Thursday, November 27, 2008

the martyr syndrome: an intervention

I have sorely strayed from one of my blog objectives: to share some of my accumulated wisdom in the area of all things psychological. The holiday weekend has given me fresh motivation and inspiration.

The Martyr Syndrome

Defining Characteristics: Insisting on having one's own way in the completion of a task; which is the hardest, tedious, most time consuming and potentially back breaking way of doing said task; and despite the urging of the majority of adults present to make it easy on oneself; and despite assurances that it will "taste just fine: or "work just as well" (maybe even better) done the easier, faster, way.

Upon insisting on having done it the hard way, The Martyr becomes overly fatiqued and "stressed out," to the point of intolerable crankiness, or poutiness, or both, in repeating cycles; which, in turn, inevitably elicits feelings of alienation and emotional deprivation; and the overall belief that one is not appreciated in the slightest, and therefore not loved, despite (indeed, in spite of) the sacrifices one has made. Heavy sighs and comments such as "But I only wanted to make everyone happy!" may be heard during this latter phase of the disorder. Tears may be present.

Preparation of the annual Thanksgiving Feast is a common precipitating event. The making of turkey gravy is a particularly ripe activity for the presentation of The Martyr Syndrome but there are an infinite number of domestic scenerios that work equally well in sparking the onset of the disorder.

Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to thwart the perpetual enactor of the syndrome. If a Martyr is in your midst, do not, therefore, direct your efforts toward trying to dissuade, shame, or engage in "I told you so's", particularly if you are in the throes of the decades long sufferer. It will be to no avail and could escalate The Martyr into further decompensation.

Recommended Treatment: There is, however, one full proof method that those exposed to The Martyr Syndrome can employ. I call it the "Dayglo Slushie Surprise."

1. Present the kids and The Martyr with a "Dayglo Pink Slushie" made in the blender. Inform recipients that you thought this would be "a fun surprise" and perhaps "the start of a holiday tradition."

2. Hold back a generous portion of the slushie.

3. Enact slight of hand.
4. Add heavy handed jiggerfulls of tequila and triple sec to the blender. At this stage, you should begin to feel the Prodromal Effects, Stage I of relief. i.e., Help IS on the way.

5. Pour covertly enhanced (prickly pear margaritas) DayGlo Slushie Surprises into two glasses: one for yourself and one for your co-conspirator, if you are fortunate enough to have one on hand.

Lime wedge and salt rim optional. Although, experts suggest these are better left off entirely lest The Martyr be tipped off to their significance and a second, more vicious round of the disorder ensues.

6. Give a knowing wink when handing the co-conspirator his Slushie "Surprise."

7. Toast to the happiness and wellbeing of all present. Give the co-conspirator a second knowing wink.

Feel Prodromal Phase, Stage II of the impending relief.

8. Slurp. Swallow. Allow the icy cold elixir to move to the back of throat, roll slowly down the esophagus, make contact with the tummy, and then ... ahhhh ... feel the merciful FULL RELIEF phase of treatment, that luxurious warmth from the inside out. The feeling that whispers, ""

9. Agree wholeheartedly when kids and The Martyr tell you how yummy these slushies are and what a good idea it was and how they "hope we do this every year."

10. Repeat steps #4 through #8, as often as needed.

low hanging breastesses are best

On the turkey, that is. When you cook it.

My husband, SAM, used to take his morning coffee at a diner with a man named Harry who shared his prized Thanksgiving Day tips. Many moons past Harry was a cook in the Army Air Corps during WW II. He later owned a popular local restaurant. Somewhere in between Harry cooked for Lyndon Johnson when the President was visiting Bergstrom Air force Base. LBJ was impressed, especially with Harry's enchiladas. LBJ requested Harry, and his enchiladas, anytime he was at his Johnson City Ranch, an hour or so from here.

So over the course of the past several years, Harry gave SAM numerous kitchen pointers. The most enduring and the most shared is baking the turkey with the breast facing downward in the pan. This way the juices from the dark meat marinate the breast.
This advice resonated for SAM. He cooked a turkey for the first time during his former marriage. His wife came home and started laughing because he put the turkey in the pan upside down, breast side down. They laughed even more when they tasted the result: They both swore it was juiciest turkey they had ever eaten.

