Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC: Tuesday: Drinking and Screwing

With Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Bush twins sharing the stage on Tuesday night, the party atmosphere was in full swing. Our beer cup runneth over, and the hot dogs were firm and salty. Delegates were sporting plush elephant caps with enormous, erect trunks, and there were two women in velvet bodysuits and leg glitter posing for photos in front of the governors suite. Somebody was bound to get felt up, and we wanted it to be us.

Armed with our tape recorder and digital videocam, we decided to court some strange bedfellows and set out into MSG to interview people about the one interest common to Republicans and Democrats alike: gettin’ some.

Unfortunately, it became quickly apparent that the conventioneers who didn’t immediately walk away from us once when we asked to interview them for our upcoming sex column were hesitant to feed us anything more lugubrious than the party line.

“Sex is a very important part of marriage, but it’s for marriage and I would encourage people to stay celibate until marriage. It makes the sex wonderful for marriage,” one Iowan conventioneer told me. When asked whether her husband wore boxers or briefs, she answered cryptically, “Both.”

Undaunted, I cornered a Utah state senator on the floor, who almost convincingly agreed: “I think abstinence is really the best route to go. We should try more of that,” to which he added, “Uh...I don’t think I should be talking to you,” and I was left to wonder exactly who the “we” was of which he spoke. For the man representing a state where illegal polygamous unions still flourish, I had one more question.
“Are you Mormon?”
“Baptist,” he nodded and pretended to make eye contact with someone behind me. Curiouser and curiouser.

Obviously the older attendees were employing a clever confusion campaign to foil our investigations. We decided to take a stab at the taut-skinned youths who were beaming from every corner. Collin, a volunteer from Connecticut, was looking forward to his frosh year at Harvard. Though he hadn’t made a convention hook up, he did have a heartfelt message for the women of Cambridge.
“Ladies, watch out for me!” he yelled into my handheld. I asked him what he thought of the rumors floating around that extra prostitutes had been flown into the city from parts undisclosed to service the conventioneers. “Well, if you’re powerful, you can pretty much do whatever you want.” Harvard University agrees with you, Collin. Somebody give this boy an oil company to run!

The glee of sexual schadenfreude was beginning to wear off. Wasn’t anybody in this town procreating? Wouldn’t anyone tell us something we wanted to hear? Like a naughty little angel, there, in our deepest moment of despair, stood Samantha Bee of the Daily Show. Beautiful and tiny, Samantha Bee answered our stupid questions with all the kindness she possessed:

Q: How old were you when you lost your virginity?
A: Oh my god. Am I really on tape here?
Scott: It’s an alternative weekly rag, don’t worry about it.
A: I was 15.
Q: Was it romantic?
A: Nooooo.
Q: Was it by choice?
A: Yes by choice, not romantic at all.
Q: What’s the kinkiest thing you and your husband have ever done?
A: Gravity boots. I hope my parents see that in print.

Feeling a little lighter in our loafers (has anyone ever spoken with Samantha Bee and not wanted to make out with her?) we headed down to the press entrance, where we were in for one more celebrity surprise. Turning the corner we found a pissy-looking Robert Smigel and his enfant terrible, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, winding up an interview with Air America. We jumped at our chance and coaxed a soundbite out of the curmudgeonly cur. When asked whether there were any bitches at the convention he had his eye on, Triumph didn’t hesitate. “Well, you know...that Lynne Cheney. She reminds me of this Pomeranian I banged a couple of weeks ago.”

Oh, but the bitches were about to get even fluffier. It was time to relocate to the floor for a power hour of the Bush women. If we were stupefied by the Bush twins’ speech--“Jenna and I are not really very political, but we love our Dad too much to stand back and watch from the sidelines. We realized that this would be his last campaign and we wanted to be a part of it.” (Where to begin? The giggling admission that they--the daughters of the most powerful man in the world--don’t “get” politics? And when exactly did they “realize” that this would be his last campaign?)--we were morbidly transfixed by the glowing inanities spewing forth from Laura Bush’s mouth like so much spun cotton candy.

Afterwards, making our way out of the arena, we were overcome by a giddy, yet moronic sense of well being brought on by the first lady’s hypnotic, Joker-faced speech. I was ready to sprint to City Hall, get married, and be home, making babies and pastries by 2am. Maybe I’d even buy an American car!--an Oldsmobile Cutlass with which to cart said husband and oven-fresh buns to and from the State House. Suddenly all of my problems, my worries, and certainly my impending personal economic crisis seemed surmountable.

But wait, a little voice nagged from the depths of my smoothed-out brain, isn’t there another reason you’re here? Yes...it seemed to me there was something I was forgetting.

