Author: dorothyfreed

How Sexy Is a Stroke?

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                                     Best Women’s Erotica, Volume I, Two Doms for Dinner 

Truth is way stranger than fiction in my opinion, which is why my writing is mainly memoir based. Five weeks ago I went from a state of excited anticipation at having a story included in the soon to be released anthology shown above — to shock and horror at suffering a mild stroke on January 7th.

Lucky for me I was on the phone with a friend, who said my voice sounded slurry and asked if everything was okay — and that my husband who sat nearby  said, “Look at me,” and  saw the corner of my mouth droop for a second, before rushing me to  the emergency room at Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame, for two days and nights of medical testing reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition.

To say I wasn’t scared as the reality of my situation unfolded before me would have been a grave understatement. One health care professional after the other quizzed me as to the date and year and city we were in, attempting to determine how muddled my mind might be, and assessing the impact of the stroke on my cognitive abilities.  

Thankfully the damage appeared to be minimal, although my left arm was affected, rendering my dominant left hand weakened. My mind and ability to speak was left intact — although it would be a while before I could utilize the muscle memory to properly lift an eating utensil to my mouth.

My husband stayed in the room with me on the second  night of my stay — having returned home to care for our  dogs the prior evening. By then all I wanted was to go home to them myself, but the doctors talked us into staying to do still more tests on the following day.  We were running out of patience toward the end of the  second day — but were convinced to stay a second night to wait for the results of an MRI, that would reveal an image of the inside of my brain.

 That’s when the nightmare began in earnest. My brain scan showed evidence of prior strokes so small I ‘d been unaware of them — which led a well-spoken neurologist to present the possibility that I might have MoyaMoya Disorder. Now while this sounds like something to be ordered  in a Japanese restaurant, it actually means puff of smoke, indicative of an almost unheard of brain condition affecting a tiny percentage of the population. These people begin experiencing strokes when young and rarely live to be my age.  Because of the possibility of my having late onset MoyaMoya, she urged me to transfer by ambulance to the Stroke Unit of the California Pacific Medial Center, Davies Campus (CPMC), for further testing and observation. My husband and I gazed at each other horror-struck, as based on this information we left Mills Peninsula to be whisked away for three fun-filled days of further testing.  

CPMC is located in an drafty old building in San Francisco’s Castro District. Much of the stroke floor had been modernized, but we were shown to a spacious two-room suite  with a  hospital bed in one room and a couch made up for my husband in the other. On the first night of our stay, he heard me crying and sat up in a chair beside my bed, holding my hand for the entire night.

The next morning we realized that it was January 10th and our 29th wedding anniversary. Upon hearing that, a kindly nurse brought a fold-out bed to our room and placed it beside mine. That night we celebrated our 29th anniversary on the stroke floor of a hospital, toasting each other with glasses of water and gazing out over the Land of Oz — while I congratulated myself that win, lose, or draw, I’d had the balls to pack up my kids and drive to San Francisco  after divorcing their father in the mid-1970s– to begin a new life in a magical city where where I could be me and where my Sir and I would meet and embark on our BDSM lifestyle in late 1983.

We were considerably less peppy than on earlier anniversary celebrations — my husband leaning on his cane and I with my disabled hand and arm — but honestly, I doubt we’ve ever loved each other more than we did that night .  

To make a long story shorter, brain surgery was suggested, probably in February. I was released from the hospital on blood thinners to return home to our dogs, and my wonderful younger son flew out from his home in Brooklyn to care for our household, and to arrange the details of obtaining second and third opinions from other neurologists. It was twelve days before the scheduled reading of Best Women’s Erotica, at Good Vibrations Polk Street store and stroke or no stroke, I wanted to attend that reading. 

After endless debating about if I felt up to it or not, I attended the reading wearing my hottest red and black outfit. A friend helped me with my makeup, making me look as good as possible under the circumstances. She even drew on a pair of elegant eyebrows, which for me to do myself would have required an unimpaired left hand.

Still, I felt too shaky to read my own story. Editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel kindly read it for me, while I sat in the audience beside my Sir. But before beginning, she asked me to state briefly what had inspired it — and I replied proudly that the inspiration for my story, Two Doms For Dinner was a small slice of my wonderful kinky life with my love.

I loved every minute of being a part of that reading.

As a single mom I taught my sons the importance of demonstrating courage under fire. I felt that by attending the reading I was doing just that. I loved being part of the warm, supportive erotica community at Good Vibrations that evening. Since I couldn’t sign my name, I marked each book I was asked to sign with an X on the first page of my story beside my name. I would not have missed it for the world.

