YALE REUNION 2022
#GoBonobos for Bulldogs, Sex Week at Yale Memories, Boola-Boola Mammaries, Elite Critiques, Sapiosexual Pleasures & Ladies & Knights of My "Peace, Love, Bonobos" Roundtable
by Dr. Susan Block.
No doubt, I’m not your typical Yale alumna. I’m not a propertied billionaire or even millionaire—legacy or self-made—nor a tenured academic, scientist, CEO, lawyer, stockbroker or journalist embedded with the MSM, like many of my distinguished classmates.
My profession—and passion—is that of “sexologist,” the only one in my class… at least the only one that’s out of the closet about it.
I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and my sexual freedom across my chest. I also tend to cover my Ivy-edumacated brain with a hat, preferably a big one.
As such, I forego the buttoned-up suits, preppy crew neck sweaters and boat neck blouses typical of the Ivy League for lingerie and latex. Not that I ever wore suits or boating attire much, even while an undergrad, being more the hippie tie-dye type… when not in costume for a play or streaking naked through Old Campus “for peace.”
Nevertheless, I am a proud magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, Class of ’77.
I haven’t always been so proud. Maybe it has to do with not being “typical,” but for over a decade, I’d tell people I went to college in “New Haven.” Actually, for various reasons, a lot of Yalies do this. Not that it conceals our Yale bonafides, since nobody thinks we mean Quinnipiac College. We just say it to be cool and/or because we cringe at coming off as “elitist.”
I confess, I have a longstanding inclination to critique the “elites,” and ivy-adorned Yale University—envisioned by the theocratic Reverend John Davenport, co-founded in 1701 by prominent witch-hunting Puritan Cotton Mather and Christened after its biggest benefactor, wealthy British colonialist Elihu Yale (later indicted for corruption)—is nothing if not elite.
Maybe now we should just digitize privilege in the Metaverse, call it “e-lite” and sell bits of it like bitcoin.
We Yalies were marked the “best and brightest,” which was something of a Mark of Cain, as graduating from Yale was and is no guarantee of intelligence, but more of an indication that you do well on tests. Or that your Dad did well on tests, well enough for you to get in too. Or, more likely, your Dad or your Dad’s Dad contributed a lot of money, big bones for the Bulldog.
Honestly, seeing Yale’s most notorious “C student” attempt to denounce the “wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq—I mean, Ukraine…hehe… Iraq too! Anyway…” was enough to make any Eli—elite or on the street—want to hide our diplomas.
It was my husband Max who helped me see my Yale degree a little differently.
For every George W. Bush, there was a Samuel Morse—inventor of the Morse Code. For every awful Brett Kavanaugh (Yale Class of ’87) who makes me want to hang my Bulldog face in shame, there’s an awesome Lupita Nyong’o (Yale Drama MFA 2012) who fills me with ivy pride. It all evens out, more or less, and— Magna Cum Laude or just me-coming-loudly—Yale’s a part of my life. So, thanks to Max, I gradually started to show off my Yale degree… with a twist.
I’m not the first Eli to hang a Bulldog pennant on the wall behind her bed, but it happens that said bed is also where I broadcast my weekly talk shows. Like a chef hosts a cooking show from the kitchen surrounded by pots and pans, I host a sexuality show from bed surrounded by sex toys… and a pennant emblazoned with “For God, For Country And For Yale.”
SWAY crushed by Dick
Good times! Indeed, those special winter weeks around Valentine’s Day, the High Holidays of Love, were sex educational, mind-body-and-soul-expanding times for the students, faculty and special guests who were lucky and brave enough to participate. As for me, I felt welcomed back into the bountiful bosom of Mother Yale every other year. That is, until former Yale President Richard Levin stopped SWAY from swaying.
And what a shame that was. Under pressure from corporate interests, Yale-in-Singapore, an entrenched over-privileged fraternity system, and well-funded, ruthless anti-sex-education, Christofascist media, including Focus on the Family, Master Dick forced SWAY to bow to his haughty, erotophobic and demeaning demands. Then he crushed it anyway under his elite J. Press tassel calfskin loafer.
Incidentally, Yale college supervisors are—or were—called “Masters,” so “Master Dick” is actually not as outrageous a nickname for former President Richard Levin as it sounds. In fact, as the head of Yale, he could—I’m taking a leap here—be called “Master Dick, Head (of Yale).”
Silly puns aside, Dick Levin is gone, replaced by a kinder, gentler Yale President, Peter Salovey, whose groundbreaking work in Emotional Intelligence I appreciated enough to quote in The Bonobo Way. I’d like to believe Pete would not have crushed Sex Week at Yale like Dick did.
People ask if I’ll ever “bring it back,” but that not up to me. Maybe Yale students will resurrect Sex Week at Yale, or put on their own version for the 2020’s—or 2030’s (assuming the Megamachine lets human civilization last that long). Hey, a sexologist can dream…
Besides being the quintessential e-lite academic institution (that other school in Cambridge notwithstanding), Yale has a tradition of elite-critiquing—from Nathan Hale spying on King George III to Chaplain William Sloane Coffin leading protests against the War in Vietnam to socialist economist Richard D. Wolff condemning capitalism in our times—and I am proud to be a part of that tradition, in my fashion.
