The cover story in today's Style section of the New York Times was about the new private party swingers scene in New York City. (i rarely read the paper, but was hoping it would contain a sale circular for Best Buy. mission: possible!) Actually, the swinging sex renaissance isn't really that new - when reading about burgeoning trends in the NY Times it is necessary to back-date the actual trend start-date about 18-24 months. (a similar arithmetic can be applied to the canadian hairstyles vs. the u.s. hairstyles on which they're based. the dry look is still king in ottawa.) Lifestyle magazines have been covering the "female sexual empowerment through anonymous finger-boning" parties thrown by Cake for several years now, and other instances pop up here and there. The burlesque revival has been germinating for a while. Sex™ has been the hot new denial for post-millennial anxiety since before the towers fell.
While scanning the Times article, and reading about the parties' essay applications; Zalman King-esque passwords; pseudonymous hosts licking their lips behind feathered masks purchased at the Halloween Warehouse; invitation lists culled from Nerve.com personal ads; and what appears to be genuinely upper-middle class core revelers, my brain started to slip into neutral. And by paragraph seven (the one just to the left of one of the event organizers, a bald, goateed man wearing sunglasses indoors, at night, who owns a "love loft" in brooklyn) all the words in the article began to merge, and became raw fuel to feed the creature inside me who likes to rear his head every time I catch two appalling, erection-flattening minutes of HBO's "Real Sex". I usually snap right in the middle of that one particular segment - you know, the one where a catering company called "Garden of Eatin'" provides a service in which they'll arrange crudité along a woman's reclining nude body so a bunch of Scientologist from Marin County can eat cornichons off a stranger's pubic bone. Just as a former concert promoter slides a grape tomato into a puddle of artichoke dip collected in the centerpiece's navel, my creature likes to stand up and announce, "THIS IS WHY I HATE WHITE PEOPLE." And that is precisely what happened while I was reading the article. If the headline were something like, "Why White People are Getting Lamer Every Day," it would have saved me valuable time.
I realize this will sound like the beginning of my set at the Best Little Ha-House In Texas comedy club but, seriously, what is it with white people? Can't you just have some sex and be done with it? Why do you have to dress like Charlotte Rampling in Night Porter and throw goddess parties and make up fake Greek aliases and lick pvc boots and jack off while your best friend's girlfriend pees on herself in an inflatable kiddie pool and hold your orgasm until someone in Chinese silks bangs a ceremonial gong behind the bar and a giant chandelier prop descends from the ceiling at a west side warehouse night club? Perhaps I'm old-fashioned or uncomfortably efficient, but I always thought sex was a little more immediately satisfying. I grew up believing all you needed for sex was a wiener, a hole, and the good sense to never announce, "the time to place my wiener within your hole is nigh. Present your hole!"
Why is it that you rarely see black or hispanic couples on "Real Sex" or featured in these stylish, upwardly mobile swinger pieces in Vanity Fair? And, with the exception of that one reptilian guy who tries far too hard in The Lifestyle, Asian-American men and women are surprisingly exempt from these modern practices as well. I used to have a theory, which was that the fetish-swinger lifestyle was not directly related to race, but to economics. And that it's not minorities who are shut out of or immune to this scene, but working-class people in general. People who need to hold on to their cash for other distractions, like rent or vaccines. It's sort of the Eyes Wide Shut theory of economics. Aggregating all of that disposable income grows boring, and wealthy people begin to look for creative ways to spend it, like purchasing sex costumes and fuck swings and paying for dwarves to dress up like the members of Kiss to help break the ice of power-flirting in your underpants.
I think that theory is limited, though. Maybe it is deeper than economics, though I'm sort of loathe to admit as much. But who do you think is keeping Frederick's of Hollywood in business? Who is making the most (and best!) amateur porn? Who is filling issue after issue of TV (transvestite) Guide with personal ads and cheap snapshots taken on motor inn beds? Who is supervising the construction of an adult-sized playpen right now? Broke-ass white people, that's who. Give them just a few dollars, and they'll go right out and spend it on a synthetic blonde wig and a Rubbermaid® dildo, and drop the change on a lottery ticket. So, against my better judgment, maybe a lot of this does fall along racial, or at least cultural lines. For me, this is all speculation but I'm sure someone is conducting a post-graduate sociological study about white people's need to make sex as complicated as an off-broadway production, and the password to volunteer for the study is "rip my bodice."