For Now

I don’t have children, and it’s possible that I will be the worst father ever. People think I will be a good father, but that’s largely because I’m a good actor, and I have faked everyone into thinking I, y’know, “listen” and shit, so I am prepared for the fact that I will be a bad father. I might end up raising that one kid that makes your kid insane.

When I was growing up, half the time we thought to ourselves, “Man, what the hell is the problem with our parents?” I had a best friend named Gretchen in fourth grade. We played together *all the time*, our favorite game was Star Wars, played on her trampouline with pool cues. We would lightsaber fight for hours, swinging the pool cues at each other’s heads while jumping up and down uncontrollably.

Then suddenly, we weren’t really friends anymore. I remember the two of us talking to our assembled parents, I remember us being confused as hell, I just don’t remember any of the specifics. I remember Gretchen and I talking about how they didn’t realize we were too young to care about being a boy and a girl. We actually talked about it. “Maybe we’ll care later, but why can’t we be friends now?” We spent hours swinging pool cues, off balance, at eachother’s heads, but our folks didn’t want us spending too much time together as a boy and a girl.

But, y’know, I’m not really tied up in knots when it comes to sexual stuff at all. I figure at any given time, people are trying to have sex, or, better yet, they are having it, and I’m pretty much okay with that. I’ve had partners “cheat” on me, and I can say with all sincerity, the two things about it that bothered me were the lying and the fact that everyone else thought it was unforgivable. I’ve just sat there while everyone else said, “I can’t believe she did this”, when it seems perfectly understandable that *anyone* would do it, I just wish we didn’t have to *lie* about it.

I have a lot of confidence when it comes to my own fidelity, because my understanding of intimacy is completely screwed. By some incredible stroke of good fortune, intimacy and sexuality are not all that wrapped up in one another for me. I don’t have to have sex with someone to feel a sense of intimacy, and I don’t need to do the deed to feel a sense of conquest. If I look at a girl and I can tell she digs me, that’s enough. Because it has never been something I put a whole lot of stock in.

I lost my virginity really early, and I never really stopped having sex. But I also remained friends with everyone I slept with, I still write emails to girls that were hook-ups in high school. I have been right on the edge, so to speak, of having sex with someone and could see in their eyes that they were scared, and I stopped with absolutely no regrets. I’ve never regretted sleeping with, or not sleeping with, someone.

A big part of it is that I never really got that much out of it. It isn’t that I am free of talent in that department, but I have to guess I’m pretty workaday. I certainly have never felt the same thrill of understanding and communication during the sex act that I have felt while I was, say, playing in a string quartet or acting in a play. And if the pornography I’ve, y’know, stumbled across is any measure, I’m certainly not the most gifted man in the world. But what I lack in firm abs and strokes-per-second, I think I make up for in sharing jokes.

Now, why are so many of my friends so bent out of shape about the whole thing? Why are there boys and girls bobbing up and down in each other’s wakes, wishing they could be closer but terrified of how close they are? My guy friends have a level of intimacy with my wife that makes my chest swell, she cracks jokes and they laugh, they call and talk to her on the phone, she is essentially a really good looking guy that they can be themselves around. How can they be that way with the women they sleep with?

I’m not talking about you, don’t worry. I’m talking about that guy.

Is it possible that, if America wasn’t so terrified of polishing all the sexuality out of our children’s lives, that maybe our kids would grow up with a sense that sex is simply one way of communicating with one person, that masturbation is as essential as napping or snacking, that you can love someone you don’t fuck and fuck someone you don’t love and we can all still be friends later. Janet Jackson flashed a nipple on TV and mothers were saying “I don’t want my children to see that!”, y’know, the same children who were *nursing* a few years ago, and we are outraged, but so very little discussion goes on about Darfur or Abu Ghraib? If you care more about sex than you do about America torturing Iraqis, then you are the problem.

My kids will have to be the frontline of liberation. My sister knows she can talk to me about whoever she’s sleeping with, and I won’t come within a stone’s throw of judging her. She’s an adult woman that can fuck the Pope for all I care, I just want her to have good friends, a nice place to live and lots of money. I’ve covered for family members who were lying their way through affairs and nonsense, and I’ve forgiven my exes for their divertisements. My in-laws never judge their kids’ sexual lives, and with our sisters we generally know details pretty soon after consumation.

I have to think that my kids will ask questions and that I’ll answer them with as much openness as possible. It could all change, I could be a rotten father. But let me give you a snapshot of Jordana and I on the train yesterday:

Jordana: You like to do that head spin, don’t you?

Sean: Yeah. I think the head spin adds a lot of funny.

Jordana: With the double take?

Sean: Yeah. This is the regular double take ( Sean looks at Jordana, tries to look away, then snaps his head back at her) and this is the double take with the head spin (Sean looks at Jordana, tries to look away, then rolls his face around in a circle and snaps back at her). I find the spin effective.

Jordana: I like the spit-double take.

Sean: This is the slow burn double take. (Sean looks at Jordana, tries to look away, then slowly turns his head toward her. It isn’t funny.)

Jordana: Not as good as Charles Durning.

Sean: Yeah, that one doesn’t really work.

Jordana: (Eyes lighting up) I like the slow burn spit take.

Sean: (already laughing) The Slow-Burn Spit Take? How the hell does that work?

Jordana: It’s like this (Jordana pretends to drink, then, slowly, her whole face goes slack like a zombie, corners of her mouth turned down. Prretend water rolls out of her mouth all over her clothes.)

Sean: (laughing so hard the train is starting to stare)

Jordana: The spit take is when you’re surprised, the slow-burn spit take is when your life is ruined. (She does it again.)

Sean: (laughing so hard his voice is making those little whistle noises)

And that to me is what it means to have intimacy. The hours of unexplained dialogue that fit into this conversation are a thousand times better than fucking some 19 year old. It’s nice to come off stage and have some 19 year old want to have sex with you (let’s face it, the only time I’m remotely attractive is when I’m on stage) but it’s so much better to just know you can without all the need to prove something. If we understood the *chasm* between intimacy and sexuality, would we maybe not fucking care so much about porn and gay marriage? Would we be able to keep our eye on the ball? Could Clinton have achieved a lot more in his presidency if everyone admitted that we didn’t care who he was getting a blow job from?

I think so. But, again, I might be the worst father ever.