THE OBSESSION WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S SEX LIVES

As I listen to my mother ranting, non-ironically, about the second marriage of the widowed father of the wife of her nephew, I think it’s just her being dramatic, as she tends to be. I attempt to calm her – What does it matter who the old geezer has married? and why do you care? – but she is beyond the pale of reason, and I can hear that distinct screech of the crazy in her voice.

A couple of days later, I am chatting with my brother, and he confirms that yes, indeed, everybody is up in arms about this second marriage of Mr. Widowed Father of the Wife of etc etc- some people are vomiting with disgust, others are fainting in horror, while his own children have boycotted him and refuse to speak to him.

I should hasten to clarify, that the lady in question is not a prostitute or stricken with some unmentionable disease, indeed there is nothing much against her (apart from being old and ugly- I guess those are the not-so-unmentionable diseases)- the main reason for the general opproborium is that “Mr. Father of the Wife could have done much better”.

Anyway, from this charming little anecdote of family life in Iran, I wish to move towards a broader observation regarding our obsession with who fucks whom.

This obsession operates on a global scale, and is not confined to any particular country- see Perez Hilton and the whole celebrity-gossip-industry. It operates historically- look up Romeo and Juliet and their unhappy fate as a poetic example. It operates across cultures, though while in a nomadic tribe, people could easily get killed for fucking the wrong person, in more urban cultures, murder is replaced by general disdain and verbal fury. Though not always, of course: look at what happens to the teenage girls who are “seen” to be screwed by their male classmates in the wrong place, at the wrong time- vicious gossip escalating, in extreme cases, into suicide, arson and mayhem.

Historically, the intense social interest in our sexual partners was somewhat justified by the fact that the fate of a whole bunch of money, land and other assets could depend on such choices. In other words, we were not free to fuck, at least openly, who we wanted, because in doing so we would jeapordize the fortunes of our family.

But in this day and age? Where people’s money matters are more or less thier own affairs? From whence comes this extreme senstivity to other people’s sex lives? Gentle Reader, ever since I penned that post about stupid James Hetfield’s stupid wife and their stupid relationship, my views have shot up a hundred-fold, while I recieve a hateful diatrbe almost weekly, just about that single post. There was no such reaction to any of my posts which concerned Metallica as a group, oh no. No-one cared. And rightly so. But let me mention the trigger word “relationship” and “wife”, and suddenly everybody wants to know and opine.

Fuck the children of Mr. Widowed Father, for refusing to talk to him for marrying whom he pleased. And here is my pledge to my own parents: if you should ever choose to screw someone else other than each other, I don’t give a damn. I only hope you will give me the same courtesy when my time comes.

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