 I’ve recovered the use of my arm considerably in the three weeks since that evening. I haven’t eaten meat for twenty-five years, and have now eliminated all dairy products from my diet in an attempt to not ingest cholesterol.  My wonderful techno-savvy son sent the disc of my brain images to other neurologists. A second opinion, was obtained from Stanford, which disagreed with the first — no MoyaMoya or surgery,  with medical maintenance of the constricted artery at the base of my skull — and finally a third and last opinion by the head of neurology from UCSF, concurring that I didn’t have MoyaMoya at all, didn’t need surgery or more than one blood thinner, and agreed that lasting changes in diet and moderate exercise deserved a fair shot.

And now, five weeks later, my son has returned home to his family in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his love — and my husband and I are alone in our home once again, gazing into each other’s eyes and looking toward a future that sill involves sex.

At this point I am able to hold an eating utensil properly and  am now able to once again write my name  This health incident I’ve experienced is a wake-up call for both me and my husband, but in no way does it indicate the end of our sexual life.

I feel in my bones that my left hand and arm will enjoy a full recovery. In the meantime I thank the powers that be that I masturbate with my right hand.  

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1

 

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I’m honored to say, I have a story included in this exciting book! This is an erotic writer’s fantasy come true and I’m living it out, along with some of the finest writers and best editor in the genre. And as a seventy-year-old erotic writer, who published her first erotic piece in 2012, when in my mid-sixties, this is particularly meaningful. 

Yes, I am a senior woman. And yes, I am still hot and interested in all things erotic. I am fortunate to have a long-term partner (32 years as of this December 10th) who feels the same way, age and disabilities aside.

Let me offer you a bit of back-story about how I met my husband. We met through an ad I placed in the now defunct, SF Bay Guardian, in late 1983 — in which I presented myself as a “very female woman, 39, with heart and soul and a desire for intimacy, seeking a very male man, with same.  Must be 35-45, divorced, gainfully employed, financially solvent, and capable of giving and receiving love. No wimps. No walking wounded. No pessimists. ” 

My husband responded to my ad by sending a letter to the Bay Guardian PO Box, and responded with all the right answers. He was one month shy of his 43rd birthday, had been divorced for five years, with grown children who were out on their own. He was gainfully employed and owned a home in the Bay Area. He offered me a “special intimacy” he sensed that I craved — he was an experienced Dominant in the Bay Area BDSM scene, known as SM back then.

His kinky sexual preferences were icing on the cake as far as I was concerned, since I’d realized long before by the nature of my erotic fantasies, that my sexual nature was submissive and clearly not vanilla. During the years of unprecedented sexual freedom following my divorce in the mid-70s,  I’d taken more than my share of lovers. The ones that stood out for me were the take-charge men with strong imaginations, who elicited submissive feelings in me  — but until then had never found a man I was turned on to enough, and trusted enough, to give myself to.

The story in a nutshell is after exchanging two letters and one compelling phone call, we agreed to meet in a public place near my home in San Francisco. We had not exchanged photos. But I was so taken with his voice and the kind of play he’d described,  I’d already decided that if he wasn’t actively insane and didn’t have two heads, I was having sex with him — with all that entailed. The rest is history — and her-story too. From the moment we met we couldn’t stop smiling. Two cups of coffee and an hour of negotiations later, I followed my instincts and went with him and a bag filled with sex toys to San Francisco’s only co-ed bathhouse. We had amazing sex that night, lasting into the small hours of the morning.  We have been together ever since.

I think our fiery beginning and long-term lifestyle has served us well. In spite of age and infirmities we continue to express our love passionately. Our relationship, by mutual agreement, has been open from the first.  Our choice has been to play with others as a couple, as an extension of our play with each other. Our adventurous natures and choices may not be for everyone, but it works well for us. My story in Best Women’s Erotica, Volume I, Two Doms for Dinner is based on a real life adventure. We hope in our lifetime to have many more.  

Please come and hear me read from my story at the Good Vibrations Store on Polk Street, Tuesday, January 19th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM 

Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples

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Happy Birthday, Dirty Dates Anthology, and Happy Birthday, Rachel Kramer Bussel! 

What a great collection of sizzling hot stories, by amazingly skilled writers. I’m thrilled to announce that my story, The Corset, is included in this book. 

Personal standouts for me include: 

The Swap, by Jade A. Waters, in which a female submissive switches positions with her Master, to their mutual delight. (I’ve switched positions myself and this rings true for me.)

