There’s an old story about a guy who keeps banging his head against a wall.
The guy goes to a psychiatrist.
“Why do you keep banging your head against the wall?” the psychiatrist asks.
“Because”, says the man, “it feels so good when I stop.”
I can relate. Maybe so can you. Metaphorically, we all bang our heads against walls. When we get addicted. When we pursue a toxic relationship. When we lock ourselves into a belief system that doesn’t serve us anymore but that we can’t let go of.
Having spent some time banging my own head against a few well-known brick walls—heroin, cocaine, cigarettes and alcohol among them—I think I know something about the feeling you get when you stop.
The best word I can think of that describes it is liberation.
If you’ve experienced it, you know what I mean.
And of all the things I’ve “liberated” myself from, none is bigger than Barbie Addiction.
Like many boomer boys I grew up with Playboy. I lived in the culture that produced it. And for years, like so many other men of that generation, I was addicted to Barbie.
Unlike my other addictions, I didn’t really make a conscious effort to “kick” the Barbie habit. It just happened. I started noticing that women over 40 had something that the most perfect little 5’2 blonde with the ass-you-can-bounce-a-quarter off couldn’t even dream about.
I call it WSF (the wise-and-sly factor).
I started noticing that the wise-and-sly factor of an older woman was way more erotic than the vacant stare of the Hollywood starlet (and I should know cause I live in Los Angeles where they breed starlets on special farms). The “perfect” air-brushed curves of girls in the magazines and on the streets of LA just were OK, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t as interesting or enticing. I knew what went with the package, and the package didn’t turn me on any more.
I’ll tell you what did turn me on.
Women with a few years on them.
Women whose eyes say, “Hey I’ve walked around this neighborhood a coupla times, let me show you some cool spots”. Women whose bodies are… lived in.
When I was about 13, I saw a psychiatrist named Dr. Schappel. I remember clearly one thing he told me, though I can’t for the life of me remember why he told me, but he did, so let’s just go with it.
“Here’s the thing, Jonny”, he said. “When you’re a young boy, everything turns you on. If there’s a breeze, you get aroused. A little later, in late adolescence, it gets a little more specific. Now it’s a high school girl in a cheerleader uniform. Later it gets even more specific—a certain type of blonde— artsy, athletic, whatever.
“But then, Jonny,” he said, “the good stuff happens.
“Much later—when you get older and more mature– what turns you on changes. Now what does it for you is someone being turned on to you. And when that happens, it won’t matter so much what they look like.”
Another quote I often remember was one I heard from someone very different from old Dr. Schappel, but no less wise—Seka, the legendary porn star of the 1970’s.
Seka was asked to name the most erogenous part of the human body.
“That’s easy”, she said, without missing a beat. “It’s the space between the ears.”
Men are finally beginning to catch on.
A few years ago, two neuroscientists—Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam—wrote a book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What The Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships. They analyzed a year’s worth of search terms– about 400 million of them, actually, 55 million of which were sexual.
Among males, three of the most searched sexual terms on the internet were MILF, amateur and mature.
Those are the biggest “emerging markets” in porn. Guys aren’t buying VIVID girls anymore. They want the XXX version of Real Housewives of Madison County.
Emphasis on real.
You know why? Because it’s so much sexier.
Real trumps everything. Real is hot.
I know not every man agrees. There are still plenty of them who reinforce and confirm all the shit women complain about when they talk about men. And there are also plenty of men who are addicted to cigarettes or alcohol.
But the fact is that there are plenty who aren’t.