How to do the wrong thing right

Ho hum, another Valentine’s Day approaches and all it arouses is, “But I haven’t even used up all my Santa Claus stamps yet… and there’s still divinity in the carpet!” This year my spouse and I will be celebrating our 27th Valentine’s together; or more precisely, this year will mark the 27th time neither of us remotely acknowledges that, perhaps — just this once — we should do something in the name of romance, together, as a couple. The upcoming 14th day of February here at Howard’s End, though, will most likely pass blandly by as any ordinary other day… sans cards exchanged, chocolates given or flowers delivered. We’ve resignedly breeched the AARP tipping point now at last, my spouse and me: Holiday “sap” is only tolerated within the context of gauging Sundays’ pancake syrup viscosity, love means never having to say you’re sentimental and every day’s a keeper. Yeah, happiness is finding one’s true love, eternal, and a broken heart’s a lonely bitch: It’s a Hallmark world, bois. Let’s get glass-hearted right to it.

Dear Howard: I got married last summer, we’re finally putting the finishing touches on our new house… and now my husband’s suddenly being transferred up to Buffalo, N.Y., where the snowpack melts for, like, two entire weeks every August. I didn’t enter my marriage vows lightly, but I can’t leave my job here to join him; I just got promoted. Our bed sizzles on fire every night — exploratory fetishes, kink games, even “safe” words: Hark, are those the suspension squirms of 8-gauge galvanized sling chains I hear jangling? Seriously, though, I’m just a plain, good old country bear, Texas born and bred. My prairie-cave blood starts going into hibernation at Fahrenheit 52, which is why I say, “Anywhere but Buffalo!” I don’t want this Valentine’s Day being the first, last and only I ever get to spend with my sweet Teddy baby: I need sex, like, constantly, and I only want it with him. The very last thing I expect is to end up in divorce court. Howard, how do we possibly make this long-distance thing work? Is there a trick? — Grizzly Boner

Dear Gristly Boner: As a man who’s been successfully hitched to the turbulent currents of a long-distance relationship for well over a quarter-century now, and with a spouse who resides much further away from his Dallas partner than yours will in Buffalo, and in a clime that makes the windswept, whiteout shores of Lake Erie seem downright pina-colada balmy — I got your back on this one, Gristle, trust me.

So, here’s the trick (and I can’t emphasize it enough): You must always, always speak to your partner every single day. Not every other day, not six days out of seven but every. Single. Day! Adherence. Daily adherence. I’m talking protease inhibitors’ level. Do you hear me, slick? And no texting permitted, either: Real voices only. No skip days allowed. No hall passes. Ever. Whether it be only for three seconds, scheduling conflicts be damned, you make the effort: “Hi, honey, in a meeting, can’t talk, love you, call you tomorrow!” … a conversation that my own long-distance spouse and I have exchanged together only about a million times. The secret trick to enjoying a long-term, thoroughly successful and happy marriage is to pick a mutually agreed upon daily time, pick up the friggin’ phone and punctually tell your partner you love him. That’s all it takes.

Dear Howard: I’ve got two dates lined up on Valentine’s already, a third one in the wings, and a boyfriend in Hong Kong who I said I’d be faithful to. I love my boyfriend, but his dick just ain’t available. Am I supposed to feel guilty for being horny? — Succulent Sid
Dear Succubus: You didn’t hear this from me, but as emotions go, guilt is by far the most pointless of them all: Never let sex interfere with love. Admittedly, Sid, size queens such as yourself have always been the Achilles heel of long-distance relationships, yet sexual gizmos and gadgetry we never expected to see in our lifetimes only a couple years back, are now so commonplace that lovers no longer have to occupy even the same bedroom, or same continent, to still have mutually exclusive, monogamous bedroom fun together. Long-distance interactive sex toys are the future, and the future is here: OhMiBod Remote Apps, Durex Fundawear, Empire Labs’ Clone-A-Willy, Lovesense Lush Vibes, Vibease Smart Vibrators, Fleshlight Launch Pads to Lovotics Kissinger (a curiously titled robot for transmitting kisses). Some come, some go, some stay the whole show, all share in common what everyone knows: There ain’t no such thing as monogamy. Wise is he who adopts the policy of “Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.” Or as comedian Chris Rock so succinctly sums it all: “A man is only as faithful as his options.” Just date the dick that’s biggest, Sid. Be it in Dallas or Dubai. You’ll love it more, and guilt-free.

