Put the Magic Back in Your Marriage

Sex is the glue that holds a marriage together, because it requires husband and wife to touch each other and it’s sticky. Unfortunately, over time, many spouses drift apart because they run out of this glue, with disastrous consequences.

Diane von Furstenberg: He got bored with this?


When Prince Egon of Furstenberg, husband of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, was asked what sex was like after several years of marriage, he replied “After a while it’s like the right hand touching the left.” His long-stem red roses bill was longer than, well, a long-stemmed red rose, but the couple divorced soon anyway.

Here are some tips to rekindle the flame of marital love without setting off the smoke alarm!

1. Switch sides of the bed: So simple, and yet it works! Men have larger nasopharyngeal passages, whatever they are, and tend to spray more munga when they snore. Women, on the other hand, read treacly romantic novels with titles like “Love’s Tender Passion Unbound.” When husband and wife switch sides, the woman recoils from the horror of sprayed snot on the nightstand, while the man shrinks from the syrupy selection of pseudo-literature that confronts him. They roll to the center of the bed and–voila–instant intimacy!

Hmm–moleage a trois?

2. Check each other’s backs for moles: Your dermatologist has told you to do this, but every night it’s the same thing: Watch TV, put the cat down in the basement, go to bed, fall asleep. So it’s time to try something different: Both of you strip naked and check out the moles on each other’s backs, taking copious notes for future reference. Don’t be surprised if you end up playing “OB/GYN”!

Not that kind of mole.


3. Admit that you think of somebody else when you’re, uh, doing it: Everybody plays this little mental game. You say “I love you so much, Shonda,” as you hump away like a dachsund on a chintz couch leg, when you’re actually thinking of Vonda. Time for the flop, the turn and the river, as they say on the Poker Channel. Put all your cards on the table and let each other know who you’re really thinking about! Afterwards, there’s the outrage, the argument, and then–the make-up sex! It’s like a two-for-one sale!

“I just want to finish this email . . .”


4. Costumes are fun! “Our sexuality is part of our identity, and frankly, most of us are boring,” says Dr. Emil Dickson, noted author on married life. He suggests using costumes to spice up a marriage gone stale. “If your husband likes to hunt, dress up like a bear,” he suggests. “If your wife flirts with her hairdresser, put on a smock and a lisp.”

“All right, I’ll put on the forest ranger outfit!”


5. Pay for it! The feminist revolution has unfortunately broken down the traditional walls between men and women that made sex so interesting. Nowadays, a woman is just as likely to pay for a drink or dinner on a date, which is great for a guy’s wallet but confusing for his manhood.

“Did you remember to run the dishwasher?”


So when it’s time for the two of you to go upstairs and turn on the lava lamp, let the man revert to his traditional role of breadwinner and pay for sex! You may find the added “kick” of a financial incentive is just the thing to make you lose your “amateur” standing!

Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collections “The Difference Between Men and Women” and “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”


Pro-Concussion Group Slow to Articulate Its Message

ATLANTA.  As the nation’s attention shifts to this city for Super Bowl LIII in two weeks, a large assortment of causes will compete for attention in the reflected glow of the biggest sports event of the year.  “We usually get a lot of women’s groups and other whiners,” says NFL publicist Dwight Casey.  “My job is to keep ’em from spoiling a great day of organized violence made possible by commercials with funny animals.”

“Four downs, ten yards for a first down–we don’t need big numbers!”

But one group that is vying for the limelight here represents a backlash against a backlash; Former Football Players With Concussions is a non-profit formed to counteract what they say are unwarranted attacks on head-to-head contact in the game they grew up playing.

“You’re Ted?  I thought I was Ted.”


“We’re in danger of becoming a nation of pansy-asses, like France,” says Ted Miscalso, who was a defensive tackle for Fordham in the early 60’s.  “Name one–just one Frenchman who was ever any damn good at football.”


“Do you know how many grandchildren I have–ballpark?”


Members say they were aware of the risks inherent in the game, and argue that today’s players shouldn’t be let off easy.  “It’s like a fraternity hazing ritual,” says Mike Adamick, a former center for the University of Iowa.  “It didn’t make any sense when we did it, so let’s not mess with success.”

“There’s no money in the budget for helmets this year guys, so do your best.”


