It’s a little bit baffling for a guy. Well, maybe I speak too soon. There is a certain amount of logic in the idea of it. You have certain things you need throughout the day, and so you carry them around with you in a little satchel. That makes sense. But the term “little satchel” can in no way be applied to the monstrosities that many women carry around and call purses, nor is what ends up in them limited to the barest of necessities for the day. Have you ever seen a purse upended? Have you ever picked through the spilled contents and wondered for what possible purpose was this receipt, or this piece of gum, or this thank you note carried around every day for well over a year?
I know what you’re thinking: “Ha ha! Aren’t you a great sexist? You can make fun of women.” The things is, I don’t enter this topic to poke fun at women, but because I’ve realized that we all carry our purses. Thankfully, our culture doesn’t demand that men carry an actual purse. If we did, we’d no doubt lug a 200 lb bag filled with screwdrivers, wrenches, duct tape, and super glue, along with our own assortment of ancient receipts, mushed up sticks of gum, and fourteen pencil stubs. But that’s what we do emotionally. We carry around our emotional man-purses. And mine has recently been upended.
I was talking with a Mormon I had met only that day. This was late December of last year, and my mother had asked me to meet with him because he was fairly knowledgeable about some of the problems with early Mormon church history and she was hoping that he’d be able to address some of my concerns about the veracity of the truth claims of the church. After all, she reasoned, if he knew some of the same facts that I did, but he still believed in the church, maybe I could find a way to return to faith as well.
We talked for quite some time; about three hours if I recall correctly. At one point I stated that I had started the wrong way round: I had tried first to determine if Mormonism was true when it would have been an easier process if I had instead asked if there was even a god. I explained that I had considered myself agnostic, but was beginning to identify more and more with the atheist label. When he heard that, he responded, “Wow. You have more faith than I do.” His point was, I think, that it would be just as difficult for me to disprove god’s existence as it would be for him to prove it, and that when anyone settled on the question of god’s existence, they were adopting a position where they take their desire for the result as the premise from which they begin their arguments. I remembered that in the preceding months I had also been frustrated with this idea of the fruitlessness of trying to prove or disprove god. Until I realized that it didn’t matter to me that it couldn’t be proved either way; at some point I finally understood that I simply couldn’t be bothered with the question.
This morning I had an epiphany. I realized why so many members of Girlfriend’s family and in-laws have been treating her the way they have. Their worldview doesn’t allow them to understand polyamory. In their eyes, her choices aren’t about living according to her new values that come from her new understanding of the world. They see it as her simply not being strong enough to live righteously. She is yielding to temptation. If only she had the strength to live up to the truth, she wouldn’t be doing any of this.
In their mind, she isn’t choosing to be polyamorous. She is violating sacred covenants she made with god in his holy temple. And then she has the gall to flaunt it in front of everybody? For shame! “If you’re going to commit adultery, at least have the decency to hide it and feel ashamed, the way we did when we had our affairs.” Amen.
In most parts of the world, insects constitute just another category of the many dietary options available to people. In some cultures, in fact, insects are considered delicacies, and rather than being quickly swallowed with a pinched nose when other food sources are not available, they are sought after, prized, and savored.
There’s a word for it, of course. Entomophagy. The dictionary definition of the word is, unsurprisingly: the savage practice of eating what no civilized person would ever consider food. Yes, the thought of it grosses me out. Yes, on a very cerebral level, I understand that it shouldn’t bother me at all. But when it comes to images of, for example, furry little spiders with too-tickly legs briefly deep-fried to get a crispy exterior and a sensuously juicy taste explosion after that first crunch, I can’t quite seem to envision myself making the transition from squeamishly eyeing the little critter on a plate to actually picking it up, tilting my head back, and dropping it down the hatch.