There by the check-out line in the local King Soopers was a Cosmopolitan Magazine with the big white words on the lavender cover, “Find your erogenous zones.” Well, it was the 70s and love was free, “Strangers in the Night,” kind of thing. It was kind of a kinky King Soopers (Kroger) in what my boyfriend, Peter, called the “gay ghetto of Denver.” It was such an interesting King Soopers that LONG before I knew Peter, friends and I would hang out there to “watch the freak show,” which is to say, some pretty outrageously decked out transvestites on a Saturday night.

Erogenous zones and similar libidinous mapping were a big deal back then. It’s fun to watch movies from those times. My favorite is Shampoo with Julie Christie and Warren Beatty, but Woody Allen’s, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask is a hilarious send up of that histrionic I mean historical moment.

The “sexual revolution” coincided with the Women’s Liberation Movement. Magaziines carried articles explaining that sex was something that women could enjoy TOO and that’s where the erogenous zones came (ha ha) in. I guess someone had to teach the men, but first someone had to teach the women.

I don’t know how it was for my peers reading this blog, but in my case it all started at age 9 (terrified my mom). The moment was met by a lot of stuff but no fanfare or congratulations as happens today. Ultimately, my mom handed me a little book from Metropolitan Life called “Your First Period.” She sent me to my room to read it saying, “Don’t come out until you’ve read it.” I read it. It was some bland anatomical graphics in the favorite colors of 1961 — turquoise and tangerine, maybe? It explained how babies were made but said nothing about sex. For my mom, that was all I needed to know EVER. She was a typically repressed WASP woman about this stuff. My dad was afraid I’d grow up like that and put his OWN book on the subject lower on his bookshelf a few years later when he decided I was old enough to care. He inscribed the book in his barely legible MS hand, “I pray you never need it, but if you do this book will help you. Don’t be afraid to talk to your beloved…” and some other lovely words that I don’t remember. It was a very dry, very detailed, textbook-like volume on, yes, you guessed it…erogenous zones. The key (as my dad clearly understood) was “…talking to your beloved.” Even Cosmo got that.

My friends were similarly clueless. I remember walking to high school with my best friend at the time. She had a date with a zoomie (Air Force Academy Cadet) and she was worried they would kiss and stuff. “What’s a French kiss, Martha?” she asked me.

“Well, you put your lips together, and then you stick your tongues in each others mouths.”


“No, it’s nice.”

“But HOW?” So I demonstrated by making a “mouth” (circle) with my thumb and forefinger and “kissing” it.

“No way I’m doing that.”

Yeah, right. She clearly didn’t know about erogenous zones.

I guess I ultimately figured this out in the way of animal species throughout time. HIV-AIDS put the kibosh on free love and sexual liberation. My international students sang a grim little melody in the early 90s, “Strangers in the night; AIDS in the morning.” I’ve never thought about this until now, but that DID bring the erogenous zones down from the supermarket checkout line.

Tigers. It can happen that in the moment of coitus a male tiger can (accidentally) kill his mate. Some species of anglerfish females absorb (permanently) their mate’s body into theirs. Sandhill Cranes have to go off alone in couples to do the wild thing and hatch their eggs. We all know about black widows and mantids. Many animals have a one off with a mate they never see again, the females go have the cubs and once the young are born, their father is a big danger to their future lives. The coot kills most of its young and raises only one or two. Many animals only “nurture” their young so long and then it’s “Sorry, Sweet Cheeks, I know you’re young and vulnerable, but I’m done.” The whole “mate for life” thing that people get sappy about is often more about the nest than about the mate.

It’s a jungle out there.

P.S. Cosmo is still writing on the topic of erogenous zones. As I “Googled” looking for a good cover photo, I found a recent article… Well, at 69 I’m sticking with my early assessment. Sex is weird. Good, but weird. I’m not speaking for myself in particular but all the time I’ve spent watching animals and learning about their sex lives…

Meditation on Justice

Justice is a made-up thing, one of the best things humans have attempted, IMO. It is designed to make up for the injustices of nature. Since justice is administered by humans, it’s not perfect, but its imperfections reflect the very imperfections in humanity justice exists to rectify. Laws were formed that all people could follow and a rule of law to establish justice in the case of a law being violated. The people administering justice are supposed to know the law well and have the ability to detach their own biases, beliefs, and experiences from the whole shebang.