Con Chapman, who played tackle football without a helmet before advancing to the relative safety of the organized high school game, serves as the group’s unofficial spokesman.  What, he is asked, is the biggest challenge facing a start-up charity that must overcome growing public sentiment that their beloved sport is too dangerous?  “Colors,” he says as he closely examines this reporter’s necktie.  “Pretty colors.  Nice.”

I Don’t Want to Look at Your Food

Listen up and listen good:
I’ve never taken a picture of my food
and sent it winging into the ether
and frankly, I wish that you wouldn’t either.

Like that time you went to a cheesy casino
and ordered the special, a whole branzino.
It is my deepest and fondest wish
that I had never seen that fish.

I know about the time you had foie gras
that “literally” knocked you on your ass.
I scanned it—it looked pretty plain to me
but you could taste it, I could only see

that you were out having boatloads of fun
while I ate at my counter, a lonely one,
sadder than the diner in “Nighthawks” by Hopper,
enjoying my take-out, an Ultimate Bacon Whopper.

I’d Stab You in the Back, But This is More Honorable

Companies are pushing workers to drop the polite workplace veneer and speak frankly to each other no matter what.  The practice is referred to as “radical candor,” “mokita,” or “front-stabbing.”

The Wall Street Journal


The Code of the Samurai is a simple one: honor, discipline and morality, summed up by a single word, “bushido.”  The Will of the Warrior must be subordinated to the Mission Statement of the Corporation, which has recently been revised, check the footer in your copy, it should read “Updated: 1/15/2019.”  If a samurai failed to uphold his honor, there was only way to regain it: seppuku–ritual suicide.

But the Code of the Samurai Vice President is different.  In addition to the fundamental precepts of frugality, mastery of martial arts, loyalty unto death and knowing which sword to use for the entree (prime rib, chicken or fish) at the annual Sales Awards Dinner, the Samurai Vice President is expected to speak frankly to other Vice Presidents about their shortcomings.  It is no longer acceptable merely to stab the enemies of the Chief Emperor Officer in the back.  Now, one must also stab one’s colleagues in the front, in order to maintain a high level of camaraderie and greater EBITDA (earnings before interest expense, taxes, depreciation and amortization).  EBITDA is maintained through “mokita”–front-stabbing.


No one likes to be stabbed in the back–the element of surprise is embarrassing.  But front-stabbing is a little like seppuku.  You screwed up, so your fellow Vice Presidents would be remiss if they did not point out your failure, and eliminate you from the payroll.  In thus taking your life, they save Human Resources many weeks of severance pay, continuing availability of health insurance under the COBRA law of the Emperor, and also bogus sentimentality at your going-away party.  Like “We will miss you SO much, Hattori Hanzo–don’t be a stranger!”

Girl samurai from accounts payable department


Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time flirting with Ran Tsukikage in Accounts Payable we wouldn’t have to front-stab you, but you should know by now that all internal emails are company property and can be reviewed for violations of our Dignity in the Workplace Policy at any time.  Did you really think you were going to get away with “How about a glass of sake after work, my little rhododendron?”  Sheesh–we are a Fortune 1000 corporation, not Toshiro Mifune Consolidated Junior High School.

When you are front-stabbed, you should take it like a samurai.  No whining like Julius Caesar–“Et tu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi!”  Suck it up and be a Vice President, would you?  To die from mokita is to go honorably, like a man!


Just be sure and drop off your ID badge with the security guard–also your men’s room key.

The ZaSu Pitts Look-Alike Contest (Men’s Senior Division)

I’m hoping the weatherpeople get it right for once; they’re calling for blizzard conditions, and the fewer contestants in the Men’s Senior Division of the ZaSu Pitts Look-Alike contest, the better–for me. I know the greats like to win against the best competition, but not me. I just want to win, baby, win, as Oakland Raiders President-for-Life Al Davis likes to say.

Image result for zasu pitts
ZaSu: *sigh*


I suppose I should be embarrassed at the feeling of stark competitiveness that wells up inside me; ZaSu was, after all, the actress who typically played the shy, retiring type, from her 1917 debut as Becky in “The Little Princess” to her final bow as Gertie the switchboard operator in the 1963 all-star disappointment “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

But it hasn’t been easy being a ZaSu fan, lo these many years. I got in early, watching her as Elvira Nugent on The Gale Storm Show as I lay dying on our living room couch with the measles and then chicken pox in the late fifties. That show, you may recall, was the offense cited by the aliens in Mad Magazine as justification for their decision to destroy the earth when television rays from the long-running comedy reached their galaxy.

