Language & Licentiousness
Among the dirty, dirty people I work with are a couple of loyal followers of the Dan Savage Podcast. Needing to filter out their deep breathing and awkward advances, I keep a regular ear on my company’s bodacious shared iTunes library. This leads me into occasional interactions with the entire backlist of said podcasts and I get to learn all sorts of fun things from Mr. Savage and his heady mix of sex and humanistic politics.
If you’ve got a few free minutes today (away from bosses and impressionable ears, people), take a listen to this podcast from a few years back. You can skip over the boring stuff to around the 17 minute mark, wherein Dan gets a call from a woman who is a real life “word fetishist”. That is to say, a person who gets sexually excited from hearing, reading, and pronouncing obscure or difficult words.
“and so I get really, really aroused by, um, hearing really great words and, ah, I guess some of my favourite words are [assorted syllables that are pronounced in too breathy a voice to be understood by this listener]”
So, of course, Dan calls Bobbi back to quiz her on her sexual history and, lo and behold, the one and only love who ever engaged her in this peccadillo was a poet. Which makes absolute sense as poets are basically word fetishists with the legitimizing mechanism of their intellects, and this is (not to get too personal) TOTALLY something I could see myself doing. Bobbi’s husband has flirted with the idea of some wordplay himself, but the poet remains the memorable event in her libidinous record (aren’t we always?). The husband is an engineer, a group that are also very word-oriented, though the ones I’ve known seem to prefer the build-it-yourself prefix and suffix salad of mechanics and chemistry, while both Bobbi and most poets get off on the kinky eroticism simpler shorter, words.
Notice the pronounced disappointed “Ohhh” that Savage emits when Bobbi reveals that her learned lover wasn’t the engineer, but the poet. We poets have heard that “ohhh” before. It’s the same “ohh” schoolchildren utter when told there is no chocolate ice cream, only grapenut. As for the podcast, it trails off into Savage attempting to stir the loins of his caller by pushing the limits of his own vocabulary with words like concupiscence, kleptocracy, and other bits of verbiage that the Vox Pop likes, that makes the Vox Pop feel sooo funny…..