Athens Musicians Share Their Favorite
Steps to Controlling Your
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The Sex Issue STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 EDITOR’S LETTER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 NO GLOVE NO LOVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 [ANTI] LOVE LETTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 PRUDE FOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 BETWEEN THE SHEETS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 RHYTHM OF ROMANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 MORNING LIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 STAR-CROSSED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 INTIMACY OF SELF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 LOVE & TINDERNESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 SCREENPLAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 BARING IT ALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 FITTING IN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 FUNNY GIRL[S] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 CROSSING CITY LIMITS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
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Study Abroad IS WAITING
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TH E W OR LD
After a drink or two, the conversation between my friends and I will occasionally turn to sex, and while it’s not the first time, we’re usually giggling like school girls in their first sex ed class after a few minutes. Though we’re close, these chats are not regular occurrences by any means. Even behind closed doors, conditions have to be just right. In this issue, we at Ampersand wanted to open the floor for discussion and hopefully make the topic a little less taboo. You’ll hear from a range of Athenians who give you embarrassing, hilarious and surprisingly sweet stories from the bedroom (pg. 8) and local musicians dish about their favorite songs to get down to (pg. 16). Get a closer look at the LGBTIQ community on campus and in the city, and the double standards that exist there (pg. 44), and explore your sexuality through outlets like yoga (pg. 31) or dance (pg. 36). From debunking myths about condom use (pg. 6), compatibility (pg. 28) and modern aphrodisiacs (pg. 12), to examining theories on body image (pg. 38), we tried not to leave anything out. But if you disagree, and you don’t find a story that resonates with you in this issue, please write to us. The more we talk about sex, particularly non-traditional experience and perspective, the more those ideas are strengthened, and more minds are opened. So no matter what you’re preferences are, let’s talk about sex, baby.
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F E B / M A R 2014
Battle of the Bulge
BY: LAUREN LOUDERMILK
An afternoon drizzle turns into a downpour, and suddenly you’re caught in a climate catastrophe wearing flip-flops. You pull out the small umbrella you keep tucked in your bag just for this reason. It catches most of the water, but you’re still drenched and you don’t know why. No one has bothered to tell you that you’ve been walking through thunderstorms in sandals with an umbrella that’s inside out. Sexually active men and women are getting the same amount of protection against STIs and unplanned pregnancies as someone using an inverted umbrella in a rainstorm. According to Health. com, Condoms are 98% effective if you use them correctly, wand only 83% if you don’t. Katy Janousek, sexual health coordinator at the University of Georgia’s Health Promotion Department, hears a lot “about certain brands of condoms that break or are bad.” All condoms have the exact same effectiveness level, however, so it’s all in human error. Janousek explained the 11 steps and procedures that you should file away for a rainy day.
3. Check for an air bubble in the package. If it’s been ripped and air has gotten to it, it can dry it out and make the condom more brittle and easier to break.
Don’t use with other latex products like another condom or a female condom. “Double bagging” does not equal extra protection, but instead the latex rubbing together could cause a tear.
The first step is to establish verbal, sober consent, Janousek soundly advises.
Keep condoms out of pockets and, as Janousek shrewdly says, “they shouldn’t be in a dude’s wallet every day since middle school just in case,” because the latex will rub against the wrapper.
Next, check the expiration date. Most condoms have a 4-year shelf life - but only if they’re stored in a cool, dark place, like in a nightstand or the bathroom drawer.
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Open the package with your fingers and not something sharp, like teeth or scissors, and when you take the condom out, grab it with the pads of your fingers, not your nails or teeth.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: MANDY LE
Once, you have it out, slightly roll the condom over your fingers to make sure it’s not inside out. If you unroll it onto the penis and it is inside out, throw it away and get a new condom, as it could have come in contact with an STI, advises Dr. Lindsey Doe, clinical sexologist on you Youtube series “Sexplanations.”
When you’re finished doin’ your thing, pull it off away from anyone’s body that could get infected with a disease or get pregnant and dispose in the trash as opposed to flushing, because they gum up the plumbing.
Put a couple of drops of a water-based or silicone-based lubricant inside the tip. Avoid oil-based lubricants like massage oil, body oil, lotion and Vaseline.
The most important step: PRACTICE. “What’s important to do is to familiarize yourself with all the different wonderful types of condoms that are available,” Janousek recommends. “Different styles, different brands, different textures, different lubricants. Figure out what works best with you and your partner and practice putting them on.”
Pinch the excess at top to make sure there’s no air in it, and leave this free for the seminal fluid when you gently roll it on.
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I’m really sorry about this. Thinking back on it, I probably should’ve stayed home, in my own bed. That’s not to say I’m not interested in the frequency of your naps in PORT 2600, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’d be happier pretending this never happened. I’d like to think that’d be really diﬃcult, that this would be a night to remember. I’m not boasting, here. An objective panel of judges wouldn’t need whole stars to rate this experience. I think I cued a laugh track every time I touched your bra clasp. When you asked me to, “cum 2 9d’s” I’m not sure what you had in mind. I’m not really a dancer. That may not’ve come across on that table at Bourbon, but, in all fairness, I’d had a few Smooths and more than a few dollarshots by then. I drove tonight, and I really can’t have my license suspended. It doesn’t even have my picture. Honestly, I thought I would recognize you when I got to the bar. I checked some of your pictures on Facebook, but I don’t think you were wearing that dress in any of them. Plus, the lights are so dim and all of your friends have brown hair, too. I guess it’s good I recognized your voice. Well, not “recognized” per se. I recognized you were talking to me on the phone once you were two feet away. And, the only other person “by the credit card parking thing.” Some might call that destiny. I’m getting off topic here. It’s hard to focus when your foot keeps touching my foot. I probably should’ve taken my socks off.
