November 27, 2002

Make Love, Not Headlines

Politics and sex mix like hot chocolate powder and vinegar. Even so, you can bet the religious right will try to convince you that those ingredients taste great together. This is nothing new, but the potential for enforcing that mixture is now at a climax.

The consequences of this interference are reflected in the following letter that I discovered crumpled up under a bench. Knowing that all letters deserve an audience, I thought I’d give it some airtime. (Please note: this column is for mature readers! You kids can go play a violent video game or something.)

Dear Penthouse:

I have seen my fair share of college women, and consider myself a connoisseur of fresh young coeds; for sexiness both inside and out, it’s hard to beat my school, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. However, there was that one time last spring break at Daytona Beach when one Florida hottie eclipsed even the most Ragin’ Cajun.

Her name was Jennifer, and she was a drop-dead brunette beauty of 19. She was a native of Tallahassee and a freshman at Florida International University. Our attraction was as instant as it was intense. Before the sun could completely sink behind the distant edge of the water, we were in her private enclave, ready to give new meaning to Florida’s political reputation as a “swing” state.

“Excuse me,” Jennifer spoke from her sultry lips, “let me slip into something more comfortable.”

Feverishly anticipating the upcoming moments, I needed a diversion to keep myself from going to Disney World too soon. I spied the latest Miami Herald on her nightstand; I figured the only way to buy a few minutes was to flip to the public notices page.

Even the mind-numbing list of names was not safe from Jennifer’s allure. Her name sat on the page, making the Times New Roman font more attractive than I ever thought possible. Underneath her name were all of her best attributes.

Jennifer finally emerged, a captivating vision in pure white satin. We embraced as she pulled her lips up to my ear and whispered seductively, “I see you saw that list. I guess I’d better come clean with you. I have a child I gave up for adoption.”

Before I could say anything, she continued: “The Florida Adoption Act, enacted in October 2001, applies to a mother who puts her child up for adoption when the father is in question. In a newspaper ad, I had to disclose my name, age, height, hair and eye color, race and weight; my child's name, date and place of birth; and, if it is the address that is unknown, the father's name.

“I also had to publish my sexual history, complete with dates of sexual encounters. The ad must run once a week for four weeks anywhere that the conception might have happened.”

In each other’s arms, we marveled at the extreme stupidity and sexism of such a regulation. Jennifer continued to enthrall me with her gifted tongue. “The only local guys willing to date me anymore are the kinds who enjoy such ads and stupid erotic stories. My family has disowned me and I can only hope that my reputation isn’t ruined forever.”

“I see,” I replied. “My state just got rid of a ridiculous sex-education program too, one which all but denied that people have sex drives at all. Sex these days is an issue used to demean women and to give the religious right a self-righteous feeling of superiority.”

“Yes,” she agreed. “If people were able to view sex as a very real and unavoidable part of life, we could have free and frank dialogue and remove the taboo factor.”

We spent the next several hours in the heat of passionate discussion.


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