Wednesday, January 18th 2006

The Ben Franklin Bandwagon
posted @ 7:07 pm in [ - - ]

Today, I’m home sick, flyin’ on cold meds. When the hell is somebody going to CURE this crap? Huh? When?! Some of you get on that, okay?

Now then, pretty much everybody knows it was Ben Franklin’s birthday yesterday. He would have been 300. And I thought my last birthday cake was a fire hazard! We also all know he was a heluva guy and is responsible or partly responsible for a great many institutions America would be hosed without: libraries, the post office, slavish devotion to electricity, the Louisiana Purchase, the Declaration of Independence… all good stuff.

Ben Franklin was also famous for knowing how to have a good time. He was a major partier, liked hanging out in the salons of Paris and being witty while enjoying sensuous pleasures, and died of… didja know? Syphilis. Far from the uptight, bespeckled and ill-advised kite flyer we meet in the dryest possible pages of textbooks (dessicant: do not eat), Ben Franklin was a freakdaddy, a porn fiend (possessing one of the largest private collections of erotic art at the time–try cramming those canvases under your mattress), indeed, a slam hound.

Now, I don’t bring this up to discredit the great man; on the contrary, to make a point about the fine, contributing geniuses of our culture. We should in no way discount the image of Ben Franklin as a genius and major contributor to our way of life because he was, by all authoritative accounts, randy as a stoat. I am sick to death of the characterizations of persons of intellect being boring, prudish, and devoid of social skills. We should instead celebrate the whole man: writer, inventor, erotic art collector, diplomat, free love enthusiast, founding father, political theorist, shameless flirt, cheerful skinflint… Great historical figures often became so because they were multifaceted and interesting. Are we embarrassed that Franklin had a penchant for hoochie-mamas? Because we shouldn’t be. He was an interesting guy.

I am fortunate to know a great many persons of intellect, and I have to say that the vast majority of them like Jackie Chan movies. Most like beer, football, porn, or all three, and are fun at parties. I object strenuously to the sterotype of the ugly, awkward geek who couldn’t get laid if he were a brick. The smart people I hang out with are much more of the Ben Franklin school of intellectualism, and I think we should celebrate that. In that spirit, then, I offer you yet another piece of Ben Franklin’s advice, as reprinted in the little literary gem, The Book of Vices, edited by Robert J. Hutchison.

On Selecting a Mistress Benjamin Franklin

Everyone knows who Benjamin Franklin (c. 1706 - 1790) was: printer, scientist, author, publisher, diplomat, statesman, inventor. What some people don’t know is that he had a tremendous sense of humor, and an earthy one at that.

[Philadelphia,] 25 June 1745

To **

My Dear Friend:

I know of no medicine fit to diminish the violent natural inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper remedy. It is the most natural state of man, and therefore the state in which you are most likely to find solid happiness. Your reasons against entering into it at present appear to me not well founded. The circumstantial advantages you have in view by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the man and woman united that make the compleat human being. Separate, she wants his forcce of body and strength of reason; he, her softness, sensibility and acute discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the world. A single man has not nearly the value he would have in the state of union. If you get a prudent, healthy wife, your industry in your profession, with her good economy, will be a fortune sufficient.

But if you will not take this counsel and persist in thinking a commerce with the sex inevitable, then I repeat my former advice, that in all your amours you should prefer old women to young ones.

You call this a paradox and demand my reaons. They are these:

  1. Because they have more knowledge of the world, and their minds are better stored with observations, their conversation is more improving, and most lastingly agreeable.

  2. Because when women cease to be handsome they study to be good. To maintain their influence over men, they supply the diminution of beauty by and augmentation of utility. They learn to do a thousand services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old woman who is not a good woman.

  3. Because there is no hazard of children, which irregularly produced may be attended with much inconvenience.

  4. Because through more experience they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an intrigue to prevent suspicion. The commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the affair should happen to be known, considerate people might be rather inclined to excuse an old woman, who would kindly take care of a young man, form his manners by her good counsels, and prevent his ruining his health and fortune among mercenary prostitutes.

  5. Because in every animal that walks upright, the deficiency of the fluids that fill the muscles appears first in the highest part. The face grows first lank and wrinkled; then the neck; then the breast and arms; the lower parts continuing to the last as lump as ever: so that covering all above with a basket, and regarding only what is below the girdle, it is impossible of two women to know an old one from a young one. And as in the dark all cats are grey, the pleasure of corporal enjoyment with an old woman is at least equal, and frequently superior; every knack being, by practice, capable of improvement.

