ARTS

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May 4, 2004

Pearls of Wisdom

Dear Lila Pearl,

My boyfriend is an artist. And I love him. But the relationship is going through some rough times, mostly, for two reasons. (1) He's an alcoholic. (2) A few weekends ago, when I was away visiting my parents, he slept with another woman. He told me about it as soon as I returned home, and there were lots of tears, and apologies, and promises of "never again." I spent a couple of hours comforting him and didn't really show him how upset I was (he seemed so delicate and out-of-sorts) but now I just don't know what to do. Any words of wisdom?

Depressed and Trapped

Dear Depressed,

Let's turn to Salinger, shall we? "It seems to me indisputably true that a good many people the wide world over, of varying ages, cultures, natural endowments, respond with a special impetus, a zing, even, in some cases, to artists and poets who, as well as having a reputation for producing great or fine art, have something garishly wrong with them as persons: a spectacular flaw in character or citizenship, a construably romantic affliction or addiction—extreme self-centeredness, marital infidelity, stone deafness, stone blindness, a terrible thirst, a mortally bad cough, a soft spot for prostitutes, a partiality for grand scale adultery or incest, a certified or uncertified weakness for opium or sodomy, and so on, God have mercy on the lonely bastards. If suicide isn't at the top of the list of compelling infirmities…"

Break up with your loser boyfriend and find yourself a man who isn't afraid to be strong.

Love,

Lila Pearl

Dear Lila Pearl,

I have recently discovered that because I lack a true girlfriend, I subconsciously search for all the facets of "the girlfriend" in the non-girlfriend girls in my life—nagging, domesticity, meaningless conversation, free massages, etc. I've decided to make this official, and adopt some sort of harem. Please give any and all advice that you may have, including your suggestions for recruiting girls for a harem, insights into possible pros and cons, and common pitfalls associated with starting up a harem. I want this thing to go the distance.

Sincerely,

Taking the Next Obvious Step

Dear Obvious,

Ah, springtime. When a young man's thoughts turn to large numbers of young servile women to nag him, clean up after him, converse meaninglessly with him, and fuck his brains out. Sounds lovely, eh? But what of the dangers, Obvious—what of the dangers? According to The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Middle East, "The women of the harem were kept in seclusion, guarded by eunuchs, and prevented from turning their frequent disputes into seditious plots." Despite this care (or perhaps because of it?), Ramesses III, the last of the great Egyptian pharaohs, was murdered by his harem and Lugalzaggizi, King of Uruk, was castrated by his.

Still interested? One woman is always too little and too much. But honestly—ask yourself, Obvious, whether you really have the stamina to keep fifteen women, uh…happy. If so—hey, mazel tov! If not, here's a pearl for you: Inasmuch as you are attached to your genitals, make sure your ladies are docile. On the flip side of that equation, don't discount the benefits of castration. Lots of great art has come (no pun intended) from the anguish surrounding the loss of the male genitals. Lila Pearl, personally, gets shivers whenever she considers it.

Sparingly,

Lila Pearl

Dear Lila Pearl,

Sex with my boyfriend is great. He's sweet, gentle, loving, and kind. The only trouble is, I want a man who isn't afraid to get rough sometimes. In short: I want us to get a little kinky. Only I'm just too embarrassed to come out and say it. What should I do?

Blushing Submissive

Dear Sub,

There are many different ways you could send your boyfriend subtle hints regarding your sexual preferences, both in bed and out. Why not buy a pair of handcuffs and wear them? ALL THE TIME. Handcuffs help. (Take it from Lila Pearl.) Certain substances may also produce a more favorable atmosphere for certain "illicit" sexual experiences. Just make sure he's not too trashed to get it up after you're all tied up. At the end of the night, though, there's no real substitute for plain old human courage: Tell him you want it, BAD. If things fall through, see above.

Courageously,

Lila Pearl

Have a question for Lila Pearl? E-mail her at lila@uchicago.edu.