Busted Halo
Features : Sex & Relationships
March 3rd, 2004
Sexuality Is More Than What We Do Beneath the Sheets

Sex sells.
Or so they say. But I think “they” are wrong.
I think what they mean is that partly naked people, a hint of genitalia, and the bright (though often illusory) promise of sexual intercourse sells.
We limit sex or sexuality tragically when we talk about it only in terms of our private parts and intercourse (wonderful as they may be). Our sexuality, this most beautiful gift from God, is the very energy that allows us to be in relationship with others. Sexuality informs all aspects of being a self—social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical.
Can you relate?From the moment of our birth we are drawn into relationships with other people. A newborn instinctually roots for food from…

February 18th, 2004
or How to Survive a Trip on the Bi-Polar Express *also proven effective for Holiday coping

Many people have a hard time with winter. Up North where I come from the days are short and gloomy. The cold is bitter and winter is long. The holidays, cloaked in joy and celebration can be their own peculiar kind of wolf in sheep’s clothing. There are memories of loves and loved ones lost. There’s the extra stress of everything that needs doing. All that along with the expectation that we should feel happy, Christmas and New Year’s can have a nasty bite. My husband Greg has bi-polar depression and the winter is especially bad for him. If winter gets you down or you’re close to someone who struggles with seasonal depression, let this list be a starting point for you. Make your own list of mood…

January 29th, 2004
How does the Church speak to the experience of younger Catholics?

After a long weekend of bars, booze, and boys, I make it a point to attend Sunday night Mass. As I repent for any sins I may have committed in spite of my good Catholic upbringing, I can’t help but notice the person in front of me is the same guy I saw cheating on his girlfriend the night before. And someone a few rows up looks exactly like the girl I saw pole dancing on the bar last week. In fact, the more I look around, the pews are filled with college co-eds living the same double life my friends and I have down to a science; faith-filled young Catholics in spirit, and sexually uninhibited college students by practice. At times, walking into mass on Sunday night does feel hypocritical. It is hard to reflect on the hedonistic…

January 5th, 2004
The Adult Journey of a Child of Divorce

Lynn Cassella’s profound experience as a child of divorce shines through in this small and practical guide for all those whose lives have been touched by divorce.
Divorce journeyCassella speaks of her own journey as a child of divorce and uses her experience and the experience of others as guides throughout chapters that focus on a specific hurt that the child of divorce may be feeling.
For Lynn Cassella, the pain of her parents’ divorce didn’t strike her on impact. It wasn’t until she was in college that she began to feel emotions like shame and guilt. Her relationship with her father became strained, and she began to hold unhealthy resentments toward him.
Cassella reveals so much of…

January 2nd, 2004
The problem with mom getting too candid about sex

A few months back, I had a disturbing conversation with my mother. It went something like this:
Mom: You mean to tell me you’re going to marry someone you haven’t had sex with?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Really?
Me: Yes. I think it’s wrong. And I really don’t want to be having this conversation with you, Mother.
Mom: Well, I don’t want to be havingit either.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
Mom: But you are going to have some sex, right?

This was the point where I would normally leave the room horrified and with my face about 1,000 shades of red. Unfortunately, we were in the car, and it took another 20 minutes of uncomfortable silence to get back home.
I’m not sure I’ve completely recovered…

November 13th, 2003
House Hunting and the Complications of Compromise

I. Java Goddess and Garage Man
Renée: With our house-hunting completed, I can now list yet another way in which Jim and I are different.
Those comments I made during our early blissful engaged months about our similarities and compatibilities?
Whatever. I feel like tossing them out the window. Whether that particular window is block glass, facing south, or fuel efficient, I do not care.
A domestic goddess I am not—I care more about the neighborhood than the house itself. My primary requirement for any potential house was that it be within walking distance of a coffee shop, preferably locally-owned and non-chain.
Jim: I don’t drink the java, so what do I care about coffee shops? My primary requirement…

November 1st, 2003
Kids Come From Sex, So Shouldn't More Be Better

When my wife and I had been married two years, people would ask me, “How long have you been married?” I’d hold up a pair of fingers and reply, “Two,” take a slight pause, and continue “long.”
While holding my baby boy, people would walk up to me and say, “How many children do you want?” I’d look at them somberly and reply, “None.”
Then there were sixAh, those fun days were ten years and six children ago. I now walk through life with four sons and two daughters, ages ten years to three months.
This, of course, makes me something of a freak to contemporary ways of thinking. To mitigate this, I tell people, when asked how many children I have: “Four,…