Dear Howard: I’m 19, rent a room in an old, leaning house two blocks from campus; five other guys do, too, but I’m the only gay dude. All of us have part-time jobs to help with tuition and rent. None of us come from the mansions of Highland Park or Preston Hollow. Just the same, though, I’m the only one who actually trudges off to a timeclock job — every afternoon following my weekday classes, plus on weekend nights as well; yes, I wait tables. Why? Because I’ve no sex appeal. Only the homely nowadays have to work job jobs. I ain’t joking. Just ask yourself when exactly was the last time you entered, say, a movie theater, an amusement park, a Marriott or a McDonald’s and saw a fuckable employe? The restaurant where I work, management team all the way down to illegal dishwashers, you gotta tie porkchops around our necks just to make the dog play with us. What is my real problem? Lack of inspiring erection-appeal “points” is my problem: I’m fat, short and ugly.

The straight dudes where I live, not a one of them has any visible means of support — shiny, rippling young himbos straight out of a Bruce Weber retrospective — they can all afford personal trainers, Equinox memberships, weekly maid service, sandalwood manicures and such cutting-edge camera equipment fill their rooms to make even DreamWorks blush. What sane 16-to-25-year-old is gonna sling hash for, hopefully, $150 in tips on a good night, when he can earn 10 times that much in a single hour all by himself in the privacy of his own bedroom just petting his erection? Stupid is the straight 20something stunner nowadays who still valets, bartends or chauffeurs visiting celebrities about town. What college dude in his right mind with a pretty face and a big cock is gonna run his ass ragged, smiling a chipper “Thank you, sir!” just to fetch some cheapskate asshole’s Lamborghini… “Son, fuck with my seat adjustment, and your ass is grass!”

Oh, but to be handsome, dumb and hung. Just ask my five straight homeboy housemates: the gayer they fake it, the more they rake it in. Not a drop of body fluids in our household ever goes to waste, or even sees a drain. The meth head sells his urine online by the pint. The hockey player’s used jock straps fetch more than even the identical twins’ skid-marked boxers. The place is a veritable 24/7 assembly line of masturbation; still, they can’t fill nearly enough condoms to meet their mail order demand. Nobody sucking out anonymous rubbers gets satisfied with just one. I only wish my jizz was sellable. — Jim

Dear Gem: You’re a true jewel, you are. Even with kaleidoscopic editing, no matter which way I shake about or turn your above fantasy prose, it just still never quite clears the sanity hurdle. I don’t mind that you didn’t ask me a question. What I mind is that you didn’t achieve any ulterior objective via this silly manifesto, whatsoever.

If you’re hawking Chaturbate, you fell flat. If you’re delivering a diatribe on the injustices of capitalism at its most base, you fell flat. If all you’re doing is a satire on the ridiculousness of sporting a pecker, you fell flat. We’re all consenting adults here, Jimbo, and we’re all agreed upon the creed that one’s bedroom door is just like a Valentine’s card: One opens it with an assumption already given that what’s inside shall light a smile upon one’s face.

Dear Howard: I’m a straight Christian female engaged to a man who likes vegetables up his rectum during our intercourse sessions. He insists to me he’s one-hundred-percent heterosexual, but the zucchinis sure keep getting bigger. Is this natural? — The Debate Queen
Dear HRH Dingbat: Okay, for starters, let’s kill the Christian myth that straight men don’t enjoy putting “insertables” up their sphincters. One might naturally assume that the market for vibrators to be predominantly female. One would, naturally, be wrong. In truth, 91 percent of men have used them, compared to only 81 percent of women; hence, now that you know what keeps the zucchini industry alive — the one vegetable no men ever actually ask to eat — let’s turn now, instead, to your own naturalness: a good Christian girl like you enjoying out of wedlock fleshly pleasures of the loins like you do. You have all our prayers it being the very height of watermelon season for your wedding!
Happy Valentine’s, all, my smirking cupids!

— Howard Lewis Russell

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