"So might marriage be for other
The merchant said, "but I've got me a hen
Who'd peck my eyes
out, given half a chance.
Marriage is the graveyard of
"It's been no more than two months we've been
Already she has tossed me out of bed,
And has a tone of voice
that's just for me --
Sarcastic, nasty, out to disagree,
As though I
were the enemy, long loathed,
And she long suffering. Undressed or
It is the same with us, so much has hate
Turned off the
least desire, sad to state.
"She is a lovely woman, young and
But hard -- so hard! -- and quite bereft of pity,
opposite of Theresa's temperament.
I swear, even in Hell she'd not
But curse me for the hate that put her there!
My life with
her is more than I can bear!
Take my advice, my friends, and do not
For if you do, you'll wish that you were dead!"
the bartender said. "On to your tale!
This litany of woes is getting
Use your expertise on marital war,
But of your personal life
-- please, no more!"
"Quite right," the merchant said. "I'll shape
Into a tale that all will entertain.
For what might seem a
rant straight from the heart
Becomes a melody when touched by art."
A professor once had long been used
Young women whom he had no thought of wedding.
semester he'd survey his classes,
Not for eager minds but shapely
And always found a few who'd gladly trade
A bit of pleasure
for a better grade.
Alas! As he grew older it grew harder
find such tasty dainties for his larder,
For time was ticking
mercilessly for him
While seemingly quite unconcerned with them,
stayed in age remarkably the same,
Although it seemed each year each
changed her name.
Finally, a faculty committee,
Made up mostly
of men, more's the pity,
Concluded that such sex was out of
And censured him, it turned out, on the grounds
asking for a goodnight kiss,
An innocent request, except for
That he implied, or she inferred, a threat,
If he did not, at
some point certain, get
His way with her (though he in fact
That he in any way such things implied),
He would (she
thought, inferred, well ... guessed, whatever)
Perhaps not like so well
her next endeavor.
Such evidence would clearly not convict
of pissing on the street, but pricked
By conscience, other "victims"
soon came forth,
Women newly militant, a broth
Of righteous fury,
pain, and psychic damage,
An avalanche that finally did manage
get our poor professor to retire
Rather than be fired. Oh, what
He felt at being massively betrayed!
So what if he'd
The trouble was he'd gotten
Old and wrinkled, while his hyperactive
students longed for younger men,
And were less willing to surrender
He broached the usual negative rewards.
He should have heard
the angry, dissonant chords!
Oh well, oh well, the question was,
Old and ugly, he couldn't imagine how
He'd get his daily
nookie by and by,
Now that he'd been robbed of his supply.
guessed that he'd be forced at last to marry,
Some sweet young child,
perhaps, whom he could carry
Out of abject poverty, and who'd
grateful just for shelter and some food.
And then he'd send a
stipend twice a year
To her family, just to make her fear
might discontinue his largesse
If her first thought were not his
Yes! Yes! Some child, with orifices tight,
Whom he would
have a chance to break in right!
This vision grew in power before
Making marriage seem a paradise,
That earlier had seemed a
Laid by women to virtually kidnap
Unsuspecting men, and
put them in
A little box, locked safe away from sin.
anyone endure a wife,
Who'd claim one half of all one's goods for
When one could freely pick and choose the best,
As not a
harried owner but a guest?
But now deprived of that choice,
Far more practical than he had dreamed,
one's nookie, close at hand,
Lay waiting, 24/7, on demand.
then there was the pretense he'd be spared
Of constantly pretending
that he cared,
The lunches, dinners, dates, the evenings out,
endless, stupid chattering about
One's lives, opinions, anything at
Before one could just get undressed and ball.
of that nonsense he'd be free
And could enjoy his pleasure by decree
No need to waste one's cunning on the chase,
Sure enough each
night of an embrace.
But what if he got bored? The same old
Night after night would surely boredom bring.
easy to repeat.
But then, if he got bored, well, he could
Cheat? The very word now turned him cold!
How could he
forget that he was old,
And that a fresh young thing might find him
And soon make him the moral of this tale?
