This Halloween, I went back to my own nerdy childhood to be a sexy Ed Emberley bat, from the popular books where you were taught to “draw” animals, although truly you were drafting them based on basic shapes. I was very honored to wear it on a themed comedy show, Game Night, hosted by Laser Malena-Webber at a nerd-themed game shop, Geeky Teas in Burbank. (as if there is any other kind.)
How We Prepared Emma For The Adventure Of Marriage
Meeting The Crew
My baby sister Emma will get married, so we meet up in New Orleans to celebrate. Her bachelorettes are a combination of big-city career women and her high-school friends, and of course her two sisters, who have already been married and divorced, but are trying to maintain a good attitude. We’ve got single people, people in long term relationships, and lots of married women. Lots of advice, lots of perspectives.
Joni married early and dotes on her two adorable kidlets. She doesn’t always know about internet slang, memes, who’s president, or other minor trivia. She’s a busy lady.
Amanda is a corporate woman, also with two small kids, who has just relocated to the midwest with her family.
Sadie, our other sister, divorced with a kid. She’s looking for Mr. Right and has been frustrated with the men she meets.
I’m divorced, childless, and happy about it.
Asha is desperately beautiful, partnered, and a doctor. She’s seriously intimidating.
Marie is European, never married, and sometimes seems a touch naive.
“It’s not going to be one of those embarrassing Bachelorettes” we say to one another.
“We’re not going to have penis necklaces and straws. That’s for unsophisticated people. Not for people who went to college. Who like art. We’re not going to be basic.”
When we say this, we mean it.
My sister will marry a lovely man. I’m very happy for her. Men she has dated before have been toxic or distant. This man is loving, handy, and seems to take real pleasure in making projects for her. He is kind and smart and I am so excited to have him in my family.
The Adventure Begins
We start the first day with a fancy breakfast and doting waitstaff. She offers $24 bottomless mimosas, but we giggle and stick to tea. My sister is wearing all white and a veil, which she assures us she will be wearing all weekend.
Marie points out that in Europe, the bachelorette party is called a Hen Night. Because so many of us are divorced, I identify more with Hen Night than Bachelorette, just busty busybody chickens clucking around. Joni asks if the bachelors have a Cock Night. This is very funny of Joni until I realize she didn’t mean it to be. Marie says no, in Europe the men have Stag Night, and then, I guess, a chicken and a deer get married.
We break for after-brunch drinks. We explain to Joni that sometimes people pee on each other in bed, and that eggplants are emoji for penises. Sadie is swiping idly through her Tinder matches, explaining that her only demands are that the applicants have hair and don’t demand NSA hookups. We explain to Joni what NSA hookups are.
Marie wants to stop on the pictures with taut, hairless abs, but I tell her that if a guy leads with his abs, he’ll show them to everyone. I want to swipe right on a cute artist named Will but Sadie stops me. “He doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t have a kid. I know that right now.” She dismisses him. I keep trying to tell her that, as we move into our fourth decade on earth, she might have to be flexible on hair. “Nothing doing”, Sadie says. “I’m not matching with a bald POS like my ex-husband.” She tells us that, hilariously, he blamed her for his hair loss. “After all”, he said, “I wasn’t balding when we met.” I laugh, but I’m also sad.
We have a day of bachelorette adventure. Terrible drinks. Jazz bands. Our bride is congratulated, over and over. We beam with pride. And drink. We take a ghost tour. And drink. Then, we see a psychic, and drink.
We compare our psychic readings. Asha’s reading indicates she’s very lustful, and not apologetic about it. She agrees- she enjoys sex, and resents how her mother talked to her about sex, that it was something men always wanted and that women never wanted, but which had to occasionally be tolerated.
Sadie was told that, after a terrible marriage and some disappointing dating, she is still too angry to successfully partner with a new person, that she is a teflon pan on which no-one can find purchase.
Emma’s reading is exciting and rosy, about her new role as wife and her new life.
My reading is mostly about career and goals, but at one moment the psychic cocks her head and asks, and you’re seeing someone? And I say yes, and she says, and it’s good, and I agree, it is. It may seem like faint praise, but it is good, and I’m grateful.
