Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Talk about a weird title. Well, bear with me here, I have a point to make.
Saturday night I was privileged to be among the 123,000 people who will be seeing the “So You Think You Can Dance” Tour across the U.S. What an incredible experience it was, too. The top ten finalists from the Fox hit show performed for about two hours, including the various video retrospectives that gave them time for costume changes and breath-catching.
The audience was enthusiastic, to put it mildly. Deafening applause, screams, and standing ovations (I’ll bet we gave them 15 at least) were the order of the night. It was the kind of show that brought that out in a person. The neat thing about this audience was that it included all ages, from senior citizens down to lots of little kids. From the preponderance of 8 to 12 year old girls, I suspect there were a lot of dance students present.
So it was definitely a family crowd, and obviously a family-style program. Nevertheless, the show had a powerful erotic element, at least according to my definition. Regular readers of this blog know that in my view, the erotic does not necessarily include graphic sex; sometimes it’s more about the creative life force--that stuff that makes the world go round, if you will. To me, the erotic doesn’t always arouse sexually; sometimes it makes you feel romantic, joyful, creative, or energized. And while there was absolutely nothing in the show not suitable for the kids in the room, nevertheless in a totally wholesome kind of way it was erotic.
I’ll give you three examples, drawn from what seemed to be the audience’s favorite numbers, all three being reprisals of routines done during the TV series.
The renowned “bench” routine (to “Calling You” by Celine Dion):
This dance was so popular on the TV show that when the lights came up on our stage to reveal the presence of a bench, we got to our feet before the dance even started! In this contemporary routine, Travis and Heidi act out a classic mating sequence, with the twist that the female is the one trying to woo the male. The guy is just on the edge of giving in, and sometimes you think he will, but in the end he sadly walks off the stage.
This dance depicted the wooing process not as a seduction, but as taming, an attempt to convince the loved one that it is safe to submit to intimacy. The tension humans feel between their longing for intimacy and their fear of it is universal, and is a key element of erotica. While we may or may not be yearning for literal intercourse, humans of all ages seek closeness with each other, and when we manage to achieve it, the result can be wonderful. The fact that Heidi and Travis could not come together at the end of their dance was painfully poignant.
The “runway” routine (to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back”):
This is definitely the most overly sexual of my examples. In this dance, which features the entire ensemble, the dancers portray models on a runway. A lot of pouting, vogueing, and strutting takes place, “Zoolander” style. It gives the dancers a chance to focus unabashedly on looking sexy.
It’s really impossible to take runway models completely seriously, so this routine was definitely tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, the poise, grace, and self-confidence of the dancers functioned to make them all come across as damn hot. This is a lesson I don’t mind having the kids in the audience learn: It’s not how good-looking you are, or how you dress, but whether you believe in yourself that determines how attractive you are to others. The ultimate love charm is attitude.
The “geek” dance, aka the Tranji dance (to “Gyrate” by Da Muzicianz):
In this number, top two finalists Benji and Travis come on stage dressed as nerds, but the irresistible rhythm of the hip-hop song transforms them to cool guys with street cred. When the beat sets their pelvises thrusting (and this in turn sets the audience screaming), they do a quick half-striptease, losing their backpacks and glasses and flipping their caps around.
First of all, Benji and Travis are just as endearing as dorks as they are as their hip-hop alter egos. It’s a ton of fun for the chicks in the audience to enjoy them in both modes in the same dance. But the message here is that music and dance bring you to life. You lose your introverted geeky meekness and get aggressive, wild, and ready for fun. That’s a kind of arousal, and while only a certain part of it is sexual, it works just as well with pre-pubescent kids who don’t understand sex yet but sure do appreciate fun.
There were all kinds of other erotic moments I could relate from the show (from the romance of the Viennese waltz, to the sexy drama of the tango, to Ryan using Heidi’s trim butt cheeks as bongo drums), but you get the idea. This show vividly made the point that erotic and wholesome are not opposite ends of the spectrum. Wholesome erotic elements can energize and inspire people of all ages--in fact, that’s part of their true nature.
