Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good manners.

I got a thank you card from my favorite former client today. And who says criminals don't have good manners?

Monday, January 29, 2007


Why do I attract men who have naughty librarian fantasies? Why do they all take me for the uptight-girl-with-glasses-but-a-tiger-in-t
he-sack sort of woman? I can't count the number of men who have told me they want to bend me over the stacks. Or card catalogue. (Hello, people. There are no card catalogues anymore.) Or some other variation on the theme.

Really? Is that how I really come across?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Until death do us part?

At the end of my second year of law school, I wrote a paper entitled "Until Death Do Us Part: Is America Ready for State Sanction Group Marriage?" What's the answer? You got it. A resounding no!

Regardless, My teacher totally dug the topic and I won the "you got the best grade in this class" award for it. Of course, I may also have gotten that award because on the first day of class I announced that I lead a boring life and if anyone wanted to steal my identity, he or she could have it. Of course, karma gave me a swift kick in the ass for making that comment; more than a year later someone took over $700 from my checking account via identity theft.

State sanctioned group marriage. Would I ever be in a group relationship? I've tried it before, and it doesn't seem to work for me. Of course, I've tried hetersexual monogamous relationships, and those don't really seem to work for me either. So the conclusion? I don't know what works for me or what I may or may not try in the future. For now I'm more or less enjoying the single life. However, as a legal matter, I think people should be able to marry whomever they please. The argument that gay marriage would allow plural marriage is ridiculous. I don't see the problem. Plural marriage? Fine. Let everyone marry each other. I don't buy the proverbial slippery slope argument. I don't think men will bein a great rush to start marrying goats if we allow it. (Though for more on man-animal love, see http://www.spectator.co.nz/POV/barkers.htm, or just enter "Lady Buble" into Google.)

For the Introduction to a legal analysis on this issue, read further. I've only posted the introduction because the paper is so long. But if anyone would like to read more, let me know, and I will post the rest in serial form. Just like Steven King does.


On April 3, 2005, a group of psychologists in Manchester, England learned a new word: polyamory.[1] They listened as Dr. Meg Barker of the South Bank University in London told the British Psychological Society annual conference that up to 2,000 British men and women are openly polyamorous.[2]

But what is polyamory? Barker described is as “the belief that it’s acceptable or even ideal to have more than one loving or sexual partner,” and added that the emphasis is on “the recognition of multiple important relationships – it’s not about casual sex.”[3] Barker then went on to explain that because polyamory is a developing alternative lifestyle, “polys” – practitioners of polyamory – need terms beyond what exist in the current vernacular to describe their emotions and actions.[4]

Almost immediately, the British press pounced on the opportunity to deride polyamory and its vocabulary.[5] Yet despite media criticism, there is no arguing that polyamory is an alternative movement not only prevalent in the U.K., but quickly growing in the U.S. as well. The biggest following exists on the West Coast, with other sizeable poly populations in larger cities like Boston, Chicago and New York.[6] As the polyamory movement picks up momentum, awareness is beginning to spread. Web sites dedicated to the polyamorous lifestyle are popping up on the Internet.[7] Major newspapers are dedicating inches of print to discussing polys and their struggle for acceptance.[8] Even lawyers are adding themselves to listings directed at polyamorous individuals.[9]

As the polyamory movement grows larger, so does the demand that polyamorous relationships be recognized within the mainstream culture.[10] Some compare polyamorists’ social and political station to that of gays and lesbians.[11] And like the gay community, the polyamorist community is crying out for acceptance and recognition – through marriage – of its lifestyle and ideals. [12]

This essay will view polyamory side by side with monogamy (both heterosexual and homosexual), and evaluate what legitimate state interest the government may have in regulating group marriage. Part I will define polyamory and discuss social concerns that are inherent in the movement. Such concerns include the jealousy that is intrinsic in multi-partner relationships, possible coercion that may result from sexual jealousy, and raising children in a polyamorous family.

Part II will evaluate marriage as a fundamental right, and how restrictions on marriage are analyzed by the courts. Because polyamory is a fairly new social movement, and as such, there is no case law directly dealing with polyamorous individuals, this section will take a brief look at the criminalization of polygamy and how polygamy is handled in light of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Because opponents to gay marriage have argued that allowing gay marriage opens the door to allowing plural marriage, Part III will take a look at some of the recent decisions in the context of gay marriage, and will extrapolate the reasoning of these cases to plural marriage.

Additionally, several arguments have been promulgated in opposition to sanctioning plural marriage. This essay will look at a few of these. Thus, Part IV will discuss whether the state has an interest in the expressive content of marriage – in monogamous heterosexual relationships, monogamous homosexual relationships, and in polyamorous relationships. Part V will briefly discuss the state’s interests in promoting the welfare of children, and will look to see whether children in polyamorous families are at a greater risk of harm than children in monogamous families.

Finally, Part VI will broach the subject of abolishing marriage as a legal institution, and leaving marriage to individual social institutions, particularly religious entities.

