Your Man vs Mine

It’s confession time. I confess I really didn’t like living in San Francisco – loved the access to nature, but the striving, wannabe, hipster attitude? Not so much (besides, I’ll take a hippie over a hipster ANY day). However, my 6+ years in residence in that burg did deliver a gift for life: I met my best friend and go-getter writer and adventurer, Alexandra D’Italia. Over two decades later, we continue to constitute and grow our mutual admiration society, driving each other to live, love, and create to the fullest.

And I have another confession to make: on my recent quick trip to LA (to spend time with Alexandra living, loving and creating to the fullest, among other things), I actually started thinking about spending a chunk of time in the USA; this thought had never crossed my mind in any meaningful way since moving to Cuba in 2002. I know it sounds a bit crazy given the complete insanity going on this election cycle, but the nature, the intellectual stimulation, my gift for humor in English, the fast internet and Trader Joe’s – it got under my skin, rang my bell, got my Kappa key a-jangling. Writing alongside award-winning Alexandra (who is now accepting a select number of creative clients so that you, too, can be inspired by her) was a big part of this ‘ah-ha’ moment and as we walked home one evening among the adobe-style bungalows, their gardens perfumed by datura, a writing challenge presented itself…

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My First Daddy Issue
Alexandra D’Italia

I was not a girl who could just watch TV without the parental okay—Three’s Company? Too much jiggling. Laverne & Shirley? The characters were morons.

M*A*S*H was the exception. Mom loved B.J. Hunnicutt. If they had those allowable cheat lists back in the seventies, he would have made my mother’s list after Remington Steele.

I was planning on becoming Laurie Partridge and marrying Keith Partridge —fictional incest didn’t matter much to me back then. After all, I was pre-preteen and sex didn’t matter.

Then Hawkeye became the IT man of my life.

My parents would roll their eyes: “Alan Alda directed this episode, it’s going to be overwrought.” But damn, did I disagree. Any episode he directed melted into my psyche. In a dream, Hawkeye is limbless and unable to save a child with a belly wound. My parents’ stories of war protests didn’t have meaning until Hawkeye. He put the picture in my brain. He made me a dove.

And he had all that brown hair I wanted to touch. When he smiled, I smiled. You could tell he lit up a room. I wanted to be in that room!

Empathetic yet sarcastic, irreverent yet responsible —he was always right. He not only lit up the room, he was the smartest one in the room. No rule couldn’t be broken. No authority couldn’t be challenged. Get the job done and get me my martini. He was my dream personality.

Then there was his soft side. That man could give a good hug. Didn’t you see when he hugged Hotlips? Her stiff veneer broken by his warmth?

That Hawkeye was a Ladies’ Man only added to his allure. I wanted Ken, Jeff, Andrew, Chris, and Peter to follow me around the way the nurses followed him. [This never happened.]

Hawkeye even looked like my dad—handsome and lanky, brown hair parted on the side, piercing eyes that saw things you didn’t want to be seen. They both had that aura of dashing.

But he seemed much more approachable than Dad at the time who in a Buzzfeed quiz—What M*A*S*H character are you?—would have gotten Major Charles Emerson Winchester III. At the time, Hawkeye was easier to hug.

Then Hawkeye got real. My mother called Alan Alda a feminist. Oh glory be! This during the last gasps of the Equal Rights Amendment. Say what you want about the power of parents over a first child, but swoon did I! Snarky, smart . . . and a feminist? Dreamy.

So was it the man or the character? The man. My favorite Woody Allen films? Mr. Alda is in them. When I discovered he was in the Broadway production of my favorite play, Art, I wept that I missed him in it.

And finally, this man made me love a republican.

What?

No, not Trump. Not Reagan. Not Bush, HW or W. His conservative Senator Arnold Vinick on The West Wing, every liberal’s political porn.

Now that’s a first love. Or at least a first daddy issue.

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‘Tween Spank Bank
Conner Gorry

‘Tween Spank Bank
I’ve long been an avid masturbator and am not afraid to admit it. In the States, you don’t talk about these things in polite company. But here in Cuba? Stories are enthusiastically shared and notes compared. After 14 years in residence on this beguiling isle, I’ve heard enough to fill pages. One day I’ll reveal the cream of the crop (pun intended), but rather than shock and appall – and some of these tales are truly shocking, if not appalling; the masturbating dog (true story) being the least of it – I’m going to stick to the topic at hand: my early days of getting off.

Although I’m generally known for my moxie and grit, this isn’t a topic I’ve considered exploring previously. However, on a recent memorable, transformative trip to my native land, my best friend, (a woman I respect for myriad reasons, including the notches on her lipstick case), confessed to a detail which demanded a response. It was one of those moments to which you wish you weren’t witness; when someone presents an image you wish you could un-see – like my Cuban co-worker talking about how he looks in his leopard print g-string (another true story). My friend told me her ideal man growing up, the one she dreamed about, swooned over, and who filled her fantasies, was Alan Alda, Hawkeye, of M*A*S*H fame. Don’t know WTF I’m talking about? Click away; you’re not my ideal reader.

“Alan Alda?! Estás loca? Yuck.”

She took umbrage; defended her man – ethical, responsible, funny, a great father figure. These are all terrific qualities, we can agree. But to jack off? No, mi hermana.

“So who was the man of your wet dreams?” she asked me, throwing down the gauntlet.

“Mine? He was virile. Strong. Cut. And in command.” The One. The Only. Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk, Starship Enterprise.

