My editor says I should make some sort of disclaimer right up front in this column for writing about sex two weeks in a row. Somehow that would be like making one fourth-grader apologize to all the other fourth-graders for making armpit noises in the middle of a lecture on Nathaniel Hawthorne. Like it's really going to upset you or something.
Anyway, it's not my fault if spring is in the air and a young man's fancy turns to love, especially if he loves himself as much as George Michael does. Known for arresting performances, the singer with the beard that looks as if it were drawn on with a magnet a la Wooly Willie was arrested for performing a lewd act all by himself in a Beverly Hills public park restroom. When that guy goes solo, he goes solo. Snotty remarks aside, gorgeous George knows the answer to that Buddhist riddle, "What's the sound of one hand clapping?" And how nicely it echoes off of tiled walls, to boot.
Naturally, everyone wonders why guys like George, PeeWee Herman and Hugh Grant go jeopardizing their careers by tossing off their inhibitions in public places where they know damn well it's not only illegal, but highly unsanitary. The answer, of course, lies in the danger, the thrill of possibly getting caught and so on, ad nauseum.
We've all heard of adulterous affairs that went limp the minute one party or the other became legitimately available. Sex already brings a certain amount of adrenaline to the table; when fear comes in to double that supply, the result is a real barnburner. But this is all Cosmo advice column-type stuff, and sitting around pretending you don't know "why?" with a look of overbaked innocence on your face, like you're playing a cupcake in the school pageant, is just embarrassing. When it comes to a question of sex, we all know "Why?" All we really want to know is, "What else does he do? And by the way, what's your story?"
Some people are appalled at any public display of affection. Some people aren't happy until the whole world knows they were in a public toilet with their pants around their ankles. The bottomless well of means with which people titillate themselves is amazing. Those PC types are right: Let us embrace our differences. And perhaps laugh at them behind each other's backs.
And anyway, George was likely just trying to be the first to ring in National Masturbation Month. That's right; aside from being National Salad Month, Hydrotherapy Month and "Promote Your Ideas" Month, May marks the third annual National Masturbation Month, an observance that threatens to give the idea of the Maypole a whole new meaning.
The celebration is the brainchild of Good Vibrations, an employee owned co-op that sells all the accessories you might need to mark this event. According to the California retail outlet, which does most of its business through mail order, the holiday kicks off on May 7, a day they suggest everyone observe by showing up at work an hour late (and presumably a good deal easier to get along with).
Naturally Good Vibrations has set up a Masturbators' Hall of Fame. Put the phone down; it's not as easy to get into as you think. This honor goes to people like Dr. Joycelyn Elders and the cast of "Seinfeld" who have been willing to stand up for the cause. They also have erected an Antique Vibrator Museum on their website, with photos of our forebearers' objects of desire including "The Marvelator," which resembles a torpedo attached to a rolling-pin handle, and the "Roller Vibrator," which looks like the handle of an iron glued to a propane tank and nailed to a skateboard. There's even a wooden vibrator with a crank handle. And they have such cute slogans, like "Be a Glow Getter!"
George Michael aside, the celebration may have its first martyr in Michael Morrison. Owner of the 9 1/2 Weeks sex shop in Atlanta, he recently was sentenced to 900 hours of community service and $9,000 in fines for violating a 30-year-old state law against selling "devices designed to stimulate the genitals" -- a "stiff (ahem) sentence, according to Atlanta's Creative Loafing newsweekly. In an unusual move, the jury also issued a statement saying that the law was, basically, ridiculous.
Of course, the jurors are right. One human perversion we don't find enchanting is that a guy with carry-ons full of guns and ammo in a Minnesota airport is set loose, but the guy who, like Santa, only wants to bring toys and happiness to everyone gets hauled into court. As a self-sufficient people, Americans should be much more supportive of the Good Vibrations motto: If you want something done right, do it yourself.
And if you don't believe it's true, ask the famous singer who could have gotten anyone else to do it for him.
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