[1] See Celia Hall, Free Love is Fine – But Watch Out For The Wibbles, THE DEAILY TELEGRAPH, April 4, 2005; Abigail Wild, The Pitfalls Of Free Love Rebranded, THE HERALD, April 6, 2005; Adam Zwar, Try Polyamory And Get That Frubbly Feeling, SUNDAY HERALD SUN, April 24, 2005.

[2] Hall, supra note 1.

[3] Id.

[4] Hall, supra note 1 (“Feeling ‘frubbly’ is described as the opposite to feeling jealous and is used to describe feelings of friendship towards a lover and their other partners, who are called ‘metamours’… A ‘wibble’ is a jealous feeling but ‘not a massive sexual threat,’ Dr. Barker said. ‘The question is, when you are not having a standard relationship, what do you do for words? There are no words for what we do.’”).

[5] See Rebecca Front, Comment & Analysis: This Week, THE GUARDIAN, April 9, 2005 (“For example, the word ‘metamor’ has been coined to denote one’s partner’s partner. Looking at the etymology of ‘metamor,’ I suppose we must assume that one partner is Greek and the other Latin. Either that, or the polyamorists have no time for grammar, as they’re too busy conjugating.”); Jemima Front, Growing Old Can Be A Joy, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, April 10, 2005 (“Many a woman has put a brave face on an open marriage, or gamely gone through with a spot of swinging, rather than acknowledge her own jealousy. The polys might call that a wibble: I would call it a big pretence.”); Wild, supra note 1 (“You can only imagine polyamory to be rife with wibbling – oh heck, let’s call it jealousy – being a system that increases the chances of being hurt in that way, and reduces the right to complain about it and resolve it. Being everyone’s tertiary partner, and nobody’s number one, must be wibble hell.”); Zwar, supra, note 1 (“Yes, it’s all fun and games until a bit of rubber glove turns a wibble into a wibble-wobble.”).

[6] Douglas Brown, Polyamorists Don’t Just Have Sex With People Other Than Their Spouses. They Fall in Love With Them. Challenging Monogamy, THE DENVER POST, Jan 24, 2005.

[7] A Google search for “polyamory” returned more than 220,000 hits. See, e.g., www.bee.net/cardigan/PAARC; www.polyamory.com; www.polyamory.org; www.polyamorysociety.org; www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html.

[8] See Brown, supra note 6; Alison Neumer, The Polyamorous; Three’s Company: Join The Fun, CHIVAGO TRIBUNE, April 8, 2005 Reid Epstein, Whole Lotta Love: ‘Polyamorists’ Go Beyond Monogamy, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, Sept 13, 2004.

[9] See Stephanie Francis Cahill, Web Site Has The Lowdown On Finding Lawyer, CHICAGO DAILY LAW BULLETIN, Nov 20, 2000.

[10] See, e.g., Epstein, supra, note 8.

[11] See Epstein, supra note 8 (“Sitting in the shadow of an oak tree, John wise described how the gay rights movement is laying the groundwork for polyamorists to acquire legal status for their three-, four- and more-way relationships.”).

[12] Id. See also Ryan Nearing, LOVING MORE: THE POLYFIDELITY PRIMER 22 (1992) [hereinafter THE POLYFIDELITY PRIMER] (in a 1995 survey of 200 readers of Loving More, a national polyamory magazine, 68 percent favored state approval or group marriage).

Part II: On Sleeping with married men.

So I woke up relatively early for a Sunday (9:00 a.m.), got out of bed, and posted my last entry. Then I checked my email and looked at the bulletins my friends post on myspace. I myself am not a bulletin poster. Why? Because the people who write the bulletins exchange "u" for "you" and other such nonsense, and I simply cannot allow myself to be a part of the dumbing down of America. But I am a bulletin voyeur, a saucy intruder, if you will. So I read. And I saw this question and answer:

Q: What would you do if a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married?
A: Wow reality hits here!

However, I am compelled to point out that the "sexy person" in question who is in pursuit of my friend is married-but-not-quite. He's separated, and if rumor is correct, in the process of divorce. This is not quite the same situation as the married-and-cheating man. I have no moral qualms with it. In fact, I don't really have moral qualms with any of it. If people want to cheat and/or sleep with married men, it's not my place to judge. I don't necessarily think less of people who partake in such activities, as Part I of this topic may have suggested. But the separated-but-not-yet-divorced man is a completely different animal altogether.

In fact, the separated-but-not-yet-divorced man may be entirely more dangerous. Take it from me. I've been there. When I first met my best friend and psuedo-ex-boyfriend, his wife had left him over a year before. It seems like a long time, but when you've been married for 13 years, it's really not. He was a mess. But he was single, even if not officially divorced. Therefore, I dove in. Here's a little known secret: Men who are in the process of divorce are rarely ready for a new relationship. The scary part is that many of them seem to be. They need someone, and they fasten on. They grab onto your ass like barnacles to a ship's bottom. And then disaster strikes.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

On sleeping with married men.

