An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: September, 2014

Now Available in Paperback

Cover - elb

An Ordinary Man is now available in paperback from Amazon. It is guaranteed to spice up your book club.

The Dirty Minds Behind The “Marriage Vow”

I had to smile at the news today that Newt Gingrich has decided to endorse the “Marriage Vow” propounded by a conservative group; Newt is 71 ~ has he finally decided monogamy is where it’s at, or has he gotten too old to care? It might be a dangerous assumption to think it has anything to do with age as some of us apparently remain horn dogs to the end and his wife is certainly attractive enough to keep those embers glowing quite warmly. Although she does have him by the short hairs, since even Newt should not be able withstand another marital situation, I hope she realizes his libido may not have subsided to any significant degree and is willing to consider ways to keep it in check. That, of course, would be no one’s business but theirs and is even somewhat unpleasant to think about. Go ahead and figure out what keeps the two of you content, Newt, but good grief, do NOT tell us what it is.

That’s what made the second take-away from the NY Daily News article so distressing. Although the Vow shrilly trumpets the importance of “faithful monogamy” (which I sort of agree with), it then almost gratuitously rejects same-sex marriages, insisting on nothing less than a Constitutional amendment against it, which, I submit, would work even less well than the amendment against alcohol (which any criminal history buff can tell you empowered Al Capone). Think about it. It is commonly accepted that as many as 20% of all heterosexual marriages are essentially sexless, whether by agreement or otherwise. These people live together, more less in stable households, without doing anything at all to offend society’s pecksniffs ~ although it would be incredibly rude and perverse to speculate too much about that. So too might a significant number of same-sex couples; maybe they just want to enjoy the friendship and company of someone they are most comfortable with. But rather than supporting these stable, productive households that bother no one any more than other households do, the conservatives want to ban them outright, under the Constitution, no less. By logical extension, college roommates, worker bunkhouses, double-occupancy jail cells, and even legislators sharing quarters in hyper-expensive Washington D.C. would also be against the law because, God knows (their god, anyway), that people living together are all engaged in bacchanalian sexual debauchery and, God help us (their god, again), right-thinking people cannot help but get inappropriate images as we wonder, what do they do in private?

No, Newt, I’m not going to ask – or think about – whether you prefer the top or bottom. That’s 100%+ between you and, well, whoever.

A Minor Inequality

While waiting for my ride this morning at the stop sign near our neighborhood park, a convertible New Beetle driven by an attractive woman came along with its top down. i smiled at her, and she smiled back. I guess I could have been smiling at a convertible on a lovely day, but she can be pretty sure she had something to do with it – that I liked her style, liked her tousled hair, thought she was pretty, would have liked to meet her, would have liked to sleep with her, etc.

On the other hand, her smile back could mean:

– i’d like to meet/sleep with you, too (but not enough to pull over)
– thank you for noticing how nice I look (I get this a lot)
– in your dreams (old man)

I prefer to think it’d be the second one, but the point is, guys don’t know for sure if you’re laughing with us, or at us. Utterly meaningless in the great scheme of things, of course, but I thought it was interesting.

P.S. Have you any idea how difficult it is to get a woman 50+ to smile back? Why is that, I wonder.

How the Boomers Changed Sex

Life in the Boomer Lane

Adolf Koch

An apology to loyal readers of this blog and to those who arrived here because they will read anything with the word “sex” or “lubrication” in it.  The following is not a boomer version of the Kama Sutra.  Reading this will not allow you to cavort between the sheets as though it were 1976 and you were made of rubber.  The upside is that there will be no need for you to don your reading glasses or grab your magnifying glass, no need to turn your laptop upside down to understand better what Life in the Boomer Lane is talking about, and no need to down copious amounts of Advil to achieve positions that require the use of body parts that stopped functioning in 2002.  

AARP Magazine, in an article titled “Gereration Sex,” lets us in on all the latest data regarding the sexual habits of boomers.  The…

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Old Men, Younger Women

I happened to stumble upon the movie adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain last night, starring Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, and a host of other very talented actors and actresses. Roth and Hopkins are both favorites of mine (particularly Hopkins), so of course I watched. In addition to the strong performances, it was beautifully filmed and had a compelling plot well-told.

