Long distance puterías.
By MAEGAN “LA MAMITA MALA” ORTIZ
I blame social media. It’s way easier to point the finger at direct messages than in is to say it was all the fault of a man. Don’t get me wrong, he, a born and bred Angeleno via Ecuador and Guatemala, is wonderful. How else to explain my moving myself and my two school-age daughters to the city of angels from the city that never sleeps? But I’ll still blame Twitter, because admitting that I, a self-proclaimed put@, meaning sexually and otherwise independent single mami, fell madly in love enough to leave the city where I was made and raised is hard.
I came back from the Toronto Film Festival with the card on my mind. I called Chaz and invited her to attend the Lyric Opera, which I’d subscribed to a year earlier because Danny Newman, the Lyric’s press agent, had stood in my office door and said, “A man like you not going go the Lyric, you should be ashamed.” Chaz, who later told me she never expected to hear from me again, said, “Actually, I’m on the women’s board of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” I said I loved the Symphony, but I had, cough, subscription seats at the Lyric for Monday night. The opera was “Tosca.” She said it was her favorite. “Does that scare you?” “No,” I said, “why should it?” At the time I knew nothing about “Tosca.”
We went to dinner afterwards at a restaurant in Greek Town. Something happened. She had a particular quality. She didn’t seem to be a “date” but an equal. She knew where she stood, and I found that attractive. I was going out to Los Angeles a few days later, and I asked her to come along. We formed a serious bond rather quickly. It was an understood thing. I was in love, I was serious, I was ready for my life to change. I had been on hold too long. She lived on the 82nd floor of the Hancock Center and started sending me daily e-mails, even after we’d seen each other earlier the same evening. Her love letters were poetic, idealistic and often passionate. I responded as a man and a lover. As a newspaperman, I observed she never, ever, made a copy-reading error. I saved every one of her letters along with my own, and have them encrypted on my computer, locked inside a file where I can’t reach them because the program and the operating system are now 20 years out of date. But they’re in there. I’m not about to entrust them to anyone at the Apple Genius Counter.
Our lives grew together. One day in May at the Cannes Film Festival we rented a car and drove over to San Remo in Italy to visit the grave of Edward Lear, and on the way back we stopped in Monte Carlo and in a cafe over coffee I proposed marriage. Why did I choose Monte Carlo, a place I have no desire to ever see again? I should have chosen London or Venice or for that matter Chicago. I wasn’t thinking in those terms. We were sitting there talking in a little cafe at the end of a happy day and I became overwhelmed with the desire to propose marriage. Chaz filled my mind. She excited me physically. She was funny. She made a reading of my life rather quickly, understood what I did and how I had to do it, and after I proposed marriage she resigned as a lawyer because I wanted her to travel more than she would otherwise be able to.
We had times together I will always remember. Right after our first Christmas together, we flew to Venice, where I promised Chaz it would be rainy, cold, deserted, and we would have it all to ourselves. That was how I’d first seen Venice in 1966, and it was the same. It was romantic, sleeping late in the Royal Danelli and then waking up and making love and looking out across the Grand Canal. The hotel was half empty, the rooms a fraction of the summer cost. The city was shrouded in mist and always haunting. Romance in the winter in Venice is intimate and private, almost hushed. One night we went to the Municipal Casino, carefully taking only as much money as we were ready to lose, and we lost it. In a little restaurant we had enough left for spaghetti with two plates, and then lacked even the fare for the canal waterbus. We walked the long way back through the night and cold, our arms around each other, figures appearing out of the fog, lights traced on the wet stones, pausing now and again to kiss and be solemn. It was one of those experiences that seals a marriage.
Roger Ebert, on his partner of 20 years, Chaz.
Thanks to an equal-opportunity employer advertisement, placed in The New York Times to childishly taunt rival company Young & Rubicam, SCDP was forced to integrate. Don Draper has a new secretary named Dawn. And she’s a black woman.
Now, given the track record of office hanky panky on Mad Men , I suppose I can’t blame viewers for wondering if Dawn will get any action. (Although much of the speculation seems to disregard the era’s racial and beauty hierarchy.) But it’s interesting to note who viewers think is most likely to make a play for Dawn.
All over the web, folks are certain that Lane Pryce–and only Lane Pryce, who had a brief liaison with a black woman in season four–will be unable to resist Dawn’s charms. Why? Because a few dates with a particular black woman equals “a fondness for black women”? Because once you have the jungle fever, there is no turning back? Because only a certain sort cavorts with sisters?
There is something implicitly gross in this discussion. There is the idea that black women are all the same. One doesn’t like a particular, unique black woman, so much as have “a thing” for all of us. We aren’t women, but peculiar fetish objects. And once a man “catches” the fever, he can’t let it go. He is susceptible to any black woman in his vision. Of course some men do fetishize women, but loving women of color is consistently positioned as an unshakeable compulsion, rather than genuine interest.
Friend of the R—and newbie Clutch Magazine writer—Tami Winfrey Harris takes on Mad Men and the real in interracial relationships on Clutch Mag today.
@xsinclair—liking someone with green eyes and liking someone of a different race/ethnicity aren’t the same. To say that is a bit disingenuous under the guise of some sort of “we’re all the same here”—the old-fashioned word for it is “colorblindness.” And we give that idea serious side-eye here at the R, partly because the idea is rather dismissive.
Having green eyes tends to have a rather neutral to “positive” meaning in quite a few segments of the global family—I’m thinking of the conversations around the “exotica” of having such an eye color in some nations and/or racial/ethnic groups (think the ooh-ahhs around Aishwaya Rai and some Black folks of various hues chasing after lighter-skinned Black folks with “light-eyes and good hair”) usually known for brown eyes (Indians and Black people, respectively) that’s deeply related to the notions of “the lighter (meaning the closer to white features), the better.” (For Black folks, that idea is more directly tied to white supremacy, whereas with Indian society, the myth of “lighter is better” pre-dates the British invasion and colonialism but is definitely exacerbated by those facts.)
Liking someone based on their race/ethnicity/skin color has been fraught with a *lot* of historical baggage and tension, no thanks to the hierarchies around race and sexuality and desirability, which includes racial fetishism. If it wasn’t, Tami wouldn’t have had to write her post in the first place.
@sexartandpolitics—thanks for the back-up, luv!
“What kind of relationship you have is your choice, and one choice isn’t better than another. What’s important is that you make a choice. That even if you’re you’re monogamous, vanilla, and heterosexual—you’re doing it because it’s what you want and because you and your partner have agreed to it, not because that’s what people do. What’s important isn’t what path you take, but that you know there are paths. Paths? Fuck, there’s an entire open world out there once you get past “man buys dinner, woman agrees to missionary PIV until he ejaculates. (Or rather, a world including “man buys dinner, woman agrees to missionary PIV until he ejaculates,” because, hey, if that’s your thing.) There’s a million goddamn ways to love, a billion things “partner” or “lover” or “fuckbuddy” or “spouse” can mean to you, and you get to decide. How fucking cool is that? When there is no “normal,” there’s no reason to take pride in being “abnormal.” You just are. People who have heterosexual PIV sex for 3.5 minutes once a week just are. Poly/kinky/queer enlightenment wouldn’t mean anything at all if everyone were responsible for choice and communication in their relationships. Who cares how many people you fuck or how you do it? The only thing worth being evangelical about is consciousamory.”
A-fucking-men to every word of this.
source: The Pervocracy.