When I was in my first year property class, the professor put a question on the final exam that I always hated: How does property law compensate for the trend in shifting from bright-line rules to standards?

That question makes me think of my own life. In my personal romantic/sex life, I used to go by standards. (Ed note, I say "romantic/sex" knowing full well that while the two do not necessarily overlap, they are also not necessarily mutually exclusive.) I have since shifted to rules. Six years ago, my standards were simple. There were four of them. Anyone I met and was interested in had to fit comfortably into my standards. There were four categories:

(1) Intelligence.
(2) Ambition.
(3) Kindness.
(4) Sexual compatibility.

These standards now seem so commonplace, so I take them for granted. Yes, of course I want someone with a certain level of intelligence and ambition (though the two should not be confused). Of course I want someone who doesn't kick puppies and who is good in bed. These are all givens.

Now I have rules. A short list of the types of people I will not get romanticallly or sexually involved with. Each requires some pontification. And so, I pontificate:

(1) I will not sleep or get involved with with Republicans. For more information on this, see On sleeping with Republicans, supra.

(2) I will not sleep or get involved with lawyers. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is that it is best for me to be the more argumentative party in a relationship. If my partner were as or more argumentative than I, we'd never be able to speak. We'd be arguing all the time. Just for fun. And as lawyers, neither one of us would ever back down. It would go on forever. This would not be good. Also, can you imagine the pillow talk? I can. "Oh baby, I give you an easement over all my body. Picture me as a river. You have riparian rights." Ew, ew, ew. So not cool. I actually hooked up with a lawyer once. What did we talk about in bed? Whether an element of an object was purely decorative, or whether it had functional aspects -- as if we were contemplating whether to award a patent. I can also imagine that if I were to get involved with a criminal lawyer, we'd only ever talk about the Fourth Amendment. I do this enough with my friends; I don't need to do it with my hypothetical lover.

(3) I will not sleep or get involved with anyone younger than me. I get chastised for this most often by (you'll never guess!) boys younger than me. Twenty-two-year-olds insist that age is just a state of mine. While this is true to a point, it is a universal truth that even the most mature and wordly twenty-two-year-old is a moron. I know this. I was twenty-two once. On approximately three occasions, I have broken this rule. It has always ended badly.

(4) I will not sleep or get involved with anyone who is married or otherwise committed to another person. (In this context, I am speaking specifically of men who cheat. People in poly or other sorts of nonmonogamous relationships are an entirely different issue, which will have to be addressed in a later entry.)

I had a friend once who thought that sleeping with married men somehow validated her. It was as if she felt that because a married guy would sleep with her, that she was somehow a superior, more desireable woman because she forced him to cheat on his wife. This argument is a fallacy. The truth of the matter is that married men who are cheating are not at all particular about who they sleep with. They are opportunists who take what they can get. I once had a brief affair with a guy who was engaged (you may remember him as "Charlie" from the aforementioned On Sleeping with Republicans). I felt relatively guilty about the entire thing, which is why I broke it off rather early on. But as Mike said to me, "Hey, if it weren't you, it would have been someone else."

This comment of Mike's brings me to my next reservation regarding the philandering types. They are not honest. First of all, they're not honest with their wives. The abhorrant aspect of cheating does not come from the sex act itself. Rather, it comes from the violation of trust. I myself do not suffer monogamy well. But I make to qualms of it, and always tell my partner where I stand on the issue. Relationships are like contracts. There's the standard form contract that states that neither party shall be with another in a sexual sense. This is the general agreement that exists when the agreement itself has not been discussed. It is not proper for one to unilaterally change the terms of the contract without consulting the other party. That's what cheating is. It's dishonest. And as I've come to find, if a cheating man is cheating on his wife, (1) he's done it before; (2) he will do it in the future; and (3) he won't tell you about it. He could have a harem of seven women, none of whom know about the others. And he will likely have no problem with this. After all, if he's lying to his wife, chances are he's going to lie (deceit by omission) to you as well.

In finale, there is my biggest problem with married men. I am awesome. No, really, I am. Just ask anyone. I may be a brilliant underachiever, but dammit, I'm still brilliant. I'm also cute. And occasionally funny. I'm not the jealous type, and like having a life separate and apart from my partners (as long as there is some convergence). I'm adventurous, too. I'll try nearly anything at least once. Suffice it to say, so long as you're not looking for a waifish moron, I am, indeed, the total package. And I'm good in bed, too. See Sex with me will make you live longer, supra. With all this going for me, I am far, far too good to be the other woman.

Even taking all of the above into consideration, I am still human. I've made mistakes before ("Charlie" in particular). I've been attracted to men who I have no business being with. I've let my more base instincts take over. But in the end, it's just a bad idea. I get pissed off at the cheaters for being dishonest troglodytes. I get annoyed with myself -- I deserve so much better than to be "the other woman" who is constantly lied to. But I don't claim to be perfect. When all is said and done, however, I am reminded again and again that my four rules are good ones. Each time I've strayed from them, I've ended up disappointed and pissed off.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I hate people.

