Props to Gabriele
for pointing me to this Guardian Unlimited article
on the Bad Sex
Award. Pub date may have been December, 2004, but it was news to me.
(Folks who want to cut to the chase (foreplay haters!) scroll down to The Contest
in big, bold letters below.)
Here's a snip from the first place award winner, Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons
Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns - oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest - no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now! She must say "No, Hoyt" and talk to him like a dog. . .
You can read the rest of it (and more!) at the Guardian Unlimited link. For now, I have one comment before I get to the contest.
Us ear, nose, and throat doctors don't even use that word. Even its simpler form, otolaryngologist
, is anathema. No one can pronounce it. I had to go through five years of residency to learn to pronounce it. It's true!
Here's the deal. We used to be ear, nose, and throat doctors. Then the general surgeons started calling us booger-pickers and snot docs, and we decided a la
Rodney Dangerfield that we don't get no respect, no respect at all. Some wag got out his Greek dictionary and figured out,
oto = ear
rhino = nose
laryng = throat
and we became otorhinolaryngologists.
Instant disaster. The Yellow Pages started charging us for the extra letters. ENTs began committing seppuku
because, in addition to "Hey, can you see through to the other side?"* and "Huh?"** we now had to hear "How do you pronounce that?" TWENTY TIMES A DAY.
It didn't help when we became otolaryngologists. If anything, life became worse. The word was slightly smaller than otorhinolaryngologist, having lost the rhino, and some folks thought perhaps they could pronounce it now. They couldn't.
Some European dude thought ORL would be better. Catchy, easy to pronounce. Everyone loves acronyms. But then some American dude said, "Hey, wait a second. We do a lot more than ears, nose, and throat. We do cancer surgery, too! We're head and neck surgeons. We're ORL-HNS!
Someone, probably a small town private practice doc like me, had the bright idea of going back to ENT, and we lived happily ever after.
So, what's up with Tom Wolfe's use of 'otorhinolaryngological'? I think Mr. Wolfe is trying to say that sex is an ungainly, awkward, breathless experience, rather like saying otorhinolaryngological
. And if we say pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism
, we may even need to change our underwear.
Anyway, let's talk about sex. Let's do better than talk about it; let's have a contest! Yes, I'm shamelessly copycatting. The Smart Bitches
held one not long ago. Demented Michelle has a cool Halloween contest at her place
. Mine, naturally, will be about Le Bad Sex.
A. You don't even have to write a complete scene. Give me a sentence. A sentence fragment. Like that one. Or this one. Just make it reek to high heaven, okay? It's like the Bad Hemingway contest without the machisimo. Or maybe with
the machisimo, if that's what floats your boat.
B. Two hundred words or less. Don't get carried away or I'll hurt you.
C. Use this post for entries only. I will post a chat thread below this one for comments and questions.
D. The prize:
a $20 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble books, BUT: if you promote this contest on your blog or website, AND if you win, I'll make it a $30 gift certificate. (When you post your entry, tell me where you have posted your promo.)
E. Entries will be judged by my ten-year-old son Jake.
F. Just kidding! Jeez, that would be a total buzz kill, eh? No, we'll judge this like we do at the Writers BBS. Email me your votes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. You may not vote for yourself. Scoring will be based on a point system: 1st place is 5 points, 2nd is 3 points, and 3rd is one point.
G. Multiple entries are allowed. In fact, multiple entries are usually necessary to achieve optimal results. *um, sorry, couldn't help myself*
H. Contest begins: NOW!
I. Contest ends: Midnight, Pacific Standard Time, Tuesday, October 18th.
J. Voting begins: immediately after the contest ends.
K. Voting ends: Midnight, Pacific Standard Time, Thursday, October 20th.
L. You must enter the contest to vote. Sorry, but if any of y'all are as Type A as I am, you'll probably end up paying winos to go to their local libraries, hop on the computer, and vote for you, just so you'll win some dumb gift certificate. And besides, I'm trying to encourage entries.
New!!! M. You may enter as many times as you like.
*The ENT looks into his patient's ear.
"Hey, doc, can you see through to the other side?"
"Ya know, I could, except there are these two walnuts rolling around that are getting in the way."
**The ENT says, "So, Mr. Patient, how's your hearing?"
"Huh?" (Followed forthwith by eager I'll bet you never heard that one