Maybe he should
just give up, forget it,
Before some Jezebel made him regret it.
all too soon desire conquered fear,
And our poor fool was wed, and you
A few months later, he (let's call him Jan)
looking at some pictures that a man
Had spread out on a table in a
In Bangkok. They hadn't gotten very far
When Jan put down his
finger on a face
That seemed to him the epitome of grace,
innocence that could not be denied
Because it welled up from the love
"Hey!" he said. "That's her! How much is she?"
the price went up immediately.
"Four thousand American dollars," the
"That much?" Jan cried. "She has her maidenhead,"
agent explained. "That always costs you more.
You know no man has been
with her before.
"She's quite unusual, a girl like that,
reach 16 with maidenhead intact.
Her parents know the value of such
And of the premium a virgin brings,
Especially one so
beautiful. She must
Be the kind of girl that you can trust.
I have a
document from an M.D.
Attesting to her pure virginity,
Free of all
diseases, nice and clean.
You'll think you're living in some kind of
"Three thousand!" Jan said, knowing he should
"No way," the agent said. He knew his marlin,
Had him on
the hook, now pull him in,
Thrashing in the golden grip of
"Here is one for less." He turned the page.
"She's had few
men, considering her age.
Been in a whorehouse since she was
But now she's ten, really not too late
To turn into a
mistress, tried and true.
Three thousand on the button, just for
"No, no," said Jan, easily defeated,
Even knowing he was
"I'll take the first one. Do you know her
"Call her Mai," he said. "It's all the same."
And so Jan
purchased Mai, who was delivered
To his hotel the next day. How she
As Jan began to kiss her, touch her breast,
stripped her till she was undressed,
Determined to determine whether
Was still possessed of her virginity,
And try out his new
purchase in the sack
Before it was too late to give her
And yes! Oh, yes! She was a virgin pure.
The cries and
bloody sheet said that for sure.
After, he was gentle, kissed her
And told her it would wear a wedding band,
Promised her a life
Finally unnerved by her distress.
But she could speak
no English, he no Thai,
And so we leave them there, our Jan and
Two years later, back home in the States,
passion scarce abates.
He consumes his morsel every night,
engorged by his delight,
While Mai endures his thrusts through
Imagining a prince in love as he.
She knows that she is
lucky, more or less,
Having to endure but slight duress,
A bit of
nightly mauling, not so much
For room and board, an education,
Support for her twin sisters, nine years old,
As needed to
prevent their being sold.
She hated his stiff member in her
His spittle drooling on her neck and ear,
The way his flesh
hung flaccid on his bones,
The ghastly rasp of his asthmatic
His tongue that licked her like a lollipop,
hands that never seemed to stop
Caressing her, as if she were his
While he, meanwhile, was happy as a hog,
Young again, reborn
into bright passion,
Sex night and day, with neither pause nor
A cornucopia of non-stop pleasure,
Thanks to her -- his
playmate and his treasure.
He thought she would be grateful just
And would endure him out of gratitude,
But joy seemed
mutual, or so he thought,
And so he had the paradise he
Into this paradise one day there came
student, Damian by name,
To work with him on Chaucer's fabliaux,
project they had started long ago,
Before Jan's resignation, out to
That Chaucer had a jaundiced view of love.
But this was
before Jan encountered Mai,
When he had personal reasons to deny
power of love to rearrange the heart,
As is so often seen in Chaucer's
But before I jump ahead, I must first
Describe how Damian
was roundly cursed
By Jan for even mentioning their work.
he said, "At that time just a jerk.
When you meet Mai, you'll
understand that we
Misunderstood the glint in Chaucer's
"His fun with cuckolds was a large embrace
Of all sweet
love, from sex to heavenly grace,
A hierarchy we, alas, have
Replaced with irony, but at what cost!
For love is one, a
ladder to the sky,
As you will learn, if fortunate as I.
here comes Mai -- my wife, my love, my treasure.
Now you'll know the
cause of all my pleasure,
The beauty that defines for me all
The good that makes a blessing of all duty."
turned to see a lovely girl
Whose innocent face made his senses
As though an angel promised ecstasy,
All the more lurid for
Instantly, Damian was smitten,
As though by some
diseased mosquito bitten.
He stared at her as she came up to
Marveling at the glow of her fresh skin,
The perfect set of her
brown almond eyes,
The bit of cleft where so much pleasure lies,
-- "This is Mai," Jan said. "And Damian,
My former student." Mai shook
his hand, and when
Skin touched skin, both felt the urge of
Despite the fact that she remained Jan's wife,
An urge that
Mai had never felt so strongly,
For she had been initiated
Robbed of the experience of love,
That makes of sex a song
of joy, and moves
The body to a moment of pure bliss.
