I never wanted to think about U.S. Presidents having sex.
disastrous glorious forty fourth president, Barack Obama, was elected and his wife became the First Lady I remember reading an anonymous comment posted somewhere that at least now we have a couple in the White House who we, the American people, can imagine having sex.
At the time I read the comment, I wondered what sort of person had been longing to imagine the President having sex. Long time (even short time) readers of this blog will probably think that I am exactly that sort of person, but, honestly, I only want to think about, let’s say, James Franco having sex. Or that cute auto mechanic with the perfect white teeth who rotated my tires (“No charge,” he said, smiling) when I brought my
Mom car luxury SUV that seats nine in for its annual safety inspection. (“Wow, you must have a lot of kids!” he said, his smile fading as he looked past me. “Only two!” I felt compelled to respond in an effort to regain his attention. “That’s hardly any at all! And they’re small.” I put my hand out and held it very low to the ground to indicate how tiny my offspring are. “Really, you barely notice them.”)
So I never wanted to think about the Presidents of these United States having sex. I wanted to think about him (or her) solving the latest Mideast crisis, or the latest debt crisis or the NCAA Bowl Championship Series crisis. I don’t want to imagine her (or him) naked and sweaty and saying stupid stuff like, “You look shorter naked.”
But how am I supposed to not think about Presidents having sex now that we have the private letters of Warren G. Harding to read? From the New York Times article, “The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See.”
The correspondence is intimate and frank — and perhaps the most sexually explicit ever by an American president. Even in the age of Anthony Weiner sexts and John Edwards revelations, it still has the power to astonish. In 106 letters, many written on official Senate stationery, Harding alternates between Victorian declarations of love and unabashedly carnal descriptions. (While Phillips’s notes and some drafts of her letters have been preserved, her actual replies were not.) The president often wrote in code, in case the letters were discovered, referring to his penis as Jerry and devising nicknames, like Mrs. Pouterson, for Phillips.
After reading that article, it’s all I can do to make it through the day without thinking about having sex with a President. I’ve been thinking about French kissing George Washington and his wooden teeth, wondering how Teddy Roosevelt really got the nickname “Rough Rider” (in my mind, it has nothing to do with the charge up San Juan Hill), soaping up with William Howard Taft in his custom-made-for-fat-Presidents bath tub, and feeding Jimmy Carter peanuts while we’re both naked. And every single one of the wartime presidents would have to endure my discussion of military strategy in post coital pillow chats when all they really wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep.
I guess we should be thankful that modern technology has all but banished letter writing to the dust bin of history. At least now the American people will be spared reading about the intimate details of some future President’s private life. Now if we can just get politicians to stop taking dick pics . . .
You can read more about Warren G. Harding and Jerry the Penis in The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage During the Great War.