than others, but under the following circumstances, almost anyone would say, “Basta! Enough!”
Note: This column concerns only friendships in your personal life, and does not apply to professional relationships in the workplace.
Here, then, are eight surefire ways to destroy friendships with your male friends. As it happens, they’ll work equally well with women. Few friendships will survive affronts such as these.
1. LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE
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There he was, Mr. America, lying to our faces, as if the entire adult population of the United States agreed with him that fellatio wasn’t a part of sexual relations. Our mistake, Mr. President! It must be — what? Part of preparing interns for paying jobs? Would those be in the private sector or the public?
When you lie to a friend, thinking he knows less than he does, he realizes that you’re lying. You’re not only lying, you’re also insulting him. This is why telling serious lies is both insidiously wounding and oafishly boorish.
Lying is just another way of saying, “I think you’re so dim, you’ll believe anything I tell you.”
It’s the “you’re so dim” part of lying that really gets to people.
Here, we’re not talking about the “white lies” that help make life agreeable, or at least livable. We’re talking about a friend looking you in the eye and telling you a whopper, and a whopper that takes you for a fool, as whoppers are wont to do.
2. IN YOU, WE CAN’T TRUST
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Trust is at the core of friendship; without it, your friends are better off confiding in a doorknob or an avocado.
Here’s why: your buddy Art tells you that what he’s about to divulge to you is between the two of you, that you’re the only one he’s telling, and that it should go no further. Next thing Art knows, Bob’s heard every detail. Gee, how did Bob hear? Since Bob was one of the subjects of what Art told you in confidence, your yammering has ended two friendships at once: Art’s with Bob and Art’s with you.
Why would Art or Bob — or anyone they know — ever trust you again? Gossiping, betraying confidences, not understanding the meaning of “in the vault” are great ways to turn a loyal buddy into someone who wants nothing further to do with you. Do this once or twice and word gets around. No one wants a blabbermouth for a pal.
As an another example, someone who knows you’re close to the action asks you why Lou was fired. Just because someone asks you a question — and you happen to know the answer — doesn’t mean you have to tell everything you know, unless you’re on the witness stand. You can look the questioner in the eye and say, “Discretion is the better part of valor,” and then exercise your right to remain silent.
People often spill the beans to impress others, or in the mistaken belief that it will gain their trust, but it produces exactly the opposite (also known as the “fake-out”) effect: it’s a flashing neon sign warning them to listen to you but never to tell you a thing.
Paul Revere on his horse was trying to save his countrymen. Your average bigmouth is just trying to sound like a know-it-all to project that ineffable something known as power. It doesn’t work that way. It will boomerang faster than a cheeseless pizza in a headwind.
The first day we moved to our neighborhood one of the neighbors came by, introduced herself, and began telling me every shred of gossip about everyone. When she was finished, she said, “What about you?”
“Me? I’m off to the supermarket,” I said, “our fridge is empty!” Except to say hello, I never said another word to her. Why would I? To have her repeat everything I said with her own special spin? If I wanted everyone in the neighborhood to know what I think, I’d write a column for PJM.
You don’t want to have to watch your back with your friends. As Oscar Wilde said, “True friends stab you in the front.”
3. BITE OFF YOUR FRIEND’S HEAD ANY TIME YOU WANT
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You know those times you’re so busy and hassled you don’t have time to be anywhere near the ballpark of polite? Whether in emails, on the phone or in person, treating your friends to your nastiness whenever you feel like it doesn’t make the cut. No one enjoys being the target of Rumpelstiltskin-like rage.
Knowing that any communication with you will trigger the bite-your-friend’s-head-off response doesn’t encourage anyone to stay in touch. Interestingly, a quick, gracious email takes no more time than a snarky one. Why not go with amiable over abrasive?
Of course, friends understand that their buddies have times when they’re out of sorts.
But when irascible, grouchy, and intemperate conduct is no longer the exception but becomes the rule — complete with self-indulgent growls as the inevitable reply to any efforts at communication — your friends may just stop communicating.
Doormats are like toilets: everyone wants to have one, but no one wants to be one. Friends don’t demean their friends with brusqueness and rudeness.
Don’t expect a big crowd on your birthday or, later, at your funeral if you go in for backstabbing. Backstabbers make many mistakes, in addition to backstabbing itself, but the biggest is the one that underlies their conduct: depravity so flagrant and obtuseness so dense they actually believe their targets will never find out who did it.
Backstabbers are like vampires working in darkness, thinking no one can see them.
But when dawn breaks – as break it does — no one is invisible. You’re revealed for what you are.
Backstabbers are so devoid of understanding that they fail to recognize one important fact of life: not everyone is as rotten as they. To be sure, some people are, but 99 times out of 100, one of your victims’ loyal friends will tell them exactly who stabbed them in the back.
One of my friends relishes news stories of “stupid criminals” – felons who think they’re really smart but who make tiny, tell-tale errors, such as this: a burglar who failed to log out of his Facebook account into which he compulsively logged in – using the crime victim’s own computer, which he didn’t take with him, to satisfy his urge to connect with his FB “friends.”
That’s what back-stabbers and liars have in common: they underestimate their friends’ intelligence while overestimating their own.
When it comes to a backstabber, as the vivid Southern expression has it, “I wouldn’t piss down his throat if his heart was on fire.”
Moving right along, we come to one of the all-star members of the Friendship-Torpedoing Hall of Fame…
5. BIRD- DOGGING
This one never fails to alienate everyone it touches, and it touches a minimum of four people including you. It may begin innocently enough — at least on the surface — when you, the wife, and another couple go out to dinners, bowling, or anything else as a foursome. One night in the moonlight when you’ve driven to Tahoe for the weekend, you begin to show just a tad a too much gusto for your friend’s wife. Before you know it, your ogling escalates to lusting.
The next thing anyone knows, you’ve maneuvered your friend’s wife into an elevator. You’ll later claim that you “didn’t know what got into” you. In the elevator, you try to cop a feel, steal a kiss, or do something else that you’ll later describe as “just playing around.” Right.
“Playing around” is what’s known as a “gateway” behavior. “Just playing around” is a little too close for comfort to foreplay, which, in turn, is a little too close for comfort to sexual intercourse. “Playing around” with your friend’s wife isn’t playing. She’s not a toy or a pet.
Like all offensive conduct, this one’s an equal opportunity friendship-ender. Both married men and married women put the moves on the spouses of friends. If there’s a quicker way to torpedo a friendship, I don’t know what it is.
Along with its many other odious effects, this behavior puts your friend’s wife in a painful bind: does she tell her husband of 15 years that his friend of 30 years has put the moves on her? Does she force her husband to choose between his loyalty to his bird-dogging “friend” and her? And what about her friendship with your wife? Does she tell her how loathsome you are?
The only thing that can be said in favor of your behavior is that it’s efficient: you alienate three people with a single vile act. Nice going, there.
If you feel you absolutely must commit adultery — in which case, before doing so, I refer you to several of my previous columns here, here, and here — for crying out loud, lay off your friends’ wives. If anyone should be off-limits (other than your relatives – you know, your children, siblings, aunts, uncles, parents) it should be — hello? — the women your friends have married.
6. THE BICKERSONS
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If you can’t keep your marital disputes within the confines of your own bedroom, stay home.