Every now and then I get completely and thoroughly annoyed with the general population. I've always maintained that there is more good in the world than bad. Unfortunately, evil is a whole lot louder than anything else, so people tend to notice it first.

I try to be nice to people. I smile to strangers on the street. I talk to random people at the Dunkin' Donuts. Various roommates throughout the years have always been amazed that I'm always going on dates with new people. "How do you do it?" they ask. Simple. I talk to strangers. I'm also naive enough to think that when a man talks to me, he's just being friendly and is not necessarily interested in anything more. I'm not gorgeous or hot or sexy. I know that all too well. But I'll talk to nearly anyone, which apparently is a sign of romantic or sexual interest. I am the Queen of First Dates. A first date is generally as far as someone gets with me before they start to annoy me to tears.

What's worse are the random people who I have emailing me. Sometimes instead of giving my phone number to a stranger, I will give him one of my myriad email addresses. He will write me, and I will have no recollection of who he is. So a strange sort of correspondence will ensue, in which I will (1) remember who he is; and (2) be so irritated by his poor grammar or meritless ideas that I will never agree to see him again. Sometimes I'll be awake at 4 a.m. and wholly unable to fall asleep, in which case I'll wander onto various websites and talk to strangers. Nothing generally comes of these short-lived correspondences. Indeed, they usually fizzle out within ten minutes of initial contact. (Don't believe me? Just ask Mike. I wouldn't meet him for three months because I didn't like the grammar he used in instant messenger.)

I become disenchanted.

Right now, I'm in another one of my bouts of disenchanted "I hate people" periods. I realize that when I am in this mindset, I become vicious. One of the curses of being smart is having the ability to be vile and mean. Dumb people are not so good at being mean because they don't know how to be cutting and biting and deeply hurtful. It's a cross I must bear at times. I have the uncanny ability to immediately identify the most devestatingly hurtful thing that can be said or done to a person. I rarely ever go that far, though it's been known to happen. When an ex-boyfriend referred to me as "venemous," he wasn't kidding.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tactless? Me?

My sixth grade teacher told me not to go into law or politics unless I learned some tact and diplomacy. Not having ever learned tact or diplomacy, I sometimes feel compelled to find her (if she's still alive) and point and laugh at her. "Tact and diplomacy?" I'll ask. "Screw you, I never learned it and I went into law anyway." And with that, I give you this story:

When I was in the sixth grade we had a substitute teacher, Miss Massey. Everyone loved her. I hated her.

One day she wrote a list of topics on the board and told us to write about one. They were silly and trite – things like “What would you do if you won the lottery?” Then she brought out a cassette player and said that her boyfriend was a music producer. Studies show that music helps children think better, she said. Loud squeaks and strange moans emanated from the tinny speakers. Thinking music, she called it. Jazz fusion.

I wrote about a terrible substitute teacher who made her class write about trivial matters – like “What would you do if you won the lottery?” – and played distracting music reminiscent of crickets mating and off-key European ambulance sirens. “Names changed to protect the guilty,” I scrawled across the top.

After music class that day, the other sixth grade teacher took me aside. He was frowning. Frothy spittle flew from the corners of his mouth as he told me that what I had done was rude. Disrespectful. I should be ashamed of myself. He made me stay in during recess to rewrite the paper. It was a diversion from my normal lunch hours spent hiding out in the library or computer lab.

So I wrote about an evil teacher who censored his students’ writing. And about how the girl who was censored won in the end when her “disrespectful” article was published in the New York Times. Free speech triumphed and the girl eventually became an ACLU lawyer.

When my sixth grade teacher returned from her two-week leave, I was reprimanded. Her jowls quivered as she told me that what I had done was rude. Disrespectful. I should be ashamed of myself. She made me stay in during recess to rewrite the paper. I wrote about what I would do if I won the lottery. She said it was the best writing she’d read all year.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Beyond time and space.

On March 28, 2006 at 8:23 p.m., I wrote the following in my journal: "After a year, this mess is over. Now I have a life to get to."

Every now and then, when I'm least expecting it, that feeling comes back and I want him gone and out of my life forever. He'll do something that's completely within his discretion to do (I, after all, am not his significant other), and it will piss me off to no end. And then I start wondering where I'd be if I hadn't driven out to meet him on March 11, 2005. What would my life be like? Would I still be in Connecticut? I have a group of friends that I met because of him. As wonderful as they are, would I be better of if we'd all never met? I think about what to do. I could delete him from my life, but in doing so, I would be losing so many other wonderful people. I would lose those people in my life who make me think, who make me laugh, who accept me despite of my numerous faults, and those I find myself confiding in more and more often.