Harry's second turkey pointer: never cook bread dressing inside the bird. It dries out the meat. In order to cook the turkey long enough to get the dressing cooked through, the meat is overcooked. Overcooked equals dry. So cook the bread dressing on the side in the stove.

Third pointer: Stuff the bird with fruit. Jenn at Juggling Life knows about this one, and a few more tips besides. In Harry's words, use anything you've got in your fruit bowl. SAM uses apples, oranges and onions. The fruit juice bastes the meat with the most refreshing flavor. SAM also uses Harry's suggestion of placing garlic cloves into the side of the turkey.

Juicy turkey with a tang of orange and garlic. Breast side down. Good stuff. Thanks, Harry, goddess rest your soul. And thanks to watershed for the turkey pic.
Oh, and here's my one pointer: Husband cooks the bird while wife blogs about it. Fabuloso!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

synecdoche, synmecdoche

I love Charlie Kaufman's films. Or, at least the three I've seen (that he has had a hand in?) in which he has had a hand.

That feeling of confusion and "huh?" during Being John Malkovich, and then suddenly "getting it, " or at least, some of it. Most of the time. Or, wait, is that, most of it, some of the time? Whichever. I dug it.

With Adaptation, that shudder of recognition in Nicholas' Cage's self-conscious character. The back and forth between the writer's head, the book, and the principal characters he's supposed to be writing about. I loved it.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: As a psychologist, I can't stop thinking of the possibilities. In the midst of some of my sessions with clients who have been through terribly painful events, I wish I had my own memory erasing machine. And not just for my client.

Today's meeting-of-minds with Kaufman was not a whole lot different. Synecdoche, New York is a wild ride. No, a slow, agonizing, downward cycle of a ride through the psyche of a man, Caden Cotard, who lives his life straddled between regret for the past and dread for the future. Occasionally he lands smack dab in the middle of the power of now and is rewarded by despair, but most importantly, despair that has been validated. That's as close to feeling good as he gets.

The paper where I get my movie listings gave it four-and-a-half-stars. After feeling thoroughly confused by the review, a WTF moment that only certain, gifted movie reviewers can give me, I decided I have to see this. I had no idea what the title meant, even less of an idea after reading Wiki, and even less still again after reading the definition after seeing Snyecdoche. So now you will understand how I felt compelled to take on the challenge of seeing if I too can get it, like the reviewer who gave it four-and-a-half stars. I mean, she must have gotten it if she gave it so many stars, right?

Feeling a little confused? Like maybe you get my review, or at least some of it, but you're not really sure, so now you'll have to see the movie too, to see if you get it?

There. You now have no reason to see the film. You do get it. And that's the feeling I got coming out of the theatre. Or one of about a thousand zillion different feelings.

In essence, I liked it. I want to see it again. So that I can absorb more. Or maybe not. It's a little too depressing to go through it all over again. But it is a fascinating, confusing, snapshot of a snapshot of a blend between one man's neurotic yet realistic worries, the missed opportunities and losses that result, and his experience of what is happening now versus how he is capturing it through his art (in this case, playwriting).
And now I'm wondering, will there be a director narrated version on the DVD? Ooh, I must watch that.

I was mostly enthralled. I laughed a lot. I smirked. I snickered. I chuckled. I recoiled. I felt that uncomfortable, awkward feeling of recognition that Kaufman's movies elicit. Here's another guy who thinks too much in a depressing, dread-inducing, erectile-dysfunction-happening sort of way. Way more than me, but I can relate to enough of his thoughts to wonder just how focked up I am if I see even a little bit of myself here. I am comforted, however, knowing, that I am mostly able to tuck away my neurotic thoughts into one of two files: "I'll think about that one later" or "Let's just forget we ever thought about that, shall we?" Not so, Mr. Cotard.

