"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

'One Flesh' - How The Gospel Of Matthew Made Sex Hot

Rainey Vann always squirmed in his seat when he heard Father Brophy talk about ‘one flesh’ which he did as often as he could.  On the pulpit, in a snap visit to catechism class, or in the sacristy to the altar boys, the old priest always recited Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus said, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh
One flesh…How impossibly erotic and exciting for a young boy. As soon as the priest said the words all Rainey could think about was that soon-to-be delirious moment of ‘sexual union’, his flesh and the hoped-for coupling with Nancy Blithe.

Any boy growing up in the Fifties got shortchanged when it came to sex, and Rainey Vann was no different.  He was warned off of ‘impure thoughts’ by the same Father Brophy who had enticed them with his 'one flesh' sermons
Since Father Brophy was obsessed with sex, he delivered his ‘impure thoughts’ sermons many times a year, every boy in the parish knew that he would ask about them in the confessional.  Everyone  figured it was good to confess them right away so that he wouldn’t ask sticky questions.  They were only venial sins anyway, a few Hail Marys the absolution.

Rainey said that he had undergone a particularly severe grilling.  “Father did not just ask me if I had any impure thoughts”, he said, “but he gave me suggestions. ‘Did you think of a woman’s breasts?’ for example.  When I said, ‘No, Father. I didn’t, he said, ‘Well then, what about her thighs?’ The more he said, the more impure thoughts I had right there in the confessional and the more I had to confess.  I could have been in there for an hour.”

Rainey's  friends were old enough to be aroused by the thought of a woman’s body – even a quick glancing thought was enough – and they spent Saturday afternoons at Jimmy’s Smoke Shop ogling the girlie magazines that Jimmy had in the back.  He wasn’t supposed to let boys back there, but if Rainey gave him a dollar he would.

Image result for images girlie magazines of the 50s

Rainey and his friends might have been aroused by a woman's body but they had no idea about what went where.  Their fathers had never told them anything, so they had to rely on rumor and innuendo.  Johnny Ritzer, a boy ahead of Rainey in sixth grade, had so badly mixed up a woman’s organs that only a circus freak could have performed the sex that he had imagined. 

Rainey Vann had an assigned seat to Nancy Blithe in History class which was held right after Religion.  Rainey always found it hard to concentrate when he sat next to her, especially in the warm weather when she wore sleeveless blouses; but concentration was impossible if Father Brophy had talked about sexual union and the flesh during one of his pop visits.  

Of course he was too young to know exactly what sex with Nancy would be like.  Up until now it had been only hearsay, what went where and how, how to get a girl excited, and what to do then.  That’s the wonderful thing about sex, he thought many years later. Even before you know what it is, you want it; and you never stop wanting it, no matter how old you are.  

Rainey's mother had repeatedly said to his father, “Henry, isn’t it about time you had that talk with your son?”; but he could never bring himself to actually do it.  Once he tried, but his allegories and metaphors were too abstruse to have any meaning.  He alluded to reproduction in the animal kingdom, spoke about family values and fatherhood, and said he knew what it was like to be a boy my age; but he never got down to brass tacks, what went where, and how to do it.

Image result for images elephants mating

If all this were not enough, the heat was turned up at Lefferts School, a New England feeder to Yale, priding itself on its union of classical education and modern teaching principles.  Latin and Greek were standard fare for incoming freshmen, and the guest lectures by clergy men from local churches and temples nourished the heady mix of contemporary and traditional thinking.

Whether the Lefferts administration knew what Jim McCurdy was teaching sophomores in his Biology I course, was unclear, but one thing is certain - if any teacher today offered such a steamy introduction to human reproduction, or even hinted at any of these topics today, they would be tarred and feathered and run out of town; but somehow back then, the school administrators gave him a pass. No one was sure they would have if they had heard his talk about hard nipples, wet pussy, panting, moaning, and ‘ecstatic release’.

Image result for image tarred and feathered on a rail

Mr. McCurdy was one of the youngest teachers on campus, not that much older than Rainey.   He had graduated from Yale a few years before, married Mrs. McCurdy n a big ceremony in Kingsport, Rhode Island, and had been appointed as the biology teacher at Lefferts. All students knew that once a year he gave his famous sex lecture; but since he liked to keep his classes guessing no one ever knew when it would come.

Mr. McCurdy  had divided the fifty-minute class into discrete segments: How to Get a Woman Hot; How to Know When She’s Hot; How to Know When She’s Coming; and How to Hold It In Until She Does. 

In any case, Mr. McCurdy had everyone's attention.  Fifteen open-mouthed adolescent boys being turned on by the biology teacher. He must have known that every one would think of his wife in that way every time they saw her; and that she would be the woman every boy thought of when they masturbated under the covers.

The wives of teachers always sat at the dinner table with their husbands and the boys.  Mrs. McCurdy always sat demurely next to her husband while he ladled out the soup and carved the roast beef; but she had to have known that all eyes were on her and not the meat.  Rainey said many years later that he was sure that the two of them must have been playing some elaborate, secretive sex game that involved the Third Form, some kind of twisted Liaisons Dangereuses with the poor, horny boys of Lefferts the innocent victims.

Perhaps to cover what he certainly knew was a serious stretching of academic boundaries McCurdy quoted an obscure German philosopher elucidating an arcane metaphysical point, something about anticipation trumping actuality. Rainey thought it described his early adolescence; but ‘Imagination is really what trumps execution’ was even more accurate. 
“A woman’s lap is a sacrificial altar; her hairs, the sacrificial grass; her skin, the soma-press. The two labia of the vulva are the fire in the middle. Verily, indeed, as great as is the world of him who sacrifices with the Vâjapeya (“Strength-libation”) sacrifice, so great is the world of him who practices sexual intercourse”

It all would have been a lot easier if St. Paul had not been so obsessed with sex and conflated it with sin; but that’s water under the bridge:

I wish that all were as I am…those who marry will have affliction in regard to the flesh, and I would spare you that …he who marries his virgin does well, and he who does not marry her does better…in my opinion she, a widow, is happier if she remains as she is and does not marry again (1 Corinthians 7)

 Image result for images st. paul

Paul had no idea what he was doing when he let loose the sex-and-sin issue which has resulted in no end of stormy relationships, jealousy, and murder.

On the other hand perhaps he did know what he was doing – that there is a moral and spiritual nature to sex; and that moral responsibility should be a guide to our behavior. In other words, sex education is only important if it has a moral dimension.

In any case, Rainey could still remember exactly what Mrs. McCurdy looked like.  She might not have been the sexiest woman he had ever met but certainly the first.     

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.