To expose friends, even your closest friends, to rounds of mutual recrimination, arguing, and verbal abuse is beyond the pale. Even loving married couples who adore each other have adequate exposure to marital discord without becoming unwilling witnesses to yours.
One of the worst variations on this theme is when there isn’t a fight: there’s only one spouse verbally assaulting the other, while the abused sits too stunned or frightened to reply. Friends shouldn’t have to referee such excruciating acts of cruelty.
You may be among the couples who engage in this form of friendship-abuse in the bizarre belief that you’re entertaining your friends with reprises of the classic marital-discord sitcoms of the 1950s, I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners. You’re not.
7. WHAT PART OF “NO” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?
Let’s say you have a friend who’s made clear he doesn’t like seeing photographs of Nazi barbarity. So, when you find some truly grotesque photographs on a website of Nazi atrocities, you send them to him. He tells you again that he cannot tolerate seeing such pictures. A month later, you’re surfing your favorite sites and find that Life magazine has just released a cache of recently discovered photographs of Nazi atrocities. Entirely disregarding your friend’s insistence that he wants to see no more of these, you send them.
This is unacceptable. Listen to your friends and pay attention to what they say or email. Then respect their requests. If you don’t, you’re going to have fewer friends.
Just because you find such materials fascinating doesn’t mean everyone does. Far from it. For some, they’re horrifically painful. You can’t be expected to read anyone’s mind, but when you’re given precise information about what is unwelcome, either in word or in deed, don’t do it and expect your friend to be eager to hear from you again. Ever.
8. TAKING OUT YOUR ANGER AT YOUR FRIEND’S WIFE ON HIM
Your friend John is married to Jane. Jane supports some causes and takes some positions you oppose. News flash: John doesn’t control Jane. Don’t blame him for his wife’s actions or beliefs. The reverse is also true. Wives are married to their husbands; they’re not their husband’s puppeteers, any more than husbands can command their wives to think as they do.
Many couples who vote together cancel out each other’s votes and then go home and make love, not war. Hi, Mary!
Don’t take out your anger at your friend’s spouse on your friend. Just because people are married doesn’t tether them together ideologically, politically, or in any other way but one: they’re married. They don’t bear responsibility for each other’s actions, unless they’re in a criminal conspiracy together, which is unlikely to be the case with John and Jane.
By repeatedly carping about the behavior or political orientation you deplore in your friend’s spouse, you’re ignoring one big fat fact: your friend loves his wife. He’s not going to divorce her because you don’t like her or her views. If he can live with them, butt out.
You’ll only cause your friend to be so exasperated by your intolerance of the woman he loves that he won’t divorce her. He’ll divorce you.
* * *
There are many routes to the end of the road with friends. It’s disappointing, if not heart-breaking, to reach that point, but we all have our limits.
As the French poet Jacques Delille (1738 – 1813) wrote, “Fate chooses your relations, you choose your friends.”
— Belladonna Rogers
Send your questions about personal, political or any other matters to Belladonna Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org. All correspondence with her is confidential, and all names, locations, places of employment and ages of the parties will be changed to protect the privacy of the readers who write to contribute questions.
In an arresting and disturbing article today in The Washington Times (the Times you can trust) the premier American scholar of radical Islamism, Dr. Daniel Pipes, predicts a dire future — for Israel.
Although some of Israel’s Arabs have reached the uppermost echelons of the only democracy in the Middle East — serving in the nation’s legislature, its diplomatic corps as Israeli ambassadors, and in its judiciary as judges — many more are far from assimilated.
Of the vast majority who have not made it to the top, he writes:
…these assimilated few pale beside the discontented masses who identify with Land Day, Nakba Day, and the Future Vision report. Revealingly, most Israeli Arab parliamentarians, such as Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zuabi, are hotheads spewing rank anti-Zionism. Israeli Arabs have increasingly resorted to violence against their Jewish co-nationals.
Dr. Pipes has just returned from Israel where he traveled to Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth, the Golan Heights, Baqa al-Gharbiya, Acre, and Umm al-Fahm.
His purpose? To meet with mainstream Arab and Jewish Israelis to ask the question, “Can ethnic Arabs, who account for 20% of the population, be loyal citizens of Israel?” His answer:
…Israeli Arabs live with two paradoxes. Although they suffer discrimination within Israel, they enjoy more rights and greater stability than any Arab populace living in their own sovereign countries (think Egypt or Syria). Second, they hold citizenship in a country that their fellow Arabs malign and threaten with annihilation.
Since 1949, the Arab population of Israel has increased tenfold. Dr. Pipes — who speaks fluent Arabic and was thus able to conduct his conversations in that language — writes:
I found most Arabic-speaking citizens to be intensely conflicted about living in a Jewish polity. On the one hand, they resent Judaism as the country’s privileged religion, the Law of Return that permits only Jews to immigrate at will, Hebrew as the primary language of state, the Star of David in the flag, and mention of the “Jewish soul” in the anthem. On the other hand, they appreciate the country’s economic success, standard of health care, rule of law, and functioning democracy.
Of his attempts to understand the real situation of Israeli Arabs today, particularly their Janus-faced relationship to Islam while also enjoying political freedom as citizens of the Jewish state, Dr. Pipes writes:
My interlocutors generally brushed aside questions about Islam. It almost felt impolite to mention the Islamic imperative that Muslims (who make up 84 percent of the Israeli Arab population) rule themselves, Discussing the Islamic drive for application of Islamic law drew blank looks and a shift to more immediate topics.
This avoidance reminded me of Turkey before 2002, when mainstream Turks assumed that Atatürk’s revolution was permanent and assumed Islamists would remain a fringe phenomenon. They proved very wrong: a decade after Islamists democratically rode to power in late 2002, the elected government steadily applied more Islamic laws and built a neo-Ottoman regional power.
Dr. Pipes concludes with a grim and all-too-credible prediction:
I predict a similar evolution in Israel, as Israeli Arab paradoxes grow more acute. Muslim citizens of Israel will continue to grow in numbers, skills, and confidence, becoming simultaneously more integral to the country’s life and more ambitious to throw off Jewish sovereignty.
…as Israel overcomes external threats, Israeli Arabs will emerge as an ever-greater concern. Indeed, I predict they represent the ultimate obstacle to establishing the Jewish homeland anticipated by Theodor Herzl and Lord Balfour…
Ironically, the greatest impediment to these actions will be that most Israeli Arabs emphatically wish to remain disloyal citizens of the Jewish state (as opposed to loyal citizens of a Palestinian state). Furthermore, many other Middle Eastern Muslims aspire to become Israelis. These preferences, I predict, will stymie the government of Israel, which will not develop adequate responses, thereby turning today’s relative quiet into tomorrow’s crisis.
Look for my forthcoming column on PJM on the extraordinary accuracy of Dr. Pipes’ predictions over the past three decades, when he was invariably the sole analyst making the forecasts he did. It will present the evidence to support my confidence in the accuracy of his troubling prediction in The Washington Times today. I urge all interested readers to read his full article.
Today is as good a time as any to let you in on a little secret: I don’t have a single tattoo. When we’re out together, this is one of the only ways the photographers can tell the difference between Angelina Jolie and me. It’s soconvenient for us all, especially Brad, bless his heart!
