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I woke up this morning realizing that “woke” is now gone from the political vocabulary. It’s only used as an insult by people who never knew what it was about. The Democrats lost the Virginia election because they nominated an old hack; wokeness had nothing to do with it. “Woke” was an arrogant term never used by mature people except ironically. The fact is, we all have our weird biases and prejudices, I do, you do, it does, they do, and the point is to get a grip and be sweet. Or at least be civil.

Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about sex. We know each other well enough by now. I’ve read other columnists beating up on Democrats for being in disarray and I’ve thought, “I wonder if Mr. Grumpy just needs someone to put their arm around him and lead him upstairs to bed.” And Thanksgiving is coming and I am thankful for what that girl inspired in me who sat ahead of me in Sunday night gospel meeting in her short-sleeved blouse through one sleeve of which I could see a slight crescent of underwear. I was eleven or twelve and the preacher was talking about eternity in the smoking cauldrons of perdition as if it were scheduled for later in the evening and somehow this only intensified my interest in underwear. I’m sorry if this offends you, I am only making a clean breast of my loss of innocence.

Much later, Playboy magazine came along, in which girls removed their underwear and a boy could drive to a drugstore in a part of town where he was not known and tuck a copy into a Wall Street Journal and peruse it. And later came Tropic of Cancer and Portnoy’s Complaint and now porn is freely available online though to me it has all the erotic allure of watching oil well pumps pumping in North Dakota.

No, what truly ushered me into the fields of delight was Julie the neighbor girl’s older cousin who one summer twilight after an hour of Capture The Flag asked me if I’d like to wrestle and, being polite, I said yes, and she grabbed me and threw me down and sat on me and announced she was going to kiss me and in that moment, at the age of 13, I learned my true sexual nature, which was to be submissive. I did not fight off her advance. I didn’t feel violated, I felt promoted.

Sex is about much much more than oil pumps levering up and down twenty times a minute pulling petroleum from deep in the earth. It’s about conversation. I’ve known shy, submissive women, having grown up among Lutherans in Minnesota, and I am more attracted to women who speak their minds, especially ones who are smarter than I, and (of course) are attracted to shy submissive men like me.

There are pluses to growing up strict fundamentalist, as I did, and one is that the idea of romance is terribly thrilling, the thought of perhaps putting your arm around a girl and then, if she looks at you in a certain way and maybe leans toward you, you might turn your head at a slight angle so that your lips would meet her lips.

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  • What would this feel like?
  • How long would it last?
  • Would she be disgusted and report you to authorities? (
  • Or might she press against you in her excitement and seem to want something more?
  • What might “something more” mean?

I still get tremulous feelings when my wife walks into the kitchen in the morning in her nightgown. She is still sleepy, or unwoke, which I find appealing, and she sits on my lap, which is thrilling, especially if the nightgown has slipped off one bare shoulder, and if, as sometimes happens, perhaps once every six days or so, she turns and kisses me and says, “I love you,” all is right with the world.

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Virginia can deal with Youngkin the Pumpkin, I’m well-fixed. Then she pours herself a cup of coffee and when she’s woke, we talk, and this is what draws me to her. The talk. She has strong opinions about many things and I have always craved leadership and so I listen. She doesn’t get her opinions from reading opinion columns but from walking around in the city and listening and watching. Do likewise. Have a good day. Be sweet.

Garrison Keillor
Prairie Home Productions