Thanks for putting up with me again last month when I embroiled myself in yet another maniacal rant concerning the word “c–l”. It must have been about the fifth or sixth time I’ve given serious consideration to that abominable term since I started writing “Hosing Down” in 2001 and I promise not to bring it up again… at least during the remainder of this calendar year. And if you’re really nice, boys and girls, I’ll extend the ban for an entire year from this very moment! You have my word on it; go ahead and call Time and TMZ and Ladies’ Home Journal and let ‘em know I’m serious and am gonna be stickin’ to mah guns this tam, for shore!
Now, that doesn’t mean I can’t focus on some other word that’s become obscenely overused to the point of compromising its original meaning. This time I think I’ve got a doozy – four little letters that were never all that much alone but when united comprised a pretty powerful force. Please take a moment to consider it, to study its form, to say it slowly (and preferably without a lisp).
Yeah. Now say it again. Ooh, mama. Now look at my picture, ladies, and say it again. Now once more, but like you mean it. Thank you. Now that we’re in agreement as to the definition of the word, let’s examine some facets of its unfortunate corruption:
Around 40 years ago, I think, there was a television commercial for some car in which the announcer referred to it as “the sexy European.” Something about that immediately bothered me – something I was quite unable to identify until, in time, I noticed more and more people begin to call certain new automobiles “sexy,” which caused me to begin to call those people “perverts.” After all, if sexy were something that inspired ideas of a sexual nature or induced what might be called “naughty thoughts” (and I do like the playful nature of that definition), then, by golly, all these people were actually being turned on by a freaking car! It was then that I first realized that if that’s the human race, I was most definitely not a part of it. And to this day I have remained chaste in that regard; my circulation has never been diverted centrally by a car or a dress or a pair of shoes or any other sort of non-breathing, non-human object. By the girl in that car or dress or pair of shoes, certainly (from time to time), but – Heaven forbid and thank you, God! – not by any damned consumer goods.
As a teenager in the sixties, I admit I was certainly tempted by Playboy (please bear in mind that during the sixties, Playboy was an incredible magazine that seemed to get better with each issue.) But I will say with some pride that I was able to understand that the magazine was not sexy. The pictures were not sexy. It was the girls in the pictures who were sexy, as well as some of the fiction, and even though I got all that straight, our relationship started turning serious and I ended up falling in love with the magazine. In those days, you call my magazine “sexy” to my face and you’re askin’ for trouble. And I’ll tell you, as long as we were together, Playboy kept bringing me those girls and those articles and stories and oowee, I’m sorry she ended up turning all stupid and embarrassing (as well as far too smooth for her own good.) I suppose those were my final years as a member of the human race, because soon those “sexy” cars came along and we had to part company.
The decades rolled on and I seriously avoided any thoughts about what the human race considered sexy at any given time. I know there were people whom the public found sexy and yet for every person there would likely be two or three objects or products as well and I give no credence to the proclivities of idiots. For me, sexy would be defined by Diana Rigg, then Anicee Alvina, then Kate Bush, then Diane Lane, then Nicole Kidman in To Die For, then Britney Spears and currently Shakira and Diane Lane (truth is best). For the rest of the world, somewhere along the way there must have been some kind of implosion or overwhelming invasion of repulsive things and people, because around 2007 Justin Timberlake courageously took it upon himself to “bring sexy back.” Sexy was no longer an adjective; it was a quantifiable, qualifiable thing. A former Mousketeer fancied himself Captain Viagra for a gelded world! Well, yippee my kiyay…
There’s a television commercial that is currently playing, I would think, far too many times per hour for its own good. I believe the service is offered by a concern called Sono Bello (forgive me if I got the spelling wrong) and is, I take it, a liposuction procedure that can enhance the customer’s life in many ways, including the chance to “get your sexy back”! The two most repulsive aspects of this offer, in my humble and deeply offended opinion: 1) They assume the customer needs help in locating his or her lost, deceased, or stolen Sexy, and 2) They illustrate the successful retrieval of “your sexy” by showing some dude with the stupidest imaginable smile doing the lamest imaginable dance step in the history of commercial movement. If that is what Sexy has become, someone has already Sono Belloed our brains and we have reason for deep concern – concern that we are (and will remain) eternally unable to grasp.
Self-proclaimed Goddess Lady Gaga, who consistently tries harder than anyone else in the music biz to be perceived as sexy, ran into some trouble some months ago when she was caught on video as she unexpectedly vomited during a concert (Justin “Bad Mutha” Beiber had the same thing happen to him around the same time.) To a normal person, it would seem, such a tragedy going viral on YouTube might be something of a severe downer. But to a Goddess, perhaps the act of Jackson Pollacking your stomach contents onto a stage in front of your worshippers and the rest of the world can somehow be rendered… sexy. How about that quirky old “oh, I meant to do that” lie? Yeah, make ‘em think it was somehow deliberate… somehow even sexy… by having your friend Millie Brown vomit on you at your South by Southwest concert!
Well, dear friends, that’s just what she did. Quite a misjudgment, as it turned out. Why couldn’t a Goddess make vomiting sexy?
Because, Lady Gag-Us, except for the relative handful of “roman shower” miscreants whom most people deliberately avoid associating with, it just isn’t.
Now would you please pass the marmalade?