And then there's the psychologist in the film. Whoah. I sure hope Kaufman never wanders into my office. And then makes a film where I have a prominent background role as a self-promoting, sexy-except-for-the-blisters, doing more-harm-than-good talk-healer. I would be all, "Therapist, tear down that shingle!"

In the end, I don't agree with the four-and-a-half stars. I'm thinking four at best, five-and-a-half at worst. But that's just me. What you think is what counts. I doubt any three people watching this film are affected the same way. Times five.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

dishonor roll

Californians Against Hate (CAH) is a group dedicated to "out" those who contribute money to the cause of denying same sex marriage rights. CAH recently published their "Dishonor Roll," a list of individuals, companies, and organizations who donated big dollars ($5000 or more) in the effort to help pass Proposition 8. Check out the list, Californians in particular. Boycott where applicable; shake your head in disapproval where your consumer power isn't.

Here's an example, according to CAH,

"San Diego businessman Terry Caster, who owns A-1 Self Storage Company was California’s 2nd biggest individual contributor to the Yes on 8 campaign. Caster and his family gave nearly $700,000 to Yes on 8, including $400,000 just five days before the election."

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish for posting the link first and to my friend J for sending me the email. And To Form a More Perfect Union for the pic.

Monday, November 17, 2008

protesting prop 8

I took my teenage son and his friend to Saturday's protest rally opposing Proposition 8. My son's friend was hesitant. "What if there is violence?" "The people there will think I'm a lesbian." But in the end, she came along. It was a great feeling for me. For my child and his friend to see so many strong, outspoken, positive members of the GLBT community. To be reminded that the push for same-sex marriage isn't just about two adults who love each other and want to share in a lifelong committment as well as enjoy the rights and priviledges that come with it. No, it's not just that. There are the children. Like Mason. Who just want what other families get to have: Married parents.

Mason is a 10 year old who spoke with all the command of a veteran speech maker. Mason has two moms. He said kids at school tell him his is not "a real family." That his family is "weird." He announced that only 23% of families in our nation are comprised of the traditional nuclear family: a married mom, dad and their kids. "My math teacher tells me that's a minority!" The crowd roared. I cried.

All three of us bought this t-shirt to celebrate the day from EqualityTexas, to contribute to the cause, and to help this dream of equality become a reality.

It was also very cool to know that I was standing in unity with some of my bloggy friends: Jenn , Cheri, Kelli, QueersUnited, and DebOnTheRocks. Anyone else attend? Leave a link and I'll include you in my list.

Thanks to austinistdotcom's photostream for posting their Prop 8 Protest pictures to flickr, allowing this slacker mom, who left her camera at home, to post all of the pictures you are seeing to her blog:

Friday, November 14, 2008

a wedding gift from hell

Jenn's story about giving the grand tour of her newly remodeled house one New Year's Eve reminded me my most memorable wedding gift. One that I would like to forget, but can't.

We got married in my homestate in the Northeast. When we returned to Texas, my in-laws gave us a wedding party, in our newlywed home.

In preparation, SAM and I had done a bit of spiffing up, painting our bedroom the color of "Softness" for example (a mauve color, for those of you who don't keep a paint wheel by your computer screens). A few wedding gifts had arrived early, including blue towels we had registered for. So those were hanging in the newly bleached white tiled bathroom.

A cherished lifelong friend from Lousiana had arrived on her Harley lowrider with her mother strapped on the back. When they finished unpacking, I started to show them around. By this time the party was in full throng. About 50 guests were making merry.

After oohing and ahhing over Softness, my friends and I proceeded to the master bath. I spotted something dark hanging over the rim of the white waste basket. In one of those seconds that felt like hours, I zeroed in on this dark thing. What the hell is that? What the fock is that? Is that a turd? Yes.It.Is.A.Turd. A giant, glistening, man-sized turd draped on the rim of the white wastebasket in a white bathroom. And my guests are right behind me. Holy shit. No pun intended. And there was nothing at all holy about it.

