The Olympics are over and EIC Jennifer Wright is back from London. Since the only thing Jennifer loves more than the English capital is… particularly obtuse games of Fuck Marry Kill, she and deputy editor Ashley Cardiff are debating the merits of fucking, marrying or killing the fair cities of London, Berlin and New York. If you need a refresher on how the game is played (and today’s is a difficult one), perhaps you shouldn’t be on the internet.
Jennifer: I think it’s possible to marry a city because the Doge of Venice used to do it. Do you know this story?
Ashley: I do not!
Jennifer: Well, okay, it’s actually more that the Doge was Venice, but, well here is the story. In the 11th century Venice was beset by floods. And people called for the Doge – the chief magistrate of Venice – to do something. And so one night, with the storm raging, the Doge rowed out into the sea. He pledged fidelity and celibacy to the sea saying, “I am, who am Venice, marry you, the sea,” and threw his ceremonial ring in, and, at that moment, the seas calmed. This also became the Doge of Venice’s main duty for hundreds of years afterwards. To row into the sea and renew his vows each year. The ceremony was celebrated each year on Ascension Day. Oh, apparently the Pope got in on this later, and the wording became “We wed thee, sea, in the sign of the true and everlasting Lord”
Jennifer: Fuck. Why don’t we have Doges anymore?
Ashley: I don’t think piling metaphors on top of metaphors on top of symbolic acts really changes whether or not it’s possible to marry a damn city. Now, if you want to talk science (as opposed to your flowery Hollywood bullshit), you can see as proof the Objectum Sexuals, people (mostly women) who fall in love with and marry inanimate objects, like the Eiffel Tower, their compound bows, carnival rides. Then they fuck ’em and stuff.
Jennifer: You don’t know that the Doge didn’t start dry-humping the sea afterwards. Would that make it more “real” for you?
Ashley: The marriage has to be consummated, Jen. Or else it’s bullshit.
Jennifer: He should have annulled the sea right afterwards and been like “backsies!” And then gone off and schtupped Veronica Franco. Also – what the fuck are we talking about?
Ashley: Symbolic acts and literal intercourse with inanimate objects. Maybe landmarks? I don’t know.
Jennifer: So, Fuck, Marry, Kill – New York, London, Berlin.
Ashley: Ooooh. Right.
Jennifer: I mean, I’m in love with New York like the Not Sensibles are in love with Margaret Thatcher. But, umm, not ironically. Very sincerely.
Ashley: You mean New York is a hideous bitch goddess yet you cannot tear yourself from its poison teat?
Jennifer: Does that have to do with New York or Lady Thatcher? Because – yes. To both.
Ashley: I mean, I feel New York is the most complicated marriage because I love New York and I hate New York in much the way that everyone does. It’s the greatest city in the world, it oppresses you and ages you, it’s dirty and stressful and stifling and no other city really comes close.
Jennifer: No, it doesn’t. New York pampers the hell out of you. You never have to drive anyplace. It has a public transportation system to take you literally anyplace in the city in half an hour for $2.50. It will deliver anything to your door at 2:00 in the morning. The bars are open until sunrise. New York – while it does have small, expensive apartments – is not actually oppressing anybody. It is just filled with weirdos who enjoy the idea of struggle. It’s like a city full of girls who claim “yeah, my boyfriends great but he goes down on me too much and I HATE HIM FOR IT.” Also, he could be, like, 4 inches taller.
Ashley: Look, even though I’ve seen more street dick here than ANYWHERE, I love New York. I was married to New York before I ever moved here. The problem, though, is… Berlin is the best? The very best?
Jennifer: Wait. Sorry. Okay, look, I am going to be real with you: I’m marrying London. For the same reason I always choose to marry someone.
Ashley: Can I guess? Can I guess??
Ashley: Because London will send the kids to private school. AND, this time they’ll come back with hot accents.
Jennifer: Usually it’s “because it will send my kids to Dalton” but not this time! This time it’s the Westminster School!
Ashley: Look, I’ll grant that London is probably the most grown-up, accomplished, and sophisticated of the three. Also, having grown up on Brit-Pop, I am practically engineered to find all British men with longish shag haircuts irresistible (even and especially you, Gallagher brothers). But… I think I’d be happily married to New York–because I pretty much am–and equally happy married to Berlin. For me, the issue is sex.
Jennifer: Oh, well, that’s true, but you know, even unattractive British men are so attractive. It’s the voice. I just feel like… well, I feel like if I have sons… London will be so good for the children. He’ll just give them a good life. I know it. But he will be awful in bed, that is true.
Jennifer: Wildly, wildly inconvenient and with sort of a chip on his shoulder. So, trying out insane yogi positions and then getting mad at you when you can’t execute them.
Ashley: Are we talking about the same thing?
Jennifer: He’s that guy that’s always going “lets fuck on the golf course!” and, if you point out what a bad idea that is – that you do not want to have missionary, bland sex that happens to be in a sand-trap – then YOU’RE the unadventurous one.
Ashley: No one wants a sandy vagina, Jen. No one.
Jennifer: Sex with London will give you sand-crotch. But I think with enough flannel nightgowns and reserve, I can eventually eliminate it from the marriage almost entirely. What about sex with Berlin?
Ashley: That’s the issue. Jennifer, I saw some weird stuff in Berlin.
Jennifer: So did Katie Roiphe.
Ashley: See, I don’t think I’m the right subculture, basically. I think I’m too mainstream to have sex with Berlin.
Jennifer: I completely understand you not wanting to visit the red room of pain, though I really think London should hook-up with Berlin. I mean, I think Berlin would push London far outside of his comfort zone, but ultimately, that would be good for him. For both of them.
Ashley: Berlin would have to learn to be gentle.
Jennifer: London would have to learn not to be a douchebag. Wait – why am I marrying London? Just because it looks good? And I love Millionaire’s Shortbread too much? I do. I love it so much. And it’s so hard to find, here.
Ashley: So, I guess my answer is thus: kill London because, though I love its men, it’s too posh for me. Fuck New York because it’s New York. Marry Berlin and sit outside cafes forever, reading Hegel. Also, marrying Berlin is a good idea in the longterm because Berlin has the most phenomenally well-behaved babies I’ve ever seen. I can’t hang with these spoiled New York babies. They’ve been encouraged to express themselves way too much.
Jennifer: Okay, Sally Bowles. I can see that. You know, I mean, okay, yes, my initial impulse is to marry London because it’s beautiful and the fig martinis at their Four Seasons are excellent. And the schools are wonderful. Really. But… are food and accents and children the most important part of a marriage? Maybe I should marry for my own personal happiness. And then, I should marry New York, who has never done anything but work to make me happy. WHY DIDN’T I SEE IT ALL ALONG? ALL THIS TIME I JUST THOUGHT OF IT AS A ‘GOOD FRIEND’
Ashley: I love New York, but they say you have to leave it sometimes to love it. So, I fuck New York. I’ll marry Berlin and take the wide sidewalks, excellent public transportation, uniformly delicious coffee, awesome shopping and hot Germans. I will overlook the white people dreads and techno.
Jennifer: Question: In the event that I ever actually have children, do you think these debates will help or hurt their chances of getting into Dalton?
Ashley: It’s best not to think about it.
Jennifer: I’m just going to tell whoever is interviewing them that their father is the city of London.
Ashley: That’s… a really solid plan, Jen.