Editor’s Note: The Sex & Love Issue

Sex and love get their due in this Valentine's Day-themed edition.

A while back we were tossing around ideas for a CL branding statement, something that sums up what’s distinctive about us.

One of the suggestions was, “We say ‘fuck.’”

We didn’t go with that one. Maybe at one point our relaxed attitude toward profanity would have been a distinguishing trait, marking us as alternative and all. But by now we’ve got plenty of company, not only in TV and movies but in such august publications as The New Yorker.

Still, we like a good F-bomb. And A-bomb. And every other letter of the alphabet-bomb, as you will see in the abridged version of Shawn Alff’s Dirty Sex Dictionary. I apologize in advance if anyone’s offended, though if you’ve been reading CL long enough you already know that Shawn’s primer is tame compared to some of the discussions generated by the divine Dan “Santorum” Savage.

But one great thing about the dictionary (of which you’ll find a raunchier unabridged version here) is that it reminds us how funny sex is. Funny ha-ha, funny peculiar, all kinds of funny. And how inventive the lexicon of sex has become (all those synonyms for masturbation, for instance). This is nothing new: from Shakespeare to Joyce to Nabokov, the literature of lust is rich in dirty wordplay, and the English language is the better for it. (By the way, anyone hear that NPR item about the newly discovered novel by folk icon Woody Guthrie, in which the sex scenes are so blue they apparently made his daughter blush? Woody Guthrie sex scenes. Had anyone ever wanted to hear those four words in the same sentence? “This gland is your gland …” But I digress.)

Sex and Love, it says on the cover. And we do try to cover the L as well as the S in this Valen-timed issue.

Our News & Politics Editor, Mitch Perry, shares a candid account of love and loss in “Elizabeth.” Assistant Editor Arielle Stevenson assembles a food section full of recipes and restaurants that speak love, including those supreme food groups: chocolate, beer and mushrooms. Style Editor Leslie Joy Ickowitz extols local lingerie, architecture columnist Linda Saul-Sena begs for a better-designed bordello, Music Editor Leilani Polk assembles a kick-ass list of really bitter love songs, sports columnist Bill Freitas analyzes the love triangle of St. Pete, Tampa and the Rays, and A&E Editor Julie Garisto rounds up a passel of lovable things to do (including the Thurs., Feb. 7 edition of our Shot Through the Heart storytelling evening at CL Space).

And then there’s the love that once upon a time dared not to speak its name. I say once upon a time, because in Pinellas County and the City of Tampa, domestic partnership registries for LGBT or unmarried heterosexual couples are old news, while in many other parts of the world, the subject long ago turned to same-sex marriage.

But not in Hillsborough, where four backward-thinking commissioners are still living in the land of long ago and far away, where voting against equal rights is a way (they think) to win elections. You can read their reasons for believing in the bad old days in Mitch’s column. Meanwhile, remember their names — Crist, Hagan, Higginbotham, Murman — so that someday you can cast a No vote of your own.

On a not unrelated note, I want to add that I was moved beyond words by the great outpouring of love and support, on Facebook and in cards and letters, after the loss of my mother, who died last week at the age of 94. A lifelong Republican, she didn’t much like it when I went off on political rants. But she loved and supported my partner Larry and me, attended our civil union in Vermont (though she was unable to attend our wedding in Massachusetts), and was loved and cherished in return. After moving to a senior facility in South Pasadena in 2006, she also became an unofficial mascot of our Roser Park neighborhood, beating us all regularly at football pools, Oscar predictions and card cames.

We miss you, Mom.

Correcting an omission: The fabulous Shanna Gillette cover photo a few weeks ago for the Warehouse Arts District story was missing an essential credit: the names of the two artists who created the exuberant mural that served as a backdrop in the Venture Compound. They are Felizi Asteinza and Joey Fillastre, who’ve been painting together ever since meeting at FSU several years ago. Felizi is in her last semester in the MFA program at USF; Joey is an artist based in Lakeland. And remember: If you haven’t had a chance to see what’s up in the Warehouse Arts District, Saturday evening Feb. 9 is a perfect chance to do so. That’s when the WAD’s neighborhood association is sponsoring a free trolley tour in conjunction with St. Pete’s Second Saturday gallery festivities.