Rightwing Coup Anon’ers portray Yale as a hotbed of “woke,” decadent Marxism. So, “elite critiquing” doesn’t only come from the Left, though it tends to be accompanied by a large side order of garbage when delivered by the Right. Actually, seeing neo-Puritan Senator Tom Cotton get pilloried in social media for vainly trying to denigrate brave Yale student protesters against Christofascist speakers as “fragile… Leftwing children” made me proud of my school.
So, when I received an invitation to my 45th Yale College Reunion, and was reassured that it would be Covid-safe (or relatively) with testing upon arrival, I was pleased to say yes for two.
To kick off this special boola-boola weekend, I put a small Yale pennant on my big blue hat with Y-A-L-E emblazoned across my chest, accompanied by an assortment of other Eli-positive accessories, including a “Y” pendant hand-woven by Twin Towers in-house designers with the blue and white threads of inmate uniforms. The opposite of elite and light as a flower, it occasionally flips around and upside down, turning the “Y” in the circle into a peace sign, which I take as a good omen.
One accessory that was seen only by Max and my selfie stick (until now) was my Yale University thong—or thongs in white on black, white on red and blue on white—received as gifts and purchased over the years at the Boola Boola shop on Broadway.
These thongs were just good wholesome collegiate underwear, until one otherwise fine day in 2006. I had just produced a wondrous Whim ‘n Rhythm concert (having connected with these mellifluous ladies of at SWAY ’06) at my “Speakeasy” in which Yale thongs were flashed. Word of this got some very elite Yale corporate lawyers’ panties in a twist, and they insisted that the Boola Boola shop stop selling those thongs (hence they gifted me with their entire unsaleable inventory). Then they told me to stop showing off my Yale panties all over the Internet… or else!
The shop stopped, but I did not. In fact, I told Yale’s killjoy counselors to go ahead and sue me. They said they most certainly would, but never did. Sometimes you’ve just got to call the bluffs of these blustering elites—and not let them scare the panties off of you.
We passed our home Covid tests and took meticulous photos of our negative results before leaving Bonoboville, expecting we’d have to take another test when we reached New Haven. After all, the plane was packed with heavy breathers, most of whom were gleefully maskless.
It was our first flight since our carefree, pre-Coronapocalypse, Mile High Club days, and we were both recovering from our wild Bonoboville Reunion and a whirlwind DomCon 2022, with a bout of pneumonia in between.
The kissing helped, but overall, the new post-Coronapocalyptic flying experience—once a nomadic pleasure, brimming with delightful possibilities of connecting with old and new friends and lovers—is a paranoid, overcrowded chore.
Speaking of the good old days, why don’t we take a tip from the “smoking sections” of yore and seat the maskless in the back of the plane? Never mind, I can already see the fists flying before the plane even takes off.
The best part of our new air travel experience was Max’s wheelchair. Having let Delta know in advance that my Yale Husband, due to his various ailments, would need assistance, a charming attendant whisked him along through the fast lane as I jogged to keep up. The adrenaline rush, along with the edibles I took before leaving Bonoboville, helped beam me up above the Delta dystopia that threatened to swallow me in swarming madness.
Thank Goddess, the snoring, maskless individual next to me spent most of the flight burrowed into the window. I burrowed into Max and checked out the video fare, passing on “King Richard”—the film that won an Oscar for the dude who’d just punched a comedian at the Oscars—and picking films about three of my lifelong “sheroes,” Dr. Jane Goodall, Erin Brockovich and Frida Kahlo.
Maybe it was the edibles, but I felt the passions of these amazing women intersecting with my own like a Venn diagram—Erin for the environment, Jane for the apes, and Frida for erotic art.
Frida Kahlo, who spent even more quality time in bed than me, has long been a great vibrant inspiration. I’ve admired Erin Brockovich even longer, and not just because Salon snarkily compared my push-up bra’ed efforts to save the bonobos to the activist’s own cleavage-enhanced environmentalism. My Jane Goodall love goes back even further. What a great primatologist and advocate for chimps and all the apes—including me. I was honored when Tom Quinn tongue-in-cheek dubbed me “Jane Goodall After Dark,” and deeply touched when Jane’s assistant emailed me to say she “loved” the Bonobo Way.
Goodall, Kahlo and Brockovich all worked with and against elites to further their causes. Perhaps I’d been doing the same—at least trying to—with the Bonobo Way… or did I flatter myself with such grand comparisons?
I may not be in that Big 3, but at least, I didn’t punch a comedian at the Oscars—let alone bomb anybody at all, like some of my aforementioned fellow Eli alumni.
Return to Yale
Before we could say “go bonobos,” we’d arrived in New York, two very sleepy seniors, one plastered with Yale logos and the other in an “I Love Dr. Susan Block” cap, ripe for being exploited in the sleazy transportation tangle of fast-talking hustlers and exhaust-belching vehicles surrounding JFK.
I could almost hear the predators salivating all around us, though that was probably as much in my imagination as the great “crime wave” is in the Republican narrative.
