Sex And Disney World

Has there ever been a group of people more misunderstood than those who have a sense of modesty about sex?  Hollywood created a stereotype decades ago, and it has stuck.  The world sees us as Bree (Van De Kamp) Hodge, the uptight character from Desperate Housewives.  As described in Wikipedia:

Bree is known for her cooking, cleaning, ironing, gardening, doing her lawn, and reupholstering her own furniture, on the level of Martha Stewart. Besides being a dedicated homemaker, she also is well-versed in regards to firearm training: she owns four guns and is a card-carrying member of the Nation Rifle Association. She is a staunch conservative, owning and displaying a framed photograph of noted Republican President Ronald Reagan in her home. She is also a conservative Christian and homophobic, though as of the third season Bree has slowly renounced her disdain for homosexuals with the revelation that her son Andrew was gay, and also his revealing that her homophobic response towards him when he came out of the closet was the driving force towards the pain he inflicted upon Bree during season two.

We, and I say “we” because I count myself in this group, have not helped matters by making so much noise when others who do not share our view are more open and vulgar about sex.  It’s a natural impulse, I guess (I’ll get to that later), but it only feeds the stereotype that we think sex is dirty, that we very infrequently have sex, and even then, only the missionary position.

We are very easily mocked.  Television especially does this, but also politicians, the non-religious, liberal Christians, novelists, and bloggers to name a few.  Here’s a good example.  B’s original post was poignant and funny, but some of the comments were terribly, awfully bigoted. (Me?  I would have added one more question to B’s list: “I just had sex with a straw man.  How do I get rid of all this itching and chafing?”)

Well, I’ve always thought this outside criticism amounted to punching a man who was tied to a chair: since “we” don’t openly talk very much about sex, it’s kind of hard to refute the mocking.  I’m going to step out of my silence for a bit to speak for others who will not speak for themselves.

Now, in order to do this, I’ll have to make a few assumptions, so you don’t bombard me with exceptions.  Just for discussion’s sake, let’s use some media stereotypes.  For the “uptight” side, we’ll use Bree Hodge from Desperate Housewives.  For the open, more libertine side, we’ll use Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, described in Wikipedia thusly:

…an independent publicist and a seductress who avoids emotional involvement at all costs, while satisfying every possible carnal desire imaginable. She believes that she has had “hundreds” of soulmates and insists that her sexual partners leave “an hour after I climax.” In season 3, she moves from her full-service Upper East Side apartment to an expensive loft in the then-burgeoning Meatpacking District. Over the course of the show, she does have a handful of real relationships, but they are more unconventional than those of her friends, including a lesbian relationship with Brazilian painter played by Sonia Braga.

Now, I would opine that in real life, statistically speaking, nether woman exists.  But, for purposes of example, one extreme stereotype deserves another.

I’ll give you a shocker: in the real world, Bree has more sex than Samantha.  Here’s a scholarly study to back it up (warning: pdf).  And, it’s only common sense. Literally sleeping with the same person every night raises the availability factor exponentially.  Also, common sense would say that Bree has better sex than Samantha.  There are stages of sex between two specific people: that first, fumbling time, the getting more familiar stage, the comfortable stage, and then finally the stage that Jeff Foxworthy describes like this:

“I love married sex. After all these years together, I know I’m going to enjoy it, and so does she. I know the combination to that safe – 3 to the left, 2 to the right, 6 to the left and then Wheeeeeeee……and you are welcome baby.”

Samantha certainly rarely even gets to stage 2; stages 3 and 4 take many, many years with one person to achieve.

So, let’s see.  Bree has more sex than Samantha, and it’s better sex at that.  But, since Bree doesn’t talk about sex in public, certainly she doesn’t talk about it at all, right?  For the answer, let’s peruse the Sex and Pregnancy section at the quite conservative Christian Booksellers, shall we?  134 results?  Titles like Sex God:  Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality, The Gift of Sex: A Guide To Sexual Fulfillment, and so on.  Man, for people who don’t talk about sex, those uptight Christians sure talk about sex a lot.

Part of the problem is our own.  We not only like to keep our sexual conversations behind closed doors, but we have a very bad habit of insisting that others do the same.  Part of the reason, I think, is because, if we wish to remain true to ourselves, we have to drop out of the conversation altogether, to become societal wallflowers.  And nobody wants to be left out.  So we try to ban the conversation altogether.  Me? I like being overtly different from my more “open” friends, and I like the fact that people notice that I’m somehow different, that I speak with allegories and euphemisms, without my having to shout it from the rooftops.

