Not too long ago, a conversation with some married friends, lubricated with vodka, turned to our youthful days. And that, naturally, moved on to sex. Not married sex, which nobody talks about. But single sex, which everyone talks about.
My contribution involved a story from my salad days, which I am not going to tell here. (That one will cost you two rounds at an afternoon of day drinking.) Anyway, this particular anecdote is about a friend of mine, and we’ll call him Mark. He was, not to put too fine a point on it, a slut.
He slept with single guys, married men, boyfriends of other guys and the boyfriends of his girlfriends. Technically speaking, since he was a man, I suppose he was really a horndog. But I’ll stick with slut. I think he earned it.
Now let’s bring in Rick. Now he was not a slut. Oh, from time to time, he might have been caught being a little slutty. He didn’t do everything that Mark did; he drew the line at sleeping with other people’s boyfriends. Husbands of women he didn’t know…well, maybe.
After all, there’s a difference between being a slut and being a little slutty. Something to do with frequency and discretion. Right?
And there was Steve. He only dated guys he met at church or in class or at the Christian Science Reading Room. Steve was quick to call Mark a slut, and he didn’t hold Rick in particularly high esteem either.
When it came to the use of recreational mood enhancers, Mark was the go-to guy. Up, down and all around, Mark had the stuff to get you there. He was the guy at the party smoking a joint on the patio, or barely hiding himself when he did a bump.
Rick, on the other hand, never had the stuff—at least not on him—but he always knew where to get it—from Mark. Of course, Rick would only take a hit from Mark if they moved out of eyesight or would do a line if they went to the bathroom. You see, Rick didn’t really do drugs. Mark did drugs. Again, something to do with frequency and discretion.
Meanwhile, Steve was at the buffet table, looking askance at what was going on outside and checking to see how long everyone stayed in the bathroom. The term “druggie” was probably coined by someone like Steve. If he had been there when Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her,” Steve no doubt would have conked the woman taken in adultery on the head with the largest rock he could lift.
So when this week’s kerfuffle arrived in the form of a tweet from Roseanne Barr and the cancellation of her series, the Ricks and Steves among us came out in full force. The Steves were quick to call out the racist tweet and to label Ms. Barr a racist, based on the evidence.
The Ricks, on the other hand, began talking about The View and Bill Maher without addressing what was actually said in the tweet. I didn’t see anything from the Marks—I think they were all at a KKK recruitment meeting.
Next week, it might be another disclosure about something sexist or homophobic or anti-Semitic. Or, it may be about racism again. But the division between what we say and who we are has always been a dotted line at best.
Almost 2,500 years ago, Socrates said, “Speak, so that I may see you.” Words best remembered by anyone with a Twitter or Facebook account.
Now, back to the anecdote. One Saturday night, I had a rousing conversation with my friend Mark over dinner about my view that he was obsessed with sex and his assertion that his casualness about sex demonstrated how unimportant it all was to him.
Later that night, we were at a dance bar, and I came off the dance floor and walked over to where Mark was sitting with his new “friend.”
And that’s where the story ends–unless you put a pair of Goose martinis, up and dirty, in front of me.
Better make them doubles.