Monday, September 08, 2008

The Sultry South This is Not

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about Gainesville. Whatever that depressed, overweight, thirtysomething friend of yours told you about the best four years of his life spent going to football games and getting drunk on Mondays in North Central Florida, well, that’s just revisionist history. Not that Gainesville is that bad, but, much like its iconic quarterback, it ain't all it's cracked up to be either.

And I was having a real hard time deciding which over exaggerated myth to first dispel for everyone until the Alligator once again threw rant fodder right in my lap with this lovely article. For those who don’t know, the Alligator is our not-official-school newspaper, which wrote a not-so-flatteirng piece about me a year ago. Since then I have not been the paper’s biggest fan.

For those of you too lazy to follow the link, the story is from the Alligator’s new sex columnist (and how anyone under the age of 25 is qualified to give good sex advice is beyond me) about the sultry, sweaty, heat-induced sexuality of being a University of Florida student (or “Gator” as some of the more spirited prefer to be called). It reads like a slightly-more-literate Harlequin novel about a deliciously ribald Southern sexcapade. Or, more accurately, like a Blanche Devereaux monologue told over a piece of cheesecake in the kitchen. The heat, and the humidity, makes sexuality boil over here in Gainesville, and everyone in the city is just aching to do something that they’ll have to deny to their roommates the next day as they rush out to Walgreens at 10 a.m.

Or such is the myth about life in a small, southern, college town.

Now, I actually happen to know the girl who wrote this column. She’s a good writer. Hell, if I were ever to admit that any college kid I had a class with was a better writer than me, she’d probably be it. But it seems that Stephanie is perpetuating a myth about this town that it is a four year orgy of sex, liquor and sweat, with an occasional break for class. And that rumor, my friends, needs to be squelched.

Now I’ll admit, I do not exactly have my finger on the social pulse of Gainesville like I may have in Miami. Hell, I don’t even have my finger on the social toenail of this city. But if the sex is hanging in the air heavier than the humidity, as Miss Dunn implies, I must be walking around with a gasmask on. Because, like I did in Miami, I don’t leave bars before closing up here, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen somebody leaving with a partner they didn’t come in with.

Just to give you an idea of how overstated this column is, here are a couple of passages that are about as accurate as your typical SCUD missile:

Ironic, isn’t it, that at home, where everyone knew everyone, you couldn’t find anyone worthy of your superior body fluids? And if you did get laid back home, you were probably either settling or unaware of your potential. Admit it.

Yeah, ok, I admit that back home I probably did settle once or 20 times. But there were also a good number of times (3) where my potential was fully reached. And the underachieving I was doing in Miami was typically just out of laziness and boredom. Here it is out of necessity.

So without much warning, you’re thrust into a strange, new arena where more than 50,000 strangers, a collective mass of throbbing, carnal energy, are after you, seeking, well, exactly what you’re seeking — sex.

Yeah, it’s fucking Miami Velvet North, Steph. Not so much. I’m pretty sure I know “throbbing, carnal energy” when I see it, and it is seldom in this town that it rears its throbbing head. And if everyone here is really out to get laid, why is it that the only blockers in Gainesville better than the guys in front of Tim Tebow are the sorority sisters of whichever girl you’re talking to at the bar?

I’m not sure how Gainesville got this reputation as a sweaty, sultry capital of casual sex. Perhaps one too many undergrads realized getting laid in the real world took more than a bong and a room in a frat house and thought it was easier in college by comparison. Or maybe it’s like so many things in life, that people like to overstate it to make it seem cooler.

But don’t be fooled folks, there’s about as much sexual tension in this town as there is in the bedroom of a 50 year-old married couple. The hot and humid part she got right, but the sexual energy? I think that got left somewhere on the Turnpike.

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At 12:09 PM, Blogger SUE said...

I have to disagree...maybe it's 'cuz Steph is a pretty girl and gets more play than you do.

Maybe it's just because she's a gal period.

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Um, Sue, if the ability for a pretty girl to get play was the barometer for a town being sultry and sex-filled, EVERY town in the US would qualify. Pretty girls can get play just about anywhere where there are straight men. If anything, you sort of made Dade's point since you seem to be implying that Gainesville is a great place to score... but mostly if you're a pretty girl. That's like 99% of the country.

At 1:17 AM, Anonymous K said...

I have not lived in Florida, and therefore cannot comment on the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the writer's assessment of Gainesville, its sex scene, etc.

I can, however, comment on your assessment of this woman as a good writer. She may know how to turn a phrase, but she won't get anywhere as a writer if she doesn't learn proper punctuation (unless she's the next ee cummings). I'd start with the difference between a dash, an en dash, and an em dash. Maybe while she's at it she can learn to space them properly as well.

On second thought, maybe it would be easier to start with the comma and work your way up...

At 1:11 PM, Blogger OCD OD said...

That Blance Devereaux line was fucking brilliant.

At 8:51 PM, Anonymous anon451 said...

Stephanie Dunn is a senior majoring in journalism and English.

...and if you give her your seat on the bus she's likely to blow you.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Mr. Freer said...

wow. you are totally right on.

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Meredith said...

Agree to disagree. You must be looking in all the wrong places.


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