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Where did I start? Apologies. Right. I’m really really sorry. I was pretty nervous, and I think you could tell. You were really nice about it, though. “Oh my god, you’re so nervous,” you said. So nice. I thought a really good kiss would ease the tension, but I didn’t expect my teeth to hit your teeth. Afterward all I could think was “play through it.” You were a really good sport about that. So nice. The few seconds I took to pull your shirt off were the only ones I think of as “easy.” Your boots took a bit more fighting, but, hey, you can’t fall off the bed twice, can you? I’m sorry, that wasn’t funny. I mean, you have a really tall bed. You could’ve hurt yourself. I’m sorry I didn’t bring a condom. You were right. I probably couldn’t have “pulled out.” That takes training. I’ll practice when I get home. Good thing your roommate had one, though. I just wish she wasn’t home at the time. I might’ve saved us both some embarrassment. Anyway, she was a real team player. Okay, I think i’m gonna go now. Not to repeat myself, but i’m really really really sorry. Okay, bye. Sorry,
The Right Side of the Bed
The art of almost-sex is complicated, but after the other night, I think I’m starting to learn. “Want to come inside and listen to Drake?” Damn. That’s a modern day “come hither” if I’ve ever heard one. So that’s what I do. I come inside, go in your room, put on “Take Care” and lay down awkwardly sprawled across the top of your bed sheets. I’m careful not to touch you as I put my head down but I also make sure to sigh and kick my feet up in just the right way. It’s a while before anything significant happens. We sit there for a moment before I put my arm around you, you bring your head to my chest and I pull you in for a kiss. It’s not the best kiss in the world. It’s a little cold and inactive but it’s definitely not horrible. As things intensify it doesn’t matter that much. You kiss my arm, my forehead, my neck; it feels better to be kissed in these odd places. The fact that you would even think to kiss near my elbow to me is more endearing and memorable than if you had tried to shove your tongue down my throat. You ask if I want to stay
over. I know you’re seeing someone else. A month earlier you had mentioned a story about him in passing. You told me while we were watching Netflix, out of the blue as if to warn me to not get too close. But hell, it’s been a month and who is this guy anyway? So I say yes. We start to fall asleep, but I keep waking up both because it’s really hot in your room and I’m nervous as hell. We wake up, kiss, fall back asleep, repeat for several hours. At some point, I would guess about two or three in the morning things get a little more intense. I start to kiss your neck, your navel and then finally I’m kissing where it seemed you wanted me to go all along. My kissing placement choices feel really unoriginal. I stop. I say, “I don’t want to move things too fast,” and you agree. At the time I felt noble, but only now I realize how stupid I had to have been to feel like a gentlemen for “politely” not eating you out on our first night together. We spend the rest of the night holding each other. I’m still nervous.
On New Year’s Eve, I looked for you. I hardly know why. I toasted the year past (thank God that’s over) with some real hopes that I would get this next one right. But there were still unfinished matters to attend to before I could begin anew, and I did something I shouldn’t have: I looked back. With my face painted in bright colors, I sidestepped sidewalk revelers and made my way down back streets, up Clayton, down Hancock. Another lap around the block, I thought, just to say, “I’m sorry” and “I love you.” The golden moment of confession never came, though, and I went home alone. Recalling this night amid a million other things I should be doing, and reflecting on the months past, I feel old and tired. I’m tired of hoping you will get your act together and I’m tired of feeling like I still want you around. I’m tired of training myself to think of other things and to stop searching for your cues. I’m sick of resenting you when you fix longing eyes on me in dimly lit bars, at the same time you’re sliding your hand down someone else’s back. Maybe it’s not you I’m madly in love with,
but the alluring “what if,” the perpetual chase, the unfinished business. Maybe it’s the hypothetical that keeps me buzzed, looking for more than what’s actually there. But at the end of the day, “what if ” is a currency worth nada, and I can’t keep running in circles. Ira Glass once said the moment of finally “getting over it” can come like a thief in the night (Episode 42, Act One if you’re keeping track), so I’m ready for it this time. The door’s unlocked. I hope you know better than to think this is a love letter or a statement of interest that screams, “COME BACK TO ME!” Instead, it’s a giant “F*** YOU” to whichever part of my brain bathes you in a schmaltzy glow whenever I think of you. It’s an expression of wonder mixed with horror that devotion to someone can feel this bad. It’s a note-to-self to one day learn to seek something different than this half-assed, “what-if ” kind of love. Until who knows when.
The next morning is strange. We’re still kind of leaning on one another, but the tone is different. You have a doctor’s appointment, you have to go, you won’t look me in the eye. I say bye. The way you speed out of your driveway says it. It’s been a few days, and the whole thing came crashing down after you told me that it was just a mistake that was never going to go anywhere and I sent a series of overlong and desperate texts (fitting for a fling that began with Drake). I feel like maybe we should have had sex. Maybe if I had eaten you out, it would make you like me more. Maybe if I had gone all the way, I could have called it a one-night stand and I would feel better about how things ended up. That’s not what happened though. You didn’t reach your hand down my pants, you didn’t give me a blowjob, we didn’t f***. Instead, you kissed my elbow. And I can’t get it off my mind. - Nathan
- Desperately Seeking Closure
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Dear Failed Attempt, Why thank you for asking, I’m doing just fine, despite the fact that I currently question our friendship. It’s quite a shame you couldn’t have been man enough to make the effort and apologize for treating me so disrespectfully. You think you’re all high and mighty because you’re single now, which according to you means you can sleep with whomever you want. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong. I am not just a pair of boobs and an ass. I’d like to think I am more than an object of your desire, which is how you cornered me to be––only a one night stand. When I pushed your aggressively clenched hands off my arms as you tried to remove my sweater, and I expressed to you that I was not an easy target to be played, you told me that I made you feel uncomfortable. Did you consider at all that perhaps you made me feel so belittled and uncomfortable in those moments? Here was who I thought was my good guy friend, wanting to come over and hang out, chat, but boy was I shockingly wrong. You came on to me and said to my face you wanted to “f***” me badly. You told me it was just sex. You said my emotions did not matter. You questioned my morals. It’s a relief my womanly intuition stopped your foul sexual hunger from succeeding. I want to share sex with
someone who actually cares about me. You thought that was absurd. But let me express something to you. You do not care about me, your friend, because if you did, then in no way would you have actually granted your wish to share an intimate connection, like sex, with me. You told me I couldn’t get upset or pissed off with you when you admitted that I wouldn’t be called after sex. What are you settling for when it comes to romance? Well, I am not settling for a one night stand. You think you can get by sleeping around with vulnerable girls. I feel sorry for you. You’re only hurting yourself. You want to feel pleasure and satisfaction, anything to boost your egotistical personality, but one night stands are not a win for you nor the girl you sleep with for the night. A one night stand is your latest disgusting addiction, but give it time. Soon enough, you will begin to feel so alone and sad because you will make a name for yourself as a womanizer. No girl wants that. I am done with your twisted, misogynistic perspective. I will not play your game. Yours Truly,
Dear UGA Lacrosse Bro, Maybe I should have been hesitant about hanging out with you, since we met on Tinder and you used far too many exclamation points for any serious accounting major. Then maybe I wouldn’t have met you outside of The Bury last fall, and pretended that it was cute your voice is like a surfer’s (even though you’re from Atlanta). Maybe I wouldn’t have let you pick me up at the Arch later that night and take me home. I wouldn’t have learned firsthand that you very obviously watch too much porn. I wouldn’t have had to deal with you trying to penetrate my bum without asking, and—after I wouldn’t let you—had to listen to you argue about it for 10 minutes. Maybe you wouldn’t have texted me repeatedly afterwards requesting a golden shower (of all things!). And maybe a guy you went to high school with wouldn’t have seen that request (and your name) pop up on my phone. I wouldn’t have had to find out on Facebook that you had a girlfriend, or pretend that you didn’t cheat on her after seeing you two together at the GA-FL game. I would have never noticed that your top Snapchat friend was—not your girlfriend—but another Terry student my coworker once dated. Maybe you wouldn’t have texted me again before winter break to say you were finally single, and maybe our last conversation wouldn’t have been me pointing out that you’re a jerk. But if I had been hesitant about hanging out with you, maybe I wouldn’t have been approached to write this. Stay classy,
The Girl Who’s Never Going to Pee on You
ILLUSTRATIONS BY BETTY HUYNH
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APHRODISIACS The relationship between food and sex throughout history has been complicated and often contradictory. At times religious, often symbolic, and occasionally laughable — everything from cherry pie (place the blame for this association on ‘80’s glam-rocking Warrant) to corn flakes (an original “cure” for masturbatory urges) have entailed some sort of relation with sexual lore. While some foods such as oysters and chocolate have sustained a reputation for being powerful aphrodisiacs, there are quite a few seemingly ordinary and outwardly unsexual eats that have their own secrets up their sleeves. To get the dirt (and some recipes too), read up and learn about the secret life of lettuce, prunes, mint and garlic.