September 29th, 2003
A Harbor for the Spiritually Alive to Talk about Sex

In an article I read from The Washington Monthly (reprinted in the recent Utne Reader on “Erotic Intelligence” ), author Elizabeth Austin suggests––and you sense she thinks she is making a very bold suggestion––that the “rule” on Third Date Sex be modified.
Dating couples might wait a whole “six or eight­­­––maybe even ten—dates to make up our minds” about whether or not to either have sex or stop seeing each other.
You’ve come a long way, babyAs I read Austin’s article, the stunning contrast between the lived experience she described and the proclamation of sexual norms from the pulpits of our Catholic churches (“no…

August 29th, 2003
Nothing to Do During the Blackout, New Yorkers Did Well

The power actually browned out—gradually—in our section of midtown Manhattan on August 14 at 4:10 p.m. But before ten full minutes had elapsed, everything was completely gone.
Like for most of those affected, the information came in slowly. We assumed it was just our immediate neighborhood. Then we heard it was the whole City. Then: New Jersey and Connecticut too.
Soon we got our ‘D’ batteries from the local newstand and got the full report off the radio—fifty million people across the Eastern Seaboard up to Toronto and Ottawa in Canada.
New Yorkers, of course, remember the infamous Blackout of 1977, when looting caused panic and millions of dollars in damage. No one knew if a similar fate awaited…

August 17th, 2003
Canada Brings Gay Marriage to the World - Is the World Ready?

By all accounts, Gay Pride Week in Toronto was different this year. Normally, the festivities draw thousands of tourists to the capital of Ontario and the annual parade?that took place on Sunday June 29?can attract hundreds of thousands. This year, however, tourism was down. SARS paranoia, it seems, still spooks Toronto’s image. Hotels normally filled with Gay Pride revelers remained half empty.
It’s not just SARS, though, that has changed Toronto’s Pride celebration: it’s marriage. On June 10, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that the province’s marriage laws were unconstitutional because they prevented same-sex partners from marrying. While the court’s…

August 14th, 2003
The Divine Possibilities of SCUBA for Two

We were on our honeymoon when Steve suggested I take a dive. SCUBA diving’s great, he explained. “The water, the fish-you’ll love it!”
I wasn’t so sure. In all my years of swimming, I always believed that the water’s surface was the place to be. What if I got cold or lost in the waves?
Steve, a certified SCUBA diver, thought I was nuts. And chicken. And he was right. For all the complaints of chill and disorientation, I was really afraid of being underwater and, of course, drowning. For the rest of our honeymoon and during the next year, Steve nagged me to dive. He said it was too divine an experience to miss.
Snorkel this
I took the plunge and, pathetically, snorkeled in our bathtub…

July 20th, 2003
It's Not What You Have But Where It Points

People like Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, and countless other show biz hotties, are renowned for their striking beauty and perfect bods. Some were born that way and others had a bit of help in the nip and tuck department. As for the rest of us? Either we apply for Extreme Makeover or get by with what we have, whatever that may be.
But aren’t we all just a nose job, chin or cheek implant away from being one of them? You know, one of those Beautiful People who stop traffic and turn heads like appetizers on a Lazy Susan? Perhaps it’s just my chunky thighs or short, pudgy nose with the flared nostrils that prevent me from being a drop-dead beauty, the kind that leaves people slack-jawed and gaping. One…

April 27th, 2003
Learning to Live in the Messy World of Relationships

Recently a certain American Catholic bishop, who shall remain nameless, was characterized by a seasoned priest I know as “a man who loves order more than people.”
It certainly wasn’t meant as a compliment, but believe it or not, he made the remark more in sorrow than in bitterness, as part of a general lament about what life has come to in the United States.
In the U.S. we are very attached to order, and most of the time it is to our credit. The mail gets delivered. The fire department comes when called. You can get those grapefruit and chewable vitamins you need from your neighborhood grocery.
The human mess
But the desire for tidiness in our affairs can collide with the messy world of human relationships.…

