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e x c e r p t s   

from "Secret Tomas"

She rises, hoping the champagne from last night isn’t too flat to ruin the vibe she’s striving for. Sometimes, something like this—an image of herself in her mind as a nude, sexy, mimosa-drinking woman on a rich man’s leather sofa during business hours—is enough to replace whatever other ugly image has been dominant. She wishes Brent’s city apartment had fresh-cut orchids or a grand piano or something romantic, but those touches are no doubt reserved for the real home he shares with his wife in Lake Forest. Still, this clubby, masculine atmosphere might work, too, in a different, more torrid way. She pirouettes toward the fridge.
A window washer is looking right at her.


from "Slut Lullabies"

I found out my mother was a slut from my best friend, at a bar with my secret Greek boyfriend who was possibly a homosexual and his uptight brother who pretended to know nothing of our affair. I was high on myself that evening. It was a buzz I got rarely, the way somebody who hardly ever drinks gets plowed after one sip. At eighteen, I had progressed from being a girl who never attracted much attention, to a woman who never attracted much attention—so this kind of evening, featuring me as the heroine of an illicit liaison, flanked by single, sexless friends who suspected but could not confirm my “other life,” made me feel like a tingly imposter with all eyes upon me.


from "How to Marry a WASP"

Chad’s mother has hired a wedding consultant, because that is what people who christen their sons Chad do. The consultant, Deanna, says it is not her first same-sex wedding. She’s savvy to the protocol, which is important to Chad’s mother, and to all of the Merrys. An anchorwoman from Chicago’s ABC News is among the guests.
There is no protocol for gay marriage in the Guerra clan, although two of Miguel’s Miami cousins are gay. They, though, have never attempted to have a knockdown, drag-out celebration of queer matrimony with two hundred guests at a historic theater that has been closed for years and will be opened for the evening just for them. It amazes Miguel: the way WASPs alternately throw Republican fundraisers and gala ceremonies for their faggot sons, whatever whim strikes them. They are entitled to anything.


from "What You See"

An Intelligent Woman and a Beautiful Woman go on vacation together with their Husbands. They go on a cruise, to Greece. The Intelligent Woman worries that her husband will like the Beautiful Woman’s breasts when they take off their bathing suit tops on the beach. Yet to refuse to remove her own top in hopes of forcing the Beautiful Woman to remain clothed in solidarity, the Intelligent Woman would have to be willing to portray herself as Conservative, Modest, and Unworldly. Someone who does not understand that in Greece breasts are No Big Deal. She is uncertain what to do.

But wait. Is it important to know that the Intelligent Woman’s Husband is more attractive (and also more successful) than the Beautiful Woman’s Husband? I think it is. You see, without that knowledge you might assume (rightly, you’d think) that the Intelligent Woman has grounds to be threatened by the Beautiful Woman. You might reckon that Beautiful People have better lives. Don’t they? Well, sometimes they do. But in this case, the Intelligent Woman has the Husband that all the Friends she and the Beautiful Woman share agree is the better of the two Husbands.

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