The “Day of Love” is upon us, and with Rick Santorum (aka Senator Lovekill) surging in the polls, I heartily put forth to my readers the same Valentine’s Day Challenge I gave to my clients: Send a love note to the last person in the world you would ever admit to loving.
No, I’m not trying to start some “spread the peace” movement, though that would be a wonderful byproduct. Rather, I pose this challenge to help you see that all the hate you feel for someone who’s “done you wrong,” all the disgust you hurl at your neighbor’s “lifestyle,” all the scorn you pile upon those who seem “different,” all this loathing might be a gateway drug to higher forms of love, and if you embrace the object of your disfavor you may discover one of life’s most transformative realizations: we can’t know what someone does for us until we stop obsessing over what they’ve done to us.
Take the case of George, one of my clients. As soon as his kids fly the nest, his wife starts openly cheating on him. She calls him on the phone and lets him hear her having sex with her new boy toy. She refuses to make love with him because she claims he can’t compare to what she’s getting from the newbie. And she constantly tells him that were he a real man, he’d leave her. So what do I tell George? Leave the bitch? No. I tell him to write a love note to his wife’s new stud muffin, letting him know how grateful he is that he’s bringing pleasure back into his wife’s life.
Does he do it? Yep. Does it help him? Big time. Because, deep down, George loves his wife’s new playboy. He’s been feeling inadequate for years. His marriage had become sexless long ago. He had stopped seeing his wife as alluring. But her infidelity (a misnomer for what is in fact often an act of deep and desperate faith in the potential of a relationship) roused his dormant emotions and made him feel excited again!
So what does he do with all that excitement? Something truly brave. He embraces the cuckold lifestyle. Yes, in one of the more productive reaction adjustments of the modern age, being a cuckold, which for centuries was cause enough for a man to murder his wife (e.g. Othello), is now a growing fetish in which a man gains sexual gratification from his partner having intercourse with other people. That’s right. George and his wife are not only having sex again, but he’s also enjoying the experience of watching her make it with his rival. His world has been blown wide open, he’s exploring new erotic horizons, and he’s feeling better than ever. Happy Valentines Day, Mr. Other Man. I love you!
Now if only I can get Rick Santorum to send some candy hearts to Dan Savage
First published in The Faster Times