The Secret Prudes

Icicles on Snowdrift

Ah, the final thaw. I can feel it coming. The snow is almost gone from our lawns, and all that is left are pitiful patches of dirty ice clinging for life. It’s grey and raining now, but the weekend promises sun and double-digit temperatures.

I apologize for the slow blogging this week. I’ve been cramming on my submission for Cycling Science — 4,000 words that I started on March 8 and were due on April 4 (today, ack!). It’s largely done, but as is the problem with writing non-fiction books for young readers, the real challenge is not in what goes into the book, but what you have to take out. As far as I can tell, my word count per page spread is supposed to be just 300, and I think I’m averaging about 500.

Anyway, as I was talking to my editor, he mentioned that he isn’t going to start work on the draft until Sunday, so that gives me a little more time, though I’m still hoping to be done with Cycling Science by the end of the day. It’s snowing now, but the weather promises to be sunny and warm over this weekend, and I want to enjoy the arrival of spring.

Assuming Cycling Science goes well, I will have another commission through April (which I will rush to finish before the arrival of Nora), on Baseball Science. I’m looking forward to dissecting the physics of a curve ball.


On a completely different subject, I should mention that Erin and I had the pleasure of watching all three seasons of the Shakespearean-play comedy Slings and Arrows, starring Paul Gross and Martha Burns. It’s an excellent take down and send up of the Stratford Festival and Shakespearean acting, and like the best parody, it has a tremendous love for the source material. Parental discretion is advised, though. This series came out on Showcase and HBO and so isn’t afraid to swear or get dirty.

But one thing I couldn’t help noticing is when all of these passionate characters hop into bed with one another, there is little actual nudity, or even the hint of nudity (which is especially surprising because there are nude scenes. Paul Gross has a scene where his character dreams that he’s naked on stage). But this is a common feature in any television work where the narrative wants to say, “and they made love”: you will typically see the two characters in bed, the sheets pulled up, with the woman very obviously wearing a black nightie or bra or something.

Why is this? I mean, I can get (and approve of) the reasons why the actual sex isn’t shown. And I get (and approve of) the reasons why the covers are pulled up, or obstacles get strategically placed before the camera as characters get up and get changed. But who has sex while keeping their bras on?

Okay, please don’t answer that.

It just seems to me that television shows which go so far as to flat out tell viewers “these characters had sex” is deathly afraid to say “and they lay naked in each other’s arms”. And this is on Showcase, television without borders (or morals). Theoretically, if there was a time and a place to show a woman’s bare shoulders and clavicle peeking out from beneath the covers, this should be it.

And yet violence, blood, gore and swearing, are all okay.

What a strange and bizarre culture we live in.

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