In a flash, and before my guests could see, I grabbed one of my new blue hand towels, mercifully located just above the wastebasket. With towel in hand I flipped the turd inside the bin and threw the towel on top. I squeezed beside my guests, rushed it outside, and set the wastebasket on the ground behind the air conditioner unit. Will deal with that gem later.

Noone was the wiser. My guests didn't seem the least phased. They had just ridden four hours on a motorcycle so I suppose their brains were a bit foggy.

Later, when my husband and I had time to discuss the mystery poo at length, we started looking over our guest list. Who would have taken a shit on the wastebasket that was three feet away from the toilet? Why? How was that managed, exactly, the turd so evenly laid upon the wastebasket rim? Think about it, people. And think how you might have fared, under scrutiny for such a foul deed?

My husband immediately pointed to one of his distant relations, a kid who was in young elementary school. The kid looked troubled, he argued. He'd always thought something was wrong with the kid, he insisted. You don't know this family like I do, he went on. I do admit, the child had big dark circles under his eyes and looked like he was up to no good. I still have an image of his face burnt into my memory, him looking up at me, later that same evening. And yes, the guilty expression haunts me.

But I defended that poor kid. "That was an adult turd. A man-sized turd. It did not come from the anus of a child." To this day SAM insists it came from that child. I counter it came from an adult. Though what adult would do such a thing is not something I care to dwell on.

The next time we had visited with this family, maybe a year later, I found myself engaging the mother of this child with a slightly more indepth line of questioning than I might have done under normal circumstances. SAM was eyeing me down the table, giving me a subtle, knowing nod, with one of his familliar "see if I'm not right" expressions written all over his face. My undercover investigation did not yield much, however, except for learning that the dad was determined the child would become a linebacker in the NFL one day (the kid was on the runty side and never played football, unless punting football shaped turds into wastebaskets counts). He is smart as a whip, deans list and all that.

So these many years later, we still have not settled or agreed upon the ownership of the mystery poo. I've filed that away under one of life's mysteries better left unsolved. I have, learned since, however, with plunger in hand, that yes, small children can, indeed, leave man-sized turds.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

sarah: the new sanjaya

Damn. Why didn't I think of this? Political commentator Chris Kofinis said that Sarah Palin's media blitz these past few days reminds him of Sanjaya.

Sanjaya: Cute. Great hair. Not talented enough to win.

Now, go away. For the love of goddess and country, go back to Alass-gah.

You can listen to Kofinis below. Fast forward to 1 min. 50 sec. to hear the Sanjaya comment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Protest Prop 8 This Saturday

November 15, 2008

1:30 PM East Coast
12:30 PM Central
11:30 AM Mountain
10:30 AM West Coast

Thank you, Cheri at BlogThisMom, for making me aware that even in a red state like Texas, I can do some small part, Be the Change and help protest the passage of California's Proposition 8.

Want to show your support for LGBT individuals' right to marry? Join the Impact. Find your state here and do your part.

seven things

Grandy posted a meme today, here, and tagged the blogosphere. I've been tagged a few times for memes and so far I don't think I've completed one. I want to, mean to, start them, but somehow never finish (story of my life, seems like). So here goes.

Seven Things About CoffeeYogurt in High School

1. Like Grandy and Vodka Mom's daughter, I played field hockey all through high school. Loved that sport. I had to make a decision, my sophomore year, between tennis (of which I lettered my freshman year) or field hockey when the lousy powers that be in NJ moved girls tennis to the fall. Because, by all means, let's make sure boys tennis gets priority. We girls griped that very few boys played both football and tennis .. but lots of girls played both field hockey and tennis. Anyway, I'm turning this into a mini-dissertation. But one last point, our team played in the NJ State Championship but lost 2-1. I scored the only goal for our team. It was a whirlwind season. In the spring, my friend and I tried out for boys tennis team. Making school history. It came down to match that we played during school hours, for which a ton of people watched. We lost. Barely. I cried in the girls bathroom afterwards.

2. I wrote a paper for English Lit: how love was the downfall of two monarchies, Napolean and the last Czar of Russia. Is that deep, or what? BadMom?

