Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Birds and the Bees by Naomi Elana Zener

“Class, settle down!” Teacher reprimanded militaristically in a heavy southern bible-belt drawl. “You are all squirming around too much and we have some very important ground to cover today.”

A hush fell over the class. No more movements reverberated in the tightly knit group. Focus, attention and order were restored.  Squished together in a tight space without breathing room, the excitement and anticipation felt by the crowd for what was about to be taught to them was palpable.

“There is a movement afoot to keep you from knowing the truth, but it is my God given belief and right to set you on the path to righteousness,” Teacher advised.  “Boys, today you will learn the real facts about sex.”

The mention of the word sex drove the corporeal beings into a feverish state.

“Now do not get too riled up. We do not need a messy explosion that will have to be cleaned up later,” Teacher admonished. “This is a very serious subject. Before I continue, you all need to reassure me that you possess the requisite maturity to absorb this information.”

Nodding in unison, Teacher’s confidence in the class was re-established.

“Young Semen, every one of you has a very important calling. Each month the mission, should you choose to accept it, is to bear the burden and responsibility of finding and inseminating the elusive egg in order to create a new human life,” Teacher explained.

“Are you saying that we all will inseminate the egg?” one young sperm inquired.

“Unfortunately, boys, only one of you will succeed. Millions of you will be ejected into the unknown wilderness of a foreign female land that will be hara-kiri for all but one of you. You will leave here boys, but one of you will emerge a man,” Teacher replied confidently.

“Why on Earth would any of us want to take on those odds?” another young sperm inquired.

“You are a band of brothers and for one of you to vanquish the egg, you must support each other in this mission. If you refuse to do this, or God forbid fail, then the future of the human race is doomed,” Teacher surmised.  “There are uneducated myths swimming around here in these warm waters that must be torpedoed.  You must know the candid truth about sex so that you can protect the Man in which you live from unwittingly engaging in behaviours that could destroy him. You are the front line boys, so your job is to protect the dignity of the Man put in your charge.”

“What can we do Teach?” an adolescent sperm asked.

“Today we will discuss the most crucial issues about sex so that you will be armed with the necessary tools for you stand on guard and succeed in Operation Zygote. Let us begin with the overarching principle that sex should only occur inside the confines of marriage between Man and Woman. As a general rule, so long as each one of you remains steadfast and stalwart and do not eject yourselves from this safe haven that is your home, true sex by definition will not have taken place.”

“What is marriage and how will we know if we are in it?” a sperm asked.

“When Man marries Woman, immediately upon saying ‘I do,’ Man’s brain will send a signal, a message if you will, to the chief semen producer letting him know that the troops can be rallied and reservists will be called up for duty. Your numbers will multiply by the millions and the sheer volume will alert you to the fact that Man is now married and sex can take place,” Teacher advised with authority. “You have two jobs: the first is to act like a heat-seeking missile and find and inseminate the egg. But the second task, which starts long before marriage, is to prevent Man from engaging in activities that will compromise the sanctity of his sexual being. That includes premarital sex.”

“Do the eggs protect Woman the same way we protect Man?” a sperm asked.

“Unfortunately, there are so many fewer eggs inside Woman that they do not have the ability to protect her in the same way. This is why Woman is the weaker sex. This means that you have the job of protecting her too,” Teacher explained. “Now if there aren’t any more questions, let’s continue. Woman’s body is designed to ensure that only her husband’s sperm will inseminate her egg. Woman’s body is designed to prevent pregnancy from happening outside of marriage.”

“How does that work?” a sperm asked. “Don’t Man and Woman sometimes have sex outside of marriage? I know that this Man has certainly tried to engage in premarital sex.”

“Woman and Man may engage in sexual intercourse before marriage, but so long as you, my young Semen, do not enter into Woman, sex will technically not have transpired.”

Confusion ran amok amongst the swimmers, young and old, as many of them knew that their brothers before them had taken to sea in Man’s pursuit of sexual pleasure – sometimes even in cases where there was a struggle to do so.

“But, what if Man is determined to have sex with Woman who is not his wife?” another sperm inquired.