Yelling At Clowns
The second morning, we head to the famous Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. A colorfully dressed clown crows when he sees my sister’s veil and he starts making her a penis crown out of balloons. It is almost pornographic in its detail. This is not his first penis crown. We refuse it. “This,” I tell him, “is not that kind of bachelorette. We are not interested in being covered in penises.” He spreads his hands and pretends to be offended. “And besides,” I continue playfully, “all penises are pretty much the same. They don’t matter.” The clown angrily starts listing types of penises. “They can be big! Small! Curved! Straight!” We are grateful to be seated and get away from the clown yelling about penises.
I think we try to simplify down to penises because love itself is so scary and full of unknowns. People can change, their goals and life veer away from each other, they can fall in love with other people or just out of love with each other, so we like to simplify it. Penises it is. I get up to go to the bathroom and when I get back, my sister is wearing a penis crown. As we eat our beignets, we explain to Joni the concept of polyamory. “Is that”, she asks, “legal?” We assure her that it is. What she’s thinking of is polygamy. If you don’t marry everyone, we tell her, you can sleep with as many people as you want. She smiles and shakes her head.
SAME PENIS FOREVER
That afternoon, we have a lingerie shower. Suddenly, there are penis straws and a penis pinata and a sign that reads “SAME PENIS FOREVER.” Where did all the penises come from? No-one knows.
My sister opens all her fancy underwear and we laugh and clap.
I ask the room for marriage advice for Emma.
Joni offers, “always give him a blowie on his birthday.” I raise my eyebrows at the idea of an annual blowjob.
Asha protests. “What if”, she asks, “ you really like giving them?”
Joni blushes and says, “Oh, I guess you could do more! Just- not less.”
I tell Emma that you should always support each other. You should always try to give them the best of your time and attention. This, because it is not about sex, is boring the room. I also give them my Dad’s advice to me, which was never to do a chore that you don’t want to do for the rest of your life. On some level, your spouse is a roommate that you hope will never move out.
Sadie says that although Emma has been distracted by the wedding, that’s just a fun party. The thing to concentrate on is the marriage, that’s the long term project that will shape her life and her partner’s life. Emma nods and smiles but doesn’t really seem to take it in. Sadie and I laugh together because this is the best advice she got on her wedding day, but didn’t recognize until years later. Weddings are a lot of noise and dresses and expense, maybe to distract you from the profundity of sealing your life to another person.
Amanda offers that you should marry your best friend. This is simple but profound. We all nod. Beauty fades and they lose their hair, but when you really like each other, you’ll get through the hard parts.
“There is no long relationship”, I say, “Without hard work. Everyone has to work. The idea that your relationship will be good without work is the biggest lie of all.” Joni agrees and says, “it’s weird, all the movies end with the couple getting married and nobody wants to talk about what happens after that, which is the rest of your life.” “That’s true”, interjects Sadie- “if a couple is married at the beginning of the movie, they’ll either split up and get back together, or split up and meet other people, or one of them is going to get kidnapped or die. There is nothing interesting to Hollywood about a successful marriage.” After all of our deep thoughts on partnership, we’re ready to go out.
By the end of the second day, I am wearing a themed bachelorette t-shirt, a sash, and a light-up twinkly flower crown. At this moment, I understand how dogs feel when we dress them up for Halloween.
We are walking up and down Frenchman street, being congratulated by fellow celebrants. Finally, I get away from my sisters for a moment and rejoin them in a bar moments later.
“Where”, my sister asks, “is your crown?”
“I don’t know”, I tell them, but I do know. It’s in the trash can outside.
We go sing karaoke, taking over a small room. We sing all the songs about what we want from marriage, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I Will Always Love You” sung by Whitney Houston, and Joni sings “Goodbye, Earl” by the Dixie Chicks, about friends getting together to murder an abusive husband. Now, I am not sure this is what we want for wedding wishes, but that’s what we’ve got.
Next, we go to a late night dance party hosted by one of the parade Krewes and have a great time before heading back to the hotel, picking our way through the streets strewn with beads and beer cups.
So, the last morning of the trip, I spend some quiet time with Sadie. Talking about what we’ve learned from our marriages, and how we wish we could give Emma everything we know. We love her and we love her intended, and that has to be enough. We separate, hugging and crying, to see each other in our matching gowns in a month.
