IT WAS, AS they say, a rocky moment in the marriage.
My friend Paul, his wife, Jade, and I were crawling toward the last switchback on the climb to the summit on the North Cascade Highway, and our vehicle was sputtering ominously.
We had been moving slower and slower and slower since we crossed Cutthroat Creek until finally we were traveling at something like walking speed as we approached the final climb.
The slower the Volkswagen Westphalia van went, the less Paul said, and the more Jade prattled on. “Silver Bell, what a pretty name for a mountain. Or is it Silver Queen? I know that one there is called Silver King. Didn’t you ski Silver King once, Paul? Paul?”
Paul’s attention, however, was focused at that moment on the van’s engine-temperature gauge as it inched its way up toward the red line. Suddenly, he pulled the wheel over hard, turned the engine off with a dramatic flourish, threw open the driver’s door, jumped out, marched around the van, and yanked open the side door, where there were boxes and boxes full of rocks stacked on the floor. Paul started throwing rocks out on the side of the road. After he got going, he started picking up whole boxes of rocks and pitching them out on the side of the road.
He had dumped maybe five or six hundred pounds of rocks when Jade came storming around the van, demanding, “Paul, what ARE you doing? Paul! I need those rocks for my flower bed walkway. Paul! I worked for hours collecting those rocks!”
Paul stood up and looked at her. His eyes got wide and inhaled slowly. I thought maybe he was going to explode, but instead he turned around and pragmatically opened the back hood so the engine could cool off a little better. Meanwhile, Jade marched about 15 yards down the road, sat down on the guard rail, and started to sob.
I think it is safe to say that this is not what my friend Paul envisioned eight years before when he left his first wife, Heather, and eloped to Reno with Jade. He was a successful environmental attorney then with a five-year-old daughter, and he had been married to his first wife, Heather, for a decade. In fact, Heather put him through law school, and Paul and Heather had just borrowed several hundred thousand dollars from Heather’s parents to buy a 100-acre piece of heaven in the Willamette Valley, where Paul had built a handsome log house to Heather’s exacting standards.
Heather was a small, tense woman, and the queen bee among local liberal women by dint of her marriage and her means. She set the moral tone for the others through her generous donations to the appropriate and acceptable liberal causes, and her entertaining. Paul had built Heather a truly beautiful house, and a fine one for the entertaining that Heather enjoyed so much, but like every liberal woman I ever met, Heather was a shoddy, disinterested house cleaner. Heather wanted a clean, beautiful house; she just didn’t want to do the work!
So Heather decided to hire a cleaning woman, which gave her the opportunity to both get a clean house and demonstrate noblesse oblige. She asked around, and quickly connected with another liberal woman about her own age named Jade who had a sad story. This other woman literally lived on the wrong side of the tracks where the little houses flooded every three or four years. She was married to a useless alcoholic (or so the women’s story went), and she had a young daughter almost exactly the same age as Paul and Heather’s daughter.
Heather knew the right thing to do when she saw it, and she didn’t hesitate. She hired Jade on the spot to clean her beautiful new house, beginning that very day. It was August and Jade dressed for work in a halter top without a bra and a pair of those super, super short shorts that show the cheeks of the woman’s ass when she bends over. A week or two later, Jade was bending over cleaning some small mess in Paul and Heather’s kitchen when Paul passed through the room. After that, Paul began to ask Jade if she wanted coffee when she arrived to clean.
And after a few of these impromptu coffee klatches, Paul was walking down the hall when Jade reached out and yanked him into the broom closet and closed the door behind him. The two of them were standing pressed against each other in a small, nearly dark space. “Did you ever wonder what they do in these funny little rooms?” Jade asked as she unzipped Paul’s fly and tore open his pants. She quickly bent down and took Paul’s rapidly hardening cock in her mouth. I don’t know how, but Jade had intuitively hit on a problem in Paul and Jade’s marriage. Heather welcomed oral sex from Paul, but refused to give him the same.
So from that beachhead of the blow job in the broom closet, Jade proceeded to sleep with Heather’s husband, destroy Heather’s marriage, elope with Heather’s ex-husband, and move into Heather’s beautiful house on the 100 acres of heaven purchased with Heather’s dad’s money. Finally, Jade assumed Heather’s mantle as the leader and moral arbiter for the liberal women in our little Willamette Valley community.
