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The Sanctity of Marriage

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 PERSONAL ESSAYS

The Sanctity of Marriage


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Sometimes Donna will wear a wig for her husband Frankie. The garters and stockings (black) are a given, as are the rhinestone mules, the red lipstick and the demi-cup bra. The big dildo is an option; if she’s in the mood, she’ll suck on one while Frankie bangs her from behind, telling her how the hot young cock she’s got in her mouth belongs to the seventeen-year-old down the block. If Donna gets drunk, which is only three times a year, there will be anal.

    Recently, at two o’clock in the afternoon, Donna answered the phone out of breath: “I’m on speaker phone, I can’t talk.” Click. Dial tone. I figured she was doing laundry again — being a domestic goddess, she has no problem hanging up on me if she’s in the middle of a serious stain removal — but really, she was having more sex than I’ve had all month, in the basement, standing up, leaning on appliances. Later that day, I got the message on my voicemail: “Sorry, we were having sex. The kid was on a play date. We did it four times.”

    Donna and Frankie are my Republican friends. They live in the suburbs of north Jersey. They have a daughter, two SUVs, a dog and really comfortable furniture. They are also two of the most — if not the most — sexual people I’ve ever met. Frankie, who is now a Teamster, used to play guitar for a living. While touring, he easily fucked more than a thousand women. Donna, who now sells mortgages part time and is an uber-housewife, slept with at least three hundred men during the Reagan era.

    And they are both incredibly hot. We call Frankie the fifth Baldwin, with his black hair, blue eyes, perfect teeth and skin. Donna has an Ellen Barkin/Cameron Diaz/legs/boobs/mouth/bitch thing going on that I’ve watched unnerve men since the late ’80s. I have to keep reminding myself that these are serious right wingers — like Rush Limbaugh serious, Fox News serious, with enough faith in Dubya to render Noam Chomsky utterly speechless. Needless to say, Donna and I avoid the subject of politics. Instead, when her daughter is out of earshot, we talk about sex.

    “When did you do it last?” I’ll ask.

    “Um, two nights ago. I was trying on my new shoes for the baby shower. He saw me in heels, and that was it. He made me stand on the bed with them.”

    “Naked?” I ask.

    “Minidress,” she says. “He had me face away from him so he could jerk off looking up my dress. Then he went down on me for like an hour. You coming to the pool tomorrow?”


A couple of months ago, when everyone was out of the house, I asked to see the box of sex toys. Donna went to the back of the closet and pulled down a giant toolbox from the shelf. There were dildos and vibrators and handcuffs and spanking utensils and butt plugs and a slew of other electronic devices and gadgets to keep all orifices happy simultaneously.

    “Oh, so you’ve been hiding the WMDs,” I said, pulling out a giant black dildo. “Where do you stick this?”

    “Nowhere,” Donna snapped.”I was so fucking pissed off. He comes home with that monster, spends sixty

My inner cavegirl appreciates the Donna-Frankie clan.

dollars on it, like I’m gonna stick that up my ass! He’s such a deviant.”

    I asked to see the wigs. It was your basic Charlie’s Angels array, complete with the Farrah Fawcett special for those moments of erotic nostalgia. Sometimes Donna will wear more than one wig a night when they are in the mood for an orgy. Often, because he knows that I know about their sex life, I’ll ask Frankie, “So, Frankie, how many people were in the bedroom last night?”

    “I think three." He’ll confirm with Donna: "Right, honey, three?” Or he’ll say, “It was just us last night.”


The first week after the terrorist attack, I stayed in my apartment during the day, my ear glued to NPR while I watched the BBC and CNN on picture-in-picture. At night, I would go to Donna and Frankie’s house, where Fox News blared and the American flag waved from the porch. Frankie said I should move in so he could protect me.

    “From what?” I asked.

    “What, are you fuckin’ kidding me?” he replied. Frankie, like all good Brooklyn guidos, has offered to kill for me: “You’re like my little sister; anybody fucks with you . . .”

    “Good to know,” I always answer as Donna rolls her eyes. But it is good to know. My inner cavegirl appreciates the safety of the Donna-Frankie clan. It makes me feel special in that prehistoric, family-values way of "us against them." It’s not the way I live, but instinctually it’s often the way I feel.

    Donna and Frankie are more than friends, they are family. I get a sense of security sitting on their couch, eating ziti, that I never felt from my own family, which, though loving, is predisposed towards chaos, screaming fits and food fights. Donna and Frankie openly celebrate my triumphs and will shed actual tears for any tragic events in my life. Plus, as unlikely as it seems — what with my deep love for Jon Stewart only matched by their dedication to Sean Hannity, my dark despair over the war in Iraq and Donna’s joy for the Iraqi people the day Saddam’s statue came down — even with our polar opinions on all things political, we get along like a house on fire.

