What to Tell, What to Show: A Quarantine Primer
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because the jury is still out on whether honesty really is the best policy.
By Eugene S. Robinson
THC 4 U + Me. But Especially: Me
EUGENE, SIR: I guess I never factored in how much of a factor weed had been in maybe most parts of my life but especially my love life. I live in California, where it’s been decriminalized for a while, but with the shutdown it’s been hard to get it as easily. Actually, that’s not true. The truth is it’s obtainable, but now my partner is in a position where he actually has a real sense of how much I’d been ingesting. This hasn’t been a problem for ME but now he thinks it’s a problem. He’s trying to say that it’s not, that it’s a drug that bothers him but that he’d feel the same if it was wine I was drinking. I’m an adult, and while I understand that I’m simply being called on to explain, I find myself resistant to the idea that I should have to. I also hate to admit, life in close quarters with another human without it feels impossible. Not in a present position to break up, and couldn’t given the shutdown if we wanted, but with San Francisco rents we’re sort of stuck anyway. He doesn’t bother me about contact lenses. How is this different? — Miss Chavez
Dear Mischievousity: If your house were on fire, the attendant emotional responses of everyone stuck in the fire might range from mild panic to extreme, screaming panic. People would be running willy-nilly with the ultimate destination being some place of greater safety that may or may not include prized possessions, a clutch of clothing, and whatever odds and sods were deemed important.
You’re presently in that fire. Sans the smoke and flames.
If there was ever a time for a panic-reducing narcotic? This might be it.
We’re in an extraordinary position and, while pressure and panic might make jerks of us all in general, a decent rule of thumb is to remember the long game. This would specifically be the game that has you all sitting around one day laughing at how wild things “were.” A situation that seems much more desirable than being remembered by others who were sitting around doing the laughing.
If there was ever a time for a panic-reducing narcotic? This might be it. And while I’m not advocating its use, and usually I am a fan of taking whatever medicine you have to take withOUT that spoonful of sugar, now it’s understandable. So while you might not really need the weed/wine now, it’s totally understandable that you might want it.
Everything else? Relationship paranoia predicated on what Travis Bickle once called “morbid self-attention.” This will smooth to an end when the shutdown does. Until then, explain that you high is much better for both of you than you running around the house yelling and screaming or whatever your personal preference might be. A reasonable person might understand this. However, it should also be noted, that fire has a habit of making the most reasonable person UN-reasonable. Good luck.
Is Past Really Prologue?
EUGENE, SIR: I’m single but not sexless. Anyway, while sex-Skyping with one of my friends with benefits, I mentioned someone I used to have sex with in passing. Things skid to a halt. Problem is 1) our community of associates is really small; and 2) it was a same-sex affair. Is this jealousy, homophobia or just the quarantine crazies? I was like “whatever” at first, but like I said small community and I’m not out yet (just didn’t seem necessary). Is there an undo that you can think of that doesn’t have me telling lies and soothes feelings? Or should I just let it lay? — Bi-Bi-Sexual
Dear Bibi: To paraphrase onetime male prostitute, singer and poet, the late Jim Carroll, I think it’s time that we all start to think about getting by without needing to find somebody that needs stuff explained to them. Bisexuals often complain about homosexual mistrust, and as a lesbian friend of mine once noted: “It’s easier to tell people that I’m a lesbian than that I’m bisexual.” And so it remains that the tendency trends toward having you, always, explain that which wouldn’t require an explanation if the genders were different.
Probably something that ceases being interesting after you hit 30. Like Popeye the Sailor was prone to say, “I yam what I yam,” and so it is were I to be you: I would do absolutely nothing. The problem is theirs. Let them live with it. And anyone they tell? Also a nonfactor, unless you feel physically unsafe, then take precautions.
In regard to your continuing friendship? Unless there was some expectation that you were a virgin immediately prior to “sex-Skyping,” screw that. Don’t explain, don’t apologize. What you’ve done with your privates, providing it was/is legal, is your business. And remember, there are some who would find that revelation sexy because candor, for some of us, IS totally sexy.
Facials: The Other Kind
EUGENE, SIR: You answered a question in a past column about how sexy the symbolic was. You remember it? The question had something to do with ejaculating on your partner or their face, I think. The woman wanted it and her woke partner didn’t feel comfortable with it. I can’t find it so I’m asking. – JJ
Dear Dyn-o-Mite: I don’t remember it. But I don’t think I need to and probably we’re all better off if I exist in the permanent now, forget yesterday and don’t think too hard on tomorrow in regard to sex maladies, as yet even just ONE more question about penis size — making it stronger, last longer or bigger — might cause me to go crazy.
No thanks. I’ll just stay here, and while on the face of it I have no memory of the facial ejaculation issue, I think I might have said something along the lines of sex sitting at the crossroads where taboo and transgression meet good, clean, sexy fun. In such a place, the symbolic carries a lot of weight. If your sex is good/great/better, you’re probably enjoying the symbolic import/impact of your acts and activities. If your sex is bad/lousy/worse, it’s because you’re not.
How do you know? Well, how do you feel? Dirty? Is that how you WANT to feel? Then success! If not? Then start again. I think the only proviso I’d offer is when you start to politicize your sexual activity. I am unsure of how the somatic is served by subjecting it to an objective standard not of your making, but I guess it works for some. Just maybe not so much the people who really seem to be having fun.