Smooth Shiny Objects

Two women, one in her late sixties and the other in her forties were sunbathing on lounge chairs by the swimming pool of a resort hotel. They didn't know each other and were both watching a beautiful bikini clad young woman frolicking in the pool.

The older of the two ladies said, "Hi, I'm Alice. Are you here for the car show?

"I'm Regina, nice to meet you Alice. Yes, I was dragged here for that damn car show. I hate cars - especially old ones. I don't know what it is with men and old cars. How can they get so worked up over an inanimate object?

"While they aren't alive, I'm not sure that the word inanimate should be applied to a car. They do move after all. The appeal of classic cars for men is obvious", Alice said. "Most men are on the surface very simple creatures. They are attracted to things that are smooth and shiny. That's why they like those cars. It's not enough that the motor runs and that they can ride in it whenever they please, it has to be pretty to look at as well. In fact, they want their car to be prettier than all the other cars to show it off. It's sort of a "look what I have" status thing. They want them to look new, even if they are very old.

"Are you talking about their cars or their wives?" was the reply.

Alice said with a chuckle, "Well, I guess it might be said of both. Unlike the cars though, the wives can play that game too. Speaking of new wives, she's putting on quite a show. Isn't she?

"She sure is! She has to be the center of attention. Is that an indication of insecurity or confidence?" Regina enquired.

Alice answered, "I don't know. Or perhaps it's a sales demo. Good God, she's flexible.

As the young woman climbed up the pool ladder, both women were watching her. The sun glistened off of her smooth wet tanned body and streamed off of her long blond hair as it fell naturally behind her back. Water droplets beaded on the exposed top of her voluptuous breasts.

Regina with a shocked expression on her face said, "I think that's the smallest bikini I've ever seen. Those can't possibly be real. She's certainly saying "look what I have".

Alice replied, "You bet! I wonder if her bra size exceeds her IQ. That bathing suit hides nothing. It might as well be made of cellophane. Camel toe would an understatement if applied to that. You can see everything. That's actually obscene.

"I wonder what men see in a woman like that.

"You must be kidding!" Alice said looking over at Regina, "It's obvious! I just told you.

And suddenly both women looked at each other and in unison said, "She's smooth and shiny!" and laughed looking back at the buxom blond as she strutted past them in high heel slippers finally wrapping herself in a towel.

> "She must be trolling for a new husband" Regina said.

"Or for an old husband - someone else's old one that is" Alice replied. "She's trolling for something! She is very pretty though. Pretty enough that she doesn't need to flaunt it like that. That will attract only the most superficial type of man.

"Well, perhaps that's what she wants. She's picked the right place if she wants a rich one. But the rich ones are seldom superficial, unless they're an athlete, actor or a trust fund baby.

"I don't feel sorry for the old fools that fall for that kind of ploy. A fool and his money are soon parted and I'd bet she's just the one to do it. I can't stand superficial men."

"I agree Alice! But it's women like that that make you wish you could lock your husband up for safe keeping."
"Alice chuckled and smiled knowingly, then replied "Well, that's one way to keep them in line. I have a friend who does that but I think it's better to pick a man of good character to start with, and then he takes his marriage vows and his personal honor seriously.

"Oh, good heavens Alice, you're a romantic. That's so quaint! I haven't heard that archaic notion advanced in years. Just so we are on the same page, would you define that for me?

"Go ahead and make fun of me if you want, but virtue is its own reward. Virtuous people have happier lives. You're asking for my definition of honor? Sure, I used the word so I'll offer a definition and you can tell me if I hit the mark or not.

Honor is a character trait. It is a noun, and it is also a verb - to honor. Honor is simply the discharge of one's duty. One can honor the terms of a contract, meaning you have met your obligations under the terms of that contract. In that context it should be so common in our society that there should be nothing special about it at all.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. How many politicians keep their campaign promises? Or, I could say "honor" their campaign promises? Those are the people we have elevated to run things and they don't even do their duty like keeping a promise or passing a budget. The same is true with deadbeat parents who create children but push responsibility for their care onto others or people who lie, cheat and steal.

Honor, the noun, is not limited to heroic soldiers. It is present in everyday life. It is the man who goes to work every day to feed, house, clothe, and educate his family, or the mother getting up in the middle of the night tending to her baby when she would rather be sleeping. It was young George Washington, with the knowledge that he would be punished, telling the truth when asked if he cut down the cherry tree because even a child knows that a man of honor, a man who meets his obligations, tells the truth. And, even as a child that was what he aspired to become - a man of honor. When did we mothers stop instilling that aspiration in our sons?