The fact that I’ve chosen to remain untattooed confirms a Pew Research Center study that found only 10% of Americans over 41 are tattooed, while among 18-25-year-olds, the figure is 33.3%, and in the 25-40 year-old set — which includes the 36-year-old Ms. Jolie — it’s an eye-popping 40%.
And they’re keeping the country’s estimated 15,000 tattoo parlors busy: it’s a $2.3 billion a year business, according to a 2010 report. No Obama bailout for them.
TATTOOS ARE NEITHER A NEW PHENOMENON NOR — AS SOME FEAR — OMENS OF AN IMMINENT ARMAGEDDON
Despite their lack of popularity among the over-41 set, tattoos have enjoyed a long, checkered (as well as polka-dotted, striped, snaked, astrologically signed, etc.) history.
I’m a 77-year-old conservative grandmother living, for family reasons, in a very blue state. It’s only March and already the Obama 2012 bumper stickers are everywhere. The parking lots are filled with them. They’re irksome, especially when combined on the same bumper, with the 2008 version. It appears that the driver has learned exactly nothing in the past four years.
Is there anything I can do that will avoid direct confrontation, won’t get me in trouble with the law, but that will satisfy my urge to communicate my disagreement with the Obama-supporting owners of these cars?
Frustrated Near ‘Frisco
Yes, yes, and yes!
Placing an anti-Obama bumper sticker on top of a pro-Obama bumper sticker is tampering with property, also known as criminal mischief. This can be a felony or a misdemeanor. You don’t want to go there, tempting as it certainly is.
What you may do that’s perfectly legal is what many pizza chains and other businesses do in parking lots: gently lift the windshield wiper and place a written message to the driver where he or she cannot avoid seeing it.
I have three suggestions:
A POLITE PIECE OF YOUR MIND
It’s devilishly simple.
You type two sentences and print out as many as you like. Keep them in your car at all times. Here’s a little inspiration:
Some unknown socialist put an Obama bumper sticker on your car. I’m letting you know so that you can remove it before it causes you any further embarrassment.
That’s it. Simple, friendly, concerned, considerate. What’s not to like?
It’s also guaranteed to be very annoying.
BUY ANTI-OBAMA BUMPER STICKERS AND PLACE THEM UNDER THE WINDSHIELD WIPERS OF THE PRO-OBAMA CAR
Happily, your choices are many and, while not inexpensive, if some of your like-minded friends chip in, it might be worthwhile to spend some money for such upbeat messages as:
The bumper stickers come in packs of 50 for $190 ($3.80 each), or bought singly cost $5 each. If you were to park your (un-bumper-stickered) car and watch what the pro-Obama drivers do after noticing your kind gift, my prediction is that you’d observe them throwing your valuable bumper sticker on the ground. Littering! As soon as they drive away, retrieve your abandoned bumper sticker and place it on the windshield of the next pro-Obama car you see.
After all, an anti-Obama bumper sticker is a terrible thing to waste.
Given your age and desire to avoid direct confrontation, I’d recommend being as subtle as possible as you go about your activities. Perhaps you have a big, strong young male family member or friend who feels as strongly about Obama as you do who’d like to spend some quality time with you.
If you’d like to spend less than the prices noted above, I suggest the following third option:
A BIGGER PIECE OF YOUR MIND
In the immortal words of New Orleans chef, restaurateur, and entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse, a letter such as the one below is guaranteed to kick it up a notch. A note of caution: the first option takes only a few seconds to read. The one below will do more to express your thoughts, but it runs the risk of not being read in entirety by an avowed Obamaphile. That said, here’s an example of how you could purvey a generous piece of your mind.
Dear Fellow Citizen:
I note with stunned incredulity that the rear bumper of your vehicle is festooned with both an Obama 2008 and an Obama 2012 one. This is troubling indeed. It suggests to your fellow citizens that you’ve spent the last three years in the sort of place Vice President Cheney was said to have inhabited during the George W. Bush years: a secure, undisclosed location — but unlike Mr. Cheney, however, without access to news from the outside world.
If, on the other hand, you’ve been living openly and freely, I must inquire whether you’ve noticed the lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution by the president and the Department of Justice, with “Attorney General” Eric Holder’s refusal to prosecute such blatant law-breakers as the New Black Panther Party and ACORN? Does the phrase “Fast and Furious” mean nothing to you?
Have you not watched in horror as the unemployment rate has soared perilously close to 9% among your fellow citizens?
Are you not outraged by every single element of ObamaCare and the fact that a growing number of physicians in fields such as cardiology are considering becoming “life coaches” to their patients because the tests they routinely order to monitor their health will be over-ridden by computerized regulations, and, indeed, forbidden entirely by green eye-shaded federal government employees who’ve never seen the inside of a medical school classroom? Or by social engineers or clueless politicians such as Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and “Human Services”?
Are you not horrified that your country is now more than $14 trillion in debt? Does this not concern you if you have children or grandchildren, or even if you don’t?
Can you honestly say that none of these outrages causes you to reconsider your original, ill-founded enthusiasm for Barack Obama?
If you’re as pro-Obama in 2012 as you were in 2008, you can be only one of two things: (1) a Democratic loyalist who gives not a moment’s thought to the actual positions and hazardous consequences of voting like a lemming, or (2) a blinkered, clueless cave-dweller cut off from all news of the United States and the world for the past four years. If that’s the case, I urge you to read news analysis on PJM.com during that period to see exactly what you’ve missed.
Just how much drek can you allow yourself to ignore?
Finally, I suggest you buy yourself a giant sized GOO GONE, a liquid that comes in a spray can. Apply it to your bumper stickers. Scrape with all your might until you’ve succeeded in removing that embarrassing pair from your rear bumper. Once they’re gone, you can drive with your head held high because, at long last, you’ll have come face to face with the harsh, cold breath of reality and will have understood the perilous error of your ways.
A concerned fellow citizen
IT’S YOUR CHOICE
There you have them: three distinct approaches, any one of which should help cope with some of the frustration you feel, and may even shed a little light of reality on your state’s Obama-besotted residents.
When the unremitting uniformity of their political views gets you down, return to this webpage and feast your eyes on the artistic creations below, brought to you by our distinguished colleagues at MAD magazine, one of the most reliably great magazines of the 20th and 21st centuries, the obvious fountainhead of The Onion:
— Belladonna Rogers
Send your questions about personal, political or any other matters to Belladonna Rogers at email@example.com. All correspondence with her is confidential, and all names, locations, places of employment and ages of the parties will be changed to protect the privacy of the readers who write to contribute questions.
How ironic it is that all those women who bought bumper-stickers from the leftwing National Organization of Women wanting laws “off” their bodies are now salivating at the thought of free oral contraceptives, compliments of the Obama administration’s… laws. I guess it depends whose laws they prefer. How convenient to have such a bone-headedly flexible philosophy.
In one of his most devastating — and hilarious — columns ever, author, blogger and deep-thinker- with-a-puckish-wit Ira Stoll devastates the poster child of free birth control pills, Georgetown University law student and Obama tool, Sandra Fluke. Writing in The New York Sun, Mr. Stoll parries her argument that $1,000 per year during three years of law school is too much for poor students to pay for their birth control “needs” (emphasis added:)
Here are a few ways Ms. Fluke and her friends might get their contraceptive costs down below that $3,000 level:
They could have men pay half. Modern men do half the parenting work or pay at least half the child support. Why shouldn’t men pay for half of the contraceptive costs?
