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The New “Safe Sex” Conversation

Jack Smack 120420 new

We’ve managed to survive Thanksgiving (at least physically), for better or worse.

Some of us stuck to the strict CDC guidelines and stayed home to celebrate with our immediate household. Some of us took calculated risks, driving to see a small number of family members or friends. And we know from the news that a whole bunch of us threw caution to the wind and boarded airplanes.

In the interest of no judgement, I am not attributing any particular value to any of the above choices. We are incredibly fatigued. This pandemic stuff is hard. For many of us, it’s the hardest obstacle we have faced in our lifetimes. Sadly, as a nation, we are now experiencing the repercussions  of choices made to celebrate the holiday outside of immediate household.

And I am guessing, whether you hunkered down with your fur babies and your live-in humans or you jetsetted across the country, the decision-making process was taxing and stressful.

Choosing Option B:

We were creating a Super Spreader Event and didn’t even notice.”

Personally, I chose the middle ground this time around. At least that’s where it started. I decided that my son and I would spend Thanksgiving at my sister’s beach condo with her and her wife and son. For a holiday, this is incredibly unusual and small for me. Typically I have upwards of 15 or so. I’d knocked it down by a third. Seemed responsible enough.

Then, mysteriously, the number began to grow. Friends rented a condo two doors down. Another couple and their son were scheduled to come in for the weekend. I began to do the math. We were creating a Super Spreader Event and didn’t even notice. Well, until we did.

At first, I thought: “What if we all get tested before we see one another?” I’m not sure what I thought, I think I was living in a fantasy world. Testing is NOT the way to justify creating a large event. Well, I learned that, once I began during the research. Not to mention, some of my friends refused to take a test away from someone who truly needed it. Guess I did not think that through very well.

What Now?

Begrudgingly we began “dis-inviting” people — people we love and with whom we have shared many wonderful rites of passage events and holidays. And, even though it wasn’t “personal,” it was personal. The bottom line: we had to tell people we care about to stay home or make other plans. 

We narrowed down our group to eight. But we were about to mix three separate households, engaging in risky behavior. Harkening back to the eighties, when I was single and dating, I pushed for the new “safe sex” conversation. Each of us disclosed our potentially risky behaviors. Did we go to a large gathering (orgy)? Were we remiss about our mask (condom) wearing? Did we currently exhibit any symptoms (herpes flare-up)? At least these “confessions” were ones I truly trust. Unlike some of the suspect “I swear I’m perfectly healthy” exclamations I’d heard in my past.

Now we wait. Did we make the right call? We won’t know for another week or so. It “feels” like we made an educated choice to take a mitigated risk. Only time and a RT-PCR test will tell for sure.

Social Celibacy:

canceling that “orgy” was straightforward”

The awful truth of the matter, Thanksgiving “kicks-off” the holiday season. Yes, we’ve been living with postponed weddings, funerals on Zoom, online education, and more. But those affect a few, or just a sector of the population. The holidays are universal. And, while many don’t celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday or Christmas, December is globally known for its many multicultural events and celebrations.

We cannot ignore what’s to come. Personally, I have already cancelled my traditional Cuban gathering on Christmas Eve, Noche Buena. Typically, I host upwards of 30 people that evening. So canceling that “orgy” was straightforward — there isn’t enough “protection” to make that even remotely safe.

I hope to have a very small part of my family that evening — assuming we have all “behaved” prior. I presume the:  “How many partners have you been with in the last 14 days?” interrogation will prove that social celibacy is the “new” sexy.