Getting felt up!! screamed the voice, which was beginning to sound suspiciously like Bill Clinton's. Right! I was here to ask Republicans about their dirty parts. How could I have forgotten, even momentarily? It wouldn’t happen again. I blinked. The fog in my head cleared. There I was, surrounded by screaming, bloodthirsty delegates, most of whom would sooner eat Al Franken’s toenail shavings than give me, Suspicious Press Member, a single whiff of their dirty laundry. But I had to try, just once more, before leaving behind all the latently fetishistic glamour of the second night of the RNC. Desperate in so many ways, I spied two tall, good-looking boybots standing in the vicinity of the Tennessee delegation. I approached carefully, and flashed them a demure smile intended to disarm.
“Hey guys,” I cooed, “I’m writing a column on the convention and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me.”
They each took a step toward me in unison.
“What kind of column?” Bot A asked.
“Oh, you know...a sex column.” I batted my eyelashes. Bot B stepped back so quickly he nearly tripped over a discarded “W Stands for Women!” sign.
Bot A drew in very close. He put his hand on my upper arm and gently squeezed, looking deeply into my eyes, “No thanks, sweetie,” he breathed.
Mission accomplished.

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Monday, August 30, 2004

RNC: Monday: Myth of a Nation

Scott and I threaded our way past the patient cops on the avenue, one of whom was alternately dealing with a nicely dressed older woman making good use of the word “fuck,” and a younger woman, possibly a college student, claiming that the sidewalk blockades were “just like the Nazis.” Once the Gestapo-like cops had finished giving us useful directions and wishing us well, we were on our way to the big time. Almost immediately, the welcome-wagon convention volunteers—pimpled youth in baggy green polo shirts—began waving us forward. They engaged us in brief, earnest conversations as we were herded toward the delegate entrance.

45 minutes later, we had been redirected, with considerably less fanfare, to the press entrance, where the greeters were a lot less excited to see us.
Once inside, Scott was immediately beset by a nearly unbearable wave of horniness for the young Republicanettes who twirled and giggled around the halls in Lily Pulitzer sundresses. Many of the boys were equally dashing, with carefully bed-rumpled hair and low-buttoned oxford shirts. With this many fine young things prancing around, there was only one thing to do: drink free beer.

After asking a dozen volunteers, guards, secret service and NYPD where to find our press oasis, the Media Hospitality Lounge, and getting just as many different sets of directions, Scott noted loudly to anyone who would listen “I’ve been to Knicks games run better than this.” I was reminded of my experience on the previous day, and the Fear began to creep back in. Not only was there no consensus as to where things were located, Scott and I had been crawling around the lower arena levels without the proper passes for hours. Finally, as a hungry volunteer led us to the lounge in exchange for hot dogs, I glanced around the maze of tarps and temporary walls that obscured any number of nooks and hiding places below the Garden. My paranoia was getting worse.

Which was nothing a little beer couldn’t fix. After we’d had our fill of decidedly un-American Amstel Light and Heineken, Scott went down to the floor while I sat in the stands to watch the prime-time speeches. With all the talk of 9/11, Iraq and our would-be conquerors, the terrorists, the GOP kicked off with great fanfare what I predict (as I write this on Tuesday morning) will be a four-day war tribunal—a mythologization of our Tragic Hero, George W, who stood witness to the havoc wreaked downtown by the barbarians, and who (Rudy Giuliani reminds us) is so very much like that first George W, the one who took the oath of office in our nations’ original capital, New York City.

The crowds of uniformed Texans in denim button-downs and white Stetsons led the war cries as John McCain and Guiliani named the enemies. The invocation of Michael Moore was met with the most terrible gnashing of teeth. The terrorists were a close second, with John Kerry coming in as Public Enemy #3, a rather embarrassing show for the man who would be Chief.

Every great warrior tribe must define its protectorate, and the distinctions made between us and them were useful in helping to separate the real Americans from the fakers who would be left behind.

“We are Americans first, Americans last and Americans always,” said McCain, leaving some of the immigrant attendees to shift uncomfortably in their seats. Giuliani spoke fondly of his hero, the “warmongering gadfly” Winston Churchill. While the audience was trying to figure out what the fuck he was talking about, Giuliani moved smoothly into his comparison of Churchill and W, and finished by quoting the latter: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” declared Giuliani, causing some of the non-Republicans in attendance to shift uncomfortably in our seats.

Of course, to sustain all this admitted warmongering, you need fear. McCain reminded us of the torture and murder in old-regime Iraq; the 9/11 widows spoke of the last terrifying moments of their husbands’ lives; and Rudy trumped them all with his oddly poetic and proprietary account of watching people leap out of the burning towers of the World Trade Center, struck with horror as their bodies fell for “5 to 6 seconds” to an unimaginable death.