LETTUCE Lettuce served as the symbol for the Ancient Egyptian god of fertility, Min, circa predynastic times. Believed to be a promoter of potency, love and childbearing in women, this leaf vegetable was said to help Min “perform the sexual act untiringly.” Lettuce of Ancient Egypt (commonly referred to as “White Bull”) was also notably tall, straight and releasing of a fluid, milk-like substance when rubbed correctly. Succinctly, it was the perfect fit for a phallic symbol. Circa the 1800s, the glorification of lettuce seriously wilted. Women in Britain chastised lettuce as a cause of infertility and sterility, lamenting it rather than honoring it on the dinner menu. With it’s sexual connotations aside, it’s now reserved for greasy hamburgers and cobb salads, cheaply tossed around at your nearest fast food joint. To amend for lettuce’s downfall and restore it to it’s original glory, try out this recipe for buttered lettuce with slivered almonds, grapes and poppy seed vinaigrette.
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PHOTOS BY KRISTYN NUCCI FOOD STYLING BY KRISTYN NUCCI & GINA YU
BY KYLIE WOODALL
BUTTERED LETTUCE SALAD WITH
Start to Finish: 15 minutes Servings: 4 1 large romaine heart, split in half and torn 2 tablespoons salted butter 1/4 cups almonds, slivered and dry roasted 1/2 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 1/2 cup seedless grapes 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds Salt and pepper
In large saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. When butter is sizzling, add lettuce to pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, moving the lettuce around in the pan roughly every thirty seconds. Remove lettuce from pan and plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top lettuce with garbanzo beans, grapes and almonds. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey and poppy seeds, in a small bowl. Drizzle on salad. Salt and pepper to taste.
PRUNES In Elizabethan times, prunes were commonplace where we would now least expect them and lacked their current “bowel-shaking” connotation. Often offered freely at brothels across the U.K., a dish of stewed prunes was well-advertised as a preventative measure and cure for venereal diseases and considered by many to be a potent aphrodisiac. Having garnered such a reputation for doing more than just keeping you regular during the time of “The Virgin Queen,” the association of stewed prunes with prostitution even seeped it’s way into the works of Shakespeare. In the bard’s classic way of creating an insult out of thin air, Falstaff in Henry IV (Part 1, act 3, sc. 3, 1.12-3) slanders the Hostess by denouncing, “There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.” Adding further insult to the reputation of prunes, Dr. Pepper circa the 1930s worked hard to dispel the rumor that prune juice was one of its 23 famous flavors. In short, many have and continue to read more into prunes than see them for what they really are— dried plums. Casting this wrinkly fruit’s history with bowel movements, sexual potency, venereal disease management and soft drinks aside, we challenge you to make this goat cheese, walnut and prune stuffed chicken breast and call it anything but delicious. If chicken is not your fancy, try the decadent chocolate prune cake instead.
WALNUT, PRUNE, AND GOAT CHEESE STUFFED SPLIT CHICKEN BREASTS Start to finish: 45 minutes Servings: 2-4, dependent on size of breast 2 split chicken breasts, with ribs and skin 3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped 1/4 cup goat cheese 6 prunes, chopped Olive Oil Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 450 F. In a small bowl, mix walnuts, goat cheese and prunes. Cut an incision into the chicken skin of each breast and stuff with walnut, goat cheese and prunes. Drizzle olive oil over each breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put chicken breasts in a greased or aluminum-foil-lined casserole pan. Bake for 30 minutes and check for doneness. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
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CHOCOLATE PRUNE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE Start to finish: 55 minutes Servings: 24 12 ounces prunes, pitted 1 1/2 cups water 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon coffee grounds 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 12 tablespoons butter, softened 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 large eggs Pinch of salt
Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour, grease or line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper. In a microwaveable bowl, combine prunes, water and cinnamon. Cover with microwavable plastic wrap and pierce with fork for ventilation. Microwave for 3 minutes. Once microwaved, drain water and let cool. Place stewed prunes in food processor or blender and puree. Mix puree with buttermilk in medium-sized bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, coffee grounds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and then set aside. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Incorporate eggs into butter and sugar mixture, one at a time. In thirds, alternate adding in dry ingredients and prune mixture into large bowl. Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool and top with ganache. GANACHE 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 cup of heavy cream 1 teaspoon coffee or espresso grounds 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pour heavy cream in medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Fill medium-sized bowl with chocolate chips and coffee grounds. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in butter and whisk ganache until smooth. Let cool slightly before frosting cake.
MINT In Greek mythology, Hades was caught in the act of seducing the river nymph Minthe by none other than his wife Persephone. In reaction to viewing such a scandalous act, Persephone turned Minthe into a lowly mint plant for passersbys to trample upon. In ode to his now lost lover, Hades retaliated by making mint aromatic and sweet, so that when walked on, all would recognize her allure. Stemming originally from Northern Africa and the Mediterranean, mint’s controversial roots in Greek mythology spilled over into heated arguments about its effect on the body. While Roman natural philosopher Pliny, ancient Greek physician Hippocrates and Greek philosopher Aristotle all chastised mint as a sexual depressant (Pliny even writing that it stimulated “the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food”), many Greeks believed it to be a strong sexual stimulant. In fact, worry over mint’s aphrodisiac properties was so great in ancient Greece that consumption of mint was forbidden amongst Greek soldiers. Rather than prohibit mint from your own life, enjoy this refreshing mint and ginger fruit salad as an after dinner palate cleanser. While mint’s
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sexual properties have been disputed in the past, case studies have confirmed that minty fresh breath can actually inspire kissing!
Start to finish: 20 Minutes Servings: 6-8 1/2 pineapple, cored and chopped 2 oranges, peeled and sliced into half wedges 1 grapefruit, peeled and sliced into half wedges 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced 1 apple, cored and chopped 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped fine Zest of 1 lime 2 tablespoons sugar
Place pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, cucumber and apple into a large bowl. Mix lime juice, ginger, mint, zest and sugar in a small bowl and pour over fruit. Let sit for 5 to 15 minutes. Serve chilled.