  6. Because the sin is less. The debauching a virgin may be her ruin, and make her for life unhappy.

  7. Because the compunction is less. The having made a young girl miserable may give you frequent bitter reflection; none of which can attend the making an old woman happy.

8thly & lastly. They are so grateful!

Thus much for my paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely

Your affectionate Friend, Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, November 6th 2005

Protected: I drove myself crazy
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Saturday, September 24th 2005

Sexual Tension Redux
posted @ 3:07 pm in [ ]
So in response to my impromptu poem that is a rant ABOUT sexual tension, I have been asked no less than four times what the most erotic thing was I ever witnessed that I didn’t do anything about (that is, that I just witnessed). I don’t think I’ve ever been asked the same blog-related question by so many different folks in such a short time.

I’m having a hard time coming up with a single most erotic thing–especially one that I just let go–but one that keeps jumping to mind was also alluded to in my “Open Valentine” posting of February this year. When I worked at the shop, I used to occasionally mildly sexually harrass one of my co-workers. I stand by the statement that it is difficult to sexually harrass a man because virtually no sexual attention is unwanted, but I certainly used to tease him in a way that rattled him a little, which I did mostly because it was entertaining for me (and probably flattering for him). I also used to just love to watch that man on a ladder, although I was much more subtle about that and I doubt he noticed. I promise you all that I did not emotionally scar him in any way. I ended up buying his mountain bike (not the bike in this story, because that one should be enshrined), and we even had tea outside work a few times.

That being said, he was, physically at least, hot (if nowhere NEAR nerdy enough for my taste). Big Todesco bike racer, aqua-colored eyes, and Michaelangelo, our gague of fine posteriors, would simply have fainted in amazement. So one day, he had borrowed a bike from the shop to take to some trail in the mountains. It had rained while he was up there, and he was kind of wet and muddy, and so was the bike.

He opened the garage door in the back of the shop that led out to the alley and ran the hose out there, where he proceeded to hose down both himself and the bike, and I struggled not to be obvious about watching. I realized I had never quite understood the car wash scene in Cool Hand Luke before as he took a soapy shop rag and cheerily mopped the crud off the bike. He was sopping wet from head to toe, slick and glistening all over. His hair was wet and spiky, and as he hosed the flecks of mud off himself, a limb at a time, it reminded me of when you rinse off a ripe peach before you bite into it. The droplets cling to its skin and you taste them for just a split second before the sweet flesh. It was so hot outside, he might have literally even been steaming. He had already been wearing only Spandex, so the water didn’t add much clingyness that wasn’t there before, but some people just look really good wet no matter what they’re wearing. He was one of them.

He worked meticulously at getting all the mud off the bike, sometimes even looking a little comical about it, but something about his focus was very appealing. Plus, there is really nothing like a wet, glistening, nicely-put-together man who is hard at some physical task. I was speechless. In fact, I was so affected by the performance that when he came back inside, I left the room in rather a hurry. I mean, what the hell do you say after that? Nice weather you’re having? Announce that he missed a spot and take off your shirt? I couldn’t have put two words together–I was thoroughly rattled.

With me out of the shop, then, he picked MY stand to put the bike in to dry it off. I came back in the room after taking a minute to collect myself and he was there, still clean and wet and glistening (have him washed and brought to my tent), buffing down the bike with clean shop rags, still with that whistlingly cheery zeal, except now he wasn’t outside, he was right in my workspace. I had some sort of auto-pilot conversation with him, and every time he would step close to me I could feel the heat radiating off his body. The droplets on his bare, freckled shoulders were drying and I very much wanted to suck the remaining droplets from his skin, as if he were a desert leaf I had left out overnight so I could drink the condensation. Restraining myself almost hurt. Instead I probably gave him a sarcastic hard time about something. You know, so he wouldn’t suspect.

How’s that?

Saturday, September 10th 2005

Protected: What the f*ck?
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Thursday, June 2nd 2005

Protected: Epic nerdy love poems
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Monday, May 30th 2005

Protected: …and still MORE liquor and sexual fantasies…
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Saturday, May 28th 2005

Protected: Time for more liquor and sexual fantasies?
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Monday, February 14th 2005

Open Valentine
posted @ 8:44 pm in [ ]
Okay, so last year, I sent electronic valentines to friends, family, objects of flirtation and everyone about whom I had had a pleasant erotic dream (yeah, as opposed to an alarming one). This year, I don’t have that kind of time.

So first, to my remaining single girlfriends: you are all luscious beauties. No settling. Aphrodite herself didn’t need a husband, and this is a greeting card holiday. Don’t sweat it.