But perhaps the most chilling moment of the evening came during the last speech given by a 9/11 widow. She spoke of her husband, an FDNY firefighter who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. As she finished, her voice wavered, and with a noticeable lack of conviction, she said, "I'm glad to share [my husband] with you, just as I am glad to share my oldest son, Kevin, who is headed to Iraq in December with his Navy unit." The crowd applauded heartily, but it seemed to me there was an uneasy, breathless moment at the end of her speech, as the realization hit us that this woman was offering something akin to a blood sacrifice to the state in the form of her son.

The Monday night prime-time speeches were so focused on 9/11 that I couldn’t help but be reminded of the two things I became very involved with after the attacks, namely drinking and screwing. As the dirty Dallas debs and their fresh-faced frat boys followed their leaders, the Bush daughters, into the New York night, it occurred to me that there would be plenty of both going on this evening, but not for us. Exhausted, we deferred to our day jobs and packed it in, but we weren’t worried. We’d be there to hear all about it tomorrow…

Sunday, August 29, 2004

RNC: Sunday: Meet the (Hispanic) Press

Sunday afternoon, I habitrailed my way past barricades and under subway stops, around the protestors to 7th avenue to pick up my press passes, where I was told that Madison Square Garden was currently open to the general press and I was welcome to take a look. After hanging around across the street with a few other reporters, we were led through the barricades and into 1 Penn Plaza, and taken quietly up to the 18th floor, where a special press room was set up for us. I was so enthralled by the Very Important Press treatment that I, one of the little guys, was receiving that it took me a moment to realize that not only did everyone on the floor know each other, everyone within earshot of me was speaking Spanish. I backed out of the room and quietly asked a cop at the elevator banks what was going on.

“Hispanic Press,” he said, “You’re not supposed to be up here.”
I argued briefly, but without conviction then beat it down to the street, back through the maze of bike-rack barricades and cops when one stopped me. I turned around and found myself being waved down by a furious-looking secret service man, who reached out to stop me from escaping his clutches. He nearly grabbed my arm, then thought better of it.

“Who are you? Are you a member of the Hispanic Press? How did you get upstairs?” The questions came rapid-fire--he was trying to catch me in a lie. Obviously, he had seen through my clever Latina disguise. It took him a few moments to settle down, once he had determined I was on the level. The guy was visibly shaken by my accidental breach. How in the hell had I gotten through 200 cops and 20 secret service without the proper credentials? In the end, I shook his hand and he let me go. I drew a shaky breath and crossed the street, the Fear beginning to worm its way into my bowels. As I got to the opposite sidewalk of 7th Avenue, I looked back at the thin blue line standing watch in front of the Garden. In the distance, I heard sirens. Somewhere down the avenue, a giant paper mache dragon was on fire.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Mission Statement

We, Dear Screwsan, being of sound mind and body, do hereby solemnly swear to produce only the most one-sided, poorly researched and culturally inane politico-sexual commentary and advice to anyone who will take it, and to many who will not.

Our first few posts are reports from the front lines of the Republican National Convention, a star-studded gala taking place in our hometown of New York, New York* from August 29, 2004-September 2, 2004. We attended** said convention with our friend and neighbor, Scott, who was all Jimmy Olson and shit, with his expensive photography equipment and adorable little tie.

But one cannot live by Convention alone, and we here at Dear Screwsan believe that there are Interested Readers*** out there who will benefit a little (or, more probably, not at all) from further investigations, solicitations and pontifications into, upon and through the shallow, muddy waters of the American Sexual Psyche. That is not to say that we are Freudians, although we have, in the past, had recurring dreams about a flying purple phallus; but we suspect that had more to do with the drugs than any sort of repressed genital insecurities.

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying: This is a blog about sex and it’s trappings****. Feel free, Interested Readers,*** to send in ideas, innuendo, questions and stories. It will certainly take a lot of the pressure off us and will no doubt enhance the readability of this site enormously. Dearscrewsan@yahoo.com.


* Truth be told, we actually live in New Jersey, but this made for a nicer, less complicated sentence. Hey, what’s good for the president is surely good for his constituents. Which reminds us: has anyone seen our eight ball? We seem to have lost it somewhere between the BYOB strip club and Camp David.

**In our blogging naivete, we figure the only way to put this post at the beginning of our blog is to pre-date it before all the other posts, though in reality we are writing this well into the first week of September. Stay tuned for coverage other Important Events before they actually occur!

***Carolyn; Mom.

****”Trappings” being those issues and events which are a) of slight-to-moderate interest to us here at Dear Screwsan and b) easy to bullshit about.