Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good Defined

The British aren't the only witty people in the world. There are witty Americans, and witty everybody else, I'm sure. It's just that English is the only language I'm completely fluent in, so it seems I only get to recognize either American or British wit.

Who's wittier? Who knows? The British do seem to add a bit of scholarly tone to their wit, as if they're quoting it out of the Oxford Dictionary. Perhaps it's the accent, but I don't read with an accent.

Take the recent story that appears as a 'London Journal' piece in yesterday's NYT by Sarah Lyall. With a last name like that, she's got to be British. Bureau Chief, perhaps?

The headline itself is great, and so fits the story: 'A Nod to Willing Flesh Entangled in Dispiriting Words.' Four columns, with a picture of Barbara Windsor and Alexander Waugh in London in an baronial setting announcing the winner of the 'Bad Sex in Fiction Award'.

Ms. Lyall beats us to it and quickly poses the rhetorical question, "Why not a 'Good Sex in Fiction Award'?"  Turns out it's not a rhetorical question, and I don't know if it's being British that allows a columnist at The Independent, John Walsh, to provide a ready answer, but he has one.

"What on earth would you do that for? Good sex is like good driving--it's the absence of things going wrong, and it is an extraordinarily boring thing to write about."

If you really think about it, even a little bit, he's probably right.  A scholarly definition of good sex: no one got hurt, embarrassed, or otherwise suffered any traumatic mental anguish. Certainly it must happen a lot, because we're up to 7 billion people here on earth, and artificial insemination can't account for all those people.

So, the next time someone crows that, "the sex was good," "the sex was great," "the sex was fan-tastic!," there is absolutely no need to be the least bit envious, jealous, or sullen.

In Britain, it merely means they got in and out of the parking lot without causing a 12 car pileup.

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