Every now and then I attempt a sexy little shimmy and shake for Davey’s benefit. Most of the time he asks me to stop because it makes him uncomfortable and absolutely not attracted to me. Dancing isn’t my gift, admittedly. Asking me to “gyrate,” “undulate,” or “thrust,” would be akin to asking Nora Beth, at almost 14 months old, to read the encyclopedia and then write a report on the three most interesting morsels of knowledge she gleaned from it. When I attempt to be all “adult,” the result is like what you might imagine Lambchop would look like attempting the same maneuvers on Shari’s hand. It’s just not the best thing for our marriage.
For a while it bummed me out. I wanted to have a mysterious, sexy persona, because somehow it felt more elevated than my reality. I’ve learned a lot. The thing that I was trying to emulate… the reality of that thing happens to be a collection of cancerous cells on the very instution of marriage today. This isn’t another right wing, conservative, evangelical take at “why sex is bad,” but life has dealt a surreal hand recently, and I’m not going to fold my cards and quietly exit the table.
While I am prudish, I am not a prude. I passionately consume all manner of Kardashian and Housewives and can rap a nasty tune or two with relish, but the normalizing and minimizing of the consumption of sex for entertainment that is rampant in today’s culture should leave no question as to why marriages (particularly self-proclaimed “Christ-centered unions”) are eroding at the very seams. The number of marriages that I can point out to my daughter as beacons of partnership and pride are dwindling.
Strip clubs are not glamorous. They are not exotic. They are not aspirational. They are seedy and dirty and perverse and sad. It’s not coincidental that strip clubs don’t offer free childcare. They are not family friendly destinations. They are not friendly to your family. In fact, attending them, will most assuredly spell doom for all future family fun. And that isn’t just because naked babysitters aren’t included in the price of admission. Not many lighthouses are clandestinely nestled inside cliff caves.
The same way I wouldn’t toss a fiver to a stranger in a gas station parking lot willing to shake her unclothed body against my husband’s, I cannot understand why, as women, we have allowed ourselves to believe that strip clubs and pornography are innocent ways for our husbands to blow off steam or bond with the guys. There is no innocence in flirting with destruction and being surprised when it wreaks havoc. There is no way to open the door to adultery, invite it in a few feet and then tell it, “thanks for the free sample of cookies, but I really don’t want to buy the whole box because I’m watching my weight.”
I am the first to admit that I have become wholly desensitized to the presentation and oversexualization of everything these days. Naming my favorite TV shows, I am shocked that other than, um, MasterChef Jr. there is nothing remotely wholesome… be it gratitutous flesh, the minimization of affairs and all manner of infidelity, the purchase of sex, the language… it’s just… it’s no wonder. It’s no wonder we have forgotten how to so much as bat an eye when things crumble around us.
Here’s the thing… immorality IS fun. For a while. That’s the lure, and that’s the danger. I mentioned last week that during worship at church I unwrapped a WintOGreen Lifesaver and popped it in my mouth to freshen my breath. Only it had spend too many minutes packaged with the soap, so it tasted awful. But it took me a while to (1) convince myself it was horrendous and (2) to realize I didn’t have to finish it. The entrapment of sin is so similar… what looks and promises to be sweet, will inevitably begin to lose its sweetness and taste sour and bitter. We have a choice. We can keep it in because it should be as sweet as it looked from the outside, or at the first taste of bitterness we can spit it out and walk away.
The solution, of course, isn’t to spend all day chanting praise music and streaming marathons of 700 Club (I mean you cannnn do that, but let’s be authentic believers who are socially and culturally relevant too, okay?). I still fully plan to workout to Bravo on the daily, binge The Good Wife with my husband (though, I will not watch Scandal any more, but I still love you, Kerry Washington). How foolish to suggest that we rise up and protest the Hollywood machine. Just. No. The solution is to “strip” away (haaaa) the pretense that wanton and immoral behavior are tolerable, acceptable, “fine,” and even “good.” Stop glorifying the unglorifiable. We’re better than that, and the things that are precious are too valuable for that.