Not that Jade was particularly moral or particularly political. She thought Barack Obama was a nice man, of course, but she was really inspired by his brassy, self-aggrandizing wife, Michelle, not by Presidential policy initiatives or those things they vote on in Congress. In fact, Jade told me she felt she had a special relationship with Michelle Obama — kind of a mystical connection, if you will. Jade was a blonde white woman from Oregon who had never met or communicated with the black First Lady in any way, of course, but Jade just had a deep sense that they were cut out of the same cloth.
And as a supporter of Michelle Obama’s liberal social agenda, Jade was similarly uplifted when the “first openly gay doctor” — as she proudly described him to me — bought the clinic in town. Unfortunately, the “first openly gay doctor” in town had to close his clinic 18 months later and leave the state after getting busted in a child pornography sting and subsequently signing a consent decree with the State Medical Board, a moral wrinkle in the liberal social agenda that Jade never mentioned to me. I thought to myself — wow, a veritable parade of doctors has passed through this town over the last 100-plus years, but the “first openly gay doctor” was the first one who brought this kind of moral garbage to town. But Jade averted her eyes and preserved her liberal political beliefs by ignoring their consequences in the real world around her. As far as Jade was concerned, the clinic was still open!
Meanwhile, to say that Heather was furious about Jade walking in and taking everything Heather had from her in broad daylight would be a woeful understatement. Heather was like a frying pan that had been left on the stove too long. Heat came off her in waves, and that was before Paul and Jade got court-ordered visitation rights to spend time with Heather and Paul’s daughter. Then Heather exploded into an absolute inferno of injured female pride and maternal protectiveness. She took the daughter and left the country, and she didn’t come back for over a decade. First she went to Belize, then on to a sequence of ever more beautiful and distant tropical islands. Once she sent Paul a post card from the Seychelles with a perfect white sand beach, aqua blue water, and palm trees. Paul showed me the card. On the other side of it, Heather had written in a feminine, cursive hand, “Enforce your visitation order here, motherfucker!”
As Jade consolidated her position in town as the attorney’s wife, she got her hubby, Paul, to pay for her to go back to school and get a B.A. This and her social status enabled Jade to snag a prize teaching job at the local middle school. I heard more than one local artist remark that she was pretty lucky, but actually Jade felt the job was beneath her. You see, she was an artiste, and she felt teaching the children took away from the great art she was destined to create. I remember drinking beer at Paul and Jade’s one summer afternoon. Jade had just received her contract for the next school year in the mail from the school district, and she was grousing about having to teach another year.
So I asked her straight up, “What are you going to do, Jade?” She smiled a private little smile, but she didn’t reply. I later learned from Paul that the problem was that Jade DIDN’T want to teach, but she DID want a new Turbo Saab. So what she did a couple days later was to put on a short skirt and sashay into the Saab dealership in Eugene and show them the contract the school district had just offered her. On the basis of that and her legs, the dealership loaned her the money to buy the new sable-colored Turbo Saab she wanted. She drove the new Saab home, and then the next day she returned the contract unsigned to the school district and resigned, hanging the cost of the new car payments entirely on her husband Paul, who had never agreed to buy her a new car.
So Jade threw herself into her painting. She set up her studio in the extra bedroom downstairs, put on soft Pandora music, lit incense and made little altars of stones and sticks like a blue-footed booby on the beach in the Galapagos Islands. It was also about this time that Jade became interested in the “divine feminine,” the idea that all woman are goddesses and contain an element of the godhead within them. As her studio filled up with self-congratulatory feel good books on the “divine feminine” by one liberal women after another, Jade had an inspiration. It came to her in a flash, and suddenly she had direction and purpose. She kept the door to her studio closed, but even the men heard something was up. “Jade’s really working on something,” Paul said.
Sometime that fall, Jade pulled together a half dozen of her female artist friends — her friends are all just so talented — for an “art show” and benefit sale. It was held at the big beautiful house Paul had just built especially for her, Jade, because once Jade had Heather’s big beautiful home, Jade really didn’t want it anymore. Jade wanted a custom house built just for HER! Paul obliged and built Jade a massive, seven bedroom palazzo that was finished just in time for their one kid to leave home. Then there was just the two of them living in a house so big they could each have their own floor.