I think about all these things, and then I remember what I wrote on April 7, 2006 at 5:56 a.m. on a morning I couldn't sleep:

A decade ago, Jane used to tell me that ours was the type of friendship that transcended time and space. That it didn’t matter where or when we met again, but that when we did, we would slide right back into our friendship as if not a minute had passed. I wanted to believe that the beauty of that sort of friendship actually existed, though deep down, I’m never quite sure that I actually believed her. I even think she knew the last time we saw each other that it was the end. I hadn’t really seen or talked to her in a year. Something, some intangible feeling was missing. I came to her house wearing green pants and a baby blue t-shirt, both from Abercrombie – a traitorous act in and of itself – and didn’t stay long. When she called me later that summer, I made up some excuse not to see her. I was tired. I didn’t feel like driving. And she couldn’t get through to my place because of the tournament. That was in May. I stayed in town until August of that summer – 1998 – but didn’t see her again.

Why? I don’t know. Maybe I was tired. Or maybe I felt like moving on and leaving her and everything she represented to me behind. Maybe I thought we had nothing left to learn together and no way to help each other grow. I remember thinking how she was only content when she was unhappy and that I couldn’t live with that anchor. Maybe, though, she really wasn’t that unhappy, and I just mistook insight for discontent. But this is all just mere speculation and surmise. Truth is, I have no clue why I did what I did.

Regardless of the reason why, my doing what I did left a big, gaping hole in my life. I was just too foolish to realize it then.

Then, at the worst time possible, I met him. But even amidst all the whirlwind drinking and sweet smelling smoke and relationship disaster and muddled confusion – even with all that going on, he managed to remind me of a part of myself that I had lost. A soul? A feeling completely impossible to describe? Or maybe just the friendship of someone who cared to such a degree that speaking about it makes it seem trivial. Again, questions without answers. I just don’t know. I just want that friendship back, and worry that I may be completely silly to think I’ve found it again in someone else. It was so simple, so unmarred by cynicism (not that we were free of such, but the relationship itself was), and so unconfused by sex and bullshit. I’m well aware that the latter was never true of him and me. But when you break it down to its essence, its very core, maybe he was right, and that was the sort of friendship we were supposed to have: As Jane said, the type of friendship that transcends time and space. The type where it doesn’t matter where or when we met again, but that when we do, we will slide right back into our friendship as if not a minute had passed.

Maybe it is out there. And maybe I better realize it before it’s too late.


“People would stare at her because she was such a little monkey,” my father enjoys telling me, referring to my sister as a newborn, less than four pounds, shriveled and red, ferociously kicking off the blankets wrapped tightly around her as she attempted to fight her way out of the bassinette in the hospital nursery. “You… people would stare at you because you were so beautiful. Your skin was so pale it was nearly translucent, like a porcelain doll. So fragile. So helpless.”

That fragile and helpless state persisted into my childhood, as my mother says, because I was so small. She recalls the carpool she drove to Montessori School when I was three years old. “Brian and Andy would argue over who would have the privilege of buckling your seatbelt. You were so tiny and delicate that everyone wanted to help you,” she explains. When I try to conjure up the memory of those trips to school, in my mind, it was Brian who won the argument time and time again. Blonde haired, blue eyed, five-year-old Brian was my protector, my hero.

My penchant for boys lucky enough to have been named Brian continued throughout my life. Always, I saw them as huge influences: crushes, best friends, romantic interests, confidantes and mentors. Brian, the sixth grader who played big brother Charlie Brown to my little sister Sally in the school play. Brian, my best friend in high school, for whom I harbored a deeply devastating unrequited love. Brian, my Malaysian friend to whom I proposed marriage so that he would be able to stay in the country. Brian, the amazingly gifted, compassionate and blackly sardonic public defender I interned for after my first year of law school. And more. The list goes on and on.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An audience.

One of my ex-boyfriend's and I could only have sex with an audience. The first three times we were together, there was always someone else around. The first time we were physically intimate when no one was there, we were amazed that we were able to complete the act on our own. While I tend to keep my sexual activities more private these days, I realize that I am still the consumate performer.

Whenever I speak, it's always a performance. Whenever I tell a story, I'm always playing to an audience. As if this weren't bad enough, I actually try out new material on people to guage response before adding it into my repertoire. My more popular stories are so ingrained in my memory, that I can recite them in the same manner a trial judge recites a plea colloquy.

Even if there is only one other person around, anything I say is a production, even if only for an audience of one. Even my self-indulgant blog entries are performances of sorts. After all, my best moments are when I have an audience.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A gnomaliscious birthday.

My most recent ex-boyfriend (not the psychologist who wouldn't put out) decided to take me out for my birthday. However, I did not want to go out. So instead, he brought over pizza and ice cream and I subjected him to two hours of American Idol. Thus, at seven o'clock on the dot (he's always been uber punctual), Mr. Ex walked through my door with a pizza in one hand and a brown paper bag (he's an environmentalist -- no platic for this guy) in the other. A bag full of birthday presents! Wrapped in paper drawn by inner-city Hartford kids! (In addition to being an envorinmentalist, he's also has a social conscience.) It was clear to me at once that Mr. Ex had gone way above and beyond the bounds of ordinary birthday gift giving.