GARLIC Another famous source of flavor that was prohibited in ancient times due to its proposed aphrodisiac effects was none other than everyone’s least favorite date food- garlic. Valued for it’s medicinal properties, garlic was not allowed in the diet of monks of ancient India in fear that it would lead them to break their celibacy. Furthermore, widows, adolescents and those fasting were not allowed to consume garlic as they were not supposed to be “over-stimulated.” The reason behind garlic’s arousing reputation lies within it’s pungent cloves. The compound allicin in garlic is a documented enhancer of blood circulation, which means more open arteries, which in turn leads to a better chance of sustained erection and stamina overall. While the thought of kissing someone with garlic breath is as appealing as spending a July day with a donkey at a petting zoo, there is one to have your garlic and eat it too. If shared with the one you love, the senses are adequately numbed to garlic’s lingering effects. So eat up, and enjoy this recipe for roasted garlic ricotta spread.
ROASTED GARLIC AND RICOTTA SPREAD Start to finish: 1 hour Servings: 6-10 as Appetizer 2 bulbs of garlic 1 cup of ricotta 1/2 cup of parmesan 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 8 slices of bread, toasted (baguette, french, whole wheat boule or other crusty bread)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice off the top of garlic bulbs. Peel off outer layers of garlic. Place garlic on top of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic with salt and pepper and wrap in foil. Place in oven for 45 minutes. When garlic is roasted, squeeze cloves into bowl and mash. Add in ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with warm, toasted bread.
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BY: WILL GUERIN ILLUSTRATIONS BY: STACEY SUSS
Who decided that “making sweet, sweet music” was an appropriate euphemism for sex? The incongruous pairing seems reserved for cheesy sitcom utterances on “Men of A Certain Age” and creepy remarks from your aging basketball coach that are preceded by an elbow nudge and followed by forced laughs. In my experience, the heavy breathing and rattling bed frame were only suitable to soundtrack awkward games of FIFA, held by my roommates in the adjoining living room. And while I’m sure it’s out there, various Google searches centering around uncovering music that heavily incorporates the sounds of sex went wanting - the sounds of heavy petting didn’t translate into anything like Pet Sounds. I checked for some overly explicit music videos as well, and it felt very middle school trying to score some pornographic digs by looking for “music videos that have sex in them.” No luck.
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Maybe someday a budding musician will sample the satisfying tear of the condom package and turn it into a snare drum hit - maybe the future will even see a University Health Center rap about safe sex (they already struck gold once on their, most likely unoriginal, Halloween inspired “Wrap Your Halloweiner” campaign). Until then, we’ve surveyed the bedrooms of a smattering of UGA students and Athens musicians to see what music masks the moans and pants of our disparate youth.
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Will Guerin (Editor’s Choice) 1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Hysteric” - A weightless, floating arrangement that doesn’t sacrifice the venomous bite of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs catalogue. The song combines the blissful reverberation of chimes and guitar with the brash personality of Karen O’s vocals as she breaks out of sugary verses of “flow sweetly, hang heavy, you suddenly complete me” into the shouted refrain of “Hysteric-al!” It strikes the right balance with a push and pull between emotion and physicality. 2. My Bloody Valentine – “I Only Said” – You might be setting the bar a little high with this one because if you aren’t enraptured in joyful love making, you’ll probably be jealous of what Kevin Shields has going on over there with all those bleeding guitars. 3. Beach House – “Silver Soul” – Wow! What an original pick Will, who would have thought of Beach House? And admittedly, this leans a little too much to the mushy, “let me make love to you” side of things. But c’mon, you can’t beat that guitar tone or Victoria Legrand’s vocals. 4. Purity Ring – “Lofticries” – There is something that makes you lust after “Lofticries.” Maybe it’s the pairing of Megan James’ feminine mystique with the brooding bass and ethereal synths. Ideally, it would be a little faster paced, but the slow grinding tempo has it’s benefits as well. 5. Vampire Weekend – “I Think Ur A Contra” – What’s sex without the blissful afterglow of brushing hair out of each other’s eyes and laying on the bed exhausted? Ezra’s aiming straight for your heart on this one – just don’t read too much into the (somewhat deceptive) lyrical heartbreak he pens.
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Drew Kirby (guitarist/vocalist, New Wives) 1. tUnE-yArDs - “Powa” - It’s a song about sex from the woman’s perspective, which I feel like you don’t really hear enough of. Always loved the line “I need you to press me down before my body flies away from me.” 2. Outkast - “Stankonia (Stanklove)” - I could put the whole album on here really, no one writes about sex like Andre 3000. “Both brains become one mind sensually, every nerve becoming its own individual entity with its own lusts, its own needs to serve, longing for the love of all the other nerves.” 3. “Channel Orange” by Frank Ocean - I don’t think this one needs any explaining. 4. The Beatles - “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” - Obvious sexual overtones aside, all the shifts in this song kind of hit on all the different feelings in sex - it’s smooth, then just gets real dirty and gritty, all of the sudden it speeds up doubletime, then the whole end section feels like a blissful release. And they did it all in 3 minutes. 5. Lil B - “F*** Me (Remix)” - Because everyone needs to keep it positive. Specific Song Connected With Sex - The only song I really distinctly remember is “Ball and Biscuit” by the White Stripes. It was pretty perfect, the song pulses really nicely and alternately explodes and then calms down. I love the builds before the solos, there’s so much tension that has you so ready to dive into the next loud part. The White Stripes in general have a pretty raw, carnal sound. Not to mention it’s a pretty long song too, so it really feels like a trip.
Brian McGhee (bassist, Antpile) 1. Converge - “The Saddest Day” - Not only will it be the saddest day for the woman after engaging in intercourse with me, but this song is so damn long and heavy (pretty much the opposite of my anatomy). One of my personal favorites from one of my all-time faves. 2. DMX - “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” - This allows me to bark profusely during intercourse. 3. Lungfish - “Love Will Ruin Your Mind” - I don’t know if I can believe in “love,” but I can believe in Lungfish. 4. Antpile - “Jeremiad” - If she can’t get down with my band, I can’t get down with her. Totally joking. I would not have a sex life if this were true. 5. Dashboard Confessional - “Screaming Infidelities” - With the black sheets on my bed, “your hair is everywhere” pretty much sums up everything. It’s inescapable to do the dirty anywhere without having hair all over the place. Specific Song Connected With Sex - I once couldn’t continue having sex because “Convenient Parking” by Modest Mouse was stuck in my head. Isaac Brock is the last thing I want to pop in my head while gettin’ it on. I wish lisps were a turn-on for me.