Because soon enough, Vinnie from the Bronx (seriously), by way of the Dominican Republic, found us, convinced us he wasn’t a predator—or a liberal mirage—and transported us to New Haven for a reasonable fee, as he chatted with us about life, love and how unfair the U.S. embargo was on his cousins in Cuba.
Then he ate bagels with us when we reached the Yale registration office two hours early, and would have stayed over with us if we’d booked another bed in the dorm.
Yes, we booked dorm rooms for this reunion, since all the hotels were either full or at prices too elite for us. What the dorms lacked in comfort, they made up for in thrift and convenience.
Oh, and did I mention we two geriatric jetsetters were on the fourth floor of this charming neo-colonial building with elegant bannisters and no elevator? Thank Goddess for Alejandro Campillo (Class of 2022) graciously dragging our bags all the way up those winding stairs.
Not being able to sleep together really sucked. There we were in two single, extremely narrow dorm room beds anchored to separate walls in adjoining rooms. So, we did it like students, snuggling up for sex in one cot, then splitting up for sleeping, studying or stepping out for pizza (sorry New York—and Rome, but New Haven Wooster Street pizza is numero uno). Ah, the pleasures and pains of boarding school sex! Even seniors can enjoy it… and suffer from it—although those kinds of pains are kind of nice.
But before all that erotic intimacy and joint pain, we had to register. Yale Class of ‘77 was assigned the remotely located, neo-colonial college of Timothy Dwight, so far from Commons, I’d never ventured inside of it as a student, at least not while sober.
We were surprised the reunion desk administrators didn’t check out those carefully-snapped photos of our Covid-negative tests—even when we proudly presented them—let alone administer fresh tests right there (as we did at our Bonoboville Reunion). We weren’t the only alumni who were a little disturbed by this. We Yalies like to protect our elite immunocompromised asses.
Or maybe just some of us do. Masks appeared and disappeared throughout the weekend—including my own… especially after a drink, I must confess. I’m trying not to “virtue-signal” here, and I’m about as woke as a hibernating bear, but I’d just hope Mother Yale might be more solicitous of her offspring.
I imagined a fully masked reunion like Eyes Wide Shut without the orgies, but the real thing was far more mundane, with masks half-on and off, though mostly off, as we vainly tried to maintain distance, knocking elbows and nodding at familiar and not so familiar faces.
Mostly not familiar to me, since my three and a half years at Yale coincided with the three and a half years of my life most colored, so to speak, by LSD aka acid, psychedelic mushrooms and week-long peyote trips through The Stacks of Sterling Library, beautiful Beinecke Hall (where I took an independent study course in ancient Tibetan art with Professor Wesley Needham, one of the original New Deal architects of Yale whose face is carved into the entryway to Trumbull College), the tomblike outside of Skull & Bones (never the inside), the ultra-elite “secret society” of the Bushes and other frighteningly powerful Yalies, and the actual tombs of Grove Street Cemetery.
And yes, despite or perhaps because of my hallucinogenic extra-curricular activities, it took me just three and a half years to graduate (the standard was four), though, believe it or not, not that I did it to show off or because I was smart.
The sad truth was that my dear Dad (not a Yale grad) was developing Parkinson’s disease, and my parents were running out of money to pay that elite college tuition, so my best bet to avoid a Mount Vesuvius of student debt was to overload my schedule with easy courses (no challenge for a Theater Studies major) and graduate six months early.
Maybe if I’d been able to give my undergraduate education its full four years like my elite, student-loan-free peers, I’d be smarter about things, like when and how to wear the damn mask. It’s hard to say. Somehow, I felt okay taking maskless selfies because we were all facing forward, though I suspected I was flirting with disaster.
Good thing “disaster” was only flirting—no serious dating—because both Max and I emerged from our 45th Yale Reunion Covid-free.
Nevertheless, the specter of the spiky little virus seemed to hang in the air or lurk behind the bar, dividing, not uniting—or at least, not helping. Though first-night cocktails under the Timothy Dwight tent were very nice, it just didn’t feel as intimate and exhilarating as the first night of, say, our 2017 Reunion when we shared a cup at Mory’s Temple Bar.
Mory’s is historically elitist-to-the-drunken-core, but that “sharing” tradition—passing around the big, inscribed, silver loving cup filled with a mystical concoction of liquors, juices, ice, unknown aphrodisiacs and your drinking companions’ saliva, as everyone takes a good swallow without letting the urn touch the table (or it goes over your head)—reminds me of bonobos sharing food (and sex) along with silly pranks, and it’s a big reason it was so much fun.
Nowadays, Mory’s isn’t so elitist; anyone can get in. However, “sharing a cup” in 2022—at Mory’s or Denny’s—sounded as appealing as slurping up a puddle of bacteria infested sputum in the alley outside Toad’s Place.
With that in mind, we safely sipped our separate drinks under Timo’s tent.
After making merry (or as merry as we could) and then coming together in the dorm room, Max and I rolled onto our single beds and fell into the fitful sleep of the jetlagged.
