“If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t f*** ’em!” — John Waters
It’s everywhere now and you can’t escape it. What started as a bit of leg showing underneath a hoop skirt slowly morphed into something else, something bigger than we ever dreamed.
The fantastical essence of a beautifully-sculpted Greek statue body, the titillating unspoken words swimming around the eyeballs of some woman in a Renaissance painting — over time, maybe they weren’t enough. We wanted more. It’s human nature, I suppose.
We’re gluttons for achievement and power and through the centuries, the more we conquered, the more our sense of want and lust grew to match our other desires.
Cave drawings of fertile goddesses became Playboy centerfolds under rocks behind our suburban garages. The wink-wink of Shakespearean allusion became in-your-face, full-frontal nudity up on the big screen. Yesteryear porn became a joke in the eyes of the current viewer, when artificially hopped-up and propped-up bodies slam away at each other for 37-minute clips.
Imagination, once the sexiest thing imaginable, has been replaced, by and large, by the more instant gratification of seeing everything at once — and by wanting it and needing it all right then and there.
I’m not some kind of conservative freak show repelling down your iPhone screen, trust me. I’ve been a player in all this, too. I’m 44 and so I vaguely recall the notion of lusting after middle school girls who drove me insane because they were so goth, and so mysterious, and so unseen to my naked eye.
Believe it or not, I can almost remember a time when falling for someone wasn’t all about the hot body. Oh, hell. Even the fact that we’re all using that term “hot body,” that says it all, don’t you think?
That used to be something people only said at witch burnings and volcano sacrifices. What the heck is happening to us?
You want to hook up with the sexiest thing you can possibly hook up with and that’s that, huh? Big knockers and horse peckers and walnut shell asses, bring ’em on! What’s not to like? I get it; I’m guilty. We all are and maybe it isn’t even our fault anymore.
Still, there are people among us who don’t give half a damn about this dirty side road so many of us have been traveling down. There are still a ton of humans who are attracted to other humans because of their minds, because of their savvy and their wit.
Making someone laugh is still considered grounds for impromptu bathroom stall sex in certain never-bending circles — and I love that. We all should, actually.
Those people who get really turned on by intellectual stimulation way more than they do by the sight of some ultra-cut body in their midst, I believe in them. Those are the people fighting hard to keep something pure and real alive. They don’t even know they’re battling to save us from ourselves, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Because there’s still something about human evolution that screams out for sharp minds and imagination, for empathetic thought processes and for educated thoughts. Unfortunately, though, we’ve traveled a long way from recognizing that.
Driven to the brink of mental annihilation by our never-ending struggle to survive and achieve, we’ve been worn down when it comes to lust, to love. We’ve been forced, if that’s even the right word, into strange corners of our minds. And we have somehow replaced the idea of intelligence and soul and humor as sexy, with something else entirely. With yoga asses and movie star abs.
I’m a single dad now and I feel spun most of the time. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be. I can’t have a “hot body.” I don’t have time. I’m running out of time. Plus, I want to eat pizza once or twice a week, at least. And I need a beer or two to unwind and that sh*t goes right to my big fat ass.
But I feel so hot inside. I feel so smart sometimes and I get this feeling that there must be something to that. On occasion, I get this feeling that I’m a member of some endangered tribe of people wandering the Earth, screaming into the howling wind, calling out for other people without pretty faces or sexy bodies to meet us in the corner bar so we can relax. Let us meet and stare into each other’s eyes while we talk about novels and order another round of IPAs and drag onion rings through gastro pub aioli and talk some sense into this forsaken night.
To hell with Trump, we will say. Did you hear that thing on NPR about the catfish farmers in Mississippi? we will ask. We’ll laugh and make incredible points regarding important issues, and we’ll get a little buzzed but not frat-boy drunk.
Then a few of our crowd will end up back in each other’s apartments and bedrooms, making out, turned on by something deeper than the body in hand. Turned on by the sound of a dozen books on the strange nightstand tumbling to the ground as the night unleashes itself.
Book people gettin’ it on. Tried and true humanity hanging in there to fight another day.
Don’t worry about it if you don’t have a hot body, alright? It’s a sideshow diversion. Instead: Make someone laugh. Try to keep your brain open and sharp. Be kind and stay away from the 77 billion members of the Assh*ole Brigade overrunning the Earth.
You’ll be dead soon. So will I. No one will recall how hot your body was.
Soon enough, things will circle back around as the overabundance of hot bodies gets tiresome and reveals itself in a staggering windfall of criminally unwanted nude shots showing up in message boxes and email accounts.
It’s already started. The hot only have so much going for them, you see. Lust, it turns out, is a reader and a thinker. Remember that. And do me a favor, OK? Look hard for the bookshelves the next time you go home with someone.
I mean, you might just be saving us all from the Dark Side.
Serge Bielanko is a writer and musician who has been published on Babble, Huffington Post, Mom.me, Yahoo, and more. Visit his website for more of his work.