Looking back, it’s cliché, I admit. The uniform. The take-charge attitude by a blond-haired, blue-eyed Adonis who motivates men, makes women weak in the knees, and saves the day – most of the time. Kirk was the stereotypical ‘mangón’ as we say in Cuba. Now that I think about it, it’s no wonder I go gaga over Cuban men – I was weaned on the machismo, bossy, and egotistical Captain Kirk, who says crap like ‘Mr Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That’s the only planet in the galaxy that can make that claim.’ Drilling down further, I see now that Kirk was kind of a douchebag – especially in the relationship realm. He was a product of his time, I guess, but so am I; as I grew older and up, my taste has skewed aggressively towards people who are ahead of their time.

Reflecting on my preferences for getting off, both then and now, I realize my friend – once again – is both ahead of her time and much more intelligent than I. In the short run, for a night or three, Captain Kirk is your man. But for the long haul, what every woman wants is Hawkeye.

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14 Comments

Filed under Americans in cuba, Expat life, Relationships, Writerly stuff

14 responses to “Your Man vs Mine

  1. vammy

    Hahaha this is fabulous 🙂 🙂 🙂 I grew up in Germany and my go-to guy was from this pop band that was hugely successful for a few years in the 80s. He recently died after spending most of his life unemployed, on and off homeless, alcoholic, and generally not in the rock star shape he (and I) once imagined.

    Come back to L.A., it’s a much nicer town than its reputation would make you believe! I didn’t make it to your book store on my most recent trip because my timing was bad and your store was closed – but will try next time, or maybe we bump into each other in the City of Angels one day 😉

  2. Arturo

    All of these golden era TV flashbacks…..!!! Hawkeye Pierce, BJ Honeycutt and Captain James T Kirk as sex symbols. As a guy of course, I don’t really get it. I would have thought one of you would have ran laps around the spank bank for Mr. Thomas Magnum, Magnum PI. Tom Selleck. The guy did have it going on back then. Then again, why did I use to stroke it out over Erin Grey in those skin tight Buck Rogers spandex outfits………when in doubt, you know the rest.

  3. Mauricio Diaz

    I see your Alan Alda and I raise you Barbara Eden… 🙂

    This was another great blog entry’s Conner.

  4. William

    Oh yeah, baby… Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in the avengers beats them all ! With her knee boots and leather catsuit she kept me up half the night !

  5. Nayma

    Conner, deliciosamente escrito. I want to add Jon Erik Hexum of short lived Cover Up. Absolutely gorgeous man, el ultimo de los baja panties. I would not have minded hooking up with him, even with the decade age difference. Sad to say, he was gone before his time. He would be making Tom Selleck run for his money nowadays! Glad you were stateside for a while.

  6. Hmmmm, puts cpt Kirk in a different light. Last time I saw him was eons ago at a local hotel, dressed in a flowing kaftan and cowboy boots…when a man brought a big bag of hawaii’s best up to his room, and we all got royally stoned. Gawd he was funny! But to get off to – not so much.

  7. Conner !! Think SOLAR !! A panel, a controller, a battery and an inverter will give you power to charge your phone; and, make it mobile so you can always have the panel in direct sunlight. I will send you a tutorial of the one
    I put together after Katrina, and have on my lanai today if you want to get on the learning curve. I’m 85, learning something new every day at the CCRC where I live in Clearwater, Fl.. Just do it !!!

    • Hey Earl

      I would love to go solar but not for my phone (I don’t need for people to be able to locate me all the time). We had an all day blackout today at Cuba Libro (the entire neighborhood, in fact) and I’m wondering how to keep a business afloat with unreliable electricity. A generator is too expensive and not sure solar is much cheaper (in the short run; I understand the long term and enviro benefits). How much power does your panel(s) actually generate? Curious….

      And mom always says: you have to learn something new every day. I think that’s what keeps me inspired in this life and especially this life in Cuba

      • Think of Solar as an insurance policy that pays you. Photons are free and want you to capture them and put them to work. A Solar Panel is the miner of this fuel that will last forever. Most have a life span of twenty years.. If you have a 20 watt panel and gather them for six hours and put them in a battery and their efficiency is only 20 percent, you will have captured 24 watts. That may sound insignificant; however, over that period of time, say you did this for only 300 days a year, that would be 7,200 watts per year times 20 years equaling 144,000 watts.
        Your only expense would be the tool at $1.50 per watt or $30.00. What do you pay now per watt of fossil fuel ?? Keep thinking Conner !! When the grid goes down and the lights go out, you will have options. You will also have power. Wishing you love and wellness, Earl

      • Thanks for the detailed info Earl. You fail to mention how much the panel and battery cost (as I understand it, this is the most expensive part of solar)? One reason the poor stay poor is because they cant afford to invest in options – like solar power or back up generators (which is what businesses in Havana which can afford it purchase to have options).

      • There is a jobber or wholesaler in Miami who buys and sells all over the world– http://sunelec.com/cms/ — this is a tutorial that may assist you.
        Learn as much as you can; and, be the Don Quixote, attack the windmills, bring sunlight and wind back to the people you love. Earl

  8. Been almost a week, have you decided how Solar can be a part
    of every Cuban’s life ??? Not yet ??? How can I be of service ???

    • The initial investment for panels and batteries (as I understand it, the latter is where the real cost lurks) is prohibitive. As I mentioned: alternatives – whether in nutrition, transport, energy, etc – are often reserved for those who have the money to implement them. not my case or that of many cubans, although some folks are starting to heat water in their homes using solar.

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