Friday morning, bright and early (for us nightowls), we rose to a New England spring shower. That meant donning my clear plastic raincoat over the day’s set of Yale regalia in black, white and red to match the vintage Sex Week at Yale insignia (a collectors’ item) atop my hat. It also meant my hair exploded into a giant frizz bomb, just like in my college days, reminding me of one of the reasons I left damp and drizzling New England for the hair-dryer level heat of LA.
Breakfast found Max and me sitting across from my classmate John Robinson Block and his lovely fiancé Mary. Despite sharing a last name, John and I are not related. We barely even spoke as students, John being a conservative traditionalist favoring bowties and ascots—“elite” to the point of caricature—and me being a left-of-liberal feminist hippie favoring jeans or nothing at all (we called it “streaking” back in the day). I guess I was (and still am) a “sexy lefty”… to the point of caricature.
So, there we sat, two Yale caricatures at our 45th reunion.
We had previously stumbled upon each other at our 40th, when life didn’t seem as polarized, and we shared a laugh over our same last names and sartorial flamboyance. Little did I know that the old Block surname (via John’s family) would come to haunt me the day after January 6th 2021, the infamous Insurrection, aka the “Rape of the Capitol,” aka Coup Anon. What a crazy day that was for everyone on all sides of the MAGAt mess, and for me, it revolved, rather ridiculously, around my last name.
Thus, on January 7th, 2021, I found myself explaining to various concerned friends, foes and media outlets that no, I was NOT Susan Allan Block, the wealthy, Insurrection-cheering Ohio Arts Council Board of Directors member (think Ginni Thomas with a taste for Renoir), making headlines by posting particularly ardent fangirl support for the Orange One and his attempted coup, but simply Susan Marilyn Block, bonobo-loving, Trump-loathing sexologist.
Susan ALLAN Block’s artistic expression on Facebook read as follows (caps hers): “NO PEACE, NO UNITY, NO CONCESSION.” The way my name-twin called President-elect Joe Biden “ILLIGITIMATE” [sic] and Veep-elect Kamala Harris a “WHORE” made my sex-worker-supportive, spellcheck-abiding head spin.
Making matters even weirder, I discovered that day that Susan Allan Block is married to Allan Block, twin brother of John Block, the gentleman in the ascot smiling across from me at breakfast on the first morning of our Yale reunion.
This particular Block clan (there are a few) runs Block Communications which publishes the rather conservative Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (whose workers, as I write this, are on strike). Just as this Block has been cheering for Trumpty Dumpty’s impeachment, imprisonment and—most important—disappearance from my news feed, these other Blocks appear to have been rooting for the MAGAt mob… from a safe, elite distance, of course.
All of this flashed through my mind as we made small talk, shared recipes and memories of Italy, took selfies and, in true elite form, said nothing of our extreme political differences. John and Max seemed to genuinely bond over their passion for pasta primavera. I marveled at how we friendly primates—no matter how elite or extremely different we think we are—can always find ways to connect when motivated.
I personally was not so motivated, partly because I’m still smarting over John’s MAGAt-cheering sister-in-law sharing my name, and partly because I was vainly trying to prepare for my leadership role at the “Roundtable” that would take place any minute at this very table.
At least the topic was one I could talk about in my sleep: “Peace, Love and Bonobos.” I’d just done a similarly themed talk, “Make Kink Not War: Be Bonobo,” albeit for a very different audience, the kinky latex-clad “elites” of DomCon 2022. I’d just done a similarly themed talk, “Make Kink Not War: Be Bonobo,” but for a very different audience, the kinky latex-clad “elites” of DomCon 2022.
Needless to say, John and Mary politely left our breakfast table before it turned into a Leftish “Roundtable” talk, and a group of more politically sympatico Yalies soon filled the empty seats.
I liked the idea of a Roundtable, conjuring fairy tales of King Arthur and those sexy Knights in their kinky armor, trying to be bonobo, or as bonoboësque as you can be when you’re doing all that jousting and crusading (not very).
A roundtable also sounded so much more equalizing and peace-loving than the table that was dominating the news at the time: that endlessly long war table of Vladimir Putin’s that you could just imagine him calmly sitting at as he bombed his “brothers” in Ukraine.
At that point (if not before), NATO sat itself down at the other end of Putin’s ridiculously long imperial dining table, with no efforts to make it round—or make peace—as the two ends started lobbing dishes (bombs) at each other. Months later as I write this, they are still at it, with neocons, neoliberals and even some so-called “progressives” all joining the fight that only profits the dish makers (the war profiteers). Will they keep it up until all the dishes shatter, the middle collapses and both ends fall into the breech, i.e., nuclear war?
Back to the “roundtable” which implies that there are no elites, no “heads” or masters. All are equal, in the round—at least in terms of the table.
Of course, equal doesn’t necessarily mean anarchy, and even in King Arthur’s circular countertop of chivalry, everybody didn’t talk at once. Somebody had to lead the discussion, and today, that somebody was me.
Why “Peace, Love and Bonobos”?
I chose “peace” as a theme because here we were (and still are) at war (again). Even prior to my time at Yale, I protested war and the military megamachine for which Yale and so many other elite universities are think tanks. I am still protesting war, every single war that America has started—or instigated—in my lifetime, and I’m still researching the tricky process of peace.