I’d be interested to know what impact being at the show had on our audience. I have a feeling just about everyone had a little more upbeat and productive Sunday than usual. I know I’m going to be running on that energy for quite a long time….
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I realize men are attracted to women because we have some things they don’t. Specifically, breasts. Sometimes I sit back in amusement that men are so fascinated by body parts simply because they don’t have them. I think most men don’t even have particular standards as far as breasts--they like them all, which is good seeing as my own are not really boast-worthy.
This fixation seems very silly to me until I consider my attitudes about the male body. I mean, how amusing is it to be entranced by the lack of something? I speak here of hips. Yesterday I came upon a couple photos of one of my celebrity-obsession-guys wearing jeans and a tank top. These were very well fitting jeans. This guy is one of those nice, lean types, and from waist to thigh there is not the slightest bulge on him front or sides, and not much in back either.
It’s embarrassing (and yet I’m telling you) how long I can stare at these pictures without tiring of them. They are the equivalent of a nice shot of Jack Daniels, and the buzz is completely natural.
I know how men check out women’s breasts and it gives them itchy palms. Well, that’s how I feel about no hips. I would just love to take hold of the hip bones on this guy and feel their narrowness and that incredible lack of fat. Seriously, hip bones! I amaze myself really, but there it is.
Now I can understand the female fascination with washboard abs, great pecs, rippling biceps/triceps, runners’ legs, and wide shoulders. I understand what these things represent to the female psyche: physical power, virility and all that. But what about the lack of things...hiplessness and my other personal fascination, the small posterior? There’s little explanation for the appeal of those except I don’t have them. Lacking the Y chromosome, I can’t lose my hips, not that I really want to. So I guess the narrow-hipped, small-assed male attracts me simply because he’s different from me.
I suppose if I stretch my imagination, I also appreciate that lack of hips suggests mobility, motion, even a sort of aggression. While women seem more domestic, fertile, nurturant in shape, men such as my lean friend are the opposite. Think of the classic Elvis archetype, whose narrow-hipped pelvic thrusts drove several generations of women to swoon. Perhaps that leanness also hints at efficiency: as in, “I’ve got nothing superfluous here, nothing to distract you from the penis...and after all, what else matters?”
Just as women don’t get the big appeal of breasts, I’m sure men utterly take for granted their lack of hips. I suppose they can see why their muscles and shoulders could impress, but it must evade them why a woman should be driven to a frenzy by that 1-to-1 waist/hip ratio. I wish I could better explain, gentlemen, but trust me: when you wear those well-fitting jeans the virility just pours off you in waves.
The no hips/small posterior phenomenon is a factor in a lot of classic female fantasies, including:
- Guys playing guitar in leather pants
- Slow dancing with hip pressure (my hands will drift down, sorry)
- Guys leaning against a bar, a juke box, a car, or anything else that results in the pelvis thrusting forward (are you brandishing that weapon at me?)
- Shirtless attire (you thought we just wanted to see your torso; actually, it’s just nice not having any shirttails hanging down over your pelvic bones)
I’d happily picture my fellow in any of those scenarios--okay, I already have while composing this. And goodness, this hip thing is really addictive. It occurs to me what would be really embarrassing: You know those tests they can do on people to see where their eyes travel to on a page? I can just imagine the incriminating results they’d get analyzing my eyes and these photos.
I’m sure my little brain will move on to a new obsession soon enough. But it has been fun the last 24 hours being in my small hip rut. Not to worry, it hasn’t done anything to reduce this romance author’s productivity...much the opposite, happily. The last dozen pages I’ve written aren’t bad at all. Do I mention hips? Well, okay, yeah…once or twice.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I can hear the voice of Robert Palmer in my head, "Might as well face it, you're addicted..."
I'm hoping my readers can relate to what I'll be talking about here; surely I'm not the only one who suffers from such an affliction occasionally. You know how it is: Every now and then you have a pretty intense erotic/romantic "encounter" with a person, or a character, or a celebrity figure, so intense that you can't help but focus for awhile on that person. Inordinately much. It's not to the stalker level of course, just to the level that you feel a bit weird about it.