I’m always glad to pop in on my two favorite dorks and talk about draculas, Bad Venom, Godzilla, and Halloween! Listen here!
My sister Em came to see me at Halloween and we went to Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme, dressed as Lion Dancers in the Kabuki tradition.
This is my favorite picture from the day. It is not a mirror.
This is my other favorite photo from the day, when I annoyed Jon Wurster into taking a photograph with me.
To the outside world, Japan is known for being sexy.
The women of Japan are considered the world’s most beautiful, and it’s the home of crazy street fashion, host bars, and Hentai pornography.
However, 25% of Japanese men are still virgins at 30, so many that a new word has emerged for them: yaramiso, which means “30 years old and haven’t done it.”
If there’s anything the Japanese believe in, it’s being on-the-nose with slang.
Even men with prior sexual experience aren’t having much sex- 50% of Japanese men who’ve had sex before haven’t had it in a year or more. Women’s numbers aren’t far behind.
This has deep repercussions throughout society. The population has dropped by 1 million people since 2008. There are now concerns about Japan’s ability to support their aging population.
Even stranger are polls reporting that many Japanese people don’t want to have more sex. 1 in 5 men cite extreme dislike for sex, and 46% of Japanese women 16-24 want no sexual contact at all.
It’s worth pointing out that Japan also has the third-highest suicide rate in the world.
So- what’s killing the Japanese sex drive?
In the money-flush 80’s and early 90’s, there was plenty of dating and premarital sex, but the economy took a sharp downturn in 1995. How does that affect getting it on?
When young people can’t afford to live on their own, sharing an apartment with your parents puts a damper on your dating life. In Tokyo, most teens don’t even have cars to make out in! Chew on that, America!
This means that courting couples must visit love hotels, hourly hotels of varying levels of cleanliness and quality, just to have somewhere to be alone.
2. Social Shame.
Men whose careers don’t produce enough money to raise a family are shamed and emasculated. The Japanese also have a cultural fear of failure, and may prefer not to try to pursue relationships for fear that they won’t work out or they’ll be rejected.
The Japanese are working harder than ever, with 22% of people putting in more than 50 hours a week, and 200 people per year dying of karōshi, or overwork: dying of strokes or heart attacks on the train to work, or on the job.
Single people have no time to date. Married people get home too tired to have sex with their partners, and with personal time at a premium, many single people prefer not to, in their perception, “waste” time on relationships with others when they could be pursuing other interests.
Some of the quirky inventions of Japan designed as substitutes for human contact could be contributing to the problem: virtual girlfriend games, pillows with women printed on them, sex dolls, and pornography- all options where one’s sexual and emotional needs are met on your own schedule. Some men have married their pillows and dolls, saying goodbye to human relationships forever.
What can we in the West learn from the East, and how can we do better?
Americans are getting married later (27 for women, up from 21 in 1964) but losing our virginity around 17. Most of us aren’t worried about having sex before marriage.
We’re having lots of sex, even if we’re not always having lots of relationships, with over 50% of New York single year after year.
Japan’s overworked, solitary citizens make our phone-spawned hookups seem warm, old-fashioned and romantic by comparison.
My advice on not turning Japanese, I really think so:
Stay connected. Stay empathetic. Keep up with friendships, with family, with current and ex-lovers.
Use technology to get and stay connected- but not to replace connections with people. What is life for, but connecting and communicating and sharing with other human beings? We may be in a divisive election year, we may have social problems, but please- let’s not start marrying pillows.
– See more at: http://www.lovetv.co/tokyo-death-sexy/2/#sthash.T4pKR6Z6.dpuf
I have a new resumee item, which is plus-sized goth model. I wore a shirt for my fabulous friends Sofiya and Courtney and their brand, Writing Fuck Yeah. How cute is this shirt? I used it as an excuse to wear the Vampire Grills I bought myself on Amazon. The price has come down from $15 to $9.95, and when they get down to $5, they’ll be worth every penny.
I was asked to make a short video of my goth aesthetic for an audition (suggestion: “Like Carrie in Sex and the City!”) and it’s just stupid enough to put here. It’s kind of like hanging out with me, with a Robyn Hitchcock soundtrack that I do not own. I did not book it, because why would I, but here’s the video!