I chose “love” because this year, Max and I have been celebrating our 30th anniversary of lawfully married love. Interestingly and rather romantically, we fell in love, at least in part, due to our aversion to war. The year was 1991, and we were both opposed to a very popular war, Desert Storm, a.k.a. the *First* Gulf War, under the command of U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Sr. (Yale Class of 1948).
Desert Storm would reverse the rather healthy and sane “Vietnam Syndrome” (American citizens’ natural aversion to war), much to the detriment of our nation and the world. Yet all bad things in life have some good, and one of the First Gulf War’s inadvertent consequences was bringing Max and me, two peaceniks in a sea of war cheerleaders, together… forever!
I also chose “love” because I didn’t think it would be polite to write “sex” on the Yale Roundtable card, and “love” is a pretty good euphemism for sex. I had addressed the topic of “Sexuality and Aging” on our 30th reunion panel, and now here we all were, a decade and a half older. Yikes! For many of us, good old-fashioned penis-in-vagina (PIV) sexual intercourse is proving more challenging—mostly due to our advancing age, but also thanks to various environmental and social factors that seem to “conspire” against good PIV sex these days. Therefore, we might want to explore different types of outercourse over intercourse as a primary erotic activity, perhaps getting into kink and/or going deeper into intimacy, and anyway, it’s all about love, or it should be.
I chose “bonobos,” because I love bonobos, the “Make Love Not War” chimpanzees who swing through the trees as well as with each other. They also happen to be humanity’s closest Great Ape cousins, and perhaps that tells us something about our own randy desires.
But here’s the kicker: Not only do bonobos engage in a LOT of sex in a Bonobo Sutra of positions and relationships, but they have never been seen killing each other in the wild or captivity. They make peace through pleasure.
Bonobos empower the females more than any other ape, but they also nurture the males. There are no incels in Bonoboville. Not every bonobo has sex for procreation, but all engage in sex for recreation. Perhaps most critical, bonobos see the “sharing” of food, sex, resources, love and all good things—even with strangers—as a virtue and a pleasure.
I may be an old peacenik, but I’m not the only one who yearns for peace in these times of Perma War. Most call the constant churn of military destruction “Forever War,” but I think that sounds too romantic. I call it Perma War because it’s like Perma Press, except instead of pants that won’t crease, it’s wars that won’t end.
But are human beings even capable of peace? And who will show us the way? Elite think tanks? Lost tribes? Angels? Aliens? Pundits?
Or how about our closest living cousins who exhibit this remarkable ability to make peace through sharing pleasures? “How about bonobos?” I not-so-humbly suggested to my in-the-round table of equal elites. To seal the deal, I brought up the Yale connection.
Back in 1925—four years before bonobos were officially identified in 1929—the original Yerkes Primate Center on Hillhouse Avenue at Yale housed a remarkably good-natured chimp named Prince Chim. Later, primatologists determined that Prince Chim was a bonobo, probably the very first to live in America.
Prince Chim taught Dr. Yerkes, about the nature of what primatologist Frans de Waal calls “hedonic kindness.” The megamachine teaches us the opposite, that greed is good—at least for the “elites”—but is it? Bonobos show us that sharing is good, that helping others is pleasurable as well as meaningful, that being good feels good. Recognizing that “truth” can lead to releasing our inner bonobo individually and even socially. In any case, it is inherent to our primate nature.
So, there’s hope for us.
But there’s not a lot of time. We human apes need to learn as much as we can from bonobos before they go extinct—in fact, we need to ensure their very uncertain survival (thanks, to a great extent, to elite and brutal Western colonialization of their native habitat of the Congolese rainforest), and in turn, they might just return the favor by showing us a better way, a bonobo way.
I channeled my best Brockovich/Kahlo/Goodall spirit to soft-sell *pitch* the Bonobo Way to the Elihu elites gathered around my Roundtable, and maybe motivate them to help save the bonobos.
Responding to Roundtable demand, I told the true tale of Sex Week at Yale.
Perhaps one day, the MSM will make a totally inaccurate docudrama about SWAY like they do about everything else. In the meantime, I’ll continue to tell it as I saw it: Sex Week at Yale was a joyous yet serious, playful yet responsible, diversified and meaningful, student-conceived and operated, biannual week of higher sex education that was crippled and then crushed by cowardly former Yale President Richard Levin as a scapegoat for the bad behavior of Yale’s wealthiest, most elite fraternities, including Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), of which G.W. Bush happens to be a former president.
The DKE boys led the infamous march through the streets of New Haven yelling “No Means Yes! Yes Means Anal!” Sex Week at Yale had nothing to do with that or DKE’s other campus crimes. But SWAY was squashed and DKE marches on.
From swinging bonobos to SWAY and politics, I could have chatted with the charming knights and brave ladies of my roundtable all day. However, the tirelessly genial catering crew was clearing all the roundtables of everything—including people—to prepare for the next round…
Yale Treasures Handsome Dan & M.G. Lord
As for what we did next… I honestly don’t remember. I think Max and I went back to our dorm room which, being on the elite fourth floor, was quite the climb.