For a minute, I felt guilty that I hadn't been as generous on his birthday. For about half a minute, I felt guilty that I'd broken up with him, yet he'd proceeded to shower me with ye olde bag of gifts. And for about ten seconds, I contemplated returning his kindness with birthday sex. After tossing that thought aside, I dug into my gifts.

A gift certificate to a framing place. A gift card from Dunkin' Donuts. A book about Connecticut oddities. A book about gnome lore, full of wonderfully drawn pictures. And the best part, two (two!) ceramic garden gnomes. I don't have an army yet, but it's a start. Yay!


A conversation with a colleague while we were on a cigarette break:

Me: That methadone place fucked this one up. People who put together detox programs are morons.

Him: People who get hooked on drugs are morons.

Me: It's addiction, man.

* * *

An email from a friend of mine upon learning of the above conversation:

"He was smoking a cigarette and calling addicts names."

* * *

(Note: I really wish I'd come up with that response on my own. Instead of "It's addiction, man," I wish I'd said instead, "Aptly stated by a man smoking a cigarette." Yet again, I am humbled by a friend who is far more brilliant than I.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why have you forsaken me Walgreens?

So my mother called me over the weekend to tell me that Walgreens had been advertising gardem gnomes. However, after visiting four Walgreens retail stores, not one of them was carrying the coveted lawn adornments. And so she gave up. My own mother gave up on the only thing that can ever make me truly happy.

I am not a demanding person. Really, I'm not. But it's already seven hours into my birthday, and I've not received a garden gnome. Damn all of you who purport to be my friends. Damn you all to the Hell I don't believe in.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Transcending sex.

My ex-boyfriend is a psychologist. I met him five days before my twenty-third birthday; he was nearly thirty-eight. The perpetual teacher, he enjoyed showering me with maxims and pearls of wisdom. The insatiable student, I earnestly listened to and believed whatever it is he told me. Our first date was on January 12, 2002. We went to the local lesbian coffee shop, where he taught me about certain cognitive illusions. We proceeded from there to the bar across the street where I was carded and he was not. We then retired to his apartment for white russians. While standing in the kitchen of his Somerville apartment, he told me two things -- two gems -- that I always remembered.

(1) In a relationship, maintaing open lines of communication is imperative. He used the following analogy: "Say there's a piece of shit lying on the living room floor," he said. "You can walk over it. and ignore it. But even if you step over it every day, you can't get around the fact that there's a huge turd on your living room floor."

(2) "Sex is important," he stated. "If the sex is good and everyone is happy, then the sex part makes up about ten percent of the relationship. But if there are problems with sex, or if one party is unsatisfied, then the sex aspect makes up nintey percent of the relationship." The fact that we then proceeded to have god-awful sex that night should have tipped me off regarding the future of our relationship.

When I told Mike about the ex-boyfriend's words of wisdom, what was his reply? "So your relationship with him was pretty much like a big piece of shit that took up ninety percent of your living room."

And you know what? Mike was right. I spent three years with a psychologist (a psychologist!) who was incapable of communicating and wouldn't put out. And by "wouldn't put out," I mean that we spent seven months without sex. Not only did we not have sex in seven months, but we had no physical contact at all. Not even a hug. At the conclusion of those seven months, we had sex once before the no-touching-at-all status quo continued for another four months. The ridiculous part in all of this? I never cheated on him. I felt miserable -- like the one person who was supposed to find me attractive didn't. I gained an insane amount of weight. I felt disgustingly ugly. But I stayed with this man because I figured that I could transcend a sexual relationship. I actually told myself that I was better, that I was above needing sex.

Since that relationship, I've never apologized for the fact that good -- even great -- sex is an essential component in any romantic relationship I would allow myself to be in. So many people I know fall in love and get married, have the life we're all supposed to want -- wife, kids, mortgage -- and stop having sex. I don't get it. I don't understand it. The moment my partner becomes sexually disinterested in me is the moment I leave the partnership.

Don't get me wrong. Sex isn't everything in a relationship. But it is important. And so I unapologetically maintain that I am finished. I will never again make the mistake of attempting to transcend sex.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Back to the future.

I was a very forward-thinking young person. So much so that when I was eight years old, I decided that far too many adults do not remember what it is like to be a child. Not ever wanting to be one of those adults, I wrote myself a letter to be opened when I became an adult. I realized that when I grew up, I'd want to know what Eight Year Old Becca had been thinking. Using my best handwriting, I penned the letter, folded it, and sealed it up into an envelope. I pondered how old I would be when I "grew up." After reaching a decision, I wrote on the outside of the envelope, "Do not open until you are 27."

Sadly, although I was a forward-thinking yong person, I was not a particularly patient child. I opened the letter less than a week after I'd written it.