Robby Casso (vocals, Programs) 1. Pet Shop Boys- “West End Girls” - In my mind, this one definitely reminds me of a lap dance plus Neil Tennant’s voice is sexual 2. Tears for Fears - “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” - Makes me think of a guy just walking around feeling awesome after he just got laid because he feels on top of the world. 3. Prince - “Head” - I mean don’t you think the title says enough? Especially when he says, “You’re a good gal; you like to go down.” There it is! 4. The Human League - “Fascination” - Definitely makes me imagine a bunch of ‘80s bikini babes dancing on the Miami beach, grinding with a bunch of bros. 5. Active Child (Classixx remix) - “When Your Love Is Safe” ---? Specific Song Connected With Sex - Michael Jackson - “Man In The Mirror”
“Sometimes I make a sex playlist but I always forget to put it on. So now it’s awkward panting, my horrible creaky bed and muﬄed sounds of my roomate watching Netflix.” Anonymous “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West had just leaked and the first time I heard it was while getting a blowjob.” - Anonymous “I usually like to put on something a little bit emotional, but not downright sad. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Kind Of Blue and All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone are some favorites. I’ll also sometimes throw some Lil B in there to keep her on her toes.” - Anonymous “So I was hooking up with someone and put my iTunes on shuﬄe and the song “Hurt” (Johnny Cash cover) came on and it was soooo not the mood I was setting... but obviously was too busy to change, so had to have sex to sad old Johnny Cash.” - Anonymous “I was just about to have sex with this girl for the first time and then “Here” by Pavement came on. Malkmus knows how to right some touching ballads, so I decided to hold off till the next song on the mix came on. Long story short, I got nervous and ‘performance issues’ arose and I never ended up having sex with her. I used to love that song and now every time I hear it, I am haunted by the eerily fitting line “I was dressed for success, but success it never comes.” - Anonymous “In high school, I was trying to be a comedic romantic (you know to try and not be totally lame about romance), so I put some fake petals (I didn’t want to go buy real ones.. yes, I ripped apart some fake flowers) and as soon as my girlfriend walked in, I started blasting Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On.” - Dionnet Bhatti I remember (unsuccesfully) trying to have sex to the backdrop of “Short People” by Randy Newman. I love that song, not particularly great mood music though.” - Wyatt Pless I was going down on this guy for a long time and I was like “Hmm this feels like really long time, but maybe that’s just in my head”. So I was still doing that, and the song “At Last” by Ella Fitzgerald started playing and the guy finally finished. I went to look how long the playlist had been playing (because “At Last” was last song on list) and I had been at it for 1.3 hours. - Anonymous
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PHOTO BY: EMILY DARDAMAN ANDREA DEMARCUS AND DAVID KIRSLIS OF CICADA RHYTHM
a c Ci
Athens based acoustic duo Cicada Rhythm has an uncommon story. With two, successful years under their belts as musicians and partners in love, band members Andrea DeMarcus and David Kirslis overcome well-known “rules” of mixing work and pleasure, all while making strides in their career. “We just try to keep it raw,” DeMarcus says, highlighting their goal to make honest and unique music, whether it is an old-fashioned bluegrass hit or their rendition of a jazzy classic. The band was born around the same time as they rekindled their relationship after college. DeMarcus noticed Kirslis’s natural talent for music and insisted that they create together. “Oh, bad things always happen when you mix love and music,” says DeMarcus, quoting Kirslis from the time they originally decided to keep their relationship about the music. “I was definitely skeptical,” Kirslis says, “but then we had a hard time keeping it just professional.” Eventually, all the elements blended together: Kirslis’s guitar, DeMarcus’s soulful vocals and her special sweet potato pie pancakes result in a saccharine concoction. Yet, “mixing things” does lead to a complicated situation.
For the Love of Music BY: KALYN WILSON
“We want to say [the relationship and the band] are separate,” DeMarcus says, “but they’re not! It’s really hard to have a conversation without talking about [the band].” Work may get in the way of their down-time, but there are some perks. “I wouldn’t have time for a boyfriend,” DeMarcus jokes, when thinking how much time the band takes up, which translates to how much time they get to spend together. The couple says their close relationship and each other’s presence on stage makes the hard work easier for them. WUOG general manager Akeeme Martin notes that they are very organic. “It is very apparent that they enjoy each other’s company on and off stage and through their music,” he says. In his interview with Cicada Rhythm, Mark Ellers of the Athens Banner-Herald states, “They looked like they were thinking of nothing more than the joy of making music together.” This dynamic is what helps them proceed as a small-town-based band that has now grown to gain an impressive followership and enough funds to complete their debut album this past September. Cicada Rhythm is more than just a band. It is the creative manifestation of the love between two musically inclined and daring individuals. It is the “exception to the rule” and proof that mixing music and monogamy don’t always have to lead to “bad things.”
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BY: LORI KEONG
As a morning kick, I’ll sometimes pair the taste of a bitter cup of coffee with a sweet guilty pleasure: a glance at my daily love horoscope. Today, mine reads, “If you’re single and looking for love, there will be a happy prospect opening up after Saturday.” Well, shucks, Mr. Tarot. Let me clear my schedule. Although I usually take these love digests with a grain of salt, true astrology enthusiasts—more common than some may think—base their entire love lives around their star signs, predicting their ideal mates down to the last moon. After another inconclusive date has me thinking I’ll be spending V-Day with a bunch of single girls at Yoforia, I can’t help but wonder whether there’s an easier way to determine compatibility: what works and what’s worth holding on to. Is it all in the stars? According to University of Georgia astronomy professor Jean-Pierre Caillault and much of the scientific community, absolutely not; there is no scientific basis for astrology. “Obviously it has deep roots in the constellations,” Caillault says, but adds that constellations are made-up and that besides the sun, “there’s no possible connection with planets or stars [and] us.” Well, if astrology isn’t the measure of a match made in heaven, there have to be more reliable ways to test compatibility.
