Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Succeed or Breed?

© 2007 Leighann Lord
As a former English major, bookstore clerk and all around bibliophile, I read a lot. I finish most of the books I start, but there are a couple I just can't seem to get through. Years ago I picked up the engagingly titled "How To Marry A Black Man" by Monique Jellerette. I didn't finish it which probably explains how I ended up marrying a white guy. Perhaps the book should be subtitled: "Read it Cover to Cover and You'll Get a Brother; Only Read Half and You'll Stray off the Path."

I've also never been able to finish reading "Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude" by Clement Stone. I pick it up every few months and begin re-reading it and I always stop shortly after the author begins to rail about the dangers of sex.

"Another force with which every human being has to contend, and which, if not met with PMA [Positive Mental Attitude], can cause physical, moral and mental destruction is the power of sex. Sex represents the greatest challenge of change! Each human being has the power to choose for himself whether he will use the tremendous power of sex for good or for evil. Each human being must contend with the problems that will arise in his life because of sex." (p. 86)

It’s not that I agree or disagree, but I feel like I’ve been baited and switched. I'm reading a book about success and then I'm blind sided by a sermon. Thankfully, the author doesn't leave you hanging. He asks and answers the question inquiring minds want to know: "How can you transmute the power of sex into the good and the beautiful?" (p. 87) I'm thinking dinner, candles, and soft music, but the author’s says:

"Keep your mind on the things you want and off the things you don't want. This means you keep your mind on immediate, intermediate, and distant desirable objects. The instinct of sex in the subconscious mind will be patient if it has hope that you will fulfill life's mission."
He also says:
"Work long hours at a labor of love. It will keep you busy, occupy your thoughts, and use up surplus energy."
So basically, work hard and don’t think about it? I guess that's how he wrote the book. I resent the implication that hard working, success oriented people aren’t having sex. Just because it has to be scheduled in one’s day planner, doesn’t mean its not happening.

This advice is a hard sell for the let it all hang out society that is modern America. We are loathe to postpone pleasure of any sort. We don't wait well and are unaccustomed to it. Two words: instant gratification. Think it, want it, have it NOW.

All the media messages that matter say if you want sex, have sex. What are you waiting for? Oh, right the video equipment. Apparently sex today must be taped and posted on You Tube. If it doesn't go viral, how good could it be? No boundaries. No privacy. No waiting. Today, all that wonderful sexual energy, Mr. Clement speaks so highly of is spent having sex. And when folks are done they have just enough energy left to roll over and turn off the camera.

I’m willing to wager, given his ardent sincerity on the subject of sex, that the author had a colorful youth. But for some, age and time dulls the ardor; makes us forget or want to. As my grandmother often said, "Many a gay blade, turns into a sword of righteousness."

The hormone haze of sex and love that begins at puberty thrusts us all headlong into a lifelong dance that has many missteps. The trick is to find the balance between being a wall flower and a video ho; between complete denial and full on hedonism.

A respectful acknowledgment perhaps?

As Spike ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer;" "Lover’s Walk;" Season 3) so eloquently said:
"Love isn't brains, children, it's blood... blood screaming inside you to
work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
Love’s bitch indeed. Happy reading. Happy dancing.

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