But of such
love Mai had not one kiss.
And so the two of them, Damian and
As they touched hands exchanged words eye-to-eye.
Both felt as
though they had been given wings,
And now like angels sang where
Jan was pleased such abject awe to see,
in his student's jealousy.
She's mine! He thought. And I'm the only
Who can into her golden body come.
Others may long to, but I can
with her lie
Until there's neither earth nor sea nor sky,
my darling with me in her arms,
While other men must fantasize her
Soon Damian had persuaded Jan
That he was of his
scholarship a fan,
Offering to edit the ideas
That he had come to
pilfer through the years
From textbooks and some studies he had
Before his mind had gone completely dead.
Damian came over
To where his dreams and thoughts and longings lay,
never could be with his love alone
Since Jan would never leave him on
But talked for hours, now he had an ear,
Of things no one
but him would want to hear,
While his poor victim furtively would
To get a glimpse of his sweet goddess Mai.
This went on for
weeks until one day
Damian proposed a clever way
To replicate The
Merchant's Tale in Chaucer,
Which Jan had found ridiculous. "Of course
Husband was a cuckold -- he was blind,
Not only physically, but
in his mind.
Now I would hold my Mai's hand night and day
sure that she'd never get away
Far enough to boff another man.
try me for a whole day, if you can!"
"Night and day?" Damian asked.
Mai needed the toilet? What would you do then?"
her lead me to the bathroom door,"
Jan said, "and wait till she was
through. No more
Than that would I allow, I promise you.
And when I
had to go, she'd be there, too!"
"I'd like to see that," Damian
You put this theory to the test and chose
To wear a
blindfold for a night and day
As though Zeus struck you blind. What do
Do you think that Mai would play along
And lead you night
and day, and do no wrong --"
"How could she do wrong?" Jan asked. "All
And day I'll have her hand in mine gripped tight."
it was decided that within
The week Jan would be blindfolded, and
See whether he could keep his honor more
Successfully than that
old fool of yore
In Chaucer's tale, whose wife had in a tree
paramour bestrode adulterously.
Meanwhile, Damian slipped Mai a
With all the details of his plan. He wrote
Rapturously of love
for her, and of
The ways in which he'd soon express that
She wrote back, trembling with desire,
The two of them
swept upward in the fire
That burned in their bone-dry
Fed by their abundant expectations.
before the promised day of passion,
Jan demanded thrice his normal
Boffing Mai again, again, again,
As though he weren't
certain where or when
He'd get another chance, while she endured
undesired buggering, ensured
Of ecstasy, pleasure, joy, and bliss
only she could once more get through this!
Before she fell in love
Mai had given up what might have been,
for her sex was a chore,
And that her life would offer nothing
But now she had been lit by love's fierce fire,
felt was amorous desire.
Even as Jan thrust inside of her,
dreamed of Damian, and felt the stir
Of what she thought she might
The morning came before Jan could resume
love-making. And as had been agreed,
He put on blinders, then asked Mai
Him breakfast, which she did. When Damian
Came to the door,
both answered, Mai with Jan,
And then they silent sat, all three, an
Until Jan said, "You see? It's in my power
To guard my honor
even though I'm blind.
I think I've proved my point, if you don't
"It's morning yet, said Damian. "There's more,
to this experiment before
We can say that you have won the game,
blind have kept your honor all the same."
Hours more passed. Jan
began to fret.
"My hand is tired. Isn't this over yet?"
said Damian. "But tell me, please,
Don't you need the bathroom? Mai can
You down onto the toilet -- I won't see.
And you can call her
when you're done. Then we
Can pass the time until the evening's
And it will be high time that I go home."
"Not on your
life!" Jan cried. "Mai will stay
With me the whole time -- all the
night and day!
I won't let her go -- not for one minute!
I will win
this game, now that I'm in it!
"Don't think that I don't see what's
You think that I will cheat once you are gone!
stay all night so you can see
That Mai won't get a chance to cheat on
"I'm no fool -- I'll
keep her by my side
Till Satan come and beg me for a ride!