 The World In My Pants, by Valerie Alexander, in which a Dominant Woman gives her misbehaving submissive man what he deserves.      

Baby Steps, by Justine Elyot, a hot and lighthearted story of kinky new parents who ease their way back into BDSM play. 

Needles, by Kathleen Tudor; A story about needle-play that’s not my cup of tea, but is none-the-less, hot, hot, hot!

Admitting It Is The First Step, by Rachel Kramer Bussel, a whimsical view of a submissive woman, who owns and accepts her kinky nature, to her delight and that of her Top.    

Read all about Dirty Dates here!

To view Dirty Dates on Amazon click here.

I’m In Dirty Dates

10/31/15

This is pretty much of a pre-blog , blog posting to inform interested parties that my story, The Corset is included in the most aptly titled new anthology, Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies For Couples. The editor is Rachel Kramer Bussel and the book is officially out on her birthday, November 10th. Can you imagine the heat rating of a Scorpio book by a Scorpio editor? This is all I’ll say about this for now, since the plan is for the writers to review the book in unison, like happy birthday chorus on the day itself. Please stay tuned and I’ll tell you more then.

I’ll also say that being part of Lit-Crawl was a wonderful experience.  We had an audience of about one hundred fifty crowded into Good Vibes to hear us read about Sexy San Francisco, past and present. I hope to be included again is this great in this great literary event.

Follow me on Twitter @DorothyFreed1 and please like me on Facebook.

  

Lit Crawl In San Francisco Is Almost Upon Us

10/11/15

Lit Crawl in San Francisco is a mere week from today — that’s next Saturday evening to you — and looming larger than life on my radar screen! I’m delighted to announce my participation  in the annual San Francisco Literary Festival, which will span more than three hours along the Mission District’s Valencia Street corridor. The event will feature 101 literary readings and events of all kinds: in bookstores, bars, galleries, restaurants, cafes, community spaces, a bookmobile, a police station, and last but for sure not least, an iconic vibrator store.

Details are as follows: From 7:15 pm to 8:15 pm, on 10/17/15, the Good Vibrations store, at 603 Valencia Street, near 17th, welcomes sex writers identified with the San Francisco sex scene. The theme of the reading is intended to share our takes on the diverse erotic realities in the Land of Oz — otherwise known as our City by the Bay. This second hour of Lit Crawl features, our MC, the incomparable Carol Queen, plus Bay Area writers, Polly Whittaker, Avery Cassell, Jackie Strano, Meliza Banales, Cinnamon Maxxine, and me, Dorothy Freed.

Since I’m. ahem, a mature writer, my reading will be a selection from my unpublished memoir, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies. The chapter I’ll be reading from is a scene from my first visit to San Francisco’s first coed bathhouse and sexual playground, Sutro Bathhouse — and my first experience with three-way sex in a public place. Sounds to me like a good fit for diverse erotic realities.  I hope you’ll attend the reading and decide for your yourself.

More details at http://www.litquake.org/event-series/lit-crawl-san-francisco    

Tweet me @dorothyfreed1, Like me on Facebook

 

A Quick Posting to Announce My Next Reading

 

9/17/15

Here’s a quick posting to announce that I will be one of two Dirty Old Women celebrating life and sexuality by reading erotica next Tues, 9/22/15, at the Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland. This is a fun event in a great little space, with a receptive audience, good food and drink, and easy parking. Click link for more information. Hope to see you there.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1659638734276714/

As for a  lengthier post, that’s going to have to wait until the aftereffects of the very relaxing vacation I just returned from in Palm Springs—the same one where I’m surrounded by family and friends, with little to do but spend five to six hours a day in a swimming pool and decide what I want to eat or drink next. In fact it may take a while for that level of relaxation to wear off. As some of you know, September is my birth-month, so this was in effect a pre-birthday celebration. The actual special day is still forthcoming—and since I’ve long ago decided that the bigger the birthday the bigger the required celebration, this time the party may go on all month.

 While on the topic of public readings, I’m honored to say I’ve been invited to read again at the Good Vibrations store on Valencia Street, during Lit Crawl on October 17, where I’ll be reading a section of my unpublished memoir, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies, about a bit of San Francisco sexual history. But more about that later as the time draws nearer. Tweet me @DorothyFreed1

 

 

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

8/26/15

August 26th, 1970 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting American woman the right to vote. On that date the National Organization for Women called on women to demonstrate in a nationwide “strike for equality.” More than 100,000 women responded to that call and participated in demos and rallies in over 90 major cities and towns across America, making this the largest, gender-equality protest in US history.