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Dating websites, for one, seem to have matchmaking down to a relative science. Popular sites like eHarmony.com and Match.com, for example, often pair users through an algorithm that accounts for shared interests and personality traits. Sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz, who has been studying gender relations since the early ‘70s, devised her formula for dating website PerfectMatch.com based on the Myers-Briggs personality test developed from studies by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. As Schwartz discovered through her research, matters dealing with attraction and psychology are, well, complicated. In the article “How Do I Love Thee,” published in the March 2006 edition of The Atlantic, she says there is no perfect formula for compatibility, but that science can help people get close. Using personality-based categories as her framework, Schwartz’s test accounts for the fact that opposites attract and that people seek “similarity and complementarity in different amounts.” For example, a risk taker may be attracted to someone who tends to play it safe, at the same time seeking similarities in their partner for other traits. Dr. Jennifer Gonyea, a lecturer and undergraduate coordinator in the university’s
Department of Human Development and Family Science, adds to this idea of compatibility. A licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor, she explains through email that shared interests and chemistry are crucial connectors at the beginning of a relationship. “Engaging in similar interests,” she says, “builds shared experiences so you can draw on them if/when your interests diverge or your viewpoints/priorities change over different life stages.” Coupled with Schwartz’s suggestions that compatibility is complex and individual, though, Gonyea says that “the best and most important contribution to selecting someone with whom you can have a long-lasting, satisfying, happy relationship is to know yourself well.” So what exactly does this process of self-discovery entail? Gonyea says it “involves being open to feedback, striving to be an emotionally healthy person who can
learn from mistakes [and] express remorse,” but also “constantly learning who you are and what you want over the course of your life.” “Think about it this way,” she says. “if you aren’t sure who YOU are, ho do you really know who you are compatible with anyway?” For bumbling 20-somethings like me who are just trying to choose the right career path, this self-knowledge sounds like a tall order. But it explains why dating can be so complicated at our age: we’re still figuring ourselves out. There is no foolproof way to measure compatibility. It may require physical chemistry and a good combination of interests and personalities, but it also means being emotionally flexible, knowing your values and evaluating what attracts you. So while my stars may not always be perfectly aligned (so to speak) in the dating game, I take comfort knowing that the answer to what works best for me comes from within. ILLUSTRATIONS BY: STACEY SUSS
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Intimacy PHOTOS BY PENN HANSA PICTURED V INYASA TEACHER SJ URSREY
BY MEREDITH THORNHILL Although one may not initially think that a relationship exists between yoga and sex, recent studies prove that the connection of breath with movement is highly beneficial to the sexual perspective. William Broad, the Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer for The New York Times, explains to NPR’s Terry Gross in his interview on Fresh Air that a prominent benefit of yoga is an increase in sexual pleasure and feelings. “And just recently, there were studies in India where they looked at married couples who took up yoga and surveyed them before and after. Across the board, it’s improvement in desire, arousal, orgasm, overall satisfaction,” he says. Men and women can even integrate yoga into their lives as an outlet to channel their sexuality, instead of relying on their partner to fill the void of feeling alone. Often times, they crave sex because they crave intimacy. Yet if they can find an intimacy within themselves, they can avoid the entrapment of dependency. Instead of succumbing to one’s desire for a “quick fix,” yoga can be an avenue for awakening the intimacy within oneself. SJ Ursrey, a dedicated yogi for six years and Vinyasa teacher at Chase Street Yoga and Five Points Yoga, admits this understanding of yoga’s beneficial power took her the past two years to acknowledge, accept and embrace. A big part of Ursrey’s life right now is discovering outlets to channel her sexuality, whether that comes from yoga, zumba or music and not sleeping with her lover for a “quick fix.” “I was very stuck in the idea for a long time that it was not possible to find it any other way. And it is. A lot of times it’s a ‘quick-fix,’ but it doesn’t feel as good as creating or getting in touch with your own body first. And then sharing it,” she says. Since 2011, her yoga practice expanded in strength and self-awareness both mentally and physically. Ursrey found an intimate presence within herself, who she truly was, including all her perfections and imperfections, on the mat. She feared the personal challenge of allowing her yoga practice to apply to her life off of the mat. It required a bigger effort both mentally and physically to move beyond her comfort zone, such as getting a “quick fix” to feel fulfilled or empowered, which produced a short-term high.
“It’s been really beautiful. You know you can feel trapped in a way that we’re like, ‘I need sex,’ and we’re not able to get that in a healthy way. After waiting for a while, you’re able to see there are other ways to get the same feeling, which I really didn’t buy at first,” she says. Ursrey gets really creative when she prepares the sequence for her class now, making sure to include any pose that requires her students to root down and draw energy up. She wants them to feel their bodies on their own mat working independently in this world. A result of this instruction is they will recognize they don’t need to be dependent on another person to verify their ability to feel intimacy off of their mat. “Once you’re able to get in touch with that knowledge, you no longer rely on that person. There’s this thought the other person is going to give me pleasure, is going to give me something I need. But if we can get that from ourselves and then share it with the other person, than if something happens to the other person, we’re not devastated. We have our needs met,” SJ says. SJ hopes her students will, like her, allow the process of yoga to become something they individually create, and they will ultimately listen to their minds and bodies, asking themselves, “What do I need right now?” Prosper Hedges, one of Ursrey’s students, agrees that there is a relationship between sex and yoga. Hedges’s practice helps her distinguish those artificial prescriptions for sexuality from those raw sexual feelings. “For me, yoga doesn’t satiate a sexual need, but brings me closer to the wild thing. It clears my head and helps me ascertain what exactly I want. Sexuality is myriad and protean, expressed through the act of sex, but also baths and art and eating bagels with cream cheese. By communing with the self,” Hedges says. Ursrey acknowledges that she is in a better place now with herself, thanks to her yoga practice. “I am no longer laboring under the illusion that someone else has the keys to my happiness, my sexuality, my creativity,” she says.
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PHOTO BY EMILY SCHOONE
Down and Digital BY DANIEL FUNKE
Wake up Athens; dating has changed since the days of knights, chivalry, courtship and dowries. Nowadays, in the fast-paced chaos of modern life, young people use their smartphones for literally everything. Anyone with a semi-firm grasp on current events understands that. However, the utility of Apple’s iPhone goes beyond just listening to Beyoncé’s new album or mindlessly checking Twitter. Dating apps, such as Grindr, Tinder or Lulu, are becoming increasingly popular amongst the 18-24 year-old age group. Think of a mobile, labor-unintensive Match.com; users create online profiles with information such as relationship status, physical characteristics and goals in hopes of meeting people for dates or hookups. This means that iPhone users can actually schedule a hookup for the night and pay for their Starbucks with the same device at the same time. The most well-known dating app is Grindr. A location-based iPhone app that displays local singles in a kind of profile picture mosaic layout, Grindr is used by nearly 4.5 million gay men worldwide. Users can browse the profiles of gays in their area, view their pictures and chat with them. As the name not-so-subtly suggests, the app creates significant controversy among its users. “It takes well-rounded individuals and funnels down their persona into a sexualized image
that places more emphasis on one’s physical appearance and less on one’s personal and emotional traits,” says Alex Merritt, a freshman environmental economics major from Alpharetta. “Grindr takes a large group of people and pits them against each other while connecting them.” An anonymous sophomore said that the utility of Grindr is largely up to the user. “I think that with Grindr or any app like that, you get out of it what you put into it. If your intention is to solely hook up then that’s fine, and you’ll get that out of it,” the source says. “But I think Grindr also enables people who are looking for other gay guys to make friendships or quality relationships with.” Tinder can be viewed as the heterosexual counterpart to Grindr. In the app, users connect to Facebook to find people in their area that are similar to their friends. Then, they systematically scroll through possible matches, choosing with whom they want to chat. Tinder is often trivialized as merely just another way for desperate college students to hook up. “In college, I don’t think people take Tinder seriously. Sure, some people may find success, but I think it leads to more hookups than relationships,” says Agne Stoskute, a freshman journalism major from Chicago, Ill. However, some find Tinder not only easy and
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convenient, but essential. “I am a musician which means I travel a lot. I’m also bored and lonely in cities we have a layover in,” said Frank Keith IV, a senior journalism and music business major from Atlanta. “Tinder has allowed me to meet some very memorable strangers when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.” Perhaps the creepiest app out there is Lulu. Originally introduced to sororities, Lulu allows women to anonymously write reviews and make comments about men that they have had romantic experience with by pulling information from Facebook profiles. “When you Google a guy, you don’t want to know if he voted Republican or what he wrote a paper about in college,” founder Alexandra Chong told The New York Times. “You want to know if mothers like him. Does he have good manners? Is he sweet?” Love them or hate them, dating apps are growing in popularity. A study by the Pew Research Center found that seven percent of cell phone users reported they had used a dating application. Before Grindr’s creation in 2009, that number was virtually zero. And with the growing number of cell phone users, dating and hooking up via mobile apps has seemingly unbridled potential for lonely people in a digital age.