Then… maybe we had sex. Maybe we collapsed after our hike up Mount Timothy. We were still pretty jet-lagged. I do remember changing clothes. I didn’t think it appropriate to be Ms. Sex Week at Yale all day.
So, I went from black, red and white to classic Yale blue, adorned with a logo-laden Lux et Veritas scarf given to me by Saybrook Master (yes, Master!) Mary Miller upon delivering my second SWAY Master’s Tea in 2008. Draping myself in silky shields and esoteric symbols, , I fantasized I was an elite Lady cosplaying in drag as a Roundtable Knight conspiring to overturn the Medieval Megamachine, roll back the Crusades and return all the stolen, ravaged land to the native peoples and non-human animals before it was too late.
Speaking of nonhuman animals, one of my favorite encounters of Reunion Weekend involved the legendary Romeo of Elihu, Handsome Dan.
Good thing for Max, Handsome Dan is not a man. He is 14th in a distinguished line of English bulldogs serving as Yale mascots going back to 1890. Our encounter on a bucolic bench in the Timothy Dwight Courtyard, snapped by Dan’s talented human caretaker, Kassandra Haro ’18 (aka Kassie), was so photogenic, it won—well, tied for—first place in the Yale Alumni Photo Contest. Whoop! Whoop! Pretty elite.
What is it about that big, wrinkled dog face that’s so damn cute? Um… I was talking about Handsome Dan XIX (to be precise), not myself.
Our rapport reminded me of my “Survival of the Friendliest” interview with dog and bonobo experts Dr. Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. Both dogs and bonobos can teach humans a lot about friendliness and how to make peace through sharing different kinds of pleasures.
Much as Dan and I enjoyed the pleasure of each other’s company, Caretaker Kassie held Yale’s canine ambassador to his busy Alumni Weekend schedule.
The excellent entertainment featured Yale Class of ‘77’s quick-fingered banjo maestro Oscar Hills and quick-witted author M.G. Lord, who told several merry and mirthful tales, including one about her mother warning her of the dangers of hotel bedspreads because “people had sex there.”
That warning didn’t stop M.G. from staying in hotels—or, I would hope, having great sex in hotels—though she might silently calculate Mother Lord’s Rule, “the sperm count should be lower than the thread count.”
For Max and me, forgoing the hotel for the dorm this year was less about sperm count or thread count and more about about bank account. The rich get richer, and the poor pay more.
But M.G.’s joke did remind me that Yalies don’t mind sex talk, as long as there’s a hefty dose of erotophobia thrown in for balance.
#GoBonobos for M.G. Lord, a credit to our class, with the eloquence to help us to laugh at ourselves.
After the entertainment, I took a few more selfies with my elite classmates.
“This isn’t going on some site is it?” asked one.
“Oh yes,” I replied. “PornTube!”
“It’s the end of all of us,” said another, as we all laughed for different reasons.
Bombing & Getting Bombed
Saturday morning’s Y-A-L-E tank top was a cheerful shade of turquoise that absolutely nothing else in my suitcase matched. Current fashionistas say, “matching is for old people,” so I decided not to give a damn, and anyway, I matched Max, which is all I care about these days.
Was “Right to Riot”-supporting Oath Keepers Commander Stewart “Yale-to-Jail” Rhodes (Yale Law, 2009) lurking nearby in full body armor? Honestly, Stew is more sex-obsessed than me, inserting details of his alleged lawyer romance into his testimony, which didn’t exactly endear the jury who found him guilty of the rare charge of “seditious conspiracy.” Didn’t Stewart Rhodes’ Yale Law education teach him how to defend aiding and abetting a regime change? Oh, maybe that’s just for foreign countries…
Might a more successful Insurrection-defending Yale grad, like Ron DeSantis (Yale, 2001), make an appearance to *ensure* we’re being tortured legally like he did as a CIA lawyer in Guantanamo? Then I remembered NeoCon Ron was too busy turning the state of Florida into a Fascism-Lite launching pad for his more imperial ambitions to bother interrupting our little college reunion.
After an exchange of recipes and pleasantries with John and Mary, Max and I took the shuttle from TD-Siberia to York and Chapel for the Yale Dramat Open House where we were greeted by one masked Dramat student and a couple of lost alumni. Not that I was expecting paparazzi, but it was a bit sad, especially the lone Mory’s cup on a coffee table, not to be sipped from, but just gazed upon like a relic in a museum of ancient bacchanalian rites.
We strolled down York to Wall Street, past the Yale Law School where Max had addressed the assemblage about sex and the law at a SWAY event, as the old bells of Harkness Tower chimed new tunes. Toad’s Place brought back memories of performances there with my post-Yale theater troupe, New England Commedia, opening for local bad-boy-made-good, George Thorogood, plus several Sex Week at Yale after-parties, not including the Pimps ‘n Ho’s soirée thrown by G.W. Bush Jr’s daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush (Yale, 2004).