Ms. Fluke and her friends could use condoms instead of prescription birth control pills. One Georgetown student group reportedly handed out 4,500 “free” condoms during one recent semester. Or the law students could buy condoms online at $40.25 for a package of 100. At about 40 cents a condom, the Georgetown students could have sex twice a day, 365 days a year, for all three years of law school, for just $881 dollars.
Ms. Fluke and her friends could go to Walmart or Target, whose lists of inexpensive drugs include the oral contraceptive Tri-Sprintec priced at $4 for a 28-day supply. Total cost, assuming continuous use for three full years (including the summer after graduating law school or before starting): about $150.
As I argue elsewhere today, the idea that all insured Americans should pay $10-20 co-payments for their own medications but should be forced to subsidize the recreational sex of anyone else is truly repugnant. When you were young, did you ever expect anyone else to pay for your condoms or spermicidal jelly to place in the diaphragm you bought with your own money? I didn’t think so. No, to think otherwise, you’d have to hold, as does Ms. Fluke, a B.S. (golly, I wonder what that stands for?) in Policy Analysis & Management and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.
And you thought that no one could do anything useful with a major like that. Au contraire, she’s already well over her Warholian fifteen minutes of fame. Why do I foresee a godawful Sandra Fluke tell-all book coming to your nearest Barnes & Noble’s “Current Events” table all too soon? Can a permanent slot on “Anderson Cooper 360” be beyond her reach? Gloria Borger, call your agent. Now.
Returning to Mr. Stoll, he concludes his trenchant analysis with these questions that he says “go right to the heart of ObamaCare”:
Why is the president getting involved in setting prices for prescription drugs in the first place? Where in the Constitution does he get that power? Why should people past reproductive age who are paying copayments for their heart or arthritis medication be paying taxes to subsidize free prescription contraceptives for law students?
Why, indeed? And to think these same leftist women have all those posters in their attics and basements with messages such as this one:
Guess they’re probably saving them for the Romney administration.
My health insurance premiums are going to pay for free birth control pills for others insured by my company — pills which I never took, and my daughters refuse to take. Is it right that I should have to pay for women to get something for nothing that I would not use myself, or ever recommend?
Troubled in Tulsa
No, it isn’t right that you – or any American – should underwrite oral contraception — the world’s single most dangerous form of birth control — for anyone else. Just because contraception is legal doesn’t mean that by paying for private health insurance we should subsidize it in any form, not to mention in its most hazardous form.
THE COERCIVE POWER OF OBAMACARE
The Affordable Care Act, the anodyne-sounding name for what the rest of us call ObamaCare, seeks to coerce a divided nation to provide oral contraceptives to women who’d rather not spend their own earnings or savings to buy them.
This abomination of a law is objectionable on at least two grounds. First, it forces those who are morally or religiously opposed to contraception to pay for what they regard as a sacrilege. Similarly, it forces those who believe that sex outside the marriage is wrong to subsidize it and by doing so, to support the federal government’s favoring — even enabling — such behavior by making it free.
Even if you have no argument with birth control, abortion, or sex outside marriage, you could still consider ObamaCare reprehensible for requiring all citizens to underwrite the cost of the recreational sex of others, and to do so using the single method most deleterious to women’s health, as well as the most expensive one.
PAYING FOR RECREATIONAL SEX IS THE OBLIGATION OF THE INDIVIDUALS ENGAGING IN IT
Recreational sex is an optional way to pass one’s time or express one’s affection. It is not related to the medical healing of disease (the presumptive reason to favor health insurance for all).
Everyone who’s physically able and unbound by moral or religious beliefs is free to indulge in recreational sex, but no one else should have to underwrite it. Why not have insurance bankroll the hotel room and room service while we’re at it? Car service? Flowers? Champagne? Chocolate-dipped strawberries?
We do have legal requirements that all citizens underwrite activities from which they, personally, derive no direct benefit, but which are deemed public benefits.
UNDERWRITING THE RECREATIONAL SEX OF OTHERS versus CHILDLESS COUPLES UNDERWRITING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Compare the requirement that we all pay for oral contraception for tens of millions of women through our health insurance premiums to the obligation of single individuals and childless couples to pay local taxes that fund public education. All citizens have a stake in assuring that the next generation is as well-educated as possible. The nation gains when our children can read, write, and are mathematically and scientifically educated.
But exactly who benefits from the recreational sex of unmarried or even married people? At the very most, only the individuals engaging in it.
THE GROTESQUE ARGUMENT INTENDED TO SCARE YOU INTO PAYING FOR ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES FOR SANDRA FLUKE AND EVERYONE WHO AGREES WITH HER
The unspoken public policy argument that we should underwrite birth control through our insurance payments is that if we don’t, we’ll end up paying for baby food and maternal care, which on balance would cost more than the $1,000 per year of which Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke has so publicly complained — and which won her a call from a very concerned Barack Obama, a concern he has not shown for any woman suffering from genital herpes.
Even if you accept – which I don’t – the argument that it’s better to pay for a woman’s birth control now than for her otherwise resulting infant(s) later, then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her pandering boss should encourage the use of the single cheapest birth control method that also — alone among the many varieties of contraception — prevents sexually transmitted diseases (STDs.)
Why promote a form of birth control that is a surefire guarantor of the spread of 20+ — many fatal — STDs when an alternative is readily available in drugstores and even gas stations nationwide? I refer, of course, to condoms.
THE MASSIVE KNOWN HEALTH DANGERS OF ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES
The manufacturers of oral contraceptives — The Pill’s greatest proponents — warn that, especially when combined with smoking — not a rare pairing — birth control pills increase a woman’s risk of deep-vein thrombosis, stroke, and heart attack.
If any readers imagine that it’s “only” older women in their 40s or 50s who are at risk for deep-vein thrombosis from oral contraceptives, I can assure them that this is not so, based on the experience of a 22-year-old friend of mine who had one — lodged perilously in her lungs — as a direct result of the combination of smoking and birth control pills. My friend survived. Not all victims do.
Nor do birth control pills protect against STDs including, but not limited to, HIV. As gynecologist and obstetrician Dr. Mary L. Carpenter has written,
[B]irth control pills [are] a risk factor for breast cancer. … There are other organizations that have for years told the whole truth about breast cancer risk from hormonal contraception … in addition to enumerating non-controversial risk factors such as family history, obesity, late menopause etc. … The powerful “reproductive health” establishment and its political, medical and media allies were threatened by a relatively trivial act of the Susan G. Komen Foundation to more effectively help women at risk for breast cancer and extract itself from its relationship with Planned Parenthood.
And who do you think pays when these unprotected women develop breast cancer or genital herpes – which, when active, can cause blindness in a baby born to an infected mother? Or develop infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), causing tubo-ovarian abscesses, which can lead to scarring of the reproductive organs, ectopic pregnancies, infertility, and death? Yet another STD, the human papillomavirus, is a proven cause of cervical cancer.
We all pay for these women’s communicable diseases against which condoms protect them and against which oral contraceptives are useless.
