October 20, 2023

A man who is named one of the ten sexiest men in America by *Playgirl* magazine has a responsibility to his fellow men to say a few words about it, especially if he is forty-four at the time, a Midwesterner who majored in English at a Big Ten school, and wears glasses and grew up fundamentalist--not to gloat over what is, after all, a God-given asset (how many men does God put in the top ten, anyway?)--but to offer help and counsel. Unfortunately, it's 10:30 on a Saturday night and I'm about ready to head upstairs, so this will be a shorter lecture than what you hoped to hear, perhaps. (1) If you have a choice between poetry and football, choose poetry. Football wrecks your legs and you can't use it for anything. Other guys put their arms around you in football. You write a poem for a woman, you give it to her, she is speechless. What can a jock give her, his socks? So I chose to write poems about her delicate body being like a shy deer nibbling the blossoms of an apple tree. It's not an original image but it was an easy choice. A quarter-century later, my wife remembers it. (2) The human elbow, particularly the tip of the elbow. I don't want to say more. (3) Foreign women release something in men, and perhaps vice versa, so don't shy away from your foreign side. I'm Scottish with some Canadian. (4) Fundamentalists have more fun. You can't enjoy sex to the fullest unless you've spent some time in the wilderness, being repressed. (5) Sex is better in marriage than anywhere else you can imagine, like the song says: It's all right to get your appetite walking round town just as long as you eat supper at home. (6) Eating in bed afterward is perfectly natural. (7) It gets better.

Sex is a progression of sweet blessings, and one learns to enjoy each one of them whether or not it leads to the next.

It is good to be with you.
To talk with you.
To touch you.
To be alone with you.
To kiss you.
To be naked with you.
To make love with you.
To have a baby with you.

After a while, each blessedness seems more or less as enjoyable as any other, except the last, which is distinctive.

I accept this honor on behalf of all fundamentalists, and all Midwesterners, and all forty-four-year-olds, and good night.
I dug this up, a little surprised I didn't quote it before, especially that poetic progression near the end. I tend to misremember it a bit, and think of it more in terms of how for a chronically non-judgemental guy like me, the range of pleasure between "doing something super cool!" and "just hanging out" is smaller than with most folks - which can create tensions with and seem unbearably lame to people with more ambitions in activities.