Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reproductive Rights for Cat Partners!

Besides the referred to movie, these illustrations have nothing to do with this post besides the fact that they were sights from this evening's walk as this post formed in my over-worked little brain. This is how my mind works. Talk about Strange Maps!

I’ve been watching Cat Girl Kiki this evening with the English subtitles turned off. For some reason it seems to make a heck of a lot more sense that way. It’s a good alternative to what’s been going on the rest of this week. Something called work. It’s pretty typical that I put in 50-60 hours a week. Not exactly the killer hours of my youth but probably above average. This week I’ve probably already put in 80 hours and plan to have a somewhat saner Friday. I had a coworker in town this week for a variety of foundation visits and work on a killer proposal. If I have to utter the words “reproductive health” or “uterine prolapse” one more time I will friggin’ freak out.

Non-profit culture often means that visiting coworkers do homestays when they are in town, something that I do not offer the way I used to, but this visitor is one I liked and we had a shitload of issues to cover. That meant 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. workdays, but we got a lot accomplished.

In the midst of all of that we had a variety of discussions on some of the most random of topics and the intent behind words. One phrase that we analyzed or over-analyzed is the term is reproductive health itself. Although I’ve raised a few million for this topic, I have never taken that much time to think about my own reproductive health. Guess what, I really don’t ever plan to use my reproductive organs for, well, you know that. So does that mean that I have no reproductive health? I’m sure that Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger (sorry, I refuse to refer to him as “Dr.” since we’re on the subtleties of nomenclature.) would say that my reproductive health needs a good dose of Drano to use his grotesque plumbing metaphors. I guess he gets out the monkey wrench when he and Mrs. Holsinger are feeling a little jiggy. If you aren’t aware of this quack and have any concern about the future of public health, be sure to go to the Human Right Campaign’s site and send this letter to your member of Congress.

Another word of annoyance that came up in our conversation is “partner.” When supposedly progressive employers hold gatherings for staff and their families, everyone is encouraged to “bring your partner.” Does this offend me because I don’t have one or because I haven’t gotten laid in a while? Or is it something deeper, more primal and condescending on the order of “Oh, since we’re so progressive we’ll call our husbands and wives partners so it feels as if we’re all equal.” It really feels like asking people with gaping head wounds whether they prefer to have cocoa or mint tea while waiting in line in the emergency room.

Mind you, I am all for employers embracing a comprehensive definition of domestic partners including allowing unmarried straight people to claim their significant others. However, I doubt that even the most progressive employer would allow me to claim my main squeeze of the past 18 years, my cat Bunter, as my domestic partner. That thought has certainly entered my head since he’s due for a check up at the vet in July. If, in the perfect Kafkaesque/Cat Girl Kiki world, I woke up tomorrow to find Bunter transformed into the adorable Yoshiro, the male lead of that movie, I’d sign him up in a second. On second thought, I love my cat partner just the way he is.

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At 7:31 AM, Blogger David Rochester said...

I hate the word "partner" as used to reference the person one fucks, because then one doesn't know what to call one's fellow-investor, business enterprise co-founder, jogging mate, etc. I referred to someone with a mutual project interest as my "partner" the other day, and got quite the strange look. And yet, that is properly what he is, whereas my not-a-girlfriend is the person I take to bed. Nothing but ill has ever come of mealy-mouthedness.

At 7:34 AM, Blogger David Rochester said...

(Post scriptum: Of course I realize that partnership, in the sense of the word I object to, involves more than sex. But the immediate assumption people seem to make when they hear the word is that the two people in partnership are enjoying one another in quite a personal sense.)

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

I think that it's a haphazzard way for trying to make straight people feel that they embrace equity. They can't bring themselves to say that a man has a husband or a woman has a wife or even to call the person a spouse. So they opt for the neutered term partner which only muddies the issue.


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