“Generally speaking, Woman has the right to say ‘no’ to sex and must if she is a God-fearing law abiding unmarried Woman. She is to save her eggs for the sole purpose of having her future husband give her children. However, there are those Jezebel harlots out there who prey on Man’s God-given sexual desires in their quest for enjoyment. Grown Man should not be having sex with such a Woman unless he is married to her, but if he does and you have done everything you can to stay indoors, then boys, you will have done your job and Man will have failed you because he succumbed to Woman’s wiles.”

“What happens if Woman says ‘no’ and Man continues to have sex anyway?” the same sperm pressed.

“Very rarely does Woman truly mean ‘no’ because she knows that her body is meant to have sex to make babies. If you’ve done your best not to swim in the waters of an unmarried Woman who has protested and attempted to disengage from sexual relations with Man, but end up doing so, then sex will have occurred and it will be called ‘rape,’” Teacher explained.

“Then we will have failed and a baby could be made!” a sperm squealed. Thoughts of fathering a bastard child filled the spermatozoa with terror.

“Calm down young snorkler, for if you find yourself situated in the narrow and rare circumstance of ‘rape,’ don’t you fret because the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. Woman’s juices don’t flow, and she will emit a certain secretion that stops pregnancy from happening!”

A huge sigh of relief spread like a syphilitic-wildfire amongst the deep-sea divers.

“Thank the Lord that Woman was made to prevent us from doing something wrong, like bring a child born out of wedlock into this world!” a sperm exclaimed.  “Let us pray.”

Bowing their acrosomes in unison, silence was observed as homage and gratitude were paid to the Lord almighty for granting Woman with the innate ability to protect Man from himself.  As if a lightening bolt had struck, one young sperm shot up from the crowd enraptured with a genius idea.

“Could Man simply not wear something to prevent us from leaving our gonads?” the young sperm cried out in wonder. “And, is it not possible for Woman to do the same, or even to take something so that a baby is not produced?”

“You speak of contraceptive devices, young diver, which are a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. The only way you can prevent pregnancy is through abstinence, apart from which no other forms of contraception exist!” Teacher barked to his recruits.

“But what about Jesus? He was an immaculate conception,” a smart-mouthed sperm asked rhetorically.

“Listen here young aquanaut, Jesus was a true miracle so show some respect. While it is true that our Saviour was born into the womb of an abstinent good Christian woman…” Teacher trailed off.

“Wasn’t Mary Jewish?” the same sperm asked interrupting Teacher.

“Do not interrupt me! With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God Almighty, does not hear the prayer of a Jew. Thus, how could Mary be blessed with God’s baby if she was a Jew?” Teacher retorted.  All of the paddlers nodded knowingly at Teacher’s wisdom.

“Getting back to my point about Jesus, God only had one magical sperm inside of Him and since He is now sterile, there can never be another immaculate conception. So you don’t have to worry about abstinence not being the only foolproof contraceptive mechanism. There was and could only ever be one Jesus and now He’s dead,” Teacher advised in solemn reverence.

“Excuse me,” a meek voice said, “but I’ve heard about diseases that Man can get from sex, is this true?”

“I’ve heard about it too – something called AIDS,” another sperm offered.

“It is virtually, not completely, but virtually impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex,” Teacher stated confidently.

“What about other diseases?” the sperm asked in horror.

“Same goes for them,” Teacher stated unwavering. “Heterosexual sex is disease-free sex.”

“Is there another kind of sex?” the sperm inquired.

“Listen soldiers, there are deviants out there who will do things that are against God’s will. These miscreants engage in what is called ‘HOMOSEXUAL’ sex,” Teacher advised. “‘Homosexual’ or ‘gay’ sex is when Man has sex with another Man.”

Teacher’s words were met with perplexed gazes bewildered due to the fact that during class the semen had certainly engaged in self-pleasure by rubbing up against one another. Fearful that such pleasure could be qualified as being ‘gay,’ since they were all such manly sperm, the semen’s movement immediately fell flat.

“Can Woman do that too?” an overexcited young sperm asked with hope.

“Woman can participate in sexual activity with Woman, but the law there is slightly more lenient in that if it assists Man to be aroused for the purpose of baby-making, then it is not quite so ‘gay,’” Teacher explained. “Boys just remember that homosexual sex is personal enslavement. Do you want to be personally enslaved? I think not!”

Heads shook wildly causing the spermatozoa’s mitochondrial middles to echo in a hum of disgust at the thought of being slaves.