So let’s keep score:  we have more sex, better sex, and we talk about it a lot (behind closed doors).  Yet the stereotype of the undersexed, hypocritical, conservative Christian persists.  I think there’s only one explanation for this: there is a fundamental misunderstanding of why we are the way we are.  I’d like to set the record straight.

We love and revere the mystery of sex.  We want it to be more than the matter-of-fact “this part goes into this part, and it feels good”.  By not relegating sexuality to the ordinary,something we discuss over dinner with strangers as we would the latest Stallone film, we make it more special.  Well, actually, we don’t make it more special, we properly recognise it’s special-ness.

Let me change gears. I have a love that borders on mania for Walt Disney World.  Many share this particular feeling with me.  I have been there three times, and I’m going again next year.  I can tell you the best shortcut from Dumbo to Space Mountain.  I can tell you the best days of the week to visit the Magic Kingdom, the best route to take through Animal Kingdom, the best restaurants at EPCOT.  To many, Disney World is just another theme park; a crowded, overpriced one at that.  And, if I were ever totally objective about it, I’d admit they were right.

However, I remember so well my sense of awe and wonder upon first visiting the Magic Kingdom in 1976.  I will not let that wonder go.  I hold onto it, I cherish it, I guard it jealously as a lover, keeping that wonder hidden in a safe place inside myself.  When, as an adult, I take that familiar monorail from the TTC to the gates of the Magic Kingdom, I am 12 years old again, basking in the awe of this perfectly magical place that sprung from the imagination of Walt Disney, just for me.  I reconnect with my family in a way that is hard to describe.   I surrender myself to it – here I am a 43 year old man giggling under my breath like a child – knowing full well that I am blowing $5K in a place that at its heart is designed specifically for that purpose, to separate me from my $5K.  Yet, I surrender to the magic, and allow myself to be reborn, if only for a little while.

It’s like that with sex.  It’s more than a biological act that sometimes results in reproduction.  It’s a Magic Kingdom, sprung from the imagination of God, just for me and my wife.  I get to reconnect with my wife in a way that is hard to describe.  I don’t want to lose that sense of awe and wonder.  I want to surrender to the magic, to drink deep from the well of the love my wife and I have for one another.  The only way to do that is to hold on to that wonder, cherish it, guard it jealously like a lover, to hide it away in a safe place.

And that’s why you won’t find me having casual, public, graphic conversations about sex.

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Will You Watch The “New” Miss America?

I watched all four episodes of “Miss America, Reality Check” as part of my duties at Ugly Betty News.  Michael Urie, one of the stars of UB, hosted the reality show on TLC.

The premise was simple: Miss America is hopelessly out of date, the whole pageant world does not represent real women, nobody cares anymore, and this show (MARC) was an attempt to change all that.  Instead of hair and makeup that made the girls look like they were 40, new, fresh, “it” looks would be crafted for each contestant. 

Some of the makeovers were stunning.  Miss Alaska basically cut off 90% of her hair.  The short cut really fit her vibrant personality.  Miss New Mexico went from that plastic look to a kind of beauty a man can’t take his eyes off of.  What they did with her, and a few of the others, was a stark change, and for the better.

Apparently, the pageant is undergoing even more changes than to superficial things.  If the broadcast tonight follows the same pattern as the reality show, gone will be the “world peace” type Q&A.  For instance, in last night’s episode of MARC, they posed a surprise question to Miss Washington about gay marriage.  She then coolly revealed that she had two daddies herself.  (Being a reality show, of course it was pre-planned, IMHO).  But, can you imagine this kind of discussion in the Miss America pageant?  There might be fireworks!

Even the choosing of the contestants themselves seems to have changed. Miss Utah is a soldier, and to be honest, the least feminine of all the contestants.  Yet, I found myself cheering for her . 

One disappointing thing, Miss Tennessee, Grace Gore, might be gorgeous, but the reality show made her come off as a jackass.  I have no idea if she’s really a jackass – reality shows have a tendency to distort reality through creative editing.  She really seemed to have a problem with the very outgoing, silly, and brash Miss Alaska.  But that was probably just editing.  You can read this profile and see she’s no idiot.  But, you never know;  she may still be a jackass.

Anyway, since they are apparently trashing all the old conventions and who knows what the heck is going to end up happening tonight, are you interested enough to watch the pageant on TLC tonight?  We’ll be watching, at least.

