Attitudes change, but some things are still offensive

In the Press · September 9, 2016

During my first year as a lawyer, back in the 1960s, I worked on a divorce case where the wife accused the husband of forcing her to engage in “unnatural acts.” The husband told us he didn’t know what she was talking about, the judge wouldn’t require her to provide specifics, and the partner in charge of the case gave me the assignment of looking into this subject and writing a memorandum.

I did the research but didn’t feel comfortable asking my young secretary to type the memo. The head secretary assigned the task to a middle-aged, married woman who, she assured me, could handle it. I noticed that she giggled as she typed it.

I don’t have my memorandum but do recall one especially interesting word — “agalmatophilia,” which refers to being attracted to statues. Today the research would be easy. Just go to Wikipedia, and there are all the “philias,” from A to Z.

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