BY UNDERWRITING THE MOST EXPENSIVE, DANGEROUS FORM OF CONTRACEPTION, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DISINCENTIVIZES PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES FROM DEVELOPING LESS COSTLY OPTIONS THAT WOULD OFFER WOMEN HEALTHIER CHOICES THAN CURRENT BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
With the federal government in the person of Mrs. Sebelius encouraging one and only one form of birth control, she is disincentivizing pharmaceutical companies from developing cheaper, safer alternatives.
Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Barbara Boxer, and Patty Murray claim the ObamaCare contraception policy is necessary, arguing that oral contraceptives “can cost $600 a year,” which is “a lot of money,” they say.
Why, I would ask the senators, is the “high” cost of oral contraceptives not an argument for using, and developing, less costly alternatives? Condoms are routinely distributed free of charge by government agencies and private organizations. Yet the Administration’s policy clearly promotes a shift away from condom use and towards the use of “free” pills. …In fundamentally changing the economics of birth control, the Administration is also discouraging innovation in the technology used to deliver it. What business sense is there now in drug manufacturers developing cheaper pills, or male versions of them?
Also notable is that oral contraceptives are singled out, among thousands of drugs, for special treatment through the ban on co-pay requirements. Women will continue to bear co-pays for antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals whose use bears a far more imminent relationship with their health – not to mention public health, when we’re dealing with infectious diseases. This again raises important questions about the principles at play. The Shaheen-Boxer-Murray argument was that oral contraceptives were prohibitively expensive for some women, yet banning co-pays clearly goes well beyond making them affordable.
THE PERNICIOUS NEXUS AMONG THE LARGE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (WHICH PROVIDE MAJOR ADVERTISING REVENUES & POLITICAL DONATIONS), UNTHINKING MEMBERS OF THE LEFTIST MEDIA, AND LEFTIST POLITICIANS PRETENDING TO BE PRO-WOMEN BUT WHOSE POLICIES ARE DANGEROUS TO WOMEN’S HEALTH
As an advice columnist, I occasionally read moronic publications to keep up with the dreadful notions foisted on women under the guise of “advice.” In the “GYNO HEALTH” section of the abysmal magazine, Cosmopolitan (U.S. circulation: 2.6 million — presumably sexually active young women), the January 2012 issue included this paragraph of unadulterated leftist propaganda, hidden away, and mislabeled “Health Advice” on page 110:
ALERT! Your Sexual Health Is Being Threatened – Again
Last year was a mixed one for reproductive rights. Law-makers expanded preventative-care coverage for women under the Affordable Care Act. Yet some strict state and national laws were proposed that, if passed, could block your access to birth control [Block? Did I really read the word “block?” How? By closing every CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens in America? How moronic do Cosmo’s editors believe their readers are? ] and abortion. Help prevent this by visiting womenarewatching.org, a new site from Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund that offers daily updates on what’s going on and steps you can take to make 2012 a winning year for pro-woman politicians.
Contrary to what Cosmo would have its readers believe, encouraging women to rely on the single most dangerous contraception method in medical history – one that provides zero protection from potentially fatal STDs and doesn’t even prevent pregnancy 100% of the time — is not pro-woman. It is the essence of anti-woman.
Sebelius, Obama, and their Democratic supporters in Congress are placing ignorant, illiterate women – as well as college graduates and law students — relatively few of whom understand the dangers of relying on birth control pills — at grave risk by offering them “free” oral contraceptives.
It’s not just older Americans who have difficulty reading the minuscule dots that pass for “warnings of adverse health effects” and “contraindications” packaged with medications. I don’t believe that one girl or woman in 100,000 reads the microscopic printed warnings that accompany birth control pills.
It’s clear that the Obama administration has made a grossly negligent policy decision to attract as many women voters as possible by offering co-payment-free oral contraceptives — assuming that such inducements (bribes) must be free to win an election – rather than offering both male and female voters condoms that would, indeed, not only reduce what the Righteous Brothers called “that lovin’ feelin’” but also reduce unwanted pregnancies and their exposure to known, incurable, deadly, communicable diseases.
The so-called “pro-woman” politicians cluelessly absorb the propaganda of Planned Parenthood and the large pharmaceutical companies, and fail to perform independent due diligence on The Pill’s obvious dangers (this due diligence would take all of five minutes, with a magnifying glass, to read the adverse health effects of oral contraceptives). Then they go on the attack against “white-haired men” who, they claim, aren’t adequately “pro-woman.”
With pro-woman friends like Obama, Sebelius, Shaheen, Boxer, Murray and their supporters at Planned Parenthood, the big pharmaceutical companies, and Cosmo, women don’t need enemies. It’s disgraceful how these female politicians and their irresponsible, reckless president are playing fast and loose with our lives, and those of our daughters and granddaughters.
Foreseeable, preventable deaths are occurring and foreseeable, preventable, contagious, and fatal diseases are being spread among American women — just to re-elect Barack Obama. Now there’s a pro-woman candidate for you.
— Belladonna Rogers
Send your questions about personal, political or cultural matters, or anything else that’s on your mind to Belladonna Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org. All correspondence with her is confidential, and all names, locations, places of employment and ages of the parties will be changed to protect the privacy of the readers who write to contribute questions.
I’m a tech-savvy guy, but like most of us, I have to call tech support from time to time. When this happens, I get angry.
Do you have any advice for dealing with this? The calls, the waiting time, the computerized voices and endless menus of options are enough to make me want to become a Luddite, but it’s too late to turn back now.
Aggravated in Atlanta
Few statements are more ludicrous, or more insulting to our individual and collective intelligence, than the cloyingly ubiquitous, “Your call is very important to us.”
No, actually, it’s not. If our calls were even remotely important to you, you’d hire more people to answer our very important calls. They aren’t and you don’t.
The phenomenon of call center-induced derangement syndrome has even inspired a web site devoted, as its name states, to providing telephone numbers most likely to connect you to an actual human being at some point in the course of your natural life: GetHuman.com.
The following five rules start with the moment you first realize you have to call for help: a moment in many lives that’s frustration-fraught, rage-filled, and impatience-driven. You’re often as annoyed with yourself as with the glitch — for being unable to solve the problem without turning to a stranger in the night thousands of miles away. That stranger, you fear, will rob you of the most precious commodity there is: your time.
Before you dial the number, remember this: you’re calling from a dark void of 21st century anguish. You need a guide, a Sherpa, who’s resourceful, trustworthy, energetic and has the patience to stick with you until the problem is solved. You won’t be friends for life, but for a brief time, you’ll be zealous partners with a single goal.
Following these five simple rules can make the difference between a long, painful, anger-increasing, and ultimately failed partnership, and a brief, reasonably calm, successful one.
RULE 1: STEP AWAY FROM THE TELEPHONE.
INITIATE YOUR CALL ONLY AFTER YOU CALM DOWN
Your instinct is to begin one of these calls when you’ve reached the end of your rope. Don’t. Just as road rage is dangerous and counter-productive, so is device-malfunction rage.
Before calling that 1-800 number, take a brisk walk, run in place, or listen to this:
Rule 2: DON’T JUST STAND THERE, DO SOMETHING
Before placing the call, make sure you’re prepared: do two things: first, have a household or office task to complete: organizing your sock drawer, filing papers, alphabetizing your spices, reading a book, responding to emails — whatever it is, plan to get something accomplished while on hold.
Second, before initiating the call, find the serial number and model number of the device. You’re going to need them and it’ll save time later if you have this information before you start.
