Hot, Ugly and Naive: The Great Economists
September 16, 1999
We’re ruled by a different system now, says Thomas L. Friedman, former New York Times bureau chief and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. It used to be countries had to worry about bombs; now nations live in fear that their bonds will be downgraded by the “Supermarkets” key financial centers around the world. Robert L. Heilbroner gives a scintillating history of economics in The Worldly Philosophers. These two books make the hairs on my arms rise up. Real thrillers! The way these largely awkward, stoop-shouldered, inauspicious-to-the-eye men (the great economists) are actually “shaping and swaying men’s minds,” setting “class against class, nation against nation” with their daring monetary theories . . . the juxtaposition of their power and their bumbling innocence in every other area of life . . . the way they interpret and, with their books and treatises, manipulate waves of social construct that haven’t even happened yet . . . well, I think it’s pretty sexy. I want to get my hands on one of these great economists and investigate matters. But what is an economist, exactly, and where do they lurk?
I suppose there’s something wrong with me, that I see everything in terms of sex, that I don’t imagine befriending an economist, or taking his class I think only of screwing him, of absorbing all his systems-of-commerce secrets through the skin. Someone has to have sex with the economists — why not me? They must do stuff other than collate data and talk reasonably, once in a while. Why, when the two great financial thinkers of their time (the 1760s), Adam Smith and Dr. Samuel Johnson, got together at a party, one walked right up to the other to attack one of his ideas, upon which the other responded like this: “Sir,
you lie!” And the first one said, “And you, Sir, are a son of a bitch!” Then they ran away and eventually became fast friends. That’s hot! I want in. One time a guy’s friends all ganged up on me over the validity of Impressionism today. I said, “There is none, and never was!” and I bit the man’s nipple to prove it. But I’m tired of arguing about art. I think a fight about radical new financial systems would feel more pertinent.
And now I think my dreams might come true, I might get my hands on one of these men. Because my husband just got a job working with them! Dave’s a financier now! He’s not a financial thinker
himself, but I bet he’s going to touch some. A paperclip passed to an ugly, future-systems-obsessed coworker might lead to anything . . . Economists get lonely too, I’m sure.
To get this government job, Dave had to go through five interviews, a urine test, a background check and fingerprinting. Doors seal behind him every day and he has to wear an attachment with a computer chip in it so the FBI can track him within the base at all times. All the people who work there, he tells me, are exceptionally good-looking, elegant and bitchy. (He must not have been allowed into the upper echelon yet, the place where the hot, ugly theorists sit at their desks and ponder.)
I could never get a job there: I have a police record. My best friend Rachel couldn’t either: she has a psychiatric record. Half my relatives would not have passed the drug test. Everyone I know, except Dave, would be deemed undesirable. It’s exotic to me, to be so close to one of these members of society who has never screwed up. They let him in.
He’s only worked there a week, and already our sex life is better. Now when he says, “Go stand over against that wall. Spread your legs. Bend over,” I’m thinking, A government worker is telling me what to do! He’s fingerprinted, he passed the test, and this good citizen is doing dirty things with me. It’s so much better than when he was just a musician with a half-dozen girlfriends. Anyone can have wild sex with someone on tour it’s to be expected. It’s conformist. But when the musician turns into a financier a financier to whom you’re married, with whom you go to the bank to apply for a home loan, whom you’re fucking in your own bed under sheets you picked out together and suddenly he is telling you to get out of the bed and to spread ’em wider . . . Oh ho, that’s so wrong. Because probably I’m a spy. Probably I go to subversive meetings in dank places, where burning eyes shine from under unwashed bangs.
What do you think they would think if they knew about these diaries? I don’t know who “they” are, exactly. Monitors in an office in Omaha? I have vague fantasies about them all the time: They come to the house and flash me their badges. One of them is tall, one short. They carry clipboards. They tell me I can’t write about Dave anymore, because he’s one of theirs now. They tell me what laws I’m breaking and how many years I could go to jail, and somehow or other I end up sucking both their dicks at once, two in my mouth, and then one’s fucking me while the other masturbates in my face and squeezes my nipples really hard. Sometimes Dave comes home early and catches us. Other times my underground terrorist buddies break down the door and torture the government agents while the head revolutionary washes me up. As we gaze into each other’s anti-establishment eyes, he sees me as a woman for the first time (my clothes are in tatters, and I am in bed, still dewy from coerced sex acts), and though we try to keep our impulses pure . . .
In my real life, on Tuesday, Rachel and I have a date to go shopping for twin strap-ons to use on our men. We both feel very sleazy and embarrassed about this. We turned red as we made our plans, sitting on her dock and lowering our voices to almost inaudible levels, looking out at the ducks, who would never, ever think of turning a female duck into a plastic male duck with a harness. Strapping the thing on is a truly absurd procedure and I know this is obvious, what with it being a fake penis and all, but unsettlingly unfeminine. Yet we feel compelled to do it! Rachel’s boyfriend is no financier, so I don’t know how she’s excusing this prurient behavior, but listen to this: in addition to becoming a government employee, Dave recently informed me that he was in catechism every Sunday till he was 15. Why he withheld this fact for so long, knowing how I feel about Catholic boys, I don’t know. I knew he was a choirboy, but The Catechistical Ministry (CCD) is even more I don’t know religious. I like good boys, for the contrast. I would never enter a rebellious person from behind. It’s almost like they’d be waiting for it. Where’s the friction, where’s the revelation? While Dave’s early CCD/choirboy training drove him to a life so dissolute he ended up temporarily screwing up his central nervous system, he’s now settling joyfully back into the regimented life: yelling at me about my bad credit, making me swear to never again touch cocaine, hobnobbing with all the uptight people at the drycleaners and in the “exotic foods” aisle of the grocery store. It’s going to be a pleasure to fuck this new person up the ass. Olé!
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com