“The bottom line young brigadiers is that so long as you don’t leave the confines of the testicles, then you will have prevented  Man from engaging in legitimate rape and homosexual sex,” Teacher stated matter-of-factly. “I think we’ve covered the bases, but does anyone have any further questions?”

“Just one,” a sperm replied. “What happens if Man is practicing for sex with Woman, and we are catapulted abruptly from our home? We have seen it happen on occasion to our brothers in the past.”

“Listen up and listen good. Should Man partake in the selfish and lustful act of self-pleasure known as ‘masturbation,’ then you must do what you can to stay put within the interior of the perimeter,” Teacher ordered.

“What’s so wrong with self-pleasure?” asked the same heretical sperm who had inquired previously about whether Mary was Jewish.

“Pay attention sass mouth! Man is supposed to be pleasing his wifely Woman, so if he already knows what pleases himself and can do so at will, then why is Woman in the picture?” Teacher asked rhetorically to no reaction. “Ok, think of it this way, ‘tis criminal behaviour for any drop of semen to be wasted on self-pleasure.  Each one of you divers, only gets one kick at the can. Do you want your call of duty to be a suicide mission where you end up dead on the floor because you tried to impregnate 1970s green shag carpeting in a moldy basement?”

Whipped up into a frenzied hysteria at the thought of being wasted by Man for his lustful and fruitless self-indulgent satisfaction, the baby-batter collectively vowed to remain immovable until Man took Woman as his wife.

“At the end of the day, soldiers you are ground zero in the combat zone to protect Man from himself. But more importantly, should you fail in your duty and allow Man to engage in any of premarital sex, legitimate rape, homosexual copulation or masturbation by extricating yourselves from the security and purity of the scrotum, Man will no longer be welcome or able to be a card-carrying member of the Republican Party of the United States of America!”

© 2012. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

KOSHER PICKLES by Naomi Elana Zener

 “What’s your name,” the stern looking woman with the clipboard inquired.

“Sam,” I replied quietly. “Sam Zuker.”

“Table 3,” the woman advised without making eye contact.

I looked over at empty Table 3. Accompanied by two plain grey plastic folding chairs, it sat barren in a mirror-walled non-descript banquet hall.  Hope sprung eternal from the venue that played host to the waves of weddings and bar mitzvahs that had passed through it. Table 3 was my lifeboat destined to rescue me from a life of emptiness.  All I could do was take my seat and wait. The once silent great hall was buzzing with the electric anticipation of the other men betting on the same game, each of whom could have been my doppleganger. With dark hair, cleanly shaven dressed in a white shirt, black pants, black shoes and sporting a yarmulke, the other men anxiously awaited the arrival of the women. Hoping to set myself apart, I wore red socks. The nausea in my gut made me wonder if I would have been better off wearing the same white gym socks as the other men had worn. It was too late, as a bell was rung signaling that the gong show had commenced. Like the stampede witnessed at a midnight madness sale at a department store, a tornado of women descended upon the room in a blur of long black skirts.  Before I could figure out what set each woman apart from the other, a blonde-haired angel took up residence at Table 3 and was looking squarely at me.

“I’m Tzippi,” she whispered.

“Sam. Ok Shmuel, but no one calls me that except my mother.”

“Don’t be nervous,” she whispered daintily seated with her hands tucked away in her lap.

“I’m not nervous,” I stated boldly, but grateful that we would not be shaking hands, as my clammy mitts certainly would have betrayed me.

“Shhh,” she said noting the scornful eyes of the chaperones in the room. “We are not supposed to speak to each other until they ring the bell again.”

I nodded silently.

Finally, the second bell was rung.

“So, come here often?” I asked playfully hoping to inject some humour into the situation, but praying that her answer would be no.

“Third time,” Tzippi replied. “You?”

“First time - like a virgin,” I chuckled to no reaction. “Get it? Madonna?”

“So, you are more modern orthodox,” Tzippi noted quietly.

“And you’re not?” I asked.

“I was raised Lubavitch, but with the new laws emerging from the Israeli rabbinate, I’ve become more flexible,” she replied. “I like your socks.”

I smiled. Maybe this woman would be the one.

“So how many brothers and sisters do you have?” Tzippi inquired.