Not on my
wife! I will say to him,
Besting all -- even the Lord of Sin!
me to the toilet, Mai, and close
Your eyes when I begin, and hold your
Mai did as she was told and closed the door,
Damian outside. No more
Could he hold back from beating on his
Robbed of the sweet taste of Mai's young breast,
her chained to that old fool,
Forced to smell the vileness of his
My God! He'd kill him! That's what he would do!
the door was opened -- Jan was through.
Mai motioned to her lover to go
Finger to her lips, so Damian
Slipped inside the putrid-smelling
And heard Mai say, "I must now assume
Your position on the
throne, my dear.
But modesty forbids that you be near.
As Swift says
in his poem about such links,
You'll associate me with my
And then won't love me anymore. So please
Just stand right
here beside the house of ease.
I'll be right out to guide you to your
Where Damian awaits our presence there."
Curse the day I ever mentored him!
Why did he
propose this stupid test?
Now I am embarked, I'll have no rest
I've proven I can keep you pure
By means as neat and elegant as
So I'll wait here, just outside the door.
But do not lock it,
Mai! I'll say no more."
So Mai went in and closed the door behind
It took two seconds for Damian to find her
Breasts within his
hands, his tongue and hers
Locked like wrestlers, their battered senses
Two seconds more, and Damian's pants were down,
As were Mai's
panties. She felt that she might drown
In ecstasy and gave a little
"What was that?" Jan called. "Are you alone?"
cramp," she said. "I'll be all right.
I'll take a little laxative
So back they went hot at it, those young two,
mouths together joined as though with glue,
Damian now buried deep
His lover, who no longer could abide
The silence and gave out
a cry of joy,
Then another as the desperate boy
Pulled her harder
onto him, and harder --
"What was that?" Jan cried. "Now go no
He ripped his blindfold off, opened the door,
at the salacious scene he saw --
His former student buried in his
His helpmate and the treasure of his life,
His wife all limp
upon him, having just
Had her first orgasm at his
Instantly, the tableau came apart
As Jan, still yelping,
held his aching heart.
"What have you done to me?" he kept
"Nothing, my dear, nothing," Mai said, seating
beet-red husband on the toilet top.
"Why did you cry out to me to
I was having cramps, and still have some --"
slipped out as he had come)
"-- and need more time in here. You should
So jealous --" "I may be old, but I can see!
I saw your lover
in you to the hilt!
Now there's no putting back the milk that's
My life is ruined, ruined, that's the thing!
Here's where I
want to put my wedding ring!"
He opened up the toilet, but then
Slammed it down again. "No need to buy
Another wedding ring. Let
What happened to you, and that way ease your
"As is well known, all scientists agree:
We tend to see
what we expect to see.
The eye is ever subject to the mind,
never eager to be left behind,
Sees what is not there, before the
Can tell it what it actually did espy.
"So did you,
See what you expected all along,
to orgasms, and arms
To someone ravishing your dear wife's
"But as you see, there is no lover here,
Just you and
me. Now, please go have a beer
With Damian, who's waiting in the
Your former student and your bosom buddy,
While I attempt my
colon to relieve.
And, please, from now on doubt what you
Which Jan did, for the remainder of his
Trusting not his eyes but his young wife,
Determined to retain
Even if it meant his wine was piss,
Drinking it with
relish, though somewhere
He had to, had to realize what was
So do we all protect our happiness
By being blind to what
might cause distress,
Deciding not to see what we have
Cuckolds all, undone by what has been.
"Yes!" the bartender said. "That is
Such scheming wives we all are subject to!
Marry, and quite
soon you'll see The Switch:
The woman whom you married is a
Which is to say, she is herself, not who
You thought she was
when she first married you!
"My wife was beautiful and loved me so
Until our wedding night, when off she'd go
Into complaints that I
was this and that,
A browbeater, a bully, and a brat,
And she could
take no more! (This only hours
After we were wed -- so soon it
"So now she is obese and loud and coarse,
A woman I'd be
happy to divorce
Except for our three kids, on whom I dote,
I slave long hours on this boat,
While she, my nemesis, is on her
Supplying other men with what I lack!
"I know I'm not alone
in my despair:
Of married folk there's many another pair
before the marriage vows are cold --
But that's a tale far too often