RULE 3: DON’T LET THE OPTION MENU GET YOU DOWN
Option menus are among the banes of modern life, but try to approach them as speed bumps on the road to recovering your hard drive rather than as mortar attacks on all you hold dear. Option menus are, by their very existence, annoying. Ask yourself this: is your irritation at an option menu worth a heart attack?
A. THE SPANISH OPTION
When you hear the inevitable announcement about continuing in Spanish, try not to re-examine the entire political controversy over whether the United States should be a bilingual nation or solely an English-speaking country. Your goal is to focus on getting your technical problem solved. If you want to speak English, that’s still an option. If you prefer to discuss your problem in Spanish, go for it.
B. THEIR OPTIONS HAVE NOT “RECENTLY CHANGED”; IF YOU REMEMBER THE OPTION YOU USED THE LAST TIME, USE IT AGAIN THIS TIME
Your next source of exasperation will be the warning not to press any numbers you may have pressed as recently as say, an hour ago, because – you know it’s coming – “our options have recently changed.” You’ll be tempted to think, “What if their options really have changed?” It’s the “recently” that will get you every time. How recently?
Wasting even more time, you listen to the same list of options you heard last month, last year, or when Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. You were right in the first place: the “5” you pressed in 2007 is still the number to press today.
C. THE $64,000 QUESTION:
“CAN YOU TELL US IN YOUR OWN WORDS THE REASON FOR YOUR CALL?”
Now comes the greatest challenge, especially for women whose voices are invariably not recognized by the computerized “ears” that have been programmed to “understand” only men’s deeper voices.
I recommend doing an end-run around this question. Just say,
“Twas brillig, and the slithy tove
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”
These nonsensical words from Lewis Carroll’s 1871 “Jabberwocky” are just the ticket to connect you to another human being. “Sorry,” the computerized voice will respond, “I didn’t understand you.”
You couldn’t get a better response than this, especially if you’re not understood three consecutive times. This will automatically trigger a default mechanism that rewards you with the chance to wait to converse with a fellow member of our species.
“I’ll connect you to an agent,” the computerized woman’s voice says. “You may hear silence until you’re connected.”
You won’t hear silence. Instead, you’ll be treated to the most jarring, brain-jangling jingle ever recorded, played on a sadistically endless loop until you finally do hear a human voice.
D. TIME TO ORGANIZE THE SOCK DRAWER, ALPHABETIZE YOUR SPICE RACK, OR FINISH THAT FILE WORK FROM LAST WEEK OR 1999
The wait begins. This is when you’ll hear how very important your call is. Many companies will also tell you how many minutes you’re likely to wait. If it’s more than one minute, place the call on speaker and apply yourself to whatever task you’ve decided to accomplish: finish the dishes, clean the kitchen counter, read a book, re-arrange your sock drawer. Plot a crime you’ll never commit but would deeply enjoy if you did.
When you hear that special click that signals that you’re about to speak to a human, this is when you have to pay particular attention. The agent will introduce him- or herself and will ask how he or she can help you.
RULE 4: DECIDE ASAP IF THIS IS THE AGENT WHO CAN HELP YOU — OR NOT
A. THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT NANO-SECOND OF THE CALL
You have to decide on the spot, based on how the person answers the call, whether you want to spend the next 20-60 minutes of your life with that person. It’s a little like speed dating on speed. With speed dating, you’re offered as many as eight minutes to decide whether someone is for you. With a tech support call, you have eight seconds.
Your decision will determine whether your problem will be solved by an experienced, customer-attentive agent or not solved by an uninterested, unmotivated one. You’ll want both a technical wizard and a person who conveys clarity of expression, patience, persistence, resolve and diligence.
While it’s better to make the decision as quickly as possible, if you’re unable to make it in the first eight seconds, then make it in the first five minutes. If after five minutes you’ve gotten nowhere in solving your problem, say, “Thank you, I have to go now,” and start the wretched process over again, rather than lose even more precious minutes of your one and only life.
How do you make a snap decision based on one sentence at the other end of the line?
B. WHAT TO AVOID
Here’s what you don’t want to hear at the other end: someone who sounds tired or fails to speak up (mumbling rather than stating clearly, “Hi, my name is Sylvia . How can I help you?”) If what you hear is, “himynameissylviahowcanihelpyou,” Sylvia may be insufficiently awake, alert or communicative to be of any assistance. On the other hand, if the agent sounds overdosed on uppers and ready to speed over to a high school football pep rally — “Hey! What’s happenin’ today, dude?” — he or she may be too pumped to address your profoundly tedious issue.
C. WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR IN THE VOICE AT THE OTHER END
What you do want to hear is someone alert, awake, confident, and focused.
RULE 5: WHAT YOU CAN ACTIVELY DO TO MAKE THE CALL GO BETTER
A. LISTEN FOR AND THEN USE THE PERSON’S NAME
If you miss it the first time, just ask, “Did you say your name was Barry?” Once agents hear you using their names, it tends to instill a higher degree of motivation to do their best.
B. YOUR GOOD MANNERS AND PATIENT ATTITUDE WILL PRODUCE A BETTER RESULT AND WILL DO SO MORE QUICKLY THAN A SOUR OR CRANKY ONE
Try not to begin on the wrong foot. The person you’ve reached did not cause your problem. Someone in his or her company may have done so, by constructing a device in such a way that your problem could all too easily arise (after all, it didarise), but don’t hold that against the agent on the line.
You’ll have far better experience if you begin with a greeting such as, “Hi, Sylvia, How are you?” and then a quick sentence of self-introduction. You could say, “I’m usually good at tech issues but today I’m up against a problem that’s beyond me. I need your help.” Or, in the alternative, “I’m a techno-failure and I really need your help if I’m ever going to talk on my cell phone again.” Things go better if you sound like a real person, not just a problem with an angry voice attached to it.
C. KNOW WHEN TO CUT YOUR LOSSES AND HANG UP
If the agent is reading from a poorly-devised script and keeps repeating the same lines even after you did what you were told, and have clearly stated that the suggested action didn’t work, it’s time to say goodbye. When you ask, “Could we try something else, please?” and the answer is a robotic re-reading from the same script, cut your losses and say, “Thanks. I have to go.”
If you cannot understand what the agent is saying, this is not a shortcoming that’s going to improve in the course of a single phone call, so ring off and call back. It will save time.
D. IF YOU GET GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE AND GOOD TECH SUPPORT, DO THIS
Take one extra minute and ask to speak to the agent’s supervisor to tell the supervisor what a great job the agent has done. Your words of praise will be added to the agent’s personnel file, and you’ll have made the supervisor’s day: normally, they only hear complaints.
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
With a modicum of patience, good manners and clear communication you’ll (a) achieve the goal of solving your technical problem, (b) have the best-organized sock drawer in your zip code, and (c) have contributed a positive comment to the agent’s personnel file. Who knew that three such delightful benefits could flow from a single technical glitch?
Why, with enough calls to tech support, by the end of the year you could get your entire home and office whipped into shape — and who says you can’t do thigh lifts and push-ups while waiting to hear the agent’s voice?
Don’t think of your next glitch as an undeserved punishment. It’s a priceless opportunity.