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BY: ELIZABETH VOGAN
P H O T O S B Y: ANNA PENCE
Two naked bodies collide together in an endless array of stark positions. This bodily puzzle assembles itself to the sound of continual moaning and slapping of skin. These seven minutes are only some of the striking moments that have stirred a lot of attention about the film, Blue is the Warmest Color. However, just as love is more than sex, this film is more than its highly criticized sex scenes. This love story about two French women arose in the form of a graphic novel by Julie Maroh. Director Abdellatif Kechiche then brought his own interpretation to the Cannes Film Festival where it won the highest prize, the Palme d’Or. “I had many impressions and suspicions about Blue is the Warmest Color… After all 187 minutes though, I walked out of the theater knowing it would be one of my top five films of the year,” says University of Georgia English student Dafna Kaufman. Her response sounds like what you would expect from a winner of such a prestigious film festival, but not everyone was left with a positive reaction. Brendan Boyle, a UGA graduate and film buff, the same awe was not provoked. “I fully agreed with the restrictive rating. The sex scenes, which are rather drawn out, take place in the early stages of Adele and Emma’s relationship,” says Boyle, who claims the film was traditional and utterly forgettable. “The only real dramatic development that they illustrate is Adele’s sexual awakening,” He adds that it’s a shame the film has received so much publicity and should in no way be seen as a groundbreaking film for LGBT cinema. “I don’t find the sex scenes necessary for the interpretation of relationships in the film. These scenes are more a representation
of a fantasy to me, an exploration,” says Oriana Valencia, a UGA graduate who previously worked at Cine. Despite the possibly overdone sex scenes, there is much more to be applauded about the film. Valencia continues that despite the drawn-out displays and critical movie reviews, there is more to grasp than the sex. Something very human and very relatable arises from the characters. This film portrays the “growth and deterioration of a relationship and furthermore the growth of maturity of Adèle throughout the film,” adds Valencia. “What struck me about this very French indie flick was not the seven minute, relatively graphic sex scene…what I found was the amazingly fluid character development and staunch realism that carried the plot,” says Kaufman. According to Manny Lage, a manager of Cine and film studies graduate of UGA, the film was even brought back a few weeks after being taken down. “The original run of the film was only six days, but in that time, it outsold the other opening film we had that week, which was a Robert Redford film. Considering Blue is a three hour long french film that is rated NC-17, it is really impressive,” says Lage. Clearly there have been discrepancies in the necessity for the intimate scenes to show so much, whether they add to the film, or whether they even appear realistic. However, following the judges’ praise, viewers have also been strongly affected by the raw beauty that the film exudes through extreme close ups, endearing character development and yes — unrestrained sex scenes. “It speaks to the pain and emotion of first love, slashing boundaries of sexuality,” says Kaufman.
this film is more than its highly criticized sex scenes.
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PHOTOGRAPHED: VICTORIA SECRET
Burlesque show me how you
BY STEPHANIE TALMADGE PHOTOS BY: KRISTYN NUCCI
She’s an accountant by day, but Kitten Von Hellcat moonlights as a burlesque performer in Secret City, a local troupe. A fellow burlesque performer, Carina McGheein, perhaps better known as Viciouz Deliciouz, has been involved in the scene for about four years now. She’s not only a performer, though; she also founded and operates Secret City, whose performances are cohesive, theatrical pieces, complete with group numbers. Oddly enough, the Secret City troupe was born out of Burlesque Beta (also founded by Deliciouz), a kind of variety show which combines musical, comedic, belly dance and burlesque acts, not to mention the occasional naked reading. “Beta was the idea of an open-mic that’s a little more x-rated or a little more ‘adult,’” says Deliciouz. The committed burlesque dancers wanted something more steady and dance-oriented than Beta, and hence, Secret City was born. For six months, the Secret City also housed a boylesque troupe, The Gentlemen Callers. “It was a fun six months,” Deliciouz adds with a smile. (But don’t worry ladies and gents, the boylesque performers who stuck around have been absorbed into Secret City shows.) Even though Secret City has only been active for about a year, burlesque dancing boasts a long history. “The way we know burlesque in America is that it was the strip tease between comedians in the old vaudeville shows that went around the circuit. Over time, the burlesque got more popular than the vaudeville shows,” explains Deliciouz. As it continued to grow in popularity, it evolved into go-go danc-
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ing and, following it through the century, to the modern strip clubs we see today. In the ‘90s, neo-burlesque was born, which called for a return to the classical style. In the original styles, “there’s a very specific way that the tease is performed,” says Deliciouz. “So you usually have a glove reveal, a shoes-off, pantyhose-off, like maybe a corset, bra, panties, and underneath is pasties and usually a G-string or something like that.” Finally in the 2000s, neo-burlesque evolved again, and the new style was focused on comedic acts, which is what Burlesque Beta focuses on. “It’s actually where the term burlesque actually comes from, making fun of something,” Deliciouz tells me. “So we’re really focused on humor and clever acts, and taking off our clothes is secondary. I mean, it happens, but it’s really not the focus of the act.” So much so, in fact, that they end up being more skit-like than dance-like. To prove it, Deliciouz recounts a story in which she performed to the song “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes. “I had a bunch of fish heads that I pulled out of my costume, and at the end, eventually pulled one out of my vagina, which is really kind of repulsive, but very funny.” Though overtly girlish elements like rhinestones, costumes, makeup and wigs have a firm spot in burlesque performances, the female performers aren’t concentrated on pleasing the male gaze. Deliciouz says, “Even though these things may seem like they clash, in the thick of it, it has nothing to do with the patriarchy finding you attractive. And that’s really freeing. You’re taking something like the female form that has been so subjected to the media, and you’re taking it back.”
PHOTOGRAPHED: KITTEN VON HELLCAT PHOTOGRAPHED: HONEY B
She continues, “When you do burlesque, there’s not a specific way you have to look, and a lot of things actually fly in the face of what is conventionally attractive, for the sake of a punchline, for the surprise, for the opposite of what you expected.” Von Hellcat enjoys incorporating elements of humor and surprise in her numbers, even though she usually sticks to classical formulas. She recalls one of her favorite performances––a Freddie Krueger number set to Katy Perry’s teenage dream. For Von Hellcat, one of the best parts of burlesque is having the opportunity to put herself out there with her strengths. “I don’t think I’d be a good actress, I can’t sing, I can’t play musical instruments,” says Von Hellcat, “but I like being on the stage. It’s a really
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indescribable feeling of joy when you’re up in front of people and they’re cheering for you just to do your number.” The troupe also travels to regional competitions. Von Hellcat says, “For me, being able to see other people celebrate their body types, I’m excited to be a part of that.” While stripping down to pasties and a thong on stage may sound terrifying to some, the performers of Secret City support each other unconditionally. Von Hellcat and Deliciouz agree that the troupe is more like a family than anything else. And as for audience support? “They’re always just happy to be seeing boobs,” says Deliciouz. The next Burlesque Beta show is February 15th at Go Bar.