I was among the estimated 50,000 women who marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City in support of the women’s movement and equal rights under the law.  Among the leading marchers were women of achievement: Bette Friedan, strike organizer , first president of NOW, and author it The Feminine Mystique; Gloria Steinem, political activist and founder of New York Magazine; Kate Millet, author of Sexual Politics; and straight-talking, peppery, Congresswoman Bella Abzug, tireless champion of women’s rights. I felt honored to be among them. 

I was a twenty-six-year-old housewife then, and leaving my husband home with our two sons to join the march was a personal declaration of independence. I’d been married for eight years to a man who espoused  equal rights and justice for all — but at home, as the assumed head of our household, he felt entitled to be in charge. He was okay with watching the kids three evenings a week while I went to art school — as long as I did the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and the balance of child care, in addition to my schoolwork. But he wasn’t pleased when I joined NOW. Or when I read The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir and began questioning the male/female status quo. Or when I told him he’d be feeding his kids dinner that evening, because was striking for equality.

My husband shook his head at that. “If you women had to deal with the serious issues men do, you’d stop complaining fast. Well, be home before dark. The streets aren’t safe.”

I sighed. His comments irked me, but I kept silent, not wanting to argue. I kissed my family good-bye and left the apartment., promising to be home before dark.

But how can we be equal, I wondered, if half of us  can’t go out alone at night? 

Filled with excitement and sense of resolve, I rode the subway downtown. Approaching Fifth Avenue, I looked out at a sea of female faces: women of all shapes and sizes, all colors, all ages, married and single, gay and straight. Some held signs bearing messages: Women Unite! Equality Under The Law! We Are The Fifty-One Percent Minority, I Am Not A Barbie Doll! And the slogan of the day — Don’t Iron While The Strike Is Hot!

“THE TIME IS NOW!” someone yelled, and the mass of women began moving forward. The march monitors passed along that we would be taking the entire width of the street — not the half we’d been allotted by the city — and we surged forward, arms linked. With cheers of victory we took 5th Avenue from curb to curb, unchallenged by the police.

For me, the highlight of the experience was meeting a silver-haired woman. Somewhere along the way we fell into step together. I smiled at her, impressed that a woman of her age would be marching. Linking arms, we walked side by side. The woman told that a half century ago, when she was twenty, she had marched with Susan B. Anthony to win women the vote.

“I was scared to death by my own daring. the woman said. “The world didn’t take kindly to uppity women back then. My family was scandalized and my gentleman friend left me over it. But I marched anyway.”

And in that moment, I realized I was in the presence of a living, breathing, direct link with history — and that this brave woman and others like her had put themselves on the line for something they believed was simple justice for everyone. 

I felt overwhelmed with emotion. “Thank you for my right to vote,” I whispered. “I won’t ever take it for granted — or any other right.  

Our eyes met. An understanding passed between us. We hugged good-bye when the march ended at Bryant. Intending to head straight for the subway, I began weaving my way through the throngs of women who stood listening to the speaker. In spite of my promise to be home before dark, I felt compelled to stop and listen. My husband was going to have to understand.

The experience of meeting this woman on the march has stayed with me all my life. Portions of this posting have been quotes from my story, The Day I Met The Suffragette, written by the person bearing my real name, and published in the anthology Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s and 70s. 

So, happy Women’s Equality Day — we’ve come a long way baby, as the slogan for Virginia Slims Cigarettes used to say. But let us not forget our sisters around the world who are enslaved, genitally mutilated, and denied the right to an education, and even the right to show their faces outside their homes.

Let us not forget either, that although Congress officially recognized  August 26, 1971 as Women’s Equality Day. the Equal Rights Amendment has still not been ratified in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Illinois Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. And that political; and religious factions, committed to stripping women of their hard-won right to choose and so many other rights are hard at work right now; so cast your vote wisely in the presidential election to come.

We’ve come a long way baby, but we still have far to go. @DorothyFreed1

Good Grief, I’ve Missed National Orgasm Day!

8/1/15

At first I felt terrible about not getting this post out on time. July, 31st is National Orgasm Day, as I’m sure everyone reading this already knows. Curious about the origins of the day, I did considerable online reading about it. For those interested, just type the day into your browser to access articles galore in publications such as: Glamour Magazine, the Daily Mail, the  Huffington Post, Feminista Jones at BlogHer  not to mention the informative, and arousing post titled the Big O and a Party Down South, by Cara Sutra, a top UK blog sex blogger and sex toy reviewer on whose site my writing has been featured, and to whom I subscribe.

