There has been an explosion of "the Republicans are Doomed"; "the Iraq War is Lost" type articles in recent days. Background noise only. Nothing has depressed and enraged me more than this article in the Style section of the Washington Post. How do I hate it? Let me count the ways. First, it describes a campus "hook-up" culture easily identifiable by anyone who has read Tom Wolfe recently. Young women apparently are initiating random, non-serious sexual liaisons with God knows who, rather than being pursued to engage in random, non-serious sexual liaisons with God knows who, as was traditional when I went to school. The Style section seems nothing amiss with either of these state of affairs.
Second, the writer then goes into the sad story that a significant number of otherwise healthy young men, battered under an apparent unrelenting onslaught of willing, nubile, pulchritude, are unable to perform. This story does not concern 60-something men having troubles after a bypass and 30 years with the same woman. These are the flower of American youth tempted by such a smorgasbord of feminine charms as would shame the harems of Araby. I am simply incredulous and fear for my Nation if it is peopled in any significant number by such men.
Third, while noting a wide variety of drug use on campus, the article also blames bad habits, drinking and staying out late for amoratory failure. I can not speak to drug use, but history teaches there is no amount of alcohol, sleeplessness or poor diet that should make a 20 year old man habitually untumescent. When in the history of undergraduate education going back to the University of Bologna in medieval times, and no doubt to the freak'n Lyceum of Greece, have young men not eaten poorly, drunk too much and stayed out too late? The memory of man runneth not to the contrary. The idea that these cossetted Romeos are partying so hardy that unlike the students of Bavaria in the 19th century, the raccoon coated inebriates of the 20's and even the detestable addle-pated hippies of the 1960's, they can not be expected to perform carnally is an insult to debauchers everywhere. While I am not the biggest fan of Martin Luther, one thing he said has always struck me. "If you are going to sin, sin greatly." That is, nothing is worth the pains of Hell and the loss of Heaven, but to the extent you make that bargain you must get the biggest bang out of your sinning buck. If your going to be bad, be good at it.
Fourth, the writer of this piece intimates that aggressive women, social pressures, worries about birth control, etc... weigh so heavily on these fellows that it causes an understandable deflation. What kind of unpatriotic claptrap is this? American men did not conquer the wilderness, beat the British Empire in our infancy, put paid to the Kaiser, the Nazis and the Commies and put a man on the moon by wilting under pressure. When American men came back from WWII and Korea and faced nuclear Armageddon and "changing gender roles" what did they do? Fathered the baby boom, that's what! If you want to be an angst-ridden worrier go to France. This country expects results under pressure, not a lot of excuses.
Fifth, while the previous criticisms may bespeak a certain cynicism in these matters, I am repelled by the conflation of sex and love in this article. The mushy non-performer who point to his chest about all the "love" he has to give but can't because his willie's wonked has no idea about love. Two dozen conquests a semester bespeaks diligent activity, but it has little to do with love. Neither the Style section nor anyone interviewed had any idea that there might be something definitionally wrong here.
Sixth, only a passing mention of venereal disease in the whole piece. If you are having sex with twenty to thirty strangers a year a host of unfriendly visitors are likely to make an appearance, and condoms don't stop a lot of them. This is causing a huge uptick in infertility in young women and no doubt contributing to the reported pecker problem. It deserved more than a passing mention.
Seventh, the woman are so understanding. My belief is that these are young women, neither overweight or unattractive, in their peak years of beauty, and apparently possessed of sexual abilities formerly confined to Thai brothels. They have determined to simply have sex with guys with very little emotional investment. They must be doing this either 1) for physical pleasure or 2) to feel attractive and wanted; or 3) they are actually lying and want something more out of the "relationship." If its one or two they have just been dissed big time. They ought to toss the guy out with a lecture to straighten up and fly right as it were. A whole evening of loitering around bars in a slatternly fashion has been wasted for what? Like Sparta, where women expected men to come back with their shields or on them, men will do what women demand of them. Allowing this type of disfunction only encourages it. The third option is even more depressing. Because every woman in the article was understanding. How sad would that be?
Eighth, nobody is embarrassed about any of this. While the whole piece talks about these guy's great fear that it will get out that their trouser snakes are harmless, they give their names to a national newspaper for attribution. So lets see. Their parents, friends, girlfriends and employers will quickly know 1. They sleep around; 2. They drink and take too many drugs; 3. Their impotent; 4. Their shameless. Any of the foregoing, not too long ago, used to be attributes one deemphasized in public discussion. That they blithely send out this information to all and sundry is actually worse if its true.
Finally, a few possible silver linings. It could be the Style section is just wrong. This outbreak of unturgidity could be a made-up story line and they found a few outliers for window dressing. Second, it could be a ruse. I have known more than a few guys who, after a drought, might come up with the "I'm impotent but perhaps you could cure me" dodge. Homosexuality and virginity work well here too (or so I hear).
The final silver lining is that, social conservatives, especially of a Christian persuasion, have always argued that the death of Eros inherent in a culture of "sexual freedom" would cause an absence in the soul with physical consequences to the individual and society. I have always thought they'd tend more toward the birth dearth and antinomian alienation, rather than the literal emasculation of men but whose to say?
Ed. Note 5/10/06 - All righty then. Some observations:
1) I believe JJV gets the award for most variety in euphemisms for male sexual performance (can't think of any unused euphemisms off the top of my head).
2) The silver linings are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The story line could be bogus unless we see a corresponding decline in correspondence from students at major Midwestern universities, AND it could be a ruse on the part of the individuals interviewed for the article, in which case it makes absolutely perfect sense that their names be splashed all over the place.
3) A slightly less breathless interpretation may be found here.
4) For the record, I lived under a different set of delusions while attending the same institution of higher learning as JJV, so I cannot directly comment on his particular delusions.
5) Finally, the further use of "slatternly" in any post on this site will not be allowed for what I think should be obvious reasons.
Update 5/10/06-My perceptive acuity is of such a pure gem like purity that delusions are impossible. Also, the original post did not include "limp noodle," "engine failure," "no starch in his slacks" "silly string" "silly putty" "failure to come to attention" "sprained love muscle" or "Viagraless Victims of Vamping Viragos" so I think my use of metaphor and euphemism, was pretty restrained. Finally, as to your link to the Lefty chick, upon reading it I felt like Patrick Buchanan upon learning his running mate was Leanore Fulani.