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PHOTO BY ANNA PENCE PHOTO TAKEN AT FITNESS @ FIVE
STRONG is the new
BY DIONDRA POWERS
beautiful, scantily-clad model appears on screen. Her body is perfectly toned. Her sparkly belly ring accentuates her defined abs and matches her pink Nike bra and compression shorts. Welcome to Fitspo. This image is just one example of the “fitspiration” craze, a trend designed to show people what healthy lifestyles can accomplish. Pictures of ripped men and women with minimal clothing and glistening bodies usually accompany quotes such as, “sweat is fat crying.” The idea is to inspire the unmotivated by showing them the sexualized bodies they could have. However, the result is an over-sexualized idealiza-
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tion of exercise results. Cody Rogers, a junior at the University of Georgia, attributes part of this to ancient tradition. Strong is the New Skinny Rogers works out at Ramsey five or six days a week and sees fitspo transformations daily on Bodybuilding.com. He balances his personal expectations through research and gym buddies who help to keep him grounded in reality. “In all honesty, [fitspo] does really affect the psyche of a lot of people,” he said. “In the sense that they think they can get there overnight and they’ll do whatever it takes to look like that.”
However, that sexy, drool-worthy six-pack won’t magically appear because you look at pictures. Rogers stresses that much of exercising is finding what works for the individual rather than adhering to a universal routine. Many workout websites, such as bodybuilding. com and crossfit.com offer personalized plans to help you look like a sex god without injuring yourself. Ann Gore, a sophomore at UGA, also works out at Ramsey five or six days a week. As the daughter of a former bodybuilder, she understands the role genetics plays in fitspo. “Some people can’t get up to a certain body size,” Gore said. “Some people are born to where they don’t even have to diet super hard and they can be really cut.” Not All That Glitters Is Gold Just because it’s called fitspiration doesn’t mean it’s inspirational or fitness-related. While ridiculously sexy bodies do actually motivate people to eat healthier and exercise, one should watch out for selfesteem killers. You know the ones. Images of dangerously skinny women wearing lacy underwear to show off their thigh gaps appear next to words such as, “What you eat, you can’t hide, because it’s written on your thighs.” These perpetuate the trend of the “thigh gap,” where your thighs don’t touch when standing up. Although some people have this physique naturally, most run the risk of serious injury trying to obtain it. These are times when fitspiration can fall under “thinspiration,” or “thinspo,” an inspiration to achieve a certain level of thinness. Gore realizes the danger of putting too much weight on fitspo pictures and the impact it can have on women. “Sometimes, they’ll see girls that are super skinny but super fit at the same time,” she said. “And sometimes I think it could lead to stuff like eating disorders, if
you get super insecure about it.” The problem with social media trends like fitspo is the near instantaneous speed at which they take off. A January New York Daily News article by Tracy Miller recently called attention to the “Bikini Bridge” phenomenon. This fake thinspo trend, which made its Internet debut in 2009, captivated social media with an alarming swiftness when it resurfaced just days prior. The bridge is achieved when the hip bones poke out farther than the stomach. According to the article, the pro- and anti- bikini bridge posts that originated from a group of anonymous 4chan message board users were meant to be sarcastic Their alleged intention was to raise awareness of body shaming. As stated in the article, it was quickly discovered to be a hoax, but not before community posts on outlets such as Buzzfeed and CNN picked up on the trend. The sarcastic tone of the posts was largely lost due to the genuine following the “bikini bridge” trend gained, which shows just how much power these unhealthy images can have. Buyer Beware What separates true fitness inspiration from thinly veiled eating disorder endorsements is moderation versus starvation. Next time you feel compelled to exercise by any number of fitspo images out there, devise a plan. Be smart about your aspirations and your physical reality. Gore said “the point of [fitspo] is so that people can see what it’s possible to achieve and so they’ll strive for that.” “That’s why the Greeks, the Romans, they did the marble sculptures of the guys, just completely perfect specimens,” said Rogers. “Because of the physical prowess, the sexual prowess. That’s the biggest thing [about fitspo].”
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Doing it in Pants: BY JUSTIN PAYAN ary, I’m going to shovel you to death!” Clara Nibbelink shouts just before shoveling a whale to death. This is just a typical scene in one of Lady Parts’ open rehearsals. They are playing a game called Six Pack, in which three pairs perform three different improv scenes. However, Lady Parts is not just about playing games. The group focuses on building self-confidence by teaching less experienced women how to improv. Lady Parts is an all-girl improv troupe that was started last year when the female members of UGA’s Improv Athens noticed that only one-third of the members were women. Nibbelink remarks that, “For some reason, girls weren’t getting funneled into Improv Athens as much. There’s a divide somehow.” Over the summer, Nibbelink reached out to female friends from both Improv Athens and Sharkwing Comedy, UGA’s premiere sketch comedy group. Together they decided their number one goal was to provide an inclusive, friendly environment for women to learn comedy. This meant forgoing performances in order to focus on skill-development more intensely. They try to keep that learning environment alive in each of their rehearsals. Their rehearsals usually start with warm-ups varying from improv staples like word associations to Lady Parts’ original inventions, like Elizabeth Capers’ “Walk into the Club Like”, in which they show off dorky ways to enter a club. These warm-ups release any tension in the room. There’s no reason to be self-conscious, because everyone in the room is going to be absolutely ridiculous for the next hour. Although they are still a fledgling troupe, Lady Parts has progressed rapidly into the UGA and Athens communities. Their first performance was in October at UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts, followed by performances at Ciné, Rose of Athens Theater and Go Bar. Anyone from their open rehearsals is allowed to sign up to perform, as long as they come to the three separate performance rehearsals.
PHOTOS BY KRISTYN NUCCI
IN THE PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) SAHIMA GODKHINDI CLARA NIBBELINK ELLEN BRIGGS ELIZABETH CAPERS
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IN THE PHOTO: (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) SAHIMA GODKHINDI ABBY HOLLAND
IN THE PHOTO: (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) SPENCER TOOTLE ABBY HOLLAND
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There are reasons why improv is an especially welcoming format to women who want to boost their creativity and performance skills. The first rule in improv is to always say, “Yes, and…” rather than blocking creative choices by saying, “No.” They’ve embraced this philosophy by accepting all women and even the occasional man into their rehearsals. The focus is on being pro-woman rather than anti-man. Nibbelink says, “The thing we do that is, I think, so welcoming, is that we practice what feminism actually is as opposed to what the media portrays it as –– that is, we celebrate and appreciate and work with a diversity of perspectives.” Each perspective offers something funny, some way to make the audience laugh with women and not at them. They also hold talkback sessions after performances to explain why females need a safe space for comedy. For their faculty advisor Jen Smith, the empowerment is all about exploring female identity without men. “It’s for individuals to recognize that they have power, not only as individuals, but as a group,” says Smith. “There’s no issue with male privi-
lege in the group because there are no males in the group. All of those things disappear. When you realize that those things are not there, then you’re aware that they exist in the real world. That awareness in and of itself becomes power.” The dual approach via comedy and talkback sessions has been incredibly effective. As Smith says, “There’s no pressure in comedy. As an audience member, if it’s something that’s supposed to be