ZaSu played wingwoman to Gale Storm, who played herself, and quite well I might add–she had herself down pat! But I found ZaSu as second fiddle to be, curiously enough, more alluring than the first chair; like the maiden ladies who worked in my dad’s women’s clothing store (and try saying that five times fast), their lack of an attachment to a man made them somehow–mysterious.

All that changed in the 80′s with ZaSu Night Fever, the film that loosed a ZaSuPittsian contagion on the land. Pauline Kael didn’t help matters with her unexpectedly glowing review in The New Yorker: “This film is so full of the energy and spirit of Pitts, it transports us to a world known by few New Yorker subscribers who wade through hundreds of pages of advertisements in shame when they don’t ‘get’ the cartoons.”

Image result for zasu pitts
Me with Marcelled hair, circa 1982


All of a sudden, every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted to be ZaSu. I lived on Newbury Street in Boston at the time, home to many overpriced hair stylists, and the lines were out the doors for men waiting to get their hair Marcelled like ZaSu. My apartment was only a couple blocks from the Hynes Auditorium where the Zasu Pitts Look-Alike Contest was held every year, but after a while I became discouraged. Everybody knew that her unique name was formed by taking a syllable from each of her mother’s sisters, Eliza and Susan, in a painful and untried medical procedure. Guys with trust funds–they had the leisure time to bone up on ZaSuiana and to perfect their “look” well in advance of the confab. Me–I had to work for a living!

Image result for zasu pitts
ZaSu Pitts math explains the name.


So I waited. And waited. And waited until my 55th birthday was in my rear view mirror, and the field I had to compete against was narrowed. When I passed that milestone–the “double nickel” in aging baby boomer parlance–I no longer had to face a field of several hundred in the Open Competition, I was eligible for the Men’s Senior Division.

My reverie is interrupted by a tap on the shoulder from Ken McClellan, a guy whom I haven’t seen in several years. My guess is he’s in the same position as me; he wants to win some ZaSu Pitts event before he dies, so he’s emerged from whatever sleeper cell he has lain dormant in to test his skills against the best of the over-55 division this year.

“Hey Ken–how they hangin’?” I say cheerfully, although my gut is already churning. He has on support hose! Dammit–why didn’t I think of that!

“Okay, I guess,” he says and we shake hands. We’re don’t do the man-hug thing because each of us has spent a fair amount of time smearing rouge on our cheekbones.

“You, uh, entered in the Men’s Seniors?” I ask warily.

“Yep. What can I say. I was tired of butting heads with the young bucks, with their fishnet hats and baggy chemise dresses.”

“I know what you mean,” I say. “It’s funny though, after the baby-busters, the guys born between 1960 and 1980, there’s a big drop-off.”


“Yeah, it’s a real cause for concern among the NEZPLAA board,” I say, sounding out the acronym for the New England ZaSu Pitts Look-Alike Association. “The kids under thirty, I don’t know what they’re doing with their spare time.”

“Maybe video games, or studying?” Ken suggests.

“Yeah, something royally stupid like that.”

Our tete-a-tete comes to an end as Joe Dundee, executive director of NEZPLAA, calls out to us. “Hey you guys! We need you inside–we’re about ready to start.”

“Okay,” Ken says as he stubs out his Tiparillo, the unisex cigar of the early sixties made popular by the timeless come-on “Cigars–cigarettes–Tiparillos?”

I walk a few steps behind Ken and I note that he’s added some love handles since the last time I saw him. It’s a good thing he’s in the Men’s Senior Division now–there’s no swimsuit competition, just ball gown, talent, and What Would ZaSu Do?, a tense segment in which each contestant must respond to a question chosen at random by an audit partner from Castanaldi & Seymour, P.C., the organization’s mid-sized regional accounting firm.

We make our way through the crowd–there’s apparently an orthodontists convention in town as well–and take our place in the “bullpen” from which we will be called to sashay our way across the stage, exposing our moves to the critical eyes of the judges panel.

“Good luck,” I say to Ken, and I can see him curse himself; it’s considered good luck to wish somebody else luck first, and I’ve got something of a psychic edge on him now as a result.