Still, after all that reading I have to confess to still not knowing how it all got started, but the designated days seems to have been with us for several years now — and really, however it came about, what’s not to love about a day devoted to the celebration of pleasure?

As far as missing the boat on a timely posting goes, I took heart after discovering a plethora of  sites about World Orgasm Day, celebrated on 8/8/15. My favorite among these is the site of artist ,Alexander Hirka,  whose website proclaims the day as the seventeenth annual, One World Orgasm Day.  What a great idea! This very cool site features multiple links: the most interesting one to me being Beautiful Agony: Facettes De La Petite Mort a pay to view site that offers a generous selection of close-up photo of both sexes in the throes of orgasmic delight.

What a delightful idea (pun intended). In fact, viewing this link took me back in time almost forty years to when as a visual artist involved in creating a series of plaster bandages sculptures of female body parts — I engaged in collaboration with a fellow artist and lover, in casting my own upper body, long flowing hair and all. Since this process called for my being nude and coated with Vaseline, so as not to lose body hair when the bandage was removed, I lay naked on a blanket on my studio floor, while my friend applied strip after strip of moistened bandage over me, and smoothed each one carefully in place. To make a long story short, while waiting for the plaster to dry, my friend became bored and began teasing my clitoris  — and despite my best efforts to be still, so as to not ruin my sculpture, nature had its way with me. Moaning, mouth open and shoulders contorted, I erupted into orgasm at the exact moment the plaster hardened — thus preserving my ecstatic moment for posterity. I titled the piece, which unfortunately met its demise years ago, the Plaster Orgasm. This was also the title of my first published erotica piece, in the Tenth Anniversary Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Literary Art Anthology, in 2012.  An excellent use of a chance happening, if you ask me.

But I digress. There’s still another day devoted to orgasm, and my personal favorite, which is World Orgasm for Peace Day, complete  with the compelling slogan, Come Together. This special day is celebrated on the winter solstice, 12/21 each year. So pick your day or better yet, celebrate them all. Come one, come all and let’s make this troubled world a more peaceful place.

I’ll be doing my part. How about you? @dorothyfreed1

 

Ashley Madison’s Been Hacked. Is Nothing Sacred?

7/27/15

I recently learned that Ashley Madison, the high-profile internet site catering to married people interested in having discrete affairs was hacked. For those not in the know, this site claims a hefty thirty-seven million members and sports the slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.” It also claims to safeguard their secrets.

And now it seems the group of hackers who go by name the Impact Team are demanding a total shutdown of Ashley Madison and its legion of adulterers, or else… Supposedly included in exposed information are email addresses, usernames, passwords, birth-dates  and zip codes — not to mention sexual preferences and proclivities. Oh my… all those secrets. Imagine the inner turmoil, the gut-wrenching fear of those with so much to lose if their identities were outed — and wouldn’t there be one huge messy puddle all around the world, should those secrets be spilled?

This hack follows a similar event earlier this year when sexual tastes and preferences of over three million people were at risk after the dating site, Adult Friend Finder, was also hacked, and information leaked. And here you and I thought we had problems when our email address books are hacked and we get mail with weird links to click that we hustle off to spam.

Curious, I spent the morning reading a variety of views about the hacking. According to a piece by Joe Kovacs, published  7/22/15, on WND DIVERSIONS — an obviously open-minded site featuring a right-to-life message and a quote by Billy Graham — one unlucky Massachusetts man defied the thirty-seven million to one odds, and his name, profile ID, home address, email address, and list of preferred sexual fantasies were publicly identified in the hacker’s terrorist style manifesto, as a chilling example of their willingness to made good their threats Another person from Canada was named as well. One Catherine Cooper, who self-identified as a mom of two, expressed in her impassioned Daily Mail piece, on 7/21/15, that infidelity is inexcusable and Ashley Madison members, one and all, deserved to be exposed for the cheaters they are. Dawn Michel states in her 7/27/15 examiner.com piece that Ashley Madison is a site created to support bad behavior  and instant gratification, and deserves what they get.  Not to be outdone, Christian evangelist, Franklyn Graham posted a message from the bible stating, “be sure your sin will find you out.”

