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Double your pleasure

So, this week, I was having a hard time coming up with an idea for my column. The subject of my last offering was pretty appropriate and timely, if I do say so myself, as we had just turned the calendar to another year and another semester, both of which were badly in need of some serious prognostication. Without a clear idea of what to write this week, I went in search of any source of inspiration. Unsuccessful, listless even, I called my good friend Chase, a student at Tufts University. When I asked him for his advice, he replied thus:

"Write about sex. And sports."

Ummm... thanks, Chase.

At first blush, this advice is crap. No offense, Chase (as if you thought I meant any... and as if you are reading this column), but it is generic, unoriginal and slightly offensive.

... And brilliant.

You see, my primary objective in this column is to appeal to a wide range of current and former, but mostly current, Duke students. With that in mind, let's go ahead and divide this key demographic of 18 to 22 year olds into sub-demographics. The most obvious division (at least according to our oppressive, gender-obsessed society) is between men and women.

Now, ask yourself, what do men want to hear about?

Sex. And sports.

Good. Now, what do women want to hear about?

Sex. And sports.

C'mon people, Title IX; look it up.

Some of you don't believe me. I know that there are those of you out there who think that all guys want to hear about the McLaurin Polynomial of sin x and all girls want to hear what Senor Oscar De La Renta unveiled in Moscow this spring. You people, no doubt, led by Larry Summers, are sexist. But I digress...

Anyway trust me. When it comes down to it, guys want to hear about which NFL wideout holds the record for receiving yards in a single postseason (it's not Jerry Rice anymore; it's now Larry Fitzgerald) and girls want to hear about who is boinking Blair on "Gossip Girl" (it's not Nate anymore, thank God; it's now probably everyone else).

The broad versions of these subjects are much ballyhooed here at Duke. Between Sixth Man Nights with Coach K and "I Heart Female Orgasm" seminars, we are so inundated with them in our daily lives that it can be hard to think deeply and seriously about their impacts on said daily lives.

For some, sports represent more than just an escape from the daily trials and tribulations of orgo and sorority bake sales. Sports can be a gateway to an elite college education through scholarships or a stepping stone to fame and fortune in professional leagues around the United States and the world. Although they are easily written off as inconsequential competitions involving ultimately unimportant feats of athletic prowess, they intrinsically represent so much more.

As for sex, well, we've come a long way, baby. For instance, The Chronicle's now myriad sex-centric columns would never have been allowed to run in these pages 70 some-odd years ago. Did you know that one columnist even went so far as to use the word "vagina" in one of his columns this year? No, seriously, look it up. Now I'm no literature major, but I'm pretty sure that word got "Huckleberry Finn" banned in public schools. On the one hand, it's great to see that sex is so accepted in our Duke culture, but it makes one wonder if the excitement surrounding the topic has shriveled because of its unparalleled exposure. I mean, because we now teach classes on human sexuality, has some of the allure of the primal instinct come and gone? Perhaps, as is not the case with sports, about which we don't think deeply enough, we think too deeply about sex. Maybe we all just need to relax and let it happen.

By no means do I want this column to fool you into thinking I believe in the extremes of these two arguments; I am all about catching the afternoon Duke baseball game simply to escape the pressures of academia, and I would like to see kids and adults alike get enough education so that they make informed (and stimulating) sexual decisions. I just think that we need to re-evaluate our perceptions of these common topics.

I mean, after all, that's clearly what Chase meant.


Brett Aresco is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Thursday.


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