We both do okay in the “promenade” and take our assigned spots at the back of the stage. When all of the “girls” have taken their turns, we prepare for “What Would ZaSu Do?” You can literally smell the fear in the air–flop sweat is everywhere. At this point we proceed at random, with questions being directed at the assembled ZaSus in the order that their names are plucked from one of ZaSu’s trademark cloche hats.

And the first question goes to–me!

I shuffle shyly forward to the microphone, and the Master of Ceremonies–a poor man’s Bert Parks, begins.

“Your best friend is out of town,” the moderator intones, “and her husband comes over late at night to borrow a cup of sugar to make hot toddies.  What,” and here he pauses for emphasis, “would ZaSu do?”

I glance down at my left hand, on which I’ve written a sort of relaxation guide–not a crib sheet. “Breathe,” it says, “Swallow. Begin.” I close my eyes, follow my mantra, and launch myself onto the dark, unknown waters that toss before me.

“Oh dear,” I say, confidently projecting a lack of confidence.  “I don’t know what I’d do!”

A Lover of Nature, Swept Away

Me and my former girlfriend
went down to the shore by the sea.
She wanted to see a hurricane–
she came up with the idea, not me.

We stood there facing the howling wind
and the spray from the foaming tide.
She braced herself like Lear on the heath,
I wanted to get back inside.

She exposed herself to the elements,
in their fierce unconscious beauty.
I looked at my watch’s sweep second hand
while I did my boyfriendly duty.

“Are we about done here?” I asked at last,
we’d been there five minutes at least.
“You’re so bound up in your narrow little self,”
she said as she sampled Nature’s feast.

I said “I’m going back to the car,
I’ll wait while you wrap things up.”
“Okay,” she said as I walked away,
“I can handle whatever comes up.”

I heard her scream and turned to see
a rogue wave wash her away.
I suppose it was the perfect ending,
to her perfectly natural day.

Moral: You may love nature, but nature doesn’t care.

About That Thing on Your Face . . .

Welcome to the Office of Drs. Irving Milstein and Jeannette DuFresne Dermatologists Professional Limited Liability Company (“us” or “we” or “the doctors”).  While you are waiting, here in helpful pamphlet format are answers to questions you may have about the thing on your face that you have come to see us about.

What is this thing on my face?

You probably have a common skin growth such as a wart, a mole or seborrheic keratosis, which sounds fatal but which is actually quite common.

So is death.

You got that right.

The thing on my face wasn’t there when I was younger.

Common skin growths (“CSGs”) are often associated with old age, because adults are larger than children and so provide CSGs more body mass to feed on.

Is the thing on my face unusual?

We won’t know until we see you, so in the meantime please relax by watching our aquarium full of sluggish fish or reading one of our many early twenty-first century magazines.

Newsweek thinks Hillary’s a lock to be President.

I thought Newsweek was out of business.

Are CSGs common?

Most things on people’s faces are common even though they vary widely in appearance, ranging in color from light tan to black to teal to dusty rose (women’s sizes only).  Some CSGs measure a fraction of an inch, while others are as large as an urban zip code.

So how do I know what the thing on my face is?

One distinguishing trait that all CSGs have is a dull, waxy, pasted-on (or “stuck-on”) appearance, like a spot of warm candle wax on the skin.

You make them sound rather romantic.

They also enjoy candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach.

What causes CSGs?

Researchers are unsure what causes CSGs.

I thought you guys were the experts.

If we find the answer, the grant money will run out.

Okay, but give me a hint.

CSGs form both on skin that is exposed to the sun, and skin that gets no sun.

What kind of stick-in-the-mud person doesn’t go out in the sun?

Mainly goth girls and male gamers.

That’s not much help.

CSGs can also form when a woman’s estrogen quickly rises or falls, such as during pregnancy, or when a man experiences wild swings in testosterone levels, such as during the loss of a “wild card” game by a local professional sports team.

Where do CSGs appear on the body?

They can appear anywhere, but are most likely to settle in areas that will cause you the maximum embarrassment, such as the face and neck.

Are other types of skin growths sometimes mistaken for CSGs?

Yes.  Warts, moles, heartbreak of psoriasis, and tattoos of Chinese characters that you think spell admirable qualities such as “Courage” and “Fierce” but which actually mean “choice of meat with pan-fried broccoli.”

What’s taking so long?

Low Medicaid reimbursement rates force us to overbook most appointments.

But I have private insurance!

The doctors will see you now.