To my family members: Happy Valentine’s Day/Enforced Heterosexuality Day! Send chocolate.

To my students: May you all find your heart’s desire.

To the fictional erotic dream fodder: Thanks, Fox Mulder, Ron Weasley, Grissom, Buckaroo Banzai, and yes, even Beastmaster, whatever the hell your name is. Nice ferrets.

And last but not least, to the real ones:
Phillip, love of my life and alchemist of fantasy into reality.
Mike B., sure, you’ll get drunk and wrestle Matt, and I think that’s sexist.
Bobby, your pants are WAY too baggy. Enough already.
Matt, for doing justice to a kilt. Cute knees.
Amy, I miss dancing with you.
Chris, you’re adorable, I’m ethical, when you’re 25, I’ll still be ethical. Shit.
Mike S., my favorite non-putting-out symphony date (even though I hate you).
Wayne, you couldn’t handle me on your best day with a vitamin B-12 shot, but you’re still cute.
Andy, congratulations on making the list, FNG.
Monica, I miss your terrific accent and your great laugh.
Tim, somewhere in a parallel universe, or sometime before we die… aren’t you divorced yet?
Stuart, you were in many ways a giant letdown, but my porndaddy subconscious didn’t get that memo.
Colby, yeah, well, you’re a big Todesco physicist with the posterior of an avid cyclist–what did you expect? Oh, just deal with it–it doesn’t change anything.
Rob, I know you think you’re getting old and boring, but think of it as… ripening.
Harold, a long-overdue nod all the way back to college.
Eric, so what if you’re gay, you’re just too yummy for your own good. It’s okay, sweetie, it was just my subconscious.
Curtis S., I will never forget the time you hosed down that bike–it was just like the car wash scene in “Cool Hand Luke.” Thanks for never turning me in for sexual harassment, even though it was a major form of entertainment.
Mark, once a year, like clockwork.
Taylor, I certainly didn’t mean to, but there it is. I still wouldn’t trust you with my sister if I had one.

I think that’s everyone.

Monday, December 27th 2004

posted @ 1:44 pm in [ ]

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Tuesday, June 22nd 2004

posted @ 10:17 am in [ - ]
She was back on the road a little after sunrise, after saying an affectionate goodbye to the luscious, sleepy-eyed Seth. She had to make Reno by afternoon, she said, and was gone with his scent still on her hands. The ‘vert sang along beneath her, as if it were just as happy to be there as he had been.

About 20 miles into the drive, the streaming road began to sputter tiny houses alongside it, mostly bright white ones, almost seeming to be their own sources of light. The houses consolidated somewhat, and organized into a small town. She found a white stucco building not much bigger than Bungalow 2 with a Tecate sign in the oversized window that overwhelmed it, and restocked Jose.

A handsome creature, fortyish, with rugged features, a slightly greying mustache, and a flannel shirt wearing at the collar and elbows, looked her over as she came in the door. She smiled and glanced away. Clearly he was the local operator, and she didn’t like them too smooth. Alan was smooth now. He had been awkward and sweet when she met him, shy about looking at her or talking to her, often looking at his beautiful, perfect hands. She thought it was adorable. Now he argued like Socrates, glaring right at her, full of evidence and high sentence, having completely forgotten that he had hands at all. Smooth was entirely unappealing.

She asked for a fifth and two half-pints of Jose, and Mr. Smooth reached back behind himself and pulled them down for her without taking his eyes off her. Flattering, perhaps, but much too steady. She handed over two 20s and pulled her hand away before he could “accidentally” brush her fingers. He gave her her change and placed the bottles in a brown paper sack, still not watching what he was doing. Beginning to feel like an antelope haunch, she looked past his well-built shoulder and caught a glimpse of the stockboy, shirt off, in a pair of not-quite-snug jeans with a telltale band of boxer brief just barely peeking out of the waistband. She watched him for a few seconds and let him catch her at it. She smiled, looked him over, and left, tossing an afterthought of, “Thanks,” toward Mr. Smooth.

In the parking lot, she tucked the fifth and one of the half-pints into the suitcase, and dropped the other half-pint in the map pocket that would sit next to her calf. As she perched on the seat, car door open, she could see the stockboy watching her from the open back door. She slowly pulled her long, mostly bare legs into the car, smoothed the left calf as if it were covered with a fine, slighly rumpled, organza, closed the door, and fired up the ‘vert. Just as she pulled away, she took one more look, up and down, and blew him a kiss. He half waved, but mostly blushed. She grinned for the next several miles, and got started on the half-pint.

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