Judicial confusion: 'Show the judge your stuff'

After George Bush's constitutional amendment passed, there was great confusion in the nation's courthouses as women in pants and men in skirts tried to prove that they were indeed men or women. The bailiff tried to move things along, barking, "Show the judge your stuff!," which should have been a simple procedure, but it wasn't, because it took hours for some men to undo their corsets and brassieres and Victoria's Secret panties, and just as long for women to shed their muscle shirts, cotton briefs, and baseball caps.

To facilitate an orderly process, another constitutional amendment had to be passed banning clothes and haircuts that made men look like women and women look like men, and that still left the prickly problem of gender-confused people such as priests and Republicans.

Then there was the question of civil disobedience, which caused many men and women who'd never thought of it before to cross-dress on purpose. After the million-men-in-skirts and million-women in overalls march on Washington, the whole institution of marriage was in danger of toppling even more than it had in calmer days when the divorce rate was only 50 percent.

Indeed, many argued that the amendment was going to finish marriage once and for all, because the only hope marriage had before the amendment was the hope that gay marriages might be more stable than straight ones. There were others, of course, who wanted to refine the amendment according to stricter biblical law, such as "marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed" (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

Such refinement would have the added advantage of thinning the marrying herd, but it presented, once more, the difficult problem of proving virginity, which would tie up the courts even longer. Yet others proposed that just declaring one's sex should be enough, the way it was back in John Wayne's day when a man was a man and a horse was a horse, and women weren't much, which is when there rose in Hollywood an actor named Ronald Reagan who started the moral revolution.

In those days, there were already many men with long women's hair and women with short men's hair, and Reagan's morals wouldn't stand for it. It took a while, but at long last a man named Bush was found to bring the revolution to this point. The rest is history, not "herstory," mind you, though laughter can be heard more than faintly in the land.

Never mind, though, the scoffers must be the pre-biblical Greek gods who changed sexes and species all the time. Real men don't laugh, and real women don't sweat.

Andrei Codrescu is a regular commentator on National Public Radio. His novels, The Blood Countess (1995) and Messiah (1999), were national bestsellers. Among his other books are "The Hole in the Flag: An Exile's Tale of Return and Revolution," and "Ay, Cuba: a Socio-Erotic Journey," a travelogue of contemporary Cuba.