Don’t Discuss


Top things that shouldn’t be discussed at the holiday dinner table.

I did my annual hop in, hop out of the East Coast last week. I keep these stays as brief as possible because California’s weather has pussified me. Friends and family usually proceed along a typical line of questioning:

“Is there a special woman in your life?”

“Yes, almost weekly. We recycle.”

“Have you written anything lately?”

“I have.”

“Am I in it?”

“If you are, rest assured; your name was changed.”

This year, with the women at least, the conversation eventually came around to Fifty Shades and the likes. Men in my family are badly outnumbered. We’re being poisoned to death by cavatelli. This year I was poisoned by ewy descriptions of what those books and movies like Magic Mike do to my relatives.

“I said, ‘Pass the mashed potatoes,’ not masturbation. I don’t need to hear all about your bean flickery. God!”

“I can’t help it. Those books did things to me inside.”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake. You can’t tell me that two Twidiots swooning all over each other got you hot and bothered. Pass the stuffing … no, don’t stuff anything. I’ll get it myself.”

“Everyone has their own Christian.”

“You women can’t have it both ways, you know. Pass the corn. No, not porn … corn. Jesus. Look, you can’t play the victim and then invite the abuser. The man in her books is not sexy or romantic. He is abusive. Meatballs? No, not benwa … stop!”

“He isn’t abusive. He’s strong and sexy.”

“You’re giving mixed messages. If no means no, then you can’t say that no means ‘come chase me’ if you are attracted to the guy. You fantasize about things that could easily wind up turning into PFA orders. Is there sausage left? Really? You had to pick it up with your fingers. What’s wrong with a fork?”

“Men should be the pursuers.”

“Untrue. Men whom you are attracted to should pursue you. Others should fuck off and fall off the planet. How’s a guy to know if you want him mowing your lawn or holding a boombox over his head serenading you from there? You all love the damn movies where the potential sociopath chases around the unavailable and uninterested dame of innocence until she gives in, marries him, makes babies, and so on. Well, you know what? Olive oil. No, I didn’t say, ‘I love oil.’ Pass the olive oil. These relationship-dysfunctional men who were abused in their youth do not grow up to become sweet, little Steve on Sex and the City. They become obsessed, controlling beasts.”

“Did you see Channing Tatum dance in Magic Mike?”

“No, because my penis prefers poking petunia. Now, I’d like some pie, please. Pass the pumpkin, punkin.”

“God, what a body on that man. Oh, the things I would do.”

“Sick, sick, sick–the whole lot of ya. Doesn’t it occur to you that a male stripper is probably fondled by more women in one fifteen-minute set than the average man (aka, me) is in a year?”

“You sound jealous.”

“There will be no more talk about what gets the juices flowing. I’d like to enjoy my cream cheese cupcake in peace, without images of oily man-chests. Fetch thee my tea, and do it silently.”

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.