“Four brothers, two sisters. And you?”

“I’m an only child,” Tzippi replied shamefully. “But I’m certain that is not hereditary.”

“Of course not,” I offered. “The sins of our fathers are not those of the children.”

Tzippi relaxed, realizing that I was not as uptight as the other men she had met at similar past events.

“Tell me about your favourite things,” Tzippi asked.

“I love a nice aged bottle of Manischevitz wine. I eat chocolate-covered matzoh even when it’s not Passover. I met both President Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu in the same week, which was a thrill of a lifetime for a political-junkie like me,” I informed her. “Oh, and my favourite high holiday is Yom Kippur. I enjoy fasting.”

Tzippi took in the last nugget with an ounce of skepticism as she noted my healthy rotund belly protruding over my pants. She quickly realized that it was my modern sense of humour at play once again and half-smiled at me.

“Why have you never been married?” she asked cutting through the niceties of small talk.

“Just haven’t yet,” I said.

“But you want children?” Tzippi asked longingly.

“Of course!” I stated emphatically. “Would I be here if I didn’t?”

“I guess not,” she surmised.

Without warning a third bell rung alerting the room that it was time for a change in the speed-dating dance. Within seconds, Tzippi and I were joined by a man clad in the same standard issued white shirt-black pants uniform as me, but was set apart by his black hat and long beard.

“This is Noam,” Tzippi advised as she introduced us while remaining seated.

“Shmuel,” the man interrupted with an outstretched right arm to shake my hand.

“Pleasure to meet you sir,” I replied reciprocating the gesture. A menacing grip alerted me to the stark realization that the rest of this meeting would not be a walk in the park.

“So let’s cut to the chase,” Noam instructed uncomfortably, “how many kids do you want to have?”

“As many as God will grant me,” I replied humbly.

“And you come from a big family,” Noam stated acutely aware of my biographical information since he had witnessed my conversation with Tzippi from behind the one-way mirrored walls.

“Not that the size of my family is any indicator of what my success will be in my attempts to be fruitful and multiply,” I said protectively trying to defend Tzippi’s honour.

Noam quickly retreated from his aggressive territorial opening stance.

 “So do you think you are ready to be my wife’s mancubine?” Noam asked sheepishly.

“If Tzippi will have me, I would be honoured,” I beamed. The new rabbinical decree from Israel had made it abundantly clear that married Jewish couples who could not reproduce, or where the husband did not want to procreate, and the husband would not grant the wife a divorce, the wife could take up with a kosher mancubine to help her to fertilize her eggs. Nothing could have pleased me more – a lifelong commitment-phobe without a desire to marry, but wanting to  give my parents grandchildren before they died– I finally was given the best Chanukah present in the world by the Israeli rabbinate. I could spread my seed without having to sign a ketubah for one had already been signed.

“And what kind of a man wants to be a kosher mancubine?” Noam inquired with resentment.

“What kind of man refuses to grant his wife a divorce when he cannot or refuses to bless her pristine womb with children?” I shot back.

“This is not a game of my Tefillin is longer than yours,” Tzippi spat. “Rather than fight, why don’t we figure out how Sam will fit into our lives.”

“Yes, Tzippi, why don’t you tell your husband how this mancubine will fit into you,” Noam stated sarcastically. “Sorry, I meant your life.”

“Don’t start with me Noam,” Tzippi ordered. “If you didn’t suffer from a non-existent sperm count we wouldn’t be here in the first place.”

“My sperm count! How can you talk about such things, about my testicles, in front of a stranger?” Noam bellowed. “I’m the son of a rabbi!”

“What, sons of rabbis don’t have testicles?” Tzippi spat. “So then give me a divorce!”

“And shame my father?” Noam replied haughtily. “Are you wearing your wig too tightly again?”

The room fell silent as other mancubine prospects’ and couples’ eyes darted in our direction to consume the drama of the Orthodox and the Childless. The woman whom I first met upon my arrival quickly ran over to our table in order to prevent the bursting discord from spreading to neighbouring mancubine interviews.

“Please stop fighting. Instead, why don’t you review and discuss this,” the woman offered handing each of the three of us a sheet of paper. “It will help to structure the negotiations.”