The internet is a blessing and a curse when it comes to these little addictions. Back in the old days, when I fixated on somebody I could only slake my thirst to know more about them by making a trip to the library and digging into old magazines and microfilm. That was just too darn inconvenient to do every day. But now you can treasure-hunt for tidbits on the web in the comfort of your home, making it possible to feed (and therefore encourage) your mini-obsession so much more easily.
You know what I mean, right? You start with Google, or maybe Google Images comes first. You might uncover a fan site about the person--jackpot! Otherwise you'll undoubtedly unearth some photos, articles, interviews, etc. After exhausting those resources you may try using Limewire or some similar source to look for audio or video materials. Or you'll check Amazon for related books you could buy, or eBay for deals on autographed photos or packets of old clippings. You may even try out some of the blog search engines, hoping to find other people fixated on the same person/character. Or maybe you'll check fan fiction sites to see if anyone is writing stories about your idol.
Depending upon how famous this individual is, you could be finding treasures for weeks, or run out of material in less than a day. But even if it's the latter, if you've got it bad enough you'll keep thinking perhaps something new has cropped up, or a different search engine will be able to find something you missed, or something very cool related to the person will be up on eBay for purchase.
The more you keep looking, the weirder you feel about doing it. But here's what keeps you motivated to try: Every now and then you will find something that's just really awesome. Maybe a particularly excellent photo. Or an interview that includes a really meaningful quote. Or some commentary from another fan that just nails exactly how you feel.
Or a new song.
So, here's my particular problem. Regular Erotica with Soul readers know about my recent bout of regard for Les Stroud, also known as "Survivorman" on the Discovery Channel show of that name. I love the show and have all kinds of admiration for what Les is able to do, combining his survival skills with some excellent filmmaking ability. To top that off, I found out Les is also a musician.
So hang on, this gets even worse. I corresponded with Les's office to order a copy of his music CD and sent them a link to my blog tribute to the man. His extremely kind assistant Wendy shared the tribute with Les and in response, he said he'd be sending me a surprise. Now I've found it never pays to count on promises from celebrities, as they are very busy people. So when my package arrived from Canada, I tried to keep my hopes from getting up. I opened the envelope and found that Les had sent me the new Survivorman Season 1 on DVD, as well as his documentary "Snowshoes and Solitude" on VHS. Not to be materialistic about this, but the retail value of these gifts with shipping was $72 U.S. My point is, these were very nice presents, and just about the nicest things he could have sent a person obsessed with Survivorman.
So now I'm dealing with a guy who really sends me, is a musician, and is incredibly nice and generous. He's not making it easy for me. And to top it all off, I listened to the CD and it instantly became one of my favorites ever. Just so happens I really like Les's voice, how he plays acoustic guitar and harmonica, and his style of folksy/bluesy music writing. His expertise is supposed to be wilderness survival and filmmaking. Then he goes and sings like an angel on top of it. Blorg.
So, here's me last night, frustrated as heck that the man has only one CD out (there's another coming soon, thank God). And like the obsessed weirdo that Les Stroud has made me--okay, it's not really his fault--I'm convinced the Internet has not yet coughed up all its material on the subject. I am haunted by this thought as I work on writing my latest story, till finally I can't stand it anymore and start Googling.
And I found a new song! A new song, in its entirety in high quality streaming audio! And in the process, find out Les also plays fabulous electric guitar (saints preserve us) and can write incredible rock music. The Lord be praised! This song is just as good as my favorites on the CD. What a happy night.
But woe for me, I have now been encouraged in my maniacal cyber-treasure-hunting. This cannot bode well for my hopes of behaving more sanely.
What are you gonna do though? This guy just brings me so much joy, it's hard to corral your mind into playing the latest Top 40 hits in your head when you also have the option of letting Les Stroud's "Clouds" run in there in all its inspiring glory. I think it's making me a nicer, more positive person. I feel like kissing my husband more, cuddling my cat, donating to charity, forgiving co-workers for screwing up, etc. Is this a bad thing?
Call me crazy, call me obsessed, but a girl could do worse than a little addiction to a nice celebrity, I guess.