    Perhaps it’s the music: Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, the Stones. (Actually, we argue about the Stones; I love them less.) Maybe it was our participation in the punk/heroin years. When Donna fucked someone from the Deadboys, I fucked someone from the Misfits. Frankie shot up all through the ’70s and ’80s and fucked groupies in a van. Our sex-and-drugs bond is strong. It means never having to explain where we came from; it means not being annoyed because you’re too young to remember the Plasmatics. But it’s more than that — it’s neighborhood, it’s growing up in Queens, then Brooklyn, then Queens, then Manhattan, all of us overlapping, going to the same schools, the same clubs, the same drug dealers, the same apartments, fornicating with the same people at different times, in different cars, and not knowing it until it was all over and we were twenty-five and started to compare notes.

    Come to think of it, wasn’t it around the same time — while me and Donna were screwing boys in the bathroom at the Mudd Club — that George W. was blacking out for days in Mexico on cocaine binges? You can’t say he didn’t know how to have fun. Of course now, he’s recovered — or, actually, "saved." Liberals go into recovery, like the Kennedys and half of Hollywood. Republicans just stop. Like Frankie. A major junkie and substance abuser, he stopped using fifteen years ago, and cut out meat to boot. He just stopped. Donna, pill popper extraordinaire, had a kid and just stopped. Time to grow up, they said. Now in my neck of the woods, there’s self-contemplation, recovery, therapy, Pilates. Bush goes running, stays fit and talks to his heavenly father. Frankie eats salmon and spends half his life buried inside Donna. These modern Republicans may often seem bullheaded about their sobriety, and unable to orate about the subtle changes of daily living without drugs, but they do make white-knuckling it look kind of fun.

    Maybe all those decades of free love have just worn us out, and we liberals have become a little boring. Maybe we should try and keep sex under a rock, like the Republicans, in the bedroom, where you can get really dirty, where you can engage in blasphemous rounds of sodomy, knocking your white zinfandel off your the night table and ruining your copy of Ann Coulter’s Treason.


While Donna was pregnant, she and Frankie made a pact not to expose their little girl to their colorful past, to give her a good education and not to curse in front of her. Their daughter is now six years old. She’s going to summer camp, horseback-riding lessons, piano lessons, hockey games with Frankie and hiking with Donna. The kid is gorgeous, and we can already tell that she’s going to have "the body." But we ignore it. We encourage her love for animals and support her decision to become a veterinarian.

    Yesterday, while I was sitting at home writing, Donna called me from the city. She was with her daughter, buying dresses for a cousin’s wedding.

    “How cute,” I said. “When was the last time you had sex?”

    She whispered in code. “As a matter of fact, that happened today, while she was at camp. The plumber was downstairs fixing the kitchen.”

I will continue to laugh with Donna and Frankie. I will continue to eyeball Toronto in case Bush should win.


    “How many times?” I asked.

    “One for him, two for me.”

    “Two orgasms? With a plumber in the house?”

    “Please, it was five O’s the other night.”

    “How?” I ask.

    “With a . . . [clears her throat]”

    “Vibrator? He used a vibrator on you?”

    “Yeah. And then he goes back to work and calls me all emotional about how much he loves me and thinks I’m the bomb. It’s sick.”

    “I feel a little sick. I gotta go write this down.” I hang up.

    Two days later, Frankie calls about a guitar I’m trying to buy my boyfriend for his birthday.

    “Hey Frankie, I was just writing about you two again.”

    “Oh yeah, well maybe you should include ten minutes ago on a pile of laundry.”

    “Great. Why laundry?” I ask.

    “Better angle.”


I need to convince an undecided to vote Kerry/Edwards to counterbalance Donna and Frankie’s votes. Still, I will continue to laugh with Donna and Frankie as I scarf their pasta with gravy on a regular basis. I will continue to eyeball Toronto in case Bush should win, and I think I will start wearing those pencil skirts my man likes just to bring some of the focus off our pile of books by the bed.

    Tonight, as Donna invites me over for her award-winning pasta fagioli, I hear Frankie echoing her invite in the background: he’s fixed my antique chair and I should come over and get it. I’m really hungry, and it’s been a few days since I’ve seen them. I want to see their daughter’s blue ribbons from the horse show and hear about their post-bat-mitzvah sex last weekend.

    But actually I’ve been planning a night alone. This way I can throw things at the TV and scream obscenities without offending anyone. Tomorrow, I will show up at Donna and Frankie’s. Donna will hand me a Tupperware bowl full of pasta, I will hand her the empty from last week’s lasagna. We will go upstairs, she will show me the bat-mitzvah shoes, I will tell her that I finally got laid last Sunday, and she’ll squeal, “Thank God! You have to make time for it. You know, sex is fifty percent.

    “If you have that,” she will tell me, “You can get through anything.”
 

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©2004 Ondine Galsworth and Nerve.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ondine Galsworth is working on a novel about her experiences as a go-go dancer and a book about her new addiction, the rodeo. A New York native, she now lives in New Jersey.