The three of us bowed our heads in silence and embarrassment to peruse the document. The paper read: Helpful Tips for a Successful Mancubine – Marital Relationship:

Due to the unprecedented demand for kosher mancubines, we here at Kosher Pickles have developed this set of tips to help guide mancubines and marital couples navigate these new uncharted waters. While our tips are non-exhaustive, we believe that they, along with a series of helpful questions, will provide both the mancubines and marital couples with practical ideas to consider in the establishment of healthy boundaries for their relationship.

Tip #1 – Define the living arrangements. Where will the mancubine live? Does he require his own apartment or will he have a separate bedroom in the marital home? Will the mancubine become part of the family or will the mancubine be a marital secret?

Tip #2 – Determine the nature of the relationship. What will the role of the mancubine be in connection with the marital couple? Will the mancubine provide emotional support to the wife? Does the wife want the mancubine to provide ‘cuddling’ after conjugal visits? Will the mancubine be expected to plan ‘date nights’ to romance the wife? Or rather, will this be a relationship limited to sex, after which time the husband will resume immediately his role in the marital bed and provides ‘cuddling’ for his wife?

Tip # 3 – Setting up the calendar. Set out the number of conjugal visits per month that the wife will have with each of the mancubine and husband. Will sex with the mancubine be strictly functional or will the wife require the mancubine to provide sexual pleasure visits as well? Will the wife still be required to provide sexual pleasure to the husband? Will the wife be expected to provide sexual pleasure for the mancubine? Or, will the mancubine be permitted to enjoy the company and sexual pleasure of other Jewish women? NB: Wives must increase the amount of sexual intercourse with the mancubine during the time of ovulation. For this reason, wives are not to have sexual relations with their husbands during ovulation in order to maximize the chances of conception. If the mancubine is permitted to enjoy the sexual company of other Jewish women (not that such pleasure exists outside of the confines of marriage or mancubine relationships), he is reminded to always wear a condom.

Tip #4 – Parental roles: who’s your Daddy? Will the mancubine be a mere sperm donor or will he play the paternal role of “father” for the children? If the mancubine is to be the father, what will the husband’s role be? If the mancubine is to be known as “daddy,” what will the children call the husband? Once pregnant, who will be responsible to responding to each whim of the wife? Who will make the midnight kosher ice cream runs, the mancubine or the husband?

Tip #5 – Establish the financial arrangement. Will the mancubine be compensated for his sperm, regardless of whether he assumes the paternal role of “father” for the offspring? Will the mancubine be financially responsible for the offspring or will that obligation rest with the husband?

Tip #6 – Labour and delivery. To reduce confusion and jealousy, we recommend that only the wife’s mother (or if her mother has died, then wife’s sister or other female relative) assist in the labour and delivery room. This will reduce any unwanted tension between the mancubine who has successfully impregnated the wife and the impotent husband.

Tip #7 – Ongoing therapeutic support. We highly recommend that the mancubine and marital couple seek counseling with a rabbi or therapist to help guide the mancubine and marital couple through the roller coaster ride of this complex relationship. This will help to ensure that no stumbling block will ever be an obstacle to success and the three of you will go on to have a successful mancubine-marital relationship bountiful with wonderful children.

Remember, once you have signed a mancubine contract, there is only one mancubine to a wife. There are no “brother husbands” under the new law!

Having finished reading the helpful hints before Noam and Tzippi, I studied the look of horror on Noam’s face as his eyes trailed down the page. Clearly, he was rethinking the notion of divorce.  On the other hand, Tzippi looked up at me with a giant smile.

“So, Sam, I’m game if you are,” Tzippi advised. I grinned back in agreement, of which Noam quickly took note.

“Don’t get ahead of yourselves,” Noam warned us both. “I never said that I was on board.”

“Who asked you?” Tzippi asked rhetorically. “The day your swimmers failed to go upstream was the day you lost your vote.”

Faced with the reality that he would remain married to Tizppi until the end of time and that the new rabbinical law compelled him to accede to his wife’s demands for a mancubine, Noam finally surrendered. However, Noam stared me down determined to protect his masculine image.

“Under no circumstances will there ever be any threesomes! That is non-negotiable,” Noam ordered waving his finger at me.

“Excuse me, I’m the one who makes the rules. He’s my mancubine, not yours!” Tzippi stated emphatically.

© 2012. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.