Send your questions about personal, political or cultural matters, or anything else that’s on your mind to Belladonna Rogers at email@example.com . All correspondence with her is confidential, and all names, locations, places of employment and ages of the parties will be changed to protect the privacy of the readers who write to contribute questions.
I’m writing for help with adultery, which I haven’t committed yet. I’ve spent hours discussing Exodus 20:14 with my clergyman. Even so, I’m still tempted.
I’m a highly sexed woman married to a man with a lower sex drive than mine. I had a series of painful affairs with highly-sexed hunks who loved me and left me in my twenties. After a decade of several of them, I was blessed to marry a great husband in every way but one: he can’t have traditional sex with me any more. I don’t want to be unfaithful. I have a high-level job in the federal government, where I’ve worked hard for half my life, 25 of my 50 years. Among my responsibilities is to mentor a subordinate of mine, a 25-year-old married man. He wants me to become his lover. I’m sorely tempted. We travel a great deal together for work without our spouses so the possibility is always looking me in the eye.
My 15-year marriage has blessed me with two wonderful children, as well as every satisfaction and joy I could hope for, except one. My husband has seen many physicians and the problem appears to be permanent and unresponsive to the major medications known for the dysfunction he suffers. Having tried many, I’m not comfortable using electronic devices or watching porn. Rather than stimulate me, all that turns me off.
My young subordinate at work oozes sex, is funny, perceptive and tells me he desires me more than any woman in his life. He pays enormous attention to me, which is hard to ignore. I know our co-workers have picked up the vibes between us. It’s hard for me to accept that I have to give up sex at 50, especially since I’m fit and look 40. I want to do right by my husband, but I’m not made of stone. I feel lust for this young guy 24/7. It’s agony. My guilt over my lust is also with me 24/7, and that, too, is agony. What should I do? What can I do?
Worried and Willing in Washington, D.C.
Dear Worried and Willing:
Let’s start with your guilt and then move to the other components of the ball of wax that seems to be melting all over you. Your situation can be easily understood as long as you’re not in the middle of it — which you are.
DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR HAVING HUMAN YEARNINGS
You have no reason to feel guilty for being human and having human yearnings. If you’re fit and 50 and your husband can no longer engage in traditional sex, and your 25-year-old subordinate who “oozes sex” is eager to become your lover, of course you’re going to be filled with desire. He could even be older than you: it’s not the age of the seducer that counts, it’s his sexual energy. As Mae West liked to say, “It’s not the men in your life that matters, it’s the life in your men.”
THE LAST TIME I CHECKED, “FRATERNIZATION” BETWEEN MARRIED COLLEAGUES, ONE OF WHOM IS THE OTHER’S SUBORDINATE, IS NOT A CAREER-ENHANCING MOVE FOR EITHER PARTY
It’s understandable that, in the throes of sexual yearning and guilt, this major factoid may have slipped your mind: I doubt your proposed affair would be consistent with your federal agency’s regulations. If you’re a fit 50 who looks 40, and co-workers have noticed the vibes, I suggest using the authority vested in you by Uncle Sam to order a transfer for your mentee to a different department, a different supervisor and a different mentor. The situation as it now stands adds up to trouble with a capital “T.”
I know this suggestion will sound harsh and even cruel, but arranging for him to transfer from your department is essential. As long as you see him every day and travel with him, you’re making life far too difficult and stressful for yourself and you’re risking everything for a man you do not know deeply — and I hope you never will.
You can arrange his departure without casting aspersions on his service, but the fact that you’re ordering his transfer may teach him a much-needed lesson about the wisdom of propositioning his supervisors in the future.
You’ve worked half your lifetime to get where you are today. Don’t throw away your marriage, your access to your children and your career. That seems like a lot to lose for one sexy 25-year-old — and I don’t say this because I’ve never encountered a sexy 25-year-old. Complete the paperwork to arrange his transfer to a distant field office, preferably on a continent you never visit — Antarctica would be just the place — and then read on.
HOW YOU GOT WHERE YOU ARE
You were fortunate indeed to land in your husband’s arms after spending your twenties with highly-sexed chick magnets who seduced you and left you as road kill when they tired of their joy rides with you. This is the classic M.O. of highly-sexed seducers. They reel in their women with the bait of their “oozing sex,” as you called it. When they leave — as they always do — you end up alone, sobbing at 3 in the morning, the tears streaming down your cheeks, as you listen to Leonard Cohen singing “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” The silent treatment is their method of choice when it comes to bidding you farewell. That’s a chick magnet for you: all the empathy of a marble.
They think nothing of breaking the hearts and wounding the psyches of the women they seduce and abandon. Why do they do this? Because they can. The first rule of the human jungle is this: the more highly-sexed the man, the more selfish, narcissistic, inconsiderate and uncaring he can afford to be.
It’s the law of supply and demand. Men for whom there’s an endless supply of women never have to learn to be as careful and considerate of their prey as men in lower demand, who’ll husband their scarce resources with far greater care.
SOME PEOPLE REMEMBER PLEASURE MORE CLEARLY THAN PAIN
It’s possible that your 15 years of happy marriage to a good man may have clouded your memory of how brutal chick magnets are. At the moment, you’re living in anticipation of the pleasure you do remember. But ask yourself whether you can tolerate the intensity of pain that will follow whatever ecstasy you envision. Even if neither you nor your subordinate were married — which you are — the anguish you’ll feel when he abandons you — which he will — is guaranteed to be excruciating.
INTRODUCING PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1:
MR. CHARISMA T. ORGASM
One of the greatest novels of all time is Henry James’A Portrait of a Lady.To summarize the 672 pages of dense Jamesian prose, the 1881 masterpiece portrays the choice that every intelligent, highly-sexed, sentient woman must make: whether to marry Mr. Charisma T. Orgasm or marry Mr. Dependability A. Kindheart. The reader can easily foresee the train wreck ahead, even as the novel’s heroine, Isabel Archer, is blinded by a Hillary Rodham-like sense that her life will be most exciting with Mr. Orgasm. Exciting, yes. Stable? Hardly.
THE DILEMMA OF THE HIGHLY-SEXED, EMOTIONALLY ASTUTE WOMAN
When it comes to the choice of a husband, a woman with a high sex drive and high emotional intelligence faces a Hobson’s choice: she’s in a lose-lose situation.
If she chooses to marry a highly-sexed chick magnet whose sex drive will match her own, she’ll find herself with a husband who’s missing in action much of the time because he’s either being pursued by other women, or he’s pursuing them. When he’s home, she’ll be in seventh heaven, except for the time it’ll take him to catch up on the sleep he lost on the road. When he’s away, she often can’t reach him, as her calls to his cell phone go directly to voicemail while he satisfies one woman after another, and, of course, Numero Uno, first and foremost. Every “relationship” is all about him.
If she marries Mr. Dependability Kindheart, she can have a fine marriage and a wonderful, loving family, but she’s fated to endure an inchoate yearning for the rest of her days. It may become submerged and remain amorphous for years, even decades, as she diligently raises her children, is a loving wife to her husband, and often cares for others, as well.
But the day will dawn when Mr. Charisma T. Orgasm will walk into her life. The “T,” by the way, stands for Trouble — his middle name. He could be a former lover from her youth showing up out of the blue — as they’re wont to do — or a co-worker, a mentee, or any man from anywhere. However he appears, he’s here now, and when he focuses his gaze on you, you melt. He possesses a keen pheromone-based radar system that picks up on sex-starved married women and turns their inchoate yearnings into a specific desire for a specific man: Charisma T. Orgasm, himself.