Yes indeed, as Barb’s Dad was bombing Iraqis, Barb was getting bombed on Kamikazes in big red plastic cups, safe in the bosom of Mother Yale. Like her namesake, perhaps the younger Barbara Bush just didn’t want to “waste her beautiful mind on… body bags and death.”
Who would have thought that the dark side of “Lux et Veritas” is a cozy little dorm room bed for monstrous murderous lies?
No Forced Breeding!
I was eager to join my fellow freedom-fighting and fun-loving feminists at the pro-abortion rights rally being held at the Women’s Table sculpture designed by Maya Lin in front of Sterling Memorial Library, and this old protester was not disappointed.
It was a decent-sized, friendly but fuming crowd. Even though the Supreme Injustices hadn’t yet officially ruled on Dobbs, there was a feeling of dread in the late spring air… and from it sprung comradery. Several of my classmates, including M.G. Lord and Ellen Ryan, and many other alumni and students from all Yale classes, were there to be counted.
At first, I basked in the nostalgia of shouting slogans and standing up for women’s rights at Yale—just like the old days of “feminist consciousness raising”—but that was soon overtaken by supreme disgust that we have to do this all over again.
The rally was organized by members of the Class of 1987, Brett Kavanaugh’s own classmates. I suppose they know better than most what an arrogant, misogynistic, lying, crying, shitfaced, little hypocrite he is.
“Brett You Lied Again!” screamed our signs to the eyes of our fellow elites across the street.
Some of us were also incensed by the author of the leaked Dobbs decision (and very probably the leaker as well), that nasty neo-Puritan who gives Cotton Mather a run for his toxic incel-lite sanctimony, Supreme Court Injustice Samuel Alito, Jr. (Yale Law, 1975).
“BANS OFF OUR BODIES!” proclaimed the buttons over our bellies.
“No forced breeding!” I shouted, pleased to hear a chorus of “yeah!” from a mother/daughter duo twinning in white T-shirts emblazoned with “Liberal C*nt” in hot pussy pink.
As more protestors gathered, so did the cops.
The mood changed as they moved aggressively through the crowd, their weapons gleaming in the setting sun. We didn’t feel up to getting arrested, and besides, the final reunion banquet would be underway in a couple hours.
So we left, whereupon none other than Graham Boettcher, Class of ’95, former Saybrook Master Mary Miller’s super-sweet assistant from my Sex Week at Yale Master’s Teas, stopped me as I was taking a selfie with Harkness Tower strategically positioned over my shoulder at the well-traveled juncture of Saybrook, Trumbull, Berkeley and Dwight Hall.
Sorry to drop so many names, but this is (or was) the Yale intersection of intersections: talk about elite traffic.
As for Graham and I, we almost hugged, but instead knocked elbows, grinning sheepishly, and sidled up for the face-forward selfie.
For our final night of reuniting, I wore a Yale Xmas tree ornament as a pendant on a silver chain, the perfect—and perfectly ridiculous—accessory for my silver latex dress.
Under the TD tent, we gathered, serenaded by our Whiffenpoof brothers, smooth and silky-voiced as when they were “poor little lambs… gentlemen songsters off on a spree.”
Enjoying the hoary old, mostly-on-key baritones and basses, the rest of us “poor little lambs” sat in our folding chairs as if strapped into time capsules, barreling back into the fading pastures of yesteryear.
“Baaahhh… Baaaahhhh…. Bah.”
Then, before we can quite grasp the past, forward we fly, whiplashed into an increasingly destructive Capitalocene dystopian future that even the greatest, most elite Yale brains can’t figure out how to stop or slow down.
We “poor little lambs” who aren’t turned into lamb chops just grow up to be sheep, after all.
Individual deaths are easier to grasp, though harder to handle. Saying goodbye to dearly departed classmates is always sobering, despite the free-flowing Chardonnay and the bittersweet fact that I barely knew any of the ones we lost this year.
At least, the pop music of our times was and still is buoyed by that Baby Booming sense of draft-dodging antiwar fervor, quasi-socialistic hippie hope, wild Yippie theater and sex-revolutionary possibilities.
When I first heard “Burn Baby Burn!” in the darkened dining hall of a 1970s Yale mixer, it sounded like a riot that felt like an orgasm. Now sung, strummed and fingered by the Bales-Gitlin Golden Oldies Band—led by the married Ginny Bales and Jay Gitlin—it just seemed as wholesome as it was danceable.
While I’ve danced pretty divinely at reunions past, I opted to stay out of the small “Disco Inferno” of whirling, twirling, mostly maskless classmates this year.
I did enjoy the view as I danced along in my seat, shaking my latex fanny to that 70s sound and then leaning back into Max’s big sleepy arms.
Thanks to the snooze, we were rested and ready for our four-flight hike up the winding stairs, packing up our pearls and panties, and having one more round of senior sex orgasms (burn baby burn) in Max’s narrow little bed, before I stumbled off into mine.
Food & Flying Issues
Sunday morning, we thought we were early for brunch, but it turned out we were late for breakfast. The catering staff was extremely nice about it, letting me dish up a bountiful brunch for two from the breakfast trays in the kitchen.
I can’t praise this year’s staff enough, always gracious, gorgeous and indulgent of silly alumni requests (like late-to-breakfast selfies).
