J – As you know, I’m working on my master’s degree in literature. I love it, but it’s much harder than I thought it was going to be. I remember being smarter. There’s been a lot of sputtering and backfiring going on, as my mind has tried to re-engage after its long slumber – kind of like starting up an old car engine. Anyway, I was walking to my class the other day and I overheard a teacher from across the hall say to her class, “The electric home vibrator was on the market 10 years before the electric vacuum cleaner.” Imagine. Flushed with excitement, I immediately rushed home to Google that. (I can’t even remember what life was like without Google.) So come to find out that it is true. They developed it (the vibrator) back in the mid- 1800s, right around the time that they invented the ladies’ bicycle: It had a special hole in the seat so that you wouldn’t get aroused while cycling. Jeez. If that isn’t a juxtaposition of recreational devices, I can’t imagine what is! You can Google it if you don’t believe me.

M – First of all, I want you to sign me up for whatever class you overheard and secondly, how in the heck do you get aroused from riding a bicycle? I usually dismount feeling chafed and sore as hell. Am I doing something wrong? But I digress. Are you saying that they were simultaneously developing “tools” to help us get aroused at the same time that they were developing “toys” to make sure we didn’t get aroused?

J – Yes, they were both in the same, revolutionary Sears and Roebuck catalog, the go-to place for everything from wedding gowns to windmills.

M – Apparently we females, and whatever does or doesn’t turn us on, have been a mystery since the dawn of man. Plato’s “Timaeus” compares a woman’s uterus to a living creature that wanders throughout a woman’s body, “blocking passages, obstructing breathing and causing disease.” This in turn led to the idea of women contracting a disease called “hysteria,” which they believed was caused by sexual deprivation in particularly passionate women. To “cure” them, doctors would perform “pelvic massage” – manual stimulation of the genitals until the patient experienced “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasm). Sounds like a happy ending to me.

J – I think that you should adopt a new “position” on the bike. I am very fond of pedaling around on mine. I also think that there must have been quite a few women who were anxious to visit their doctors’ offices every month to be “relieved” of their hysteria. Did you know that back in the early 1900s, there was a doctor named E.H. Clarke, who wrote a very well-received book called “No Sex in Education.” It stated that women should not seek out a higher education (college), because it would thwart reproduction. His theory was that when women thought too hard, the blood flow that would normally go to the uterus got diverted to the brain, causing the ovaries to shrink, thereby making it impossible to produce a healthy infant. Unbelievable. We’ve come a long way, baby!

M – We have. Wouldn’t it make more sense for men to just accept the fact that women are mysterious and leave it at that? Heck, with my hormones in major flux these days, I’m a mystery even to myself. Besides, mysteries keep life interesting, don’t they? During my 20-plus years of marriage, my husband’s experienced many different versions of me. I’m anything but predictable. Surely, the last thing he expected the other evening was for me to show up at his business dinner and expose my newly painted back to his clients. What a fun adventure we had that night. My bed sheets didn’t fair so well, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for shaking it up a bit.

J – Right. My green dragon looked amazing that night when I went to bed. But in the morning, when I woke up, it had smeared all over and I looked like Idina Menzel from “Wicked.” Shake, rattle and roll.

Wag Up

Body Painting – We got our amazing deal from a Living Social offer. (M)
Sunset – anywhere, but especially at Jimmy’s, on top of the James Hotel in Manhattan. (J)
Wag Down

Roses that fall over and die after a day or two. (M)
Single-ply toilet paper in public restrooms that you have to scratch off a piece at a time with one hand, because it’s always stuck up in those plastic containers on the wall. Come on. You shouldn’t have to be an acrobatic act just to wipe yourself. (J)

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