HOW YOU’LL RECOGNIZE MR. CHARISMA T. ORGASM
He’s tenacious, highly focused on you, his prey, charming, quick-witted, but most of all, he’s got your number.
He hones in on you like a heat-seeking missile. That’s because he is a heat-seeking missile and the heat he’s seeking is between a married woman’s legs.
And so it is that a highly motivated, conscientious wife, mother and professional woman who’s worked half her lifetime to achieve a position of responsibility and respect is suddenly transformed into a 14-year-old with a crush on the captain of the football team.
WHY EMOTIONALLY DISCERNING WOMEN DON’T MARRY CHICK MAGNETS
Here we come to the central question in the lives of the highly sexual, emotionally intelligent woman. Should she marry Mr. Orgasm — knowing full well that if she does, she’ll likely be sharing him with countless nameless women (not literally nameless — they all have names, of course — she just won’t know what they are) who’ll come onto him or onto whom he’ll come?
Or should she marry the less charismatic, less sexually-charged man and have a good, steady marriage to a man who’ll be there for her and their children every day and every night, but who never could be (even when young) and who never will be a chick magnet?
If she wants a life of dependability and stability, and if she doesn’t want to share her husband with dozens or hundreds of other (potentially STD-infected) women during her marriage, she chooses exactly as you did, as any sane woman who wants a sane adulthood would and does.
The problem arises when an erotic snake like young Mr. Orgasm slithers into your life and, by his very presence, plus his skillful, manipulative playing on your weaknesses, reminds you of what you’ve been missing.
WHEN A PLAINTIVE SUITOR TURNS INTO A SUITED PLAINTIFF
One day, about six months from now — if you were to give in to your yearnings – you’ll have to tell your young lover that you must stay home with your husband and children one Sunday afternoon instead of going to your tryst with him. Within 24 hour after you’ve spurned him, Mr. Orgasm can change from the charmingly panting young lover to the scorned and humiliated former lover, sitting in the general counsel’s office signing an affidavit, claiming that you seduced and sexually harassed him.
Of course, there’ll be no merit to his complaint, but after you’ve paid your lawyer half your savings to clear your good name, you’ll have lost far too much that you’ll never be able to recover.
THE DESIRE FOR ONE LAST MOMENT OF SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
I well understand your desire for one last hurrah before you go from a fit 50 who looks 40 to a fit 70 who looks 60.
Of course you want another Charisma T. Orgasm before the sun sets — as set it will — on your days of splendor in the grass.
I don’t aspire to be a wet blanket or a killjoy, but when I see a hardworking woman, a loving wife and mother, driving 120 mph and heading straight to Heartbreak Hotel, I have an obligation to urge her to apply her right foot to the brakes as hard as she possibly can. Then go home. Read Anna Karenina.
If you don’t have time for a magnificent 976-page Russian novel, (free download) see the 94-minute film (but only the version with Greta Garbo), also a powerful experience. Either way, you’ll come away with a renewed sense of gratitude for your husband and children.
You’ll always have a tug in your heart and a hot, wet, throbbing desire for your young mentee, and for all the men just like him in the decades ahead who’ll do their best – and their best will be mighty powerful – to lure you into bed with them.
Look in the mirror and practice saying, “I’m married and you’re married. If we weren’t, everything might be different, but we are and it isn’t.” Repeat it over and over until it’s ready to be deployed whenever this and future Mr. Orgasms give you their patented come-hither looks that have worked with hundreds of women before you, and will work with hundreds of women after you.
Then watch Anna Karenina again and again and again until you get the message: no good will come of this. It isn’t worth the fleeting pleasure for a lifetime of regret. It isn’t. If you’re filled with feelings of guilt now, you’ll be drowning inoceans of it as long as you live if you go forward with this affair, or any others during your marriage.
USE THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE BLIMP SHOT
Use the method that networks use to cover NFL games: the blimp shot. From up in the blimp, every Mr. Orgasm looks like an ant. Picture him as an ant. A fire ant, who will ruin your house. He’s an ant! He’ll provide a night of pleasure in exchange for a lifetime reservation at Heartbreak Hotel. You don’t want to live there.
As a highly-sexed woman, it’s your ineluctable fate to be both pursued by and drawn to these feckless, reckless men. I wish I could say it isn’t, but it is. Your duty to yourself – even more than to your husband, children and profession — is to remind yourself that the middle name of every one of these tempting, silver-tongued seducers is Trouble.
YOU ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF YOUR EROGENOUS ZONES
Think back to those hunks of your 20s: the stress, the constant disrespect, and the insults you withstood when dealing with the Mr. Orgasms of the world. They forced you off the road. They are nasty pieces of work once you get to know them, so you drove off, bloodied but unbowed, and married a fine human being and not one of those wily wolves that prey on every highly-sexed woman they can sniff.
Let them sniff someone else. You’ll find that every one of them carries a double-edged sword, a sword that wounds you deeply in your heart and soul even as it arouses your erogenous zones. Remember this: you are more than the sum of your erogenous zones. You have other zones that Mr. Orgasm will damage, and on which he’ll wreak havoc with his own patented genius for conferring pain irresponsibly while feeling none himself.
If this description of Charisma T. Orgasm doesn’t reduce your desire for your young mentee, perhaps a few lines — 14 to be exact, since it’s a sonnet — by William Shakespeare may help. Emphasis is added for, well, emphasis:
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
IF TALKS WITH YOUR CLERGYMAN, PLUS READING WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, HENRY JAMES, LEO TOLSTOY & THIS ADVICE COLUMN DON’T WORK,HERE’S HOW TO FIND A GOOD THERAPIST
If, after talking with your clergyman, arranging a transfer for your youthful pursuer, reading A Portrait of a Lady, Anna Karenina, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 and thinking about this column, you feel the need to discuss the strain of living with a man you love with whom you can no longer enjoy traditional sexual intercourse, go here to find yourself a therapist.
If at first you feel uncomfortable, try another. It may take meeting with five or six before you find a therapist with whom you’re on the same wavelength. One session is usually enough for you to tell if you can work together. It isn’t that there are “rotten apples” in the field of psychotherapy: there are thousands of excellent apples with whom you can still be incompatible. Psychotherapy involves working closely as a team with another human being. If you don’t like your fellow team member, return to that website and find someone else. Keep trying until you find someone with whom you can spend between a few months and a few years. However long it takes, it’s worth it, regardless of what others say who’ve had bad luck and gave up after two or three unsatisfactory meetings.
Carly Simon finally concluded that she didn’t “have time for the pain.” You, too, would weary of the cruel, heartless narcissism of this and every other Mr. Charisma T. Orgasm, no matter how gorgeously appealing he is right this second.
To paraphrase Barry Goldwater’s campaign slogan of 1964, in your heart, you know I’m right.
If you don’t, watch Anna Karenina again, take two aspirin and email me in the morning.
Send your questions about personal, political or cultural matters, or anything else that’s on your mind to Belladonna Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org . All correspondence with her is confidential, and all names, locations, places of employment and ages of the parties will be changed to protect the privacy of the readers who write to contribute questions.