It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the Seattle dim sum scene. Quality here pales in comparison to what you’ll find north of the border in Richmond. Going out for dim sum here seems like throwing away good money.
So when I saw the low prices at the International District’s Dim Sum King, I had to do a reconnaissance mission. That was easy, as they’re open daily from seven to seven. With various baked buns at sixty cents, and steamed dumplings and shumai (and chicken feet) at fifty cents, I figured this might be a fair price for ma-ma (so-so) dim sum. As I was about to buy up a couple of egg tarts for afternoon tea, I spotted some sponge cake. I got a massive amount for just one dollar. The cake was light and airy, and like many Asian desserts, not overly sweet.
So what does Dim Sum King’s sponge cake teach us about sex?
It’s about the right to affordable and accessible sponges (and other pleasure-enabling devices).
When the Today contraceptive sponge was pulled off the market in 1994, women in America (including the fictional Elaine Benes in Seinfeld) stocked up on remaining supplies, in many cases hoarding them obsessively. Oh, if that was our only birth control crisis today.
I find it fascinating that so much of the recent political debate has focused on contraception. Look at all the hoopla. Congressman Darrell Issa took us back fifty years, holding a hearing with an all-male panel, lamenting that insurance companies must provide contraceptive coverage. He disallowed even one woman, Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke, from testifying.
When Nancy Pelosi held a separate hearing to give Fluke her opportunity, Rush Limbaugh chastised Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute,” adding, “So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” Limbaugh, famous for a Viagra scandal, has been married four times and has no children, prompting comments that he has no problem using birth control–or is sterile or impotent.
The Republican presidential candidates refused to speak out again Limbaugh, reinforcing their anti-birth control stances. Recall that Rick Santorum’s sugar daddy, Foster Friess, suggested that women just put an aspirin between their knees. Meanwhile, Santorum is on record saying that birth control shouldn’t be legal–even for married couples.
These people see sex as for procreation, not recreation. The battle over birth control–including abortion–has always been about something deeper. It’s about sex, and about controlling women’s lives.
How to make these men understand their role in the war on women’s health? Some women are proposing legislation to regulate men’s health. Earlier this week, Ohio state Senator Nita Turner introduced a bill requiring men seeking Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test, and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency.
But why stop there? If men say sex is for procreation only, I suggest that women simply stop having sex with them. I have a feeling a lot of men will change their minds about this issue quickly.
Like the old saying goes, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. And, I’d add, birth control would come free in cereal boxes.
The simple fact is that birth control saves taxpayers money. Birth control should be affordable and accessible. Protected, we can enjoy the sexual pleasure most of us desire and deserve. We are all sponge-worthy.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on March 15, 2012.