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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bringing Sexy Back

So, Justin Timberlake is bringing “sexy” back. Apparently our society is running on a shortage of sexy these days, and J. Timberlake is just the man to bring it back for us.

Of course, this poses the question: What is sexy? This is the same question that floats across the screen of my tv during a Victoria Secret commercial.

“What is sexy?”

It’s the unresolved question hanging out in the void like the various body parts of the models who are displaying their various….er, well, anyway, it’s their version of sexy.

The other night I was playing basketball and blocked my good friend. (I won’t mention that his name is Mike, lest he be embarrassed or otherwise humiliated.) But for me this isn’t really that big of a deal. I mean it is always nice to be able to trash talk each other while we are together as a group of guys, but it has happened so many times that for me it is becoming somewhat routine. This, of course, is due to the Law of Diminishing Returns.

The Law of Diminishing Returns:
In a production system, having fixed and variable inputs, keeping the fixed inputs constant, as more of a variable input is applied, each additional unit of input yields less and less additional output……All righty, then….basically what that is saying is that the more of something you have the less enjoyment you get out of it. Or, the more you do something the less pleasure that it will bring you…

So, let’s go back to “sexy” and Justin Timberlake. Do we really need to bring “sexy” back?

Well, actually this time I’m going to agree with Justin. I think we have completely lost the true sense of sexy. We have sex, but not sexy. We have more sex than we know what to do with. It’s everywhere. Every body part. Every movement and motion. We’ve seen it all. It dominates the visual.

Sex is in our language, too. It saturates our conversations and vocabulary. It finds its way into every comedy routine and into seemingly every sitcom story line.

We can download anything we want in just seconds. Any fantasy world that we want to enjoy is ours for the taking. Imagine, right at our fingertips. It is literally unprecedented that humanity would have the kind of access to sex that we now have today.

But for all the sex there is no doubt in my mind that we have lost the sexy.

The sexy is deeper than sex. Sex is cheap, but sexy is not. Sex for us is about indulging, but sexy is about intrigue.

The truly sexy is a rare thing. It is a stimulation of the physical senses that finds its origins in the intangible and undefined portions of our being. Sexy cannot be completely defined because it starts from someplace so deep that we don’t even recognize where it came from. When sexy is genuine it isn’t something you can completely suppress. It takes a hold of you and it won’t let you go. You may be able to tame it. You may be able to control it within certain parameters, but you can’t suppress it. It is deeply wild and untamed.

Sexy cannot and will not be mastered. To master sexy simply means that you never had it to begin with.

Of course, at this point it is clear that sexy is something that we very rarely find in our lifetime. As I said, it is about intrigue, not indulgence. We can market and sell gratification. We can package and distribute sexual satisfaction. But no one can give you sexy. You can’t buy it at any price. It finds you, but only if you’re lucky.

But what happens if we have it and then lose it? I think this is the easiest thing in the world to do. One reason why it is so easy to lose is because we think that sexy is about sex. We mistakenly think that our sensual stimulation is just another urge to gratify. And hence we can lose the sexy because we have mistake it for another object for our own consumption. But to make this mistake is to lose it.

The sexy is not about gratification.

It is easy to lose the sexy because we have no idea what to do with it when it comes. We confuse indulgence with intrigue. We have become so accustomed to using sex as gratification that we simply don’t know what to do when sexy finds us.

Sexy must be cultivated. To control it is to lose it. To indulge it is to lose it. But to respect it is to enter into the world of intrigue.

As my grandfather would say, “Leave a little to the imagination!” This is a lost cause in our age, and I doubt very much that Justin Timberlake is, in any way, bringing sexy back. The pop, mass-marketing media that has absorbed simply him wouldn’t let that happen. This is a world of immediate gratification and physical self-satisfaction. It leaves little room for the kind of intrigue and stimulation that lights up the heart, the mind, as well as the eyes.