MICHAEL: I realized this morning that I’ve been masturbating with firming lotion. The first time I used it, I started reading the label then stopped after confirming the bottle was recyclable and the goats providing the moisturizing milk were fairly compensated for their contribution. But, of course, you would have bought nothing less. Then this morning, while I was squishing my spent seed through the little holes in the drain with my big toe, I noticed it. In papyrus font of all things. “Firming." Do you notice a difference?

ALEXANDRA: I can’t look.

MICHAEL: I know it’s a lot to take in, but it’s hardly a solar eclipse, Alex. You can look directly at it without going blind.

ALEXANDRA: I know I should be witnessing every second of this historic and unprecedented moment, but I just can’t do it.

MICHAEL: I don’t know about “historic,” but toxic or not, I do appreciate your describing my masculinity with the appropriate degree of gravitas.

ALEXANDRA: Jumping Julian Castro tweeting from the couch, Michael! I’m talking about all the impeachment coverage! Not your instrument of collusion over there.

MICHAEL: Right. Well, think “entire room full of the firming lotion target demographic.”

ALEXANDRA: You know, Michael. The anti-aging marketing machine isn’t actually targeting you OR your “ranking member.” Speaking of which, is that mole new?

MICHAEL: Are you referring to the beauty mark just to the left of my…

ALEXANDRA: No. Right there. When was the last time you saw the dermatologist?

MICHAEL: I was there six months ago for a micro-needling treatment and kelp wrap.

ALEXANDRA: That sounds as preventative as a half physical.

MICHAEL: I know. I haven’t had a full body scan in at least a year. How could 20-something me be so cavalier about sunscreen and nudity?

ALEXANDRA: Same way Melania is about bullying minors?

MICHAEL: But would you say that you noticed that mole because the skin is smoother? I bet it was there all along hidden within my neglected folds like so many presidential phone transcripts on restricted servers. The lotion really does work.

ALEXANDRA: Maybe, like most of the systems in this country, it only really works for white men. Because my wattle and wings beg to differ. Still, the cosmetic industry’s lies about the efficacy of their products are far more modest than the lies the US government has told about the war in Afghanistan.

MICHAEL: It’s Vietnam, the sequel. Just like we’re reliving Watergate. Everything comes back in style eventually, right? Legwarmers, mutton chops, reproductive right suppression, high-waisted jeans, Jane Fonda, false justification for war spread across multiple decades of leadership…Though, it’s kind of refreshing to be mad at Obama for a change. Variety really is the spice of life.

ALEXANDRA: I’d rather have cinnamon.

MICHAEL: If my little article of impeachment here posted his own 2009 vs 2019 meme on social media, what would be your comment?

ALEXANDRA: “No more unsolicited dick pics, please. #metoo”

MICHAEL: As witty and apropos a response as the twitter bio slams of my favorite climate activist. This impeachment stuff has everyone so hyper-focused that there’s been almost no media coverage of that flop of a UN Climate Summit. Congrats Greta! Here’s your POTY award. It comes with insults from the US sitting president but zero resolutions on reducing carbon emissions! Job well done! Do you think Greta sends out holiday cards? Are digital or paper more ecologically sound?

ALEXANDRA: Wired just did a breakdown of which cloud service was the greenest.


ALEXANDRA: It was almost as clear as the ongoing debate over real or fake Christmas trees having the smaller carbon footprint. Speaking of disappointing, did I tell you that my favorite WOC postal worker wasn’t there today? I really wanted ask if it was ok for me to buy Kwanzaa stamps.

MICHAEL: Seriously, Alex. Stop toying with my emotions And I thought the Hallmark saga over gay marriage ads was a rollercoaster. . I feel more strung along than when Kamala withdrew her candidacy. How does Jean Claude Hot Damn look? Is he still as furrowed as Nunes’ brow when they found those phone records?

ALEXANDRA: He looks as gently worn as the new passport holder I bought you for Hanukkah. Thought you’d need one with more room now that you’re a dual citizen — of both this sovereign nation and the Jewish one.

MICHAEL: Based on the historical precedence of this move, I don’t think dual citizenship was their intent. You, my lover of the subtlety subversive and life-affirming op-eds of Heidi Stevens, will be receiving a digital subscription to the Chicago Tribune. Because I can’t afford to buy the entire newspaper. And I need to believe that my tiny little contribution might save at least one local newsroom from hedge fund slaughter. Much like I need to believe that Huckabee’s tweets are representative of his twisted sense of humor and not a long-term plot to minimize shock and outrage when 45 actually DOES run for a third term.

ALEXANDRA: If you believe that, I know a presidential family with a charity you can donate to…

MICHAEL: But speaking of spices, holiday gifts, and things I would buy if I had an endless supply of money, did you see Goop has a $1350 BDSM kit this year?

ALEXANDRA: At that price they should call it “Stop and Frisky” — no one but Bloomberg could afford it. Meanwhile the most at-risk in our country get SNAP reductions for their holiday gifts. And FUCK BORRIS AND HIS FUCKING WIN. Bah humbug, 2019. I’d tell you to get the fuck out but I’m not sure I’m emotionally prepared for 2020.

MICHAEL: I’m sure there’s a Heidi column to restore your faith in humanity and Festivus.

ALEXANDRA: I’m tempted to see if she’s written a feminist reckoning piece about the Bombshell movie yet, But what if I stumble down a depraved hole of John Kass columns instead?

MICHAEL: Everybody needs the occasional hate read. Might even make for an interesting afternoon with the off-brand Stop and Frisky I’m going to research later.

ALEXANDRA: And we’re back to your yule log again, are we? It’s a safer gift choice than a Peloton, anyway.

MICHAEL: I’ll sprinkle him with a dash of cinnamon. I bought a whole bunch of Penzey’s for our stocking stuffers when they ran that promotion to fund more anti-45 Facebook ads.

ALEXANDRA: Then let’s get you well-hung by the chimney with care. Right next to the tree lights. Because as every female-identifying person over the age of 40 will attest, good lighting is more effective than any skin cream.