"Honestly Alice, I wasn't making fun of you. It's just most people aren't willing to talk about concepts like that. I agree with what you said. These are the kind of conversation I used to enjoy as a college student late at night laying on the grass looking up at the stars with my friends, but none of my friends now are interested in such things. I'm enjoying hearing your opinion, so please continue. You tied your definition of "honor" to two words that you use interchangeably; "duty and obligation" so let me hear your definition of duty if you don't mind. I'm getting the idea that your husband probably is not a "very simple creature" and I think I can see why you can't stand superficial men.

"OK but feel free to correct me. Duty is, as I said, obligation. I would add that it is with two exceptions obligation willingly, even if sometimes grudgingly, assumed. It is spelled out in contracts and oaths, like marriage vows. We agree to our obligations up front, the exceptions being laws and cultural norms into which we are born. But even with those, when we are old enough, we are free to leave if we are unwilling to accept the obligations they impose, assuming some other community is willing to take you. Or, you can even try to change laws and norms.

I think people are far less honorable than they used to be even a generation ago, and it's because of that little word "duty". Some people hate duty just as they hate its variant - "personal responsibility". They hate duty because it is rigid. It seldom imparts happiness because it often involves unpleasant tasks. It is also costly, demanding sacrifice, sometimes even the ultimate sacrifice. It resides in a world of black and white and is seldom obscured by shades of gray.

So Regina, when you say "honor is an archaic word" it's only because of the trend in our society to reject duty and personal responsibility. Many no longer recognize that when they accept the benefits of citizenship or of marriage or any of our many other institutions, they assume obligations at the same time. That is even true of activities like driving a car, having sex or shooting a gun. You can assume certain obligations when you do them. Now many people just want the benefits of institutions without the need to contribute to them - the free rider effect. Such people are like children in adult bodies. What to a child might be shades of gray to the educated adult mind is clearly distinguished as right or wrong. Without duty, there is no such thing as honor. Those who reject the concept of duty, reject honor as well.

"So you are saying that those who fail to live up to their obligations are without honor, the noun." Regina said.

"How does one determine what these duties are?

"They're spelled out for us in many ways. Not telling a lie, not murdering, not cheating, not stealing or coveting and all that traditional stuff are moral obligations stemming from our cultures most basic founding principles, the so-called commandments - they aren't called the "suggestments". The last five or six have nothing to do with religion. They are our fundamental social contract. Then after that they are spelled out in laws and even traditions."

"Alice, if you have found such a man, good for you, but adultery isn't that uncommon these days and, it never has been. That's why it made its way into the Ten Commandments. It had to be a very popular sin even back when Moses went up the mountain in order to make it, not once, but twice onto the ten most wanted list. Mind you, it's only the ones who get caught that you hear about. The sixth commandment is pretty clear, but haven't you ever noticed that the ninth commandment only applies to men and lesbians?

A perplexed expression covered Alice's face as she looked over at Regina who said, "It says Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. It says nothing about husbands!" She added with a grin, "So the only people who would do that are men and lesbians. So, Blondie is in the clear.

Alice laughed, "I must admit, I never noticed that. Then if we are playing lawyers and parsing the words, as long as she's not a guy's neighbor's wife, she's fair game too. Now I see why you say adultery isn't that uncommon, but I think in this case I'll stick with the spirit of the law rather than the letter.

"Me too", Regina replied, "but it makes it pretty clear that the rules were written for men. At least it seems that one was."

Alice said, "I actually feel sorry for women like that blond. That bathing suit rings of desperation. Things are so much more complicated for young women today than they were for my generation and for young men as well. We have sexualized and politicized everything in society but at the same time we have almost gone back to Victorian times in our prudishness in interpersonal relationships. We lowered the voting age, but treat them like children whom we don't trust to drink a beer or buy a cigarette until they are twenty one. We imposed selectively enforced laws restricting every aspect of their lives and then we criticize them for not growing up. My generation rebelled against authority but we became the most authoritarian tyrannical generation in our history. We have priced marriage and a middle class family life out of reach for all but the rich and that burden fell mostly on women who are more often than not struggling to survive if they are on their own. It's like the woman in that Silicon Valley article said, "The guys get laid and the women get screwed."

"True, it is harder now, even with greater economic opportunities. It turns out that money isn't everything

"Are you a first wife Regina?

"Pardon me?

"Are you a first wife? I've been coming to these shows for decades and some of these guys have brought the same classic car each year, but are on their third or fourth wife. I'd bet that's a future wife number four in that Band-Aid called a bathing suit, a so-called trophy wife.

"Actually Alice, I'm a second wife, but I'm not a poacher, if that's what you were asking. He was a widower when I met him and it is my only marriage. I too have a man of honor.

