Back in sixth grade, I swore off guys who have more important things to think about than girls, but now Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader is making me reconsider. Maybe it’s his lanky, six-foot, four-inch, Abe-Lincoln-disguised-as-David-Byrne look (those skinny punk-rocky ties and narrow-lapel dark suits get me all gooey). Maybe it’s his single-mindedness a desire for justice so passionate you ache to make your own yoni its sole object. Or maybe I’m just high on environmental estrogens. Whichever, it’s a crisis for my bodily ecosystem.
What makes it worse is that my husband, Max, who disapproves of any sex fantasies that aren’t about him, is an ardent Naderite. I feel silly enough about patting my poodle while I dream about Ralph’s boyish shoulders without having to feel like I’m committing fidelicide.
But Little Ralphie looks so sweetums nibbling at his portobello sandwich, sitting with such awkward boyishness beside Pretty Kitty on her red couch that she can’t keep her naughty hands to herself. Tenderly, I caress his high forehead with my palm as if he were a child with a fever and ask what he hates most in bed. Predictably, he doesn’t say, “Stopping in the middle to put on a rubber,” or even, “That ratty, piss-stained vintage nightgown you think looks so Courtney Love.” Instead, he obsesses, “When companies pay their top executives 415 times the entry-level wage.” He’s so sublimated, so beyond human you just want to kiss, kiss, kiss his famous face and squeeze what there is of his thighs!
As he spews forth about how tort reform will leave me vulnerable to flammable blankets, all I can think about is how cute he is when he’s mad. “Look, how about we do it on a white horse?” I suggest with feigned nonchalance. “Or in a speeding Pinto without seatbelts? Or how about you tell me what company you’re going to trash next, and we can sell it short and make a bundle?” But he’s been there and done all that.
Optimist that I am, I assume I can find something that will give us both pleasure. But what? Think, Kitty, think! He wants to make corporations more courtly, that’s clear. But his grasp of my womanly needs is impaired. He thinks I want better airbags and the power to fight City Hall when what I really want is better orgasms and the feeling that I am City Hall.
“Ralphie, my companion animal,” I whisper in his ear, “since civil law grants corporations most of the same rights as real live people, don’t you think we ought to have sex with one of them?”
For the first time, his eyes meet mine with heat in their lenses.
I run to the antechamber and return leading the incarnated corpus of General Motors, scantily clad and dog-collared, by a velvet, diamond-studded leash. I hand it to Ralph, along with one of those terrorist assault rifles that Dick Cheney voted to keep legal, and a list of my special requests.
He reads his script with soft-voiced authority, a smile of innocent delight illuminating his face as, reaching into his pants, he discovers a tall, endangered hardwood there.
“GM,” he intones, “I order you to give Kitty safe sex at any speed. Put on this lubricated, ribbed protective device and take her for a nice, long, smooth ride. Give her complete control, even under the slipperiest road conditions.”
As soon as GM strips to its skin, we can see why lawmakers think it’s human. It’s hung like a stretch limo, with abs of steel and chrome rings in its nipples the size of Detroit. Its groin emits that delicious new-car smell. As I rise to meet it, it turbo-thrusts into me with its 300-horsepower pelvis and begins to rock me with the rhythmic switchback moves of an off-road vehicle ad. Verdant trees rush by, wetlands, big skies and unmined mountains. My blood churns. My hydrocarbons burn like crazy.
I’m getting my hopes up that Ralph might join in, but it isn’t to be. Once an independent, always an independent, I guess. With swift, deft movements of his hand, he works his own stalwart constituency while GM rides my ribbon of highway into the sun. As I near my destination, a dreamy look passes over Ralph’s face. “If we had a real democracy, we wouldn’t need to live in a fantasy world, you and I,” he moans. “We’d eat real tomatoes, benefit from single-payer health insurance and drive atmospherically friendly horse-drawn buggies across the fruited pla-ay-ay-ay-ains.”
Buggies? After this ride on GM’s sleek machine? No fuzzy dice, Ralph. But he says it so sincerely, so passionately, with such lonely yearning that, blanketed with his inspired hopes, I burst into flames.