3. I used to walk to my best friend's house mornings so that we could walk to school together. Her boyfriend plus friends used to park their car in her driveway. One chilly morning I walked up to see the inside of the boyfriend's car completely filled with smoke. To the point you couldn't see any of the three guys inside puffing on their weed. It was a scene out of Cheech & Chong. There's a saying, "The difference between good girls and bad girls is good girls don't get caught." Uh, yeah. Boys too.

4. I once was summoned to the Asst Principal's office after skipping 5th period study hall. Because the AP saw my boyfriend and me walking to the BFr house during 5th period (boyfriend's mom worked, if you know what I mean). He promised he wouldn't tell my parents and I promised I would never do that again. I didn't. Half a step closer to bad girl. Thanks Mr. C, if you're reading this.

5. I got a permanent in my hair on the day of Junior Year Homecoming. I wanted that tousled-look. Instead I got that poodle-fro-look. I cried all the way home. Then bravely went to the football game anyway. It was the most miserable day of my life. And for the next few weeks following. Things were never the same between my boyfriend and me.

6. At least one, maybe two years, I walked home everyday for lunch because I landed a lunch period which none of my close friends shared. I was too shy and too self-conscious to branch out. With hair like that, who could blame me?

7. I had seven or eight close girlfriends who were the best friends a girl could have. We had so, so, many fun times. Like one time we camped out in the woods. It started raining at 3am and most of us had no tents. Rain sodden, head pounding due to massive quantities of red punch and southern comfort, I watched a spider splash around in a puddle near my shoulder until the sun came up. Then we had to drag one hundred pounds of wet sleeping bags across corn fields and cow pasture. Good times. We're still in touch to this day. Now if just one of them would leave a comment, just once, ever, I'd (stop pestering them) be overjoyed!

Me and my peeps, 25 years later.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

a cowboy hat to remember

The other day, Motherscribe was reminiscing about how she met

her husband, here and here. Mrs. G at Derfwad Manor was describing a defining moment when she knew that Mr. G was her forever and ever man.

It got me to thinking about the defining moments in the early days of my relationship with Sam, my husband of 16 years. Maybe I'll post about a few defining moments later. But right now I want to tell you about one of the most memorable moments. One of those moments I wondered what in the hell I had gotten myself into.

It was late on a Saturday night, probably 2am. SAM and I had just gotten home from our favorite dance hall, a place we called the "Hall of Shame," or "Shame" for short. As in, "You going out to the Shame tonight?"

Earlier in the evening, like any night at any Texas dance hall, there were a ton of guys wearing cowboy hats. It occurred to me that I had never seen SAM in one, or I didn't remember if I had, and I told him so. SAM was born and raised in Texas. He owned nearly a dozen pairs of cowboy boots. His grandfather was a horse trainer and a horse trader. His father routinely wore a hat (Stetson for most of his life, then a sudden switch to Resistol). So with that background, I knew he owned one. SAM told me that yes, he had owned a hat or two in his lifetime, but that he pretty much only wore a cowboy hat to shield himself from the sun when he was framing a house. He couldn't remember if I'd ever seen him wearing one, either.

So I'm in the kitchen, leaning over the sink, eating one of my favorite late night treats: an egg, potato and cheese taquito from WhatABurger, with lots of hot sauce. Which explains why I was leaning over the sink, to protect my shirt from the dripping. Or, this is how you do it when its 2am and you've had one too many longnecks.

I looked up and realized that SAM wasn't in the kitchen. His taquito was getting cold. Where did he go? I presumed he made a trip to the bathroom.
A few seconds later, I hear SAM say my name. I turn around to find him standing in the doorway, buck nekkid except for a pair of boots and a cowboy hat on his head.

"What are you doing?!?" I yelped, egg and potato dripping down my chin.

Sam replied, "You said you couldn't remember if you'd seen me wearing a hat. This way, you won't forget."

I reckon.

Friday, November 07, 2008

prickly pear picking, part II

Cognitive Daily summarized research indicating that alliteration enhances memory. So "she sells sea shells by the sea shore" is easier to recall, than, say, e.e. cummings, "it is at moments after i have dreamed" or Emily Dickenson's "A narrow fellow in the grass."