There are three days left of my twenty-seventh year. I wish like hell I still had that letter.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Little burning villages.

I was still in love with him on October 1, 2005, when he took me into the middle of nowhere. Whatever relationship we'd had for all those months was deteriorating more and more with each passing day. We both knew it, but for once, stopped talking about it. He drove, and I sat in the passenger seat, miserable and silent, wondering how long I would have to stay before he'd be ready to take me home.

I was tired. Tired from waking up at 7 a.m. for practice. Tired of the ups and downs in the relationship. Tired of putting so much energy into something with someone who would never ever feel the same way about me as I felt about him. Tired of feeling. At all. And now what was I doing? Driving to a remote location to spend an evening at a bonfire with a bunch of people who I hardly knew and who didn't like me anyway. So many people. So. Many. People.

Even now, when I try to remember what I was feeling that night, it's just a melange of fleeting thoughts, unsettling feelings, and strange sensations. But I do remember one thing. I had lost him in more ways than one. He was off talking to someone else -- wherever he was didn't matter to me; I had lost track. I had lost track of time as well. It may have been midnight or 4 a.m. I was cold and sitting next to the fire, holding the hand of a near-stranger. I had been talking for hours and hours, and wasn't stopping any time in the foreseeable future. I gazed into the orange flames. Deep within the fire a log was slowly burning. As pieces of the wood burned, I saw within the wood what looked like several tiny villages of houses, flames licking their roofs and walls, smoke pouring from the tiny windows of the tiny houses that made up the tiny villages.

I pointed out the village to the near-stranger who sat next to me. He said something back to me, but I have no recollection of what it was. What I do recall was an urge to wrap my arms around him and tell him that everything would be all right and that he would be happy again some day. My intuition was telling me that the person beside me was as deeply unhappy and lost feeling as I was. Instead, I simply told him that I had no soul and no spirit. He didn't respond and I went back to watching the fire.

I feel that way again, though. Not unhappy, but like my spirit is gone. I've stopped caring and simply can't be bothered with such tawdry things as love. I work and I come home and I socialize with friends. But there's a strange empty feeling once more. No one ever realizes it, no one intuits it. I've become ambivalent towards people in general and don't think about the odd, disquieting emptiness. But on those rare occasions that I do, I simply close my eyes and see smoke swirling about the little burning villages.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Deconstructing Showgirls.

Artist and the Making of Meaning. Only a ridiculously liberal arts school would have such a class offering. But there I was, taking the class, faced with the onerous task of coming up with a "piece of art" to analyze in lieu of a final exam. A piece of art. The professor gave us wide range: music, film, painting, sculpture, dance. Any piece of art would suffice.

What did I choose to analyze?

The movie Showgirls.

I've included an excerpt from the twenty page paper for your edification.

Nomi's relationship with Cristal takes on erotic undretones and shows how neither one of them has a true identity, especially as women. Cristal maintains that the two of them are the same person:

"It tastes like dog food," Nomi tells Cristal, speaking of brown rice and vegetables.

"I used to eat dog food," is Cristal's response. Long time ago..."

"Really? I used to eat dog food, too."

"Doggy Chow."

"I loved Doggy Chow."

At first blush, this conversation seems like a complete non sequitor. Then the meaning seems to jump right out of the television set: both them were poor, lost girls. Both of them came from the same place, along with all the other faceless, nameless women in n the world. All of those women, sitting together, eating Doggy Chow.

Monday, January 8, 2007


I try not to write about work for two primary reasons. The first reason is the more obvious of the two: I can't divulge privileged information. That's why when I do mention anything work-related, it's only in a very general sense. The second reason is that I just don't want to be that girl who always talks or writes about work. It's boring. However, I would like to discuss something.

Violation of probation (VOP) hearings.

When an individual is placed on probation, he signs conditions of probation. Generally, that person is required to report to the probation department every so often and pay a probation fee. In some cases, individuals may be required to participate in anger management, drug treatment, or be subject to random urine screenings. If someone fails to meet any of these conditions, or if he picks up a new charge while on probation, he is violated.

Being violated is pretty much what is sounds like. It's like having a proverbial two-feet-wide splintery broom handle shoved up the client's rectum. I have a VOP hearing tomorrow. Which means I have to go to court in the morning and tell my client to bend over.

Update: This was my first VOP. And oddly enough, the outcome was extremely favorable.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

My career as a songwriter.

It was 1996 and I was in a band. We called ourselves Sharp Freeze, after the freezer manufactured by Sharpe at the ice cream store where we all worked. Though I was a classically trained upright bassist, I was a shitty bass guitar player. But nontheless, there I was with my Fender Jazz Special, the bassist and backup vocalist for the band. Eliese was on guitar. Self taught, she was halfway decent. Sadlly, her song writing skills weren't as good as her halfway decent guitar playing acumen. Molly was on drums. However, Molly had neither a drum set, nor any training or lessons in percussion. What Molly did have was a pair of old drumsticks and an upside-down plastic trashcan. She couldn't find the beat with both hands and a flashlight. The ability to keep a straight beat in 4/4? Forget it.

