Of Mice and Menstruation

Or Venus in Fur, with Convenient Slits

Illustration by Bob AulWhat is the most forbidden of forbidden loves?

Here in Orange County? I'd have to say it's something like this:

Perhaps you've heard of "furries," alternately known as "plushophiles," persons who find pleasure in dressing up in furry cartoon-animal or stuffed-toy costumes and having sex with someone else dressed as a furry cartoon animal, one would hope not as the same cartoon animal, which just seems sort of wrong.

In fairness, we must add that there are also non-sexual furries, who hate being lumped in with the sex-addled furries just because they have a pelt and only feel comfortable in similarly hirsute company. Many furries lead normal, productive lives. President George W. Bush, for example, is a furry. Were it not for the steadying hand of Karl Rove, he would have made his declaration of war against Iraq dressed as a friendly raccoon.

Let's be the somewhat furry fly on the wall at a recent Anaheim social gathering of the paws-'n'-snouts set:

Slick Mr. Otter: ". . . and then I moved 3,200 shares of Drexel stock just before the bell." Ms. Fluffy Duck: "I just hope these interest rates hold." Mr. German Shepherd Head: "Do try these canap├ęs." Mr. Squirrel:"Mr. Fly? May I store your nuts for the winter? How about we just slip out of here?"

Sorry, Mr. Squirrel. We're just here to report on your pathetic lifestyle. Don't you feel at all silly in that costume?

"Well, it does sort of take the point out of shaving my pubes. But why such hostility against the fur-enabled?"

I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing withall the other people laughing at you. Let's move on to the secret kinky stuff. You know what we want to hear.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Yes, you do. I'm talking about the mouse. Tell me about Mickey.

"No! The love that dares not squeak its name!"

Tell me, or I'll turn you in to Vector Control!

"Okay, already. Look, it's pretty much an open secret anyway that most of the cartoon characters walking around the park will 'interact' with you for a fee, usually $500 on up."

What do you mean by "interact"?

"All I can say is that until you've gotten a handjob from a three-fingered chipmunk, you haven't lived."

What about the Big Cheese? What about Mickey?

"You're talking at least $2,000, plus he has to like you or it's a no-go. But can I tell you something? He's a turd in the sack. That guy's so in love with himself it's no wonder Minnie went fucking Goofy."

There, having told the second-oldest Disney joke in the world, I must mention that very little of the aforementioned is true. Yes, there are furries among us (check out www.FurBid.ws on the net, where they auction costumes and artwork, including one disturbing cartoon of a boner-bedecked anteater licking the vulva of a human-breasted lioness—in color even). But Disney park characters most certainly will not sleep with you for money, nor would they ever assent to anything that might besmirch the Disney name, though I understand Michael Eisner will blow you for stock options.

Is any love forbidden in these twilit times? Jeez, just look at our back pages. There are people seeking others who like to dress up as canned goods, people who crave "pink showers" of Pepto Bismol. Anything goes.

Look at Paris Hilton. You know the downloaded bliss seen by half the world, where she's all grainy and sucking in ways that are still felonies in some of our more blessed states? A scant 25 years ago, footage like that would have made her a pariah, a netherperson shunned forever by society. Now, instead, Hilton gets a prime-time TV show on a network owned by ultraconservative Rupert Murdoch. I'm not saying that's wrong. I'm just asking, where's mine?

Twenty-five years ago, it also would have been big news if the president's brother had sex with a trainload of Thai and Chinese prostitutes supplied by the Chinese firm that also employed him as a "consultant" to help them obtain sensitive American technology. Did you even catch the blip it got in American newspapers last November when President George W. Bush's brother Neil was found to have been doing just that? And not just that: the Chinese firm is headed by the chairman of China's Central Military Commission, so you might surmise they don't want this technology for MP3 players. Bush, meanwhile, has no experience in the high-tech field and was clearly only paid $2 million, plus hookers, for his access to his brother. Are the Bushes the Manchurian Candidate Family or something?

Sorry, I digress. While we're in the White House, though, let's look through this doorway and see what's going on: why, it's the president, focused like a laser beam on terrorism. Wait a second; no, he's not. Getting closer, I see instead that he's focused like a teenager on twat. Yours, if you're so endowed. While Osama bin Laden could be training mountain lions in Mission Viejo for all they know, the Bush White House has been aggressively pursuing an agenda against your pudenda.

Ever hear of Dr. W. David Hager? He's a fundamentalist Christian doctor—which is fine—of no particular qualifications—which is not fine—whom president Bush picked over a list of eminently more qualified doctors recommended to him to head the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. That's the board that approves or disapproves birth-control drugs, among other things. Hager's an OB/GYN recommended to Bush by a former drug-industry lobbyist and is also an anti-abortion activist who refused to prescribe contraceptives to his unmarried patients and recommends treating the pain of PMS with prayer, which maybe he should try when he gets kidney stones. Not surprisingly, in December, this Bush doctor blocked further approval of the RU-486 morning-after drug.

Meanwhile, not nine months after Sept. 11, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft launched a new war on porn, which should save al-Qaeda the trouble when they take over. Bush continues to promote abstinence-only sex education, which tells kids that science stops where the curly hair starts, and he announced in his State of the Union speech this year that he wants to spend $1.5 billion to promote marriage, which is over three times the emergency aid his administration refused to give to California to prevent the catastrophic fire that experts were predicting, with some accuracy.

So here we've got this dichotomy: we're a titillated nation as shameless as the soma-fied folks of Huxley's Brave New World, but we're also so puritanical we impeached a president for lying about an affair, whose only casualty was a blue dress, instead of getting worked up about a president who lied us into a war in which 500 Americans and thousands of Iraqis have died. You are only a few keypad strokes away from streaming video of whatever lurid kink you can imagine, yet half our classrooms leave kids ignorant about their own bodies. There are sex acts that a great many Americans would rank among the more profound experiences on this planet, yet there are 11 states where muff-diving remains a felony. Is this leading to a sexual civil war?

Joseph Campbell observed that back when troubadours were spreading the notion of romantic love, illicit love was the only real love. Marriages were arranged with no regard for the special connection or chemistry that can flow between two people, so it was largely outside of marriage that such currents occurred. I don't think Old Joe ever imagined a time when people would be humping doggy-style in cat suits or when a U.S. administration would be dusting off the chastity belts.

The problems of people like us don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But we'll always have Paris.

jwashburn@ocweekly.com.
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