John McAfee, influential commentator on cyber-security issues, in a 7/23/15 piece in the International Business Times, proclaims the AM hack as the death knoll of secrets — focusing less on its sinfulness than on the weakness of its security system, he found the hacker’s date fascinating, revealing cheater by profession and sex. According to him, topping the male adultery list are doctors, police officers, lawyers, and real-estate agents, and topping the female list are teachers, soccer moms, nurses, and real-estate agents — and claims it should be no surprise that in the US, Washing DC tops the cheater list by percentage of population by a wide margin.

At this point I should reveal my own opinions  about Ashley Madison, based on my taking advantage of their free female membership almost two years ago — with my husband’s full knowledge and agreement.  My profile requests a dominant, kink-friendly, non-bisexual, friend-with-benefits, fifty-five and over with a pass from his wife. I was contacted by a surprising number of men in open relationship, as well as many claiming single status and seeking no-strings fun with a married woman and her spouse. I also received  responses from twenty and thirty-somethings, many with cock shots included, even though my profile states that graphic photos will be instantly deleted — and men whose erotic interests were so different from mine, I wondered if they’d read my profile at all.

Over time, my AM  experience yielded considerable back and forth email communication and photo exchanges with viable possibilities. This resulted in a handful of in-person meetings, and fewer still, encounters in-the-flesh.  Willingness is one thing — but chemistry, as anyone in the dating world probably knows is damned hard to find. We did finally meet a hot man in a polygamous relationship, and in my age range who lived twenty minutes away. We met, we clicked, we shared dinner and fantasy a few times a month for over a year, until his move to another state. Six months later, this man appears to be the apex of what AM has to offer.  I plan to retire my membership on its two-year anniversary late next month.

All in all I’d say there are a plethora of lonely people in this world, many of them married and not all of them hound-dogs, seeking no-strings affairs with willing partners for a variety of reasons, not all of them reprehensible.  As Ashley Madison chief executive, Noel Biderman, stated, “Like us or not this is still a criminal act.”

And in my view, he’s right on. @DorothyFreed1.

Gay Pride and Human Tolerance

7/4/15

Happy Independence Day to everyone! And all the more so in light of the recent, historic Supreme Court ruling, this past June 26th, 2015, declaring marriage equality to be the law of the land.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the deciding vote in the 5-4 ruling, declaring that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right of all Americans. His ruling is based on four ideas, the basic gist of which is as follows: freedom includes being free to marry whom one chooses; marriage is vital for relationships; marriage protects families; and marriage is a cornerstone of American society. In response to this landmark decision of equality without exception, the White House lit up in rainbow colors in commemoration of this occasion, as did the Empire State Building — and the mood among gay rights supporters was nothing short of jubilant. Gay Pride, right on!

Well, how about that? After all the vehement, unreasonable, fear-driven, and just plain mean-spirited resistance of the religious right to deny same-sex couples their constitutional rights — love is now equal in the eyes of the law! (Take that dissenting Justices, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas. Like it or not the Twenty-First Century has arrived and is well underway. )

Public opinion has shifted in the past few years, revealing the intrinsic wrong of the ban on gay marriage and paving the way for such a decision to be made. I always felt in my gut that it would be just a matter of time, combined with unflagging activism, until that changed. No doubt the disgruntled conservatives — the same good churchgoing souls laboring to reverse Roe vs Wade and deny 51% of the population the right to choose to be pregnant or not —  are currently huddled together, plotting and planning the overthrow of Constitutional rights.

Speaking of gay marriage, a few years ago I wrote a five-hundred word memoir piece about being a sixteen-year-old art student, with a raging crush on Hal, a handsome, sophisticated, forty-year-old art professor — to whom I offered my virginity — and who turned out to be gay. He didn’t give that as his reason for turning me down. He said I was beautiful and desirable, but I was sixteen and it would have been wrong for him to take advantage of me. I went home crying that day, stung by rejection. But I later learned through a mutual acquaintance, that the man whom I’d lusted for was already taken by a model named Ralph. Funny, learning the true reason for my turn-down put the experience in perspective. So he likes men, I thought, shrugging, who knew? I didn’t blame Hal for not coming out to me either — it was only the 1960s, after all; Utopia was a long way away.

If by some slim chance Hal and Ralph are still alive and together all these years later, I imagine their rejoicing at finally being declared equal American citizens but the law of their land.

As Victor Hugo so wisely said, “No army can withstand the power of an idea whose time has come.” But it sure was a long time coming.

Happy Independence Day. We’ve all just taken a giant step toward creating the kinder, gentler, more humane society that we all claim to long for. @DorothyFreed1.