And it was Paul’s chore to vacuum the huge new house, just like Paul cooked dinner most nights, Paul paid for the house, Paul paid for the Turbo Saab, Paul paid for the B.A. Oh yea, and Paul went back for the rocks too. Three weeks after the scene at Washington Pass where he “unloaded” Jade’s rocks so we could make it home, he returned and retrieved the rocks, the ones she’d “spent hours collecting.”
“Dude is emotionally caponized,” I observed to a sailing buddy about our mutual friend, Paul, after the finale of the Rock Incident.
“Emotionally Cape O’Niced? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“A capon is a castrated rooster,” I replied. “Emotionally caponized means emasculated, unmanned, de-balled. You know, pussy-whipped.” “Well, why don’t you just say, ‘pussy-whipped’ then? ‘Emotionally Cape O’Niced.’ Jesus.”
* * *
FOR HER ART show, Jade sent out over 100 invitations and arranged for nice finger food and wine.
Proceeds from the sale of the art at Jade’s show were to go to benefit a scholarship fund for women artists. Jade’s own child was a boy, of course, but she discriminated against her own son to benefit women she didn’t know!
This is a defining feature of liberal women — they have no concept of the zero sum game (how do I accessorize that?), and therefore it rarely occurs to them that when they give a man’s job to a woman, that’s one less job for their OWN son, or husband, or brother, or nephew.
So no men were invited to Jade’s art gala. It was a women-only affair in the new house that Paul built and paid for. But it actually wasn’t all the liberal women in the neighborhood. It was really more the upscale liberal women. For instance, Jade’s neighbor down the road, Mary, wasn’t there.
Mary, who drove a beat up 1974 Ford Falcon, told me the month before that Jade had complained to her that it was “hard to get good service on a Turbo Saab.” I could see that Mary, who is a pretty jovial soul generally speaking, was fried at Jade — not fried like Heather was fried at Jade, but fried nonetheless.
However, Jade’s soiree was well attended by the higher echelon liberal women in the area. They started showing up for Jade’s affair in mid-afternoon, and by five there were probably 30 to 40 local liberal women in attendance. Meanwhile, Paul and I hid out in the garage and played music. But at some point, I went into the house, where I encountered Jade in the hall by the bathroom.
“Looks like you’ve got a great turnout,” I observed.
“Everyone has been SO helpful!” she cooed.
Sensing my opportunity, I said, “Jade, can I see what you’ve been working on?” She lit up. “Oh, yes absolutely,” she replied, leading me across the large, tastefully appointed living room to one of the many artwork-bedecked easels that had been set up under spot lights.
We stood together in front of her painting, which was a bluish/goldfish acrylic about 12″ by 18″. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed to be. Maybe some kind of an imaginary insect? Or one of those Rorschach pattern abstractions where what you see is what’s actually inside you?
But I didn’t want to say something wrong, so I played it safe and asked — “Jade, what is it?”
Jade gazed for a moment with rapt delight upon her own creation. She almost looked blissed out. Then she said, “It’s a Princess of the Universe with Golden Wings.”
About the Author…
In the Introduction to Princess of the Universe, Hale Fellow writes:
I lived in the Land of Liberal Women for decades — primarily in San Francisco, Seattle and Eugene — and for the most part I went unnoticed. I was just another guy with a neatly trimmed beard; another guy wearing casual, vaguely outdoorsy clothes that really never got dirty; another guy driving a SUV.
The liberal women’s attention rarely focused on me except for the occasional moment when they dropped an earring under the bed and they needed a man to crawl for them. So I survived in the Land of the Liberal Women the way the young, stuttering Roman Emperor-to-be, Claudius, survived in ancient Rome — because the women took me for a fool….
But cloaked by my own apparent dullness, I walked among the liberal women freely, even unto their inner sanctums, where their power is as absolute as that of any Islamic fundamentalist mullah, and they are constantly fanned by low testosterone Unitarian males….
* “Hilarious and scathing take-down of liberal women in America…”
(Self-identified conservative male)
* “I hate it, but I couldn’t put it down!”
(Self-identified liberal female)
* “Fun read. I laughed out loud…”
(Self-identified liberal male)
* “Greatly enjoyed it!”
(Self-identified conservative female)