"That's good. Never divorced increased the likelihood that someone won't bale out when the going gets tough. And if he doesn't have a history of cheating then Blondie over there or anyone like her poses less of a threat to your marriage. No need to lock him up then." That last comment elicited a quizzical glance from Regina, but no reply.

"Do you have children?

"Two" Regina said, "A boy with me and a daughter by his first wife. How about you?

"Oh, I'm an anomaly around here, married my high school sweetheart and never fell out of love. Five kids and they're all grown up and live all over. What kind of car did your husband bring?

"A '37 Cord. What did your husband bring?

"Nice!" Alice said. "I'd like to get a good look at that car. It was the most innovative car of its time, a decade ahead of others in engineering and I think one of the most beautiful cars too. I brought a '24 Duisenberg and my husband brought a '29 Packard. You see, I too like smooth shiny objects too. We are both car enthusiasts. If you want to see the show with me tomorrow, I'll bet I can teach you enough about these old cars to make you at least appreciate them, or maybe even like them. It's nice to be able to share an interest with your husband on an even footing. I've bet him that my Duisenberg will beat his Packard tomorrow on points and if it does, he is at my beck and call for the next two weeks. He has to do anything I tell him to do - anything! I all ready have my "honeydew list". He thinks he's going to have me in a French maid outfit, but he's in for a big surprise. I'll work him like a rented mule.

"Sure Alice, I'd love to see the show with you and pick your brain. I might end up surprising my husband with what I learn. Usually I read a book in the room or poolside and don't even go onto the field. It's basically his weekend. I'd like for you to meet him and vice versa. Are you two eating supper in the hotel tonight? Let's get together.

"Sure that sounds good. Here's my room number so you can call me. Let's get together in the restaurant around seven. Call us when you are ready to head down from your room." And with that, the two women parted and headed back to their rooms.

That evening, up in their hotel room Alice and her husband Ray were getting ready for supper. She was leaning over the vanity doing her makeup, still in her underwear and he was looking at her butt admiringly. He loves everything about her and he appreciates the effort she puts into looking good. A smooth panty girdle held her pantyhose in place and showed off her still shapely bottom to perfection. Her satin bra reflected the light from above the vanity and as he walked behind her he slapped her gently on the butt. "You just love slapping my girdle." she said.

And he replied, "Smooth and shiny objects! Guilty as charged." They both laughed. He'd heard her theory many times and they had made a running joke of it.

Regina called and they agreed to meet down in the restaurant. At supper, after the introductions she conveyed Alice's "smooth and shiny theory" to her husband who agreed but added the caveat that the object should be of some utility as well. He also took exception to being labeled as a "very simple creature".

In her defense, Alice reminded him that she had said "on the surface" most men are simple creatures attracted to things that are smooth and shiny, adding that many men have great depth below that surface as she listed several great philosophers; Adam Smith, John Locke and René Descartes as well as some not so great philosophers that just thought they were great like Jeremy Bentham or Jacques Derrida. Holding up her diamond bracelet she added that women too are attracted to smooth and shiny objects and they all laughed.

As the evening progressed the topic of the blond trophy wife candidate came up and they all agreed that she could be "of some obvious utility" so the amended "smooth and shiny theory" remained intact. That lead to the "locking up the husband comment" that had perked Regina's interest. "What exactly did you mean this afternoon when you said your friend locks her husband up for safe keeping?"

Alice and her husband looked at each other. Then he said, "Oh no, you didn't tell her about Gertrude and Dimwit." and, Alice nodded. He continued, "Well, it's unlikely that you two will ever meet them so Alice might as well tell you the rest of the story, but it's not something that is supposed to be common knowledge even though Charles is a moron and a cad.

Alice continued, "It's not supposed to be common knowledge, but it sort of is. My friend and neighbor Gertrude found out that her husband was messing around with a girl from work. In addition to other signs, she found a receipt from a local lingerie store in his jacket pocket and took it to the store to see what it was. It turned out that he had bought a corset with garters, fishnet stockings and panties. The invoice had the sizes listed and they were not her size, and of course she never received them as a gift. So, being a rational women, who does not give into emotional responses, she bought exactly the same things in his size and decided to teach him a lesson and administer appropriate punishment, but first things first.

"While divorcing him and kicking his ass out of her life might have been emotionally satisfying in the short term, they have had four kids together which meant he would never be out of her life. The momentary satisfaction was not worth the disruption it would have caused for her children. So, weighing the consequences of kicking him out and divorcing him against the benefits of moving on, she chose to move on with the least possible disruption to the family.

"May I interject something here Alice?" Ray said. "Charles is such a moron that his cell phone is on her account so she has total access to his phone records. It's bad enough that he's a cheat, but he's also an incompetent cheat. And even worse, he works for her uncle so this was really self destructive behavior and she had this guy over a barrel. Tell them the rest.

