From March 11, 2004: Porn and soap operas

On the John

Porn and Soap Operas

Originally published in the Indiana Daily Student on March 11, 2004

This could go in a few different directions.

Warning: the following contains broad generalizations

When trying to discern the various mental and emotional differences between men and women, one needn’t look much further than each gender’s preferred avenue of relationship storytelling — programming that whittles away any extraneous aspects of dating, leaving only what each gender finds absolutely vital. I am speaking, of course, about soap operas and soft porn.

While soaps reduce relationships to gossipy, middle-schoolish dating and soft porn cuts relationships down to mindlessly-rabid sex, they are basically the same. Both genres feature very specific and unique styles of acting, music and lighting, and both can be quickly identified upon first glimpse by experienced viewers. Consider the following piece of dialogue that could easily be inserted into either medium:

Man: “What’s your name?” Woman: “Virginia.” Man (looking unnaturally serious): “Who” *pause* “are you?” Woman (nervous) “I … I don’t know.” Man: “You must have amnesia.” Woman (closeup, glossy eyes): “Maybe. What’s amnesia?” Man (slowly approaching her): “Loss of memory. Did you lose your memory?” Woman: “I don’t remember.” (sad, but oddly hopeful) “I can’t remember anything.” Man: “Do you remember… this?” (man kisses woman).

Soap? Porn? It’s impossible to tell. The only difference between the two is, in the first, the above dialogue would lead to a complex relationship in which the man tries to help the woman piece together her pre-amnesiac life, while in the second, the dialogue would lead to lots and lots of dispassionate sex.

So why does one genre appeal to women while the other appeals to men? While men and women both dig sex equally, men think about it more obsessively than women do because it’s harder for us to get. Men going out in cologne and collared shirts are proof that women hold all the cards.

Women are anatomically equipped to distract men with their sexuality. Of all the sexual body parts on either men or women, breasts are the only ones near eye level, strategically placed to confuse and debilitate men. I mean, why else would they be right there? It was a devilish and brilliant plan, and it worked.

Ladies, get mad at us for staring if you want, but imagine if penises grew on chests instead of in crotches, leaving our manhood plainly visible. You can see the predicament we’re in.

That’s why we sometimes panic after sex. We assume girls don’t like it since we usually have to work so hard to get it, so when it finally happens, we think we’ve gotten away with something. That sudden guilt is enough to freak anyone out. We just have to remember that women like sex too, and that by gawking, we play right into their hands.

With all of the miscommunication and misunderstandings between men and women causing so many relationship problems, one has to wonder if these gender gaps exist in gay relationships. If not, that’s awesome. I’m sure gay couples get into fights, but it must make dating so much easier when you have a basic understanding of the other person’s psyche and perhaps a bigger overlap of mutual interests. After all, many men dream of being able to have great sex and then start talking baseball. Why else would we love sexy to moderately-good looking female sportscasters?

Ah, sexy female sportscasters … But that’s for another day. I think there’s porn on.

ADVICE FROM THE JOHN: For anyone willing to try, bring back the flat top. I would if I could. They were awesome.

Copyright 2004, jm silverstein

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