That can’t be easy.

Justice is a very wonderful thing. There was never any need for humans to come up with it. Nature works in the opposite direction. It doesn’t give the weak and alien a chance at all. I guess when we decided to form the uber-organism of a society, we began to see survival as something beyond an individual thing. You’ll have to ask Lamont or Dude on that one. I don’t remember the moment myself 😉

I got justice this year. Medical science had found a way to rectify my weakness so I’m not going to be left behind when the tribe moves on, and I won’t be stealing food from the young.



Metal joints — justice


There is injustice here, too. By sheer luck (and possibly some merit) I was born into an upper-middle-class family with parents who both had college educations. I was also born with a pretty good mind and an extremely strong will which helped me compensate for some learning disabilities (and no one had learning disabilities in the 50s and 60s). My family also happened to have been from the Great American West where few people lived (or live now). I consider this good luck — the tensions of highly populated areas were not part of my childhood.

On the other side, why did my dad have to die at 45? Why was my mom a nutcase? Why was my brother self-destructive? Why am I left here with no family? What the fuck? Fate’s injustices were made up for by a large and loving extended family. This is an example of why justice is represented by a balance. The philosophy I grew up with is, “You gotta’ take the bitter with the sweet,” “Count yer’ blessings,” and “Keep on keeping on.”

I think every day we struggle for justice in one way or another. We want people to listen to us and hear what we’re really saying. We want to be respected for the person we are.

I’ve been — out of the corner of my eye — watching all the stuff involved in the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I will now weigh in.

First, when the Republicans (I believe illegally) obstructed the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice during Obama’s last year in office, they asked for what’s happening now. They’re getting a species of justice but it might be called revenge. Not having the votes to make any impact on anything Mr. Trump and his minions choose to do, they have resorted to dirty politics, and it’s just the kind of dirty politics that will deflect attention from things that (I, anyway) think are more important such as tariffs on Chinese goods. I think they’re playing into the Repub’s hands in their ire and search for justice. I think it’s awful.

Second, men vs. women. I grew up during the 50s –> now. I was inappropriately hit on by a wide variety of men from my college poetry professor to a kid in one of my classes. In between those two? I don’t want to detail this at all. As a friend and I were talking the other day, it was a different time. That kind of behavior — and the fact that it was more or less considered “OK” — is one of the reasons behind feminism. But back then I think we mostly went around with the idea that the only reason a man wanted to hang around a woman was on the off chance that he could “do her.” It wasn’t and isn’t true, but it was a common defensive posture.

On the other side…

There was a time in my life when my eyes were completely open to sexuality in the workplace. One was the office Christmas party at the large law firm where I worked. The woman who ran the one and only word processor (it was the late 70s), a formerly hot chick now in her late 40s, too much make-up, slinky clothes, cheap nylons, teased hair dyed strawberry blond, emphasis on the strawberry, showed up that day even more decorated with robin’s-egg-blue eyeshadow and jewelry than usual. That day I learned (in the lady’s break room) that she had been the “mistress” of one of the partners years before and had not let go. Her hope was to re-ignite the relationship — which I think she did that afternoon, if only temporarily.

The other was when I had my annual performance review and I was told (by the smarmy, nasty, ugly, polyester-pants-clad office manager) that the only reason I had the job I had was because one of the associates had recommended me. The law firm had the idea that in order to get him to go with them (he was a judge’s son) they had to hire me. They thought the judge’s son was boinking me. He wasn’t. We’d met when he attended the law school where I was working. He respected my work and thought I’d be a good paralegal. It really WAS that simple. But the culture was what it was. The undercurrent in that place was a lot like Madmen. 

Our rationale for all of this was “all men are pigs.” I would add (though we never did), “and some women, too.”

Sex is NOT rational which is why there are laws about it. It’s that justice thing again.

We don’t live exactly in that world anymore, but many of us HAVE lived in that world which makes justice difficult. The response of some is, “That’s how it was.” The response of others (younger women? angrier women?) “That’s not to be borne!” Both are right. That’s how it was and no, it’s not right. That it’s not right is WHY we’ve worked to change our world.

Which brings me to what’s going on now with the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh. This is politics. This is retribution. The guy deserves a fair hearing. I don’t like him. I don’t like anything about politics in this country right now. It’s all of a very corrupt and angry piece to me and justice doesn’t enter in.