Wednesday, December 05, 2001

K. has gone back to the New World, with a brief layover in Iceland. She tells me that on the way here, she discovered that the airport, Keflavik, has been completely remodeled. It's no longer basically a hallway with a bunch of doors off of it that are the gates. Instead, it's now full of glass and Escher-like, as you take the up escalator you can see where you are supposed to be on the down escalator, but you can't figure out how to get there. Which I suppose is just as vaguely hallucinatory as the long hallway was, considering how whacked out one invariably is on a dark midwinter Iceland layover.

I was in the middle of a meeting outside the office when she left, natch, and I hadn't managed to say goodbye to her and when I realized it, I suddenly had to excuse myself and give her a ring from the men's room, although I didn't tell her that's where I was.

She'll be back in January.

While she was here, I introduced her to Queer as Folk (the original British version - I haven't seen the U.S. version) and she was instantly addicted, hating the character of Stuart at the beginning and then having a huge crush on him by the end, finding that the actor who played Vince looked like a certain type of Boston Irish frat boy that she finds, er, unattractive.

''They showed this on channel 1 on Swedish television?'' she asked.

Yes, the husband told her. But kind of late, like 10:30 or maybe 11 o'clock. They could never show that in America, the husband asked, could they?

''Not on the American version of channel 1,'' she said. And indeed, America allows rather extreme violence on network television, but not near-naked men simulating sex (and there weren't even any hard-ons. No real, uh, soft-ons either, if I recall correctly). Because we Americans are so weird about sex.

I wonder, is it still true that there are a significant number - maybe not the majority, but still - of undergraduates who actually believe that it is better not to have sex unless it's with that special someone, preferably someone they are about to marry or, in some cases, on their wedding night?

Because this is what these horrible "Take back your hymen" and "Scared sexless" and "Sex suspect" sex education programs preach: Sex is something to be afraid of. Which is an awful thing to teach someone.

So, the Swedish word for the day has got to be sex. It means both the number six, as well as sex, which can make for some interesting confusion on occasion.

- by Francis S.

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