Friday, February 10, 2006

Riding the Hershey Highway with Rick Santorum

There is a saying in business, "You're not selling quarter-inch drill bits. You're selling quarter-inch holes." That is to say, it's not the product itself, but the benefits, tangible or otherwise, direct or indirect.

This becomes obvious as Valentine's Day approaches - we're bombarded with advertising for flowers, diamonds, chocolate, whatever and the message is clear - spend money if you and your girl want to stay happy together. For better or worse, most of us buy into this message. But with VD06 just around the corner, there's one thing I haven't seen in years past: K-Y lubricant commercials.

Seriously. Yeah, K-Y. There are a couple of variations, but one that I see the most often - and creeps me out the most, is for the 2-in-1 Warming Liquid. If you haven't seen it, the commercial takes place on a 30-someting couple's bed, and ends when the voice over mentions "personal lubricant" and the previously uninterested husband perks up.

The message is subtle but clear: this Valentine's Day, give her the gift of anal sex.

Think about it. For most of the commercial, the husband sits in bed, oblivious to his wife's massaging needs and has no interest in intimacy despite the obvious signals. That is, until the massage gel's lubricant function is mentioned. Could it be that the husband wanted conventional nookie but didn't get the hint? Doubtful. As helpful as lubricants may be for vaginal intercourse, it's damn near essential for climbing Brokeback. Here's a man who had no desire to give his wife a sensual massage when it was obviously leading to sex. This man wants the back door and nothing else.

Now, I myself have no interest in finding out what brown can do for me - I'm an old fashioned penis-in-vagina man. But I realize that's what many couples get into and many more are curious about it. Hey, maybe the commercial will encourage people to take the road less travelled by presenting anal lube as a less threatening "massage gel".

Lest you think I'm being naive, I am aware that suggestion of sex is all over advertising. It's just that I can't think of another case where a specific sexual act is advertised with such transparent wink-wink and nudge-nudge. I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm simply taken aback.

Heh heh, I said "back".


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