It’s Neat, But I Cringe

A while back, I told you that X-Alt had gone to the studio and recorded a new theme song for the locally-produced television show, Nashville Gospel.  Well, Ford Prefect had a surprise for us this morning.  He’s edited the new show opening, and posted a sneak peek:

This is quite snazzy.  Ford is a very good producer.  The interesting thing is, after I left the studio that day, they finished the mix and brought my vocal up to lead level.  It makes me cringe a little; this one was right at the edge of my range.  Everyone else did a spectacular job of singing.  But, like I said, Ford can produce the heck out of video.  You can also hear Ginger prominently in this one.  The song, done in an old-time style, was written by Mark Mills.

I can’t wait to see Nashvill Gospel “on the air” again!

Also, today is Ford’s (OK, his real name is Vince) birthday!  I know how old he is, but I won’t post that here.

Any Excuse For a Party

OK, Lintilla’s still sleeping off the anaesthesia, so we can’t commit to anything yet.  But, since Vandy/UT is going to be on Pay-Per-View, and since my house is still kinda clean from my party last Saturday, I’d be interested in how many of you would be interested in a viewing party at my place? We’ve comfortably hosted 25-30 people before, and we’ve even had a 50-person party one time, although parking got a little tight.

 I just thought it would be interesting to get 10-15 Vandy fans and 10-15 UT fans and cram them all into my basement/family room, screaming at the big screen.  Kids could watch Disney in the living room.   If nobody’s interested, or if too many people are interested, or if Lintilla’s not interested, we won’t do it.

But, I thought I’d put feelers out there, anyway.  Let me know if you’d be interested, and also if you’d be willing to pitch in a couple of bucks to help with the PPV.  Tell me if you’re a Vandy fan or a UT fan. (I know most of you are both, but for purposes of this game you have to choose.  Whose colors will you wear?).  We could do a BYOB.

I’ll make my decision by this weekend.  I hope we can pull it off!

Here We Go

Tailgating.

Titans  vs Colts.

Emmy Awards.  I’ll be live blogging from about 4 – midnight over at Ugly Betty News.   Y’all come by tonight, and come by often – I’m going to have lots of pics, news, and commentary.  It’ll be a party!

I’ll rest tomorrow.

Resurrecting A Piece of Nashville Gospel History

Ford has a post up at the X-Alt blog about what we’re doing tonight; it’s something I think is super-cool.  We are going to the studio!  Let me let Ford fill you in a little:

X-ALT! will be returning to the recording studio tonight to record the new theme song for Nashville’s longest running gospel music program. “Nashville Gospel” hit the Nashville airways over 35 years ago and was for a long time the standard by which local “religious” music programing was judged.

You long time Nashvillians might have been wondering about Nashville Gospel and what became of it.  You might not have known this, but it was still on the air till about a month ago:

Over the past 10 years with the change in viewing habits, and management at WSMV-TV, “Nashville Gospel” has seen it time slot changed again and again till it came to it’s final resting place in the wee hours of Sunday morning basically destined to defeat by scheduling. Lack of advertising income caused by it’s ever changing position led the show to stop new production about a year ago and they have been airing re-runs while trying to create new revenue but unfortunately WSMV made the decision to drop the show off the schedule about a month ago.

Sad.  But, there is a change in the wind.  Nashville Gospel is not dead.  In fact, I feel a resurrection coming on:

But host Tommy Lewis is determined to get “Nashville Gospel” back on it’s feet. He has begun working with a partner that will allow for new content to be shot and they have brought on a new producer/editor (That would be ME) to update the look of the show. They are in talks with another local broadcaster about picking the show up, and it continues to run in a few other television markets.

Yes, X-Alt’s own Ford Prefect has signed on to produce the show.  This is what he does in his day job, and he does it well; if you’ve ever seen a locally produced commercial on WSMV.  And the first step in this resurrection will be be recording of a new theme song.  And we record it tonight.  I’ve heard it, and played on a demo – it’s snazzy.  Mark Mills wrote a good one, and X-Alt is going to add its own stamp to it. 

X-Alt is doing this because we believe in Tommy Lews, we believe Nashville still needs a Nashville Gospel, and we feel the Holy Spirit is leading us in this direction.  Y’all keep Tommy Lewis, X-Alt, and Nashville Gospel  in your prayers.  And be looking out for the show to be airing soon.  We might need your help to spread the word.

Great things are coming!

Ricky! My New Favorite Commercial

Unlike many, I am a fan of really good marketing.  I love the psychology, the play of the demographics, the visual and short form of the ancient art of pursasive speaking.  It’s my thang.

I REALLY love television commercials.  The Superbowl is…well…my Superbowl.  I find a well produced 30-second spot to be just as entertaining, if not more, than many movies.  Well, lately, I’ve been diggin’ on one that I think is pure genius.

Animals and humor, the perfect combination:

I can never get enough of the moose.