I lived in the attic of my parents' house, a veritable suite all to myself. It was two rooms and a small bathroom with no shower. We were sitting nearly on the stairway, and halfway into the bathroom. Why? I have no idea. With all the room, I had, this position made little sense. Eliese and I could actually read music and were taking Advanced Placement Music Theory together. We started noodling around and actually came up with something that sounded not atrociously horrible. Classic progression. Nothing difficult. Then Eliese added some asinine words having to do with a freshman (freshman!!) she had a crush on.

Yes! We had written a song!

We played "our song" for about an hour. Until something hit me. "Slow it down," I said. And we did. Less than half time. And then it dawned on me.

We'd written the love theme to the movie Top Gun.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Journalists and sex offenders.

A friend recently forwarded me the following "news" story:


If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, the gist of it is that a freelance journalist was arrested during the governor's parade when he took a photograph. This particular journalist was on a list of "political activists" who were considered a threat to security. He was arrested for Breach of Peace and Interfering with and Officer.

Or at least, that's what the story says. It quotes from the police report, and seems to sensationalize the issue, making it appear completely Orwellian and reprehensible. I, however, can't help but wonder what exactlt this guy did to piss off the cops. I'm skeptical that he was only innocently taking pictures. I'm left to believe that he said or did something he shouldn't have done, and then ignored the instructions of the police officers on the scene thereafter.

The comments posted underneath the story rant and rave about the indignity of it all. Some people call for a Legal Defense Fund for the middle-class-white-guy-journalist in question. Others quote the First Amendment.

I was incredibly annoyed by the groupthink mentality of a bunch of armchair liberals who get self-righteously indignant when one of their own gets into trouble. These same people, of course, rarely care when a indigent guilty criminal gets his rights trampled. Reading all the posts from these folks irritated me to no end. But then I actually became almost as enraged as the narcissistic crunchy liberals when I read the following:

One person simply stated, "Why aren't our government officials and law enforcement officers as efficient in ferreting out violent criminals, sex offenders and hypocrites as they are with 'political activists'?"

Are we to believe that the rights of liberal journalists are superior to the rights of violent criminals or sex offenders? A green party campgainer's First Amendment rights are more important than a criminal defendant's Fourth Amendment rights? Sometimes I feel as if the middle class liberals forget the bigger picture when they rally around a cause. When their rights get violated, they get enraged. But then they point out that political activists deserve better treatment than sex offenders... and they end up speaking against the fundamental foundations of justice -- the very things they are fighting for.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Get me a gnome.

For years, I told people that when I got married, I want a ceramic garden gnome as a wedding gift. I gave this up. Why? Because I don't think I'll be married anywhere in the foreseeable future. Thus, I started telling people that I want a garden gnome for my birthday. Five years have gone by and I still have yet to receive a gnome. You'd think that I'd have an army of gnomes by now. But I have none. Because my friends are douchebags that won't get me gnomes.

My birthday is coming up on January 17.

I'd like a gnome, please.

It may be too much to expect, but it's not too much to ask.

I'll keep this short, since most of you have heard it all before.

Everyone who refuses to capitalize the noun "I" and who writes "u" instead of "you" and other such nonsense can sod off. Every time I see such horrid grammar, it sends chills down my spine and I seriously want to seriously injure the person who has inflicted such an atrocity upon me.

It is really too much to ask that people exercise the basics they learned in grade school? I understand that not everyone knows that "unique" does not come in degrees. I've accepted that. But I really don't think it's asking or expecting too much to insist that people know the difference between to (expressing motion), too (also) and two (the number). What about your (possessive) and you're (you are)? AAAAAACK. Such misuse and abuse sends me into fits of spavins and heaves.

People who violate the laws of basic grammar in this way deserve to be caned. Or have their hands cut off. With no hands, they will no longer be able to inflict such pain upon me via their keyboards.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year Resolutions 2007.

Back in 1996 I typed out my New Year Resoutions as a contract with myself. I had sections marked with roman numerlas. Under each section heading were smaller resolutions. Some sections contained safe harbor provisions (clauses such as "as I deem appropriate" and "unless it cannot be avoided"). I began the document with, "As of January 1, 1996, I [insert full legal name] make the following resolutions." I ended the document with, "I, the undersigned [insert full legal name] do hereby agree to accept the above resolutions, and resolve to do my best to follow them."

A lawyer in the making, right?

It is in the same spirit that I decided to post some New Year Resolutions. However, I cannot think of any. I can't very well resolve to be better about going to the gym, because I know I won't be able to keep that one. Nor does it make sense to resolve not to procrastinate, since I do my best work when I procrastinate.

So it appears that I am left with no good resolutions. Or at least I'm left with no resolutions that I can reasonably post in a public forum. So if anyone has any ideas for me, be sure to let me know.