With that in mind, I am hoping my readers haven't forgotten my post way back when on plans to pick prickly pears.

Pick them I did on the trail above. And two days later, no, two weeks later, I was still picking. Prickles. From my fingers. (You knew this was coming). And my hand. Especially that soft, fleshy area at the base of my thumb. And other parts of my anatomy I'd rather not put out there in the public domain. Those little bastards were turning up everywhere. So I will begin in order of necessity.
My list for post prickly pear picking:

1. a good pair of tweezers
2. a pair of high magnification reading glasses for seeing and grabbing those little skin sticking suckers.

I was given advice to wear thick gloves. I did, my first trip. Bad idea. My suggestion - make it your goal to have no hand-to-pear contact. Gloves or no.

Here's my experience tested prickly pear picking supply list:

1. a pair of metal tongs
2. a bucket
3. a metal or otherwise hard, flat cutting surface (I used a cookie sheet)
4. a knife to cut the pear open lengthwise
5. a thin edged spoon to scoop out the seeds and fleshy pulp
6. a strainer of some kind
7. teenager with a strong back and a penchant for mashing

I used a colander for jelly straining. Or, well, my able bodied teenage assistant did.

I also used a simple metal strainer, squooshing the seeds and pulp with a spoon.

Wooden cutting boards? Another bad idea. They capture and spread the prickles around. Unless you are cultivating a passive-aggressive plan to get even with your spouse or harbor a masochistic desire to hear him grouse about stickers in his hands for weeks afterward, do not lay your prickly pears on a wooden surface, like so:

That's a picture of my kitchen island. It has a cutting board top. Kitchen-central at our house, we wheel it around and use it for everything: food prep, dinner plate set up, homework checking. Burrowed down in the wood, those little prickly suckers enjoy an effective half-life of for-focking-ever. Take my word for it.
I did follow Rachel's advice on freezing the pods. I now have a dedicated bucket in my freezer. Can take out two or three at a time as (my blood alcohol level wanes) needed.

Burning the prickles off before handling works well, too. I heard of this method from two sources. The first was a friend who, years ago, was in the Peace Corps in Senegal. She recalled native children bringing her cactus bulb prepared this way. The second source was my mother-in-law who grew up in the Texas Hill Country. During drought conditions, she and her siblings (all nine of them) used to burn the prickles off the cactus in small bonfires and feed them to their livestock.

So I tried the burning method. With my tongs, I held a pear above my gas burner flame. Spore by spore they lit up in teeny little sparkles and burnt away. Worked great. A bit time consuming but made for easier handling later. Which, a few margaritas into the project, was appreciated.

So back to the fruit I picked. Or, the fruit of my efforts: a deliciously dark fuscia pink margarita, which, prickles not withstanding, was damned worth it!

And not a bad way to toast our new President-elect!


How will you all be celebrating this wonderful weekend in November?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

this one's for you

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks
(February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005)
And for every American. We've come a long way, baby.
Congratulations Barak Obama!
76 days and counting.

if you haven't done so, get out there already!

Reading Jenn's post about closing her eyes til it's all over made me think about how we plan to watch the returns. My neighbors are having a party, watching the results come in on a big projector screen outside. I don't especially want to mix alcohol with so much riding on the outcome. Could get ugly. So I'll likely stay home. Or I might slip over there if the returns come in with a clear victory early. I may wants to gets me some group hug action. Its been a long 8 years, 12 plus if you count the fact that we had to cope with Bush as governor before he was President.

My husband will stay home. He is a true political junkie. He will have nothing to do with such a public spectator event. He wants full control of the remote so he can frenetically change back & forth between pundits. He wants to hear every word, see every magic map change color, watch as each state's winner is declared. And eat popcorn while he's at it.

Our favorite commentator is James Carville. He's a coonass, sha.

We want to see him looking victorious. It's been hard watching him look so, well, rabid these past 8 years. We loved watching him on Crossfire, pitted against Robert Novack.

