Savage Love: The Past Is Never Dead 

My husband is Native American. I'm white. We've been together 16 years, raising a couple kids. We love each other very much, so this isn't a deal breaker. I've got a thing for his long black hair. He's a drop-dead gorgeous man, and while I gave up asking that he wear leggings or a breechcloth once in a while, I wish he would grow out his hair. I'm willing to wear (and do) anything he asks. He's somewhere to the left of Sherman Alexie when it comes to this stuff, but could you tell me why I'm so wrong? He keeps his hair short, and the one time I made enough of a fuss, he grew it out and never washed it just to spite me. A long time ago, he participated in a sun dance, and he looked incredible. So I guess that makes me a blasphemous pervert, but really? Is asking for a couple of braids really so wrong?

Whitey McWhite Wife

I forwarded your e-mail to Sherman Alexie, the award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, and filmmaker. Your question must have touched a nerve, WMW, because Alexie's response arrived while my computer was still making that woooosh-sending-e-mail sound. Now I'm going to step aside and let Alexie answer your question ...

"What does 'to the left of Sherman Alexie' mean in this context? I doubt there are very many Native dudes more leftist than me! And long hair on Indian men is more conservative and more tribal, anyway — more ceremonial. More of a peacock thing, really. And a lot of work! My Native wife certainly misses my long hair. But I don't miss the upkeep and I don't miss answering questions about my hair. I mean, I cut my hair 13 years ago (more than 25 percent of my life ago), and some people still ask me about it! Thirteen years! Also, Native men tend to cut their hair as they age. Long hair is generally a young Indian man's gig, culturally speaking.

"I would venture that Native dude is tired of being romanticized, ethnocized, objectified. We Indians get enough of that shit in the outside world. Maybe this dude doesn't want that in bed. Or maybe he just likes the way he looks with shorter hair. Because I am getting so gray, long hair would make me look like a warlock having a midlife crisis. Maybe this Indian dude is just sick of all the sociopolitical shit that comes with long hair. Maybe it kills his boner. Talking about it has certainly killed my boner."

Why would you call blumkins "sexist"? Are you excluding the idea that gay, bi, and trans people might participate? There are many sexual practices that are degrading. If the partner consents, how is it "sexist"? Lastly, have you considered that a heterosexual female may want a blumkin of her own? I'm a heterosexual male, and I have no idea how you could defecate and remain erect — but to each his own! Your answer was irrational and sexist!

The Problem Isn't Always Sexism

Go to Urban Dictionary and read every definition for "blumkin," TPIAS. There are nine of them. We'll wait.

While almost all of the proposed definitions — including the top one — are gendered ("Taking a nice shit while your woman is sucking your cock"), even definitions that aren't gendered ("Getting a blowjob while taking a stinky shit") include examples of usage that are gendered ("Anthony really enjoyed it when Christy gave him a blumkin last night"). While a gay dude could suck his man's cock while he was taking a stinky shit, and while a trans man could go eat his cis girlfriend's pussy while she was dropping a deuce, the whole conversation about blumkins — and since blumkins are mythical, TPIAS, the convo is all we've got — isn't about consensual degrading sex play. It's about the symbolic degradation of women.

On the Lovecast, Dan and writer Ephi Stempler discuss companionate marriage:

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