April 10th, 2003
We Shared More Than Just a Hometown

Waiting (once again) on the primitive printer in our office, I stared out into space and thought idly about what I was going to eat for lunch. Times Square doesn’t offer much in the means of good food, so I wasn’t off in hungry never-never land for very long.
When I snapped out of it, an unfamiliar face was walking towards me. I work in a very small office where everyone knows one another, so this was an event. I didn’t know this mystery woman, but something about her seemed so familiar. As she got closer I realized that she looked a lot like this timid Colombian girl I knew in college. Hmm, I wonder…
Mystery womanShe smiled sheepishly as she approached and made to walk on past. I stopped her, “Excuse…

March 30th, 2003
The Beauty of Others' Kindness

More than once the kindness and generosity of strangers has touched and surprised me. But sometimes friends also show the depth of their generosity and affection.
I experienced both of these when my trip to a job interview near Elkhart, Indiana, went seriously awry.
KaboomThe drive from my dorm in Columbus, Ohio to the hotel was supposed to take four and a half-hours. The interview would be the following day. I never made it to my hotel.
One moment, I was looking for something in the passenger’s side of my car, and the next moment, my car was hurtling down the grassy embankment. When I stopped, the air bag had deployed, my seat belt was ripped out of its holder, there was glass everywhere, and I was bleeding. A thin…

February 5th, 2003

I first met him at a four-week long summer program; I knew he was the one…or so I thought. Then he didn’t return the phone call. Then the letter came, and I knew he was the one. Then I didn’t return the phone call. Then a year passed …and another.
One day the phone rang with his voice at the other end, soft yet deep as I remembered it. He said to me, “The more I try to forget you, the more you remain in my heart.” By this time my heart was not sure what to think. Was he being sincere or only feeling the pangs of loneliness that hit all single people every once in a while? He continued, “Be daring. Come visit me. I will send you the ticket.”
Two weeks later I boarded the plane from San Antonio,…

January 14th, 2003
Love and the Social Pressures of Marriage

“It’s about time you got married, don’t you think…”
This phrase should be deemed the cultural stigma that we cannot get past. First, when I was in my early twenties, my childbearing years were quickly passing, and everyone (except my mother who to this day says she’s too young to be grandmother) just looked at me in wonder. Even that cousin—the one no one thought would ever get married—found his mate.
In the year 2001 twelve babies were born in my extended family. Suddenly, I was the only one who did not arrive at family gatherings adorned with a diaper bag, stroller, walker, pictures and, of course, the camcorder (we don’t want to miss any of those special moments).

November 20th, 2002
Women with and without Kids

Most women raise children. And some don’t. Those of us who don’t set sail for a different kind of life. Is the journey a chosen one or not? Are you a woman if you don’t have kids?
For Denise Carlson not having children was something that just happened. She traveled, focused on her career, was involved in theatre for a long time. In Los Angeles, she currently develops movies for the Disney Channel. Her 20s and 30s whizzed by.
“I’ve had a great time,” Denise says. “I got to have an extended youth. I didn’t have to take care of anyone but myself.”
Saying she’s a late bloomer, the mother question now tugs at her. After a friend adopted, she started thinking…

November 5th, 2002
Meditations on Who Wears—and Irons—the Pants

Are we allowed to say “housewife” anymore? I doubt it’s ever been a flattering word — brings to mind frumpy ladies in hair curlers with ambitions no grander than getting good deals on rump roasts at the local supermarket. My overachieving parents raised me to look upon the fate of housewives, homemakers, as rather unfortunate. Having a successful career was a very important thing. Much of the other stuff could be muddled through. Suppers could be thrown together; nannies could be hired. From my mother, there was always this unspoken but unmistakable plea that I should never marry the type of man who expected cooking and cleaning and having his pants ironed.
My mother cried through my entire…

September 11th, 2002
Choosing Not to Be at Work 9/11

I will not be going into work on September 11th.
I did not work in the Towers, or anywhere in the World Trade Center complex. I do not work for the FDNY or NYPD, and neither does anyone in my family. Neither my wife nor I directly knew anyone who died on September 11th last year.
All in all, my wife and I were very lucky last year. So why am I taking off work on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack? Because even though none of the above scenarios apply to me, I was nonetheless closely affected by the events of that day, and still am.
You see my office is about a mile or so north of the WTC site. I watched it all unfold from the relative safety of my office—the
explosions, the fire, the debris, and eventually the collapse of…

powered by the Paulists