Alice continued, "Well, using the phone records, she contacted the girl who said she didn't know he had children. Having apprised her of Dimwit's, excuse me, Charles's poor prospects after divorce and of the disruption it would cause for all involved the girl was shocked and felt terribly used, even telling Gert about him having her parade around in the corset and stockings. And when she discovered that she worked for Gertrude's uncle, the girl threw the cad under the bus so fast that Charles wouldn't know what hit him. She said that he had hit on other girls at work too. Both women wanted vengeance.

When he got home from work one day there sat Gertrude with the girlfriend. When confronted with the lingerie laid out on the table Gertrude told him; "you bought it; you're going to wear it!"

The girlfriend was so amused by the prospect presented that she didn't correct the assertion that this was the actual lingerie he had bought and since it looked the same to him, he believe her. "Now it's your turn to parade around in the corset and stockings." She said.

Obviously, he objected and offered resistance, but after Gert read him the Riot Act and explained his options. He had no choice but to submit. The two women stripped him bare and his ex-girlfriend will forever remember the sight of him in the corset, fishnets and panties parading around at her direction as she told him off and snapped a cell phone picture as a keepsake.

"If that were the end of the story he would have gotten off easily, but it's not. Gertrude is not a woman to be trifled with. She had taught him a lesson but she had yet to administer appropriate punishment, let alone initiate measures to prevent reoccurrence of this behavior. While as far as I know he doesn't run around in a corset and fishnets, she did toss out all of his male underwear and replaced it with feminine alternatives he would not want to be seen in by any prospective girlfriend, not that he would be of any use to a girlfriend now anyhow.

As if that weren't enough she went online and found a device that can in fact be used to lock up a man's private parts and demanded that he wear it. She put it on him and except for weekly cleaning when he is handcuffed behind his back, with a bucket of ice cubes handy, he has been locked up ever since. She literally has him by the balls. All is not forgiven and probably never will be, but she now trusts him completely.

Ray added that by all rights, he should have been fired, because his foolishness exposed the company to the danger of sexual harassment lawsuits. "He put both his marriage and job at risk. That's a high price to pay to regain a trust that he just pissed away."

Regina said, "Did you actually see this thing? I mean, do you believe her, or could she have made it all up? And why the ice bucket?" Her husband laughed. He had figured it out.

"Oh no, we saw the corset picture, and he knows we saw it. I also saw and examined the device when it arrived from the vendor. Of course I haven't seen it on him, but I have no doubt. She even let me take it home still in the package to show it to Ray. He wouldn't touch it.

"I wasn't intimidated by it." Ray said defensively. "I just wasn't interested. With us that circumstance would never arise. First, I wouldn't cheat and if I did, Alice would kill me and probably do it in such a way that she'd get away with it. But I must admit when I saw that thing I felt sort of sorry for the guy even though he deserves it. I can't think of anything more humiliating or more uncomfortable. He's basically a eunuch until she decides otherwise."

Alice said, "You can see them on the Internet. It reminded me of those funnel collars they put on dogs after surgery so they can't lick stitches out. It's similar in that the wearer has been reduced to the status of a lower animal with an owner that has determined it should be restricted from touching part of its body. Perhaps it's more like a dog muzzle. A dog has been imbued by nature with power to bite people and if it abuses that power, and you still want to keep the dog you muzzled it. Men are imbued with the ability to impregnate a woman and in this case that power was abused putting Gert's family at risk, so he too has in a fashion been muzzled.

She admits that it's a power thing. If one abuses power, justice demands that the person's power must be curtailed. He abused his power so it has been taken away from him. It's as simple as that. He acted like a dog so he's treated like one. He could have said no and suffered the shame and devastation of a divorce but he chose to stick around and accept the consequences and suffer the humiliation under her rules. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time!"

"What does it look like?" Regina said, as she looked at her husband and smiled.

Alice answered. "It was a little clear plastic ball open at the top with a little tube leading from it like a tea pot spout with a small hole in the front to allow urine to escape. They slide together then lock." Alice added, "Ice is used to make everything shrink so it can squeeze into the little hard plastic case before it's locked in place. I assume he has to sit down to pee because of its shape. Besides, with his new underwear there's no opening for that purpose anyhow. Once it's locked, the contents of the plastic container can't be touched although I expect you could grab and twist the hell out of it. I wonder what a bit of chili pepper would do.

Regina said, Oh I wish I had a picture of the expressions on you guys' faces when she said that!"

Then Ray added, "In that case we should probable move on to more pleasant topics.

Alice added, "It was a smooth and shiny object and has some utility as well, so I guess my theory about men liking smooth shiny objects is not universally true after all."

The End
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