"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Shock And Awe–Love For Women Before Our Woke, Timorous Age

George Porter grew up in a heterosexual age – gay men were rarely seen; and few ever questioned their own sexuality or sexual preference. 

Of course there were the likes of Laurie Levitt, a shy boy who hung out longer than any boy should in the locker room of Rockland Country Day; or Betty Barnard who made ‘friends for life’ with as many girls in the eighth grade as she could, kissed them under the stoop, and held hands on her way to the prom.

Back-seat, strait sex was the norm, and George couldn’t get enough.  Girls tumbled with him amidst the clutter of old lift tickets from Aspen, whiskey bottles, crushed cigarette packs, and tennis rackets from the Junior Finals; made no claims of sexual abuse and made no demands or had no lifetime expectations. 

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George married as did  most young men of his generation to a young woman of comparable social class and distinction – Miss Porter’s, Smith, and surprising for a woman of her generation, a doctorate in biology from MIT. George, for all his sexual abandon, stepped in line when it came to family and reputation.  He knew that the two might meet, and Elizabeth Lodge fit the bill and was worth a try. 

They were married on the North Shore, officiated by their mutual friend, an Episcopal priest, had a Great Gatsby celebration spilling down to the water with bands and orchestras, bouquets, and the finest catered cuisine.

None of this social propriety and rectitude, however, deterred George from his intent. Whether nature or nurture, he was Lothario, Casanova, and the Marquis de Valmont – a sexual rogue, serial lover; and because of it, the beneficiary of women’s affections from Boston to Apalachicola. 

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It was a complete surprise, then, when his son came to him and called him out for his marital inconsistencies, adultery, and sexual dalliances.  A generation had passed and George had not noticed its profound changes.  Sexual pursuit was ‘out’.  Sexual compatibility along newly defined feminist lines was ‘in’.  

Men no longer chased women.  Relationships were more stretched and less fungible. He – George’s son – told of his roommate Barb, a transgender man who had realized during his third semester at Harvard that he was not a man and never had been, and was now on the path to womanhood – a change of dress, attitude, a flip hairdo, a feminine allure, and good-bye to locker rooms.  

Given his sexual laissez-faire attitude, George was tempted to say, ‘whatever’, but could not.  The boat had been rocked to the gunwales.  Everything he had ever believed or assumed was being challenged.  Who was this Barb? he asked; and as it turned out that he/she was the son/daughter of a Pittsburgh steamfitter who had found him with a man in his Carnegie parlor.  Barb tried to explain to his father that this was not your ordinary homosexual fellatio, but a very heterosexual act of love.  Since she was no longer male, her sexual attentions to Martin D' were quite normal, no different in fact than her father’s similar attentions to any of 'his women'.  Oh, his father denied the assignation after pizza with Rosie O'Grady in the East End, did he? 

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Now that ‘alternative’ sex was well out of the closet, George began to wonder not only about his son but about his wife’s afternoon ‘teas’ in the city.  Would he be more upset if he found her with a Bernal Heights dyke or with a young North End longshoreman?  His whole family seemed to  be coming apart at the sexual seams; and knowing that there was little he could do to stop it, and that there was no teaching by example in this buggered world, he could could only chuck fidelity and return to his promiscuous roots. 

George had known his wife for years.  She had been one of his first conquests in the back seat of his ‘58 Ford and a periodic lover over the decades.  She, like him, had settled into their comfortable marriage, but took her sexual opportunities liberally.  There was Brad, an accountant who had a certain working class sexual roughness which appealed to her; William, a non-profit devotee who wanted sexual, libertine weekends as a refuge and release from do-goodness and purpose; and Henry, a Main Line comer who found the combination of her social cachet and down-country sexual appetites irresistible.  

George cared, but never admitted it.  Subscribing to the heterosexual thing meant a life of jealousy and suspicion.  Of course, as his his son explained to him, two men – or two transgendered women for that matter – could be riven by jealousies. Who was buggering whom in the men’s john of Café Moderna, who brought flowers home to whom, or who cooked seared foie gras with truffles for whom mattered to all gender expressions.  

So, in a loud, bragging, exasperated statement, George went on a sexual tear.  First there was Alma from Personnel who at 34 was desperate, who appreciated his long sexual patience, and assumed that it was a sign of love and affection.  Then there was Usha, a high-class Palestinian who felt that a sexual liaison with a white man might clear her head of Middle Eastern politics; and finally Marilyn who cared little for anything political or familial, and who loved George anyway.

Meanwhile George’s son fought his way out of the miasma of progressive sexual politics, and began to find his own way.  ‘An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’, his mother had always said, and so it didn’t when it came to Oliver Porter who suggested that his roommate, Barb, might be better off rooming with someone of her own kind, joined Deke, the most male-centered fraternity on campus (known for its dick-swizzlers and butt-antics), and became a Big Man on Campus.  

Following in his father’s footsteps, he was the attentive man, the considerate, thoughtful, silver-tongued, seemingly respectful male that the woke women of Harvard ridiculed but desperately desired.  He had more notches on his belt by sophomore year than his father had had in four.

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Barb, not long after she left Harry’s room - perhaps by the end of Junior Year -  changed her mind, threw away her makeup, frilly dresses, lipstick, and high heels, and reverted to sexual form. She didn’t go entirely macho – drinking, football, and hanging out - but re-inserted herself into straight college culture.  In fact, she – now he – married a nice girl from Mt. Holyoke, and at last report was living quite well in Teaneck.

George had assumed that this LGBTQ aggressiveness was nothing but political posturing, but he was happy that his son had taken his cue from him and had sent Barb packing. In a way, he was not unhappy that his wife was such a sexual adventurer.  After all, how different was she from him who had chased skirts and bedded anyone who came along? 

The two were a great sexual dyad, refusing to give any shrift to sexual deviance, dismissing political calls to reconsider their sexuality, championing heterosexuality not at the barricades but by example, heroes to the unaccommodating straight population, enemies of an increasingly intimidated and complaisant generation which accepted progressive sexual cant and appropriation. Whether or not they convinced the young Left to refuse to think twice about gender choice was irrelevant.  George and Elizabeth were rutting because rutting had an innate claim on them - as it did on everyone, even though far too many had been persuaded otherwise. 


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