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Kayak Love Monkey

Posted Aug 26 2005 12:00am

In the days

When we were swinging form the trees

I was a monkey

Stealing honey from a swarm of bees -bonoSex has confounded wise men since the dawn of time. Philosophers, religious leaders, and the devoutly pious have laboured long and hard to define sex within their own personal dogmas, perceptions, and interpretations. Somehow philosophically sex like gluttony, just did not seem correct under the bright lights of human enlightenment. The problem has always been that sex for most humans is not an issue of like or dislike, but a part of natural existence. When cloistered in an incense filled chamber lost in the writings of Anslem, it seems reasonable to ask, “how can some seemingly base behavior be “normal” within a creature designed in the likeness of God? It can’t be right. Can it?”

The philosophical intelligencia (now there’s a fun and possibly redundant phrase) have practiced and advocated paths from avoidance and abstinence to the, “if you must you must, but don’t have fun” approach. Enjoyment is often the sin, not so much the act. Certainly they would admit that act in-of-itself has lofty goals within the confines of procreation. So the trick is to procreate which is good, but not take too long, which would be bad.

It is often said too that sexuality will weaken the body and mind. Various eastern writings suggest that you must practice abstinence to achieve true spirituality. Just as one must fast to open the mind. Interestingly Mahatma Ghandi wrestled with a vow of brahmacharya (chastity of in thought and deed) his whole life and admitted he could not achieve it.

However, if you take the philosophical and religious leanings out of the equation and look at sex from a purely evolutionary view (insert Darwin Fish Here), then it seems to much more easily fit into the context of human life. Since we are just evolved animals anyway then there is no need to be “hung up” on the whole subject. Desmond Morris would heartily agree. In this view we “naked apes” have no choice but to be drawn to the Miller Girls or Chippendale dancers depending on your point of view. Heck even chimpanzees live in societies that have war, loyalty, sex and tradition. Why should we not ape the ape as well?

One thing is for sure, no matter how we package it sex is part of life and can’t be avoided. As a society we try to devine ways to clean it up and sanitize it for our modern sensibilities. Often with farcical and funny results. Media is a great example of these human contradictions. As George Carlin pointed out, we can shoot and kill all we want but sex is something to be censored. Thing is, they also know that they can use sex to manipulate, exploit and sell. So the thought in the board rooms must be something like, “we have to use sex, but not “LOOK” like we’re using sex”. This too is approached in many odd and interesting ways. What I find most fun is how some TV channels can be so sex-centric 6 days a week and politically and religiously moral from 6 am to noon on one day a week.

So what has this to do with kayaking your wondering? Well, it’s actually got to do with this kayaking magazine that I have sitting here in my office. Most of the time kayaking magazines have pictures of kayakers or landscapes. Sometimes they will just throw in that occasional boat on the beach at sunset shot to add a warm fuzzy feel to things. Kayaking is one of those things where you don’t really need to over sell your magazine. If you’ve got good content you’ve got an instant, hungry audience. This new magazine has a close-up shot of woman in a white bikini holding a paddle behind her back. At first I didn’t really think about it. Half-clad women on magazine covers is just part of the whole clutter of our modern world. I suppose it was so natural I didn’t even think about it. But as it sat there it began to stand out to me. Then I found myself trying to figure out if I had seen a “bikini” cover on a seakayaking magazine before. Is the picture bad? No. Is it offensive? No. I’m male, I’m human and I’m not offended. I enjoyed the the content in the magazine as well actually. But yet, I’m a bit irritated. Thing is, I hate being intentionally manipulated by marketing guys. They just assume (see above) that most men are chimps and if they throw an attractive woman on the cover then all us chimps will come pick up the magazine.

The rough truth is. . . they’re probably right.

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