Our very favorite pundit event is when husband and wife duo, Carville and Matalin, face off.
Where has she been this campaign season, anyway? Has James finally won her over to the dark side? I find myself fascinated with their marriage, right versus left, staunch Clinton supporter versus Cheney aide. How does that work, exactly? What must their pillow talk be like?

For the benefit of any other Carville fanatics, I stumbled upon this post in my Google search. It talks about the Carville-Matalin D.C. abode as featured in Architectural Digest January 2008. Damn, missed that! Will be dialing Half Priced Books in search of.

And Chris Matthews of MSNBC Hardball is my daily standby pundit.

We'll be catching him tonight for sure. He's a Philadelphia boy, if noone figured that out with his Phillies cap on the day of the victory parade. I like to hear his accent, reminds me of "home." As well as his hard hitting, won't-take-fluff-for-an-answer, questions.

How will you watch the election returns? Got any favorite television pundits?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

same sex marriage can strengthen traditional marriage

Opponents of same sex marriage argue largely based on fear. You can get a general idea here on my blog, or at Queers United here. One frequently heard argument is that it will somehow subvert or weaken the institution of marriage. I've never quite heard a sound basis for this reasoning. I truly have not a clue how two same sex adults marrying has any impact on anyone else considering marriage. When you're in love, you're in love.

Fighting fire with fire, I offer an argument in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage based on an idea I haven't heard proponents use. I predict that gay marriage can strengthen traditional heterosexual marriage, at least indirectly.

The right to marry is one large step toward acceptance. Eventually this increased tolerance will lead to more gays and lesbians coming out earlier, which will in turn lead to fewer deceptive marriages. Hetero brides and grooms can feel more confident when they tie the knot that they are marrying a bonified straight person rather than a closeted gay person who is using marriage:

a. to go straight,
b. to hide deeper in the closet, or
c. to convince themselves that their homosexual inclinations are insignificant.

Or some combination thereof.
Legal same sex marriage may mean, then, that hetero-wanna-bes, hetero-fakers, or those who have unwittingly stifled their true sexual identities will be less likely to carry out the facade of a man-woman marriage. Instead they will live authentic lives pursuing the partner of their true desire.

Fewer sham marriages equals fewer divorces equals fewer disillusioned spouses and shattered children coping with the fallout.

One such sham marriage happened to a friend. Many years and tears later, they divorced. She is still in shock. He is still in denial. Or more accurately, he continues to deny. Fortunately, in this case, no children were involved.

I want to underscore that I believe in gays having the same rights and priviledges granted to all adults because its the ethical, moral, and constitutionally guaranteed thing to do. Period. But I do hope a few hold outs might be swayed by the pragmatics involved in my argument.

I have reservations about posting this for fear I will offend. I know that in many cases, sham marriages occur out of a lack of self knowledge, out of fear and out of well intentioned hopes to live a normal life, to avoid hurting family members, or to avoid shame. Who can't understand these motives? The culture of intolerance carries the larger blame.

I am hopeful that legalizing gay marriage is one step toward tolerance which is another step toward gays being free to live exactly as they are instead of trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all, narrow minded view of love and marriage.

So on Tuesday, November 4th, think about it, give the arguments some sound reasoning, and ....

Arizonians: Vote NO on Proposition 102 which bans same-sex marriage
Californians: Vote NO on Proposition 8 which eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry
Connecticutians: Vote NO on initiative 1 which brings into session a constitutional convention.
Floridians: Vote NO on Proposition 2 which eliminates same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships (even for heterosexual couples).

In other words, vote NO on ALL Propositions on same sex marriage.

You can read a lawyerly argument defending same sex marriage as a constitutional right, here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

don't speak for me, sarah palin

That I dressed up as "Sarah Palin, Hockey Mom" for Halloween last night but a friend emailed this YouTube video one day too late for me to add it into my performance, notwithstanding, it has me laughing. And if anyone would like to correct my use of punctuation or grammatical structure in that sentence, or this one, for that matter, I would not hold it against you.