The problem this year was the food itself. I’m no foodie (I’m more of a sex-ie), but considering the length of this reunion journal, I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention the overcooked main courses, the undercooked side dishes, many served cold when they should have been hot, the soggy salads, often out too long in their trays, and cardboard-quality desserts.
Maybe I’m spoiled. Usually, Yale reunion food is excellent, verging on decadent. Talk about elite! Our last reunion’s culinary apex was a main course of perfectly prepared, hot and succulent Maine lobster tails. Not that we need or even should have lobster (now on the Red List) these days. But there’s scaling back and there’s bad food prep.
Maybe because we were expecting the usual scrumptious cuisine, the subpar fare of Reunion 2022 really stung the palette. They should have posted “warning” signs around the “World Flavors Buffet.” Just kidding! Nobody got food poisoning (to my knowledge), and for that I am grateful these dystopian days.
One benefit to bad food is that you eat less and have an easier time swinging… on the super-cool, bonoboësque TD hammock.
So, with one last swing, it was bye-bye Yale for another five years (unless they bring back SWAY on the next swing). Vinnie picked us up and off we went to New York, New York.
With a few hours before our flight (or so we thought), we took a stroll through the old TWA terminal.
Talk about a trip through time. Those were the days when flying was an elite pleasure that the middle class was just beginning to afford, pollution was a boring subject hardly anyone understood, let alone took seriously, and everything was looking up, up and up!
We roleplayed the Swinging Sixties, sipping martinis, posing at the wheel of vintage golf carts and the fins of cars, ogling giant TAB cans and dreaming great romantic machine-fueled dreams.
Also, the food was pretty good… unlike real 1960s fare or the Reunion repast. We chowed down.
Then, thinking we’d be leaving at 9:00 pm, we shuttled over to Delta by 5:00, where a very nice attendant wheeled Max to our gate. At 8:00pm, we were told that the flight would be delayed until 1:19am. At first, they said it was mechanical problems, then that they didn’t have a pilot. No pilot? No competent plane mechanics? Was the megamachine coming apart at the seams?
A jittery Delta representative instructed us to confirm our seats on the 1:19 flight at the Delta Help Center which, as it turned out, was mobbed with angry, shouting, spitting, maskless, plane-less passengers. We hovered on the sidelines, hoping someone would give us some good news and no one would be armed.
No news was bad news. We were in JFK Hell 2022. At 1:00 am, they announced that our 1:19 am flight was cancelled. The kiosks were closing, and now even JFK Hell was freezing over. The poor harried representatives told us we’d have to take the next flight in the morning—and no, they didn’t have hotel vouchers for us—but they’d send a wheelchair right over.
Red rover, red rover, no wheelchair ever came over, and even the Delta Center closed.
Delta Down, where’s that flight you had us on? Could it be you’re full of shit in every way? And did I hear you say, you’ll be flying me out today to reach that zombie airport in the sky?
As I was singing ‘70s country pop in the concert hall of my head, Max, who has the amazing ability to fall asleep anywhere, fell asleep in his chair, then slid onto the floor. Bump! It was alarming and somewhat bruising, but he was okay. Thus, we survived a dark night in JFK after-hours hell.
While Max snored on the floor, I practiced the Zazen I learned at Yale, though not in the official curriculum, until Delta Dawned for real, with a mechanically competent and fully piloted plane to take us and our bulldog memorabilia home to LA. Of course, this flying fish was filled to the gills. Flights with empty seats are as much relics of the past as TWA and Tab.
One victim of packed planes and tiny lavatories (too tiny for stiff seniors!), is joining the Mile High Club. Having sex on a plane is barely worth the now considerable effort, another casualty of our Capitalogenic times. Well, Mile High Club sex isn’t very ecosexual anyway. It’s a Kartrashian thing.
Back to the plane-packing concept, which could well be why our flight kept getting delayed with varying explanations—because Delta wasn’t about to take off until the plane was packed with paying customers, a concept I don’t necessarily disagree with; the problem was that none of those nice representatives wouldn’t actually say that.
When we finally arrived in Bonoboville, bruised and bedraggled, we told ourselves (and Delta’s voicemail) that we were going to sue their panties off for this, but who has time (actually if you’re a lawyer and you have the time, call us)? Sadly, like most corporations, Delta counts on people like us not having the time or passion for lawsuits to force them to be somewhat honest.
Perhaps it’s just as well. Along with dropping bombs, coal mining, oil spills, fracking, corporate farming and just being Elon Musk, flying is one of the worst ways to pollute the “friendly skies.”
So, for the sake of the planet, all the airlines should make flying more uncomfortable and less desirable for everyone. For starters, how about no private planes, First Class or Business Class? No more elite flying.
While we’re at it, no airline CEO should make more money than a senior plane mechanic. And no passenger should be penalized for joining the Mile High Club with consenting adults (though make it a quickie; no hogging the lavatory). It’s the Bonobo Way.
Yale Reunion 2022 Photo Album
Show Length 01:09:00 HD
© December 6, 2022 Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For speaking engagements, call 626-461-5950.
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