It also featured the always popular May/December romance so common in films, with Mr. Hopkins’ character finding himself involved with a woman at least 30 years younger than himself. She appears to mistakenly believe it is all about the sex, and no doubt, to a large extent it is. But as I age, I am beginning to wonder if women are missing something about guys which might make guys a little more palatable to them, and that is that it is NOT always about the sex.

My own character, Richard Wilson, in An Ordinary Man, explains it this way to a younger colleague he has gotten very close to who is about to get married:

“Nothing else promotes communication quite so well [as sex], and nothing is more important to a marriage than good communication.”
“Oh, so it’s not just about the sex itself?”
“No, although that certainly doesn’t hurt anything. It’s the intimacy, the private time, the closeness, the sharing. The absence of barriers, of resentments. The openness. The camaraderie. Plus, you’re not going to solve issues with someone you resent.”

Sometimes it’s about the sex in that he wants to see and touch, squeeze and hold, but not necessarily do, her, if only because that requires you to be naked and alone together, where the true bonding can be maintained. For so many men, the moment you take your shirt off, you become someone distinct from anyone else in the world. When Coleman Silk and Faunia Farley are in bed together after the act itself, he is less alone than ever and that might well be what he wants most.

Other Reads: “Adultery” by Louise DeSalvo

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This one, available from Amazon of course, is definitely on my to-read list because it is written from the perspective of the wronged wife and is at least in part based on fact, while An Ordinary Man is from the perspective of a fictional husband struggling mightily not to cheat, who realizes the definition of cheating is not as clear as it might seem.

Here is the author’s description:

Just after Louise DeSalvo gave birth to her first child, her husband confessed that he was having an affair. After surviving the crisis in her marriage, she began to read and write about adultery to explore the question of why people cheat. The result is this fun and compassionate book that draws upon the lives and works of literary figures such as Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, and Henry Miller to offer a transforming understanding of infidelity and marriage.

(This is the first of an irregular series drawing attention to other books dealing with marital relations, as they used to be called, without intending to review or even necessarily recommend them)

Yes Means Yes

Her interest was a powerful aphrodisiac, just as her lack of interest even more powerful as an antidote. “Sure” might be the sexiest word in the English language.

I cannot imagine anything being as pleasant as consensual sex, so I haven’t paid much attention to the Yes-Means-Yes movement, such as recently reported by CNN; if there was the slightest question she wasn’t fully into it, I wanted nothing to do with it. On the other hand, if she was into it ….

Coercion, pressure, subterfuge and manipulation suck compared to acceptance, enthusiasm, and cooperation. Some things should be self-evident.

Hacked Celebrity Nudes

Why is this even an issue? I mean apart from the invasion of privacy concerns, which have more to do with accessing private data than exposing nudity. Let’s face the facts: we all share the same basic body plan (all men are put together in essentially the same fashion, as are all women), we’re all naked for some portion of every day, many of us have had sex, and several of us have taken naked selfies, for our lovers or personal histories.

That a person might take a non-pornographic nude, or even a pornographic one that doesn’t involve children or animals, is hardly a surprise. If they happen to be one of the beautiful people, the image most likely will be aesthetically pleasing. It might even be quite erotic. And if it gets out into public, it’s nothing that need be apologized for, or embarrassed about: here’s me, I’m naked, and I’m even sexier than you thought! Where’s the reason for even an ounce of shame? Hop on a pedestal and you’d be a museum piece everyone would admire.

An Ordinary Man looks at even the dirtiest pictures this way:

All of the clips he clicked on showed attractive, even pretty, young ladies appearing to enjoy their participation in what would be for him rather edgy activities. The smiles and laughter were what thickened his blood; the women were engaged in hardcore sexual activities, but they appeared to be having a good time. The way they broke into smiles and how their eyes shone at critical moments convinced him they weren’t all pretending. But of course they could be having fun doing what they were doing; many of the images couldn’t even be considered pornographic. No image with such smiles in it could be. This is what men and women do with each other – this is what they should do with each other. Unbridled pleasure was not an obscenity.

For those bluenoses who think it’s foolish to take revealing shots of a loved one, I’ll just say I’m very glad to have this one, which I took in 1975:

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Aside to subjects of said images; even if they swear to keep them private, they won’t. Trust me.