The Modesty Movement

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This one's all Tango's Take

NPR’s (National Public Radio to those of you that are not commies) Amy Dickinson interviewed Wendy Shalit, the author of a book called Girls Gone Mild. We gather that the title is a play on the name of the popular video franchise (Girls Gone Wild) in which inebriated young ladies disrobe for t-shirts (ironically) and a lifetime of memories. NPR decided to run an excerpt of the book online. The excerpt starts out with another excerpt from Rolling Stone in 2006 (how meta an excerpt within an excerpt, it’s like one of those movies about the making of a movie). The inner excerpt talks about a party at Duke University in which tight, denim skirts, stripper poles and go-go cages play a prominent role. The girls speak candidly about the ‘scene’ and that people are really just ‘hooking up’ and not dating. And mention that if a guy ever asked to buy them a drink that they would be flummoxed. We find that some of this strains credibility. First of all, we’ve been to Duke University (no, we didn’t go to Duke University, we went to a nice JuCo outside of Reno) and there are not crazy bars like this. And sure the rich kids, smart kids and rich/ smart kids at Duke love their narcotics, alcohol and anonymous sex as much as the next guy, but this smacks of insincerity. What college kids talk to an obvious reporter trying to look nonchalant (hello Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed)? The kids with a chip on their shoulder and a stake in getting things changed do.

On to the outer excerpt. Basically, Shalit theorized 10 years ago that many women were growing disinterested in casual sex. And was raked over the coals by her peers, a cross that she bears lightly and is polite enough not to mention often. We were under the impression that the 10 years ago the wave of casual sex was on a slow upward rise, just having recovered from the AIDS fear of the early nineties. Popular films like American Pie hadn’t even debuted. You could still watch an episode of The Real World and not see squiggles covering people’s naked and/ or copulating bodies. We’re pretty sure that interest in casual intercourse was on an upswing then.

Her next gem was about PSD. It’s not a new Playstation accessory. It stands for pre-sex discussion. The theory goes that a little getting to know you talk before ‘the deed’ actually enhances sex. That sounds reasonable. But what was all that talk at the bar about? Unless you’re Colin Ferrell on a night out, no one slimes his/ her way into someone else’s pants without a little chatter. Most of our pre-sex patter revolves around this theme, “you are so hot. I am so glad we’re doing this. Say, you don’t happen to have anything catchy do you? If so, we should probably think about finding a condom.” We’re not saying that the theory isn’t sound. It is. Just a touch impractical.

Shalit’s bottom line is that youngsters (girls and boys) shouldn’t feel pressured into doing anything that they don’t want to do. And that people should be able to decide what’s right for them rather than having society’s expectation of what’s right thrust upon them. Good call. We couldn’t agree more. She should just figure out a way of spreading her message without sounding like she’s got such a bee-otch chip on her shoulder.

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