Years ago, a movie about sex education was shown in a George Street cinema. It might have been during the mid or late fifties or so. The movie could only be seen by strictly segregated audiences. Women were on even, men (as always), on uneven days.
I was still young but mustardy keen about sex, very curious about finally viewing female genitalia. The ticket prices were more than usual. Sex, even the educational type, was exploited already then. The queues were long, but I finally got in. The ticket seller a male and so were all the ushers. Not a woman in sight.
The Hammond organ rose majestically from the bowels of the cinema, while large pink curtains slid open soundlessly. A stirring rendition of ‘God save the Queen’ was oozed out of the organ. We all stood up in Royal reverence and lustful expectation.
There was a short introduction by a lanky Liberace-like man dressed in a sparkling white suit, warning us all not to get over excited. Please, all stay calm throughout the entire film, he advised with stern authority. We would finally be shown the act of human re-production in all its black and white glory, he enthused. Far out!
Apart from the sighing of hundreds of young men with penises semi expectant, you could hear a pin drop. Not as much as a rustling chips packet.
The film finally started and with lots of diagrams and arrows there appeared shot after shot a plethora of ovum and sperm. Nothing actually moved. It was rather disconcerting when after some ovum and sperm finally getting together; a real live woman was shown to wheel a baby around in a pram. Not a twitch of anything sexual or erotic, in fact the opposite. No genital let alone genitalia.The disappointment was palpable.
The crowd was getting restless. A trickle made for the exit, soon followed by a torrent. Then, and I have never forgotten this, a very miffed young man shouted at the back of the cinema in a rasping strong Aussie accent…” has anyone cracked a fat yet?” I still laugh in the sweet memory of it.
In those days, sex was totally kept subterranean and one was lucky to have seen a girl’s nude knee. Girls were kept at arm’s length. The mothers gave daughters sex information based on; if anything moves on the boy, no matter where or how, move away and come home immediately, darn a sock or boil some Brussel sprouts.
Haven’t things moved forward since? Just type in V A G I N A on the computer and one is greeted by 32.900.000 responses in one ninth of a second, compliments via Google. While the issues surrounding sex were cloaked in secrecy and mystery at earlier times, not anymore now. We certainly don’t need queue up in George Street cinema anymore. At the same time I wonder if the pendulum hasn’t swung the other way a bit too far. I mean, 32.900.000 times too far.
It all reminds me of standing in front of Moscow’s university, apparently one of the largest in world. Our lovely Russian guide Natasha informed us, that even if we got to a hundred years old, our lives would not be long enough living in a different room at that university every week.
The Lomonosov Moscow State University enrolls over 40.000 students annually with another 4000 foreign students. Its library alone has over 9.000.000 books with 2.000.000 in foreign languages. More than 6000 professors and lecturers are employed plus scores of researchers…
Now, they are impressive numbers that surely matter more than the 32.900.000 vagina Google entrees .You would have thought that the world’s interest in sexual matters would now have subsided, calmed down a bit and shifted away to more pressing needs.
While the interest in the female genitalia continues unabated, it’s a different kettle of fish with penises. Amazingly, there are only 9.440.000 penis entrees on the internet. What do we make of that? Are we men not good enough? Are there some design flaws or the aesthetics unappetizing? We men need to feel secure and strong, you know.
Perhaps, it all comes down to choice. Our lives will not only be long enough to traverse through all of Moscow’s university rooms, neither do we have time to peruse all those vagina or penis entries. One thing is for sure. I would rather traverse through any university than trawl the net for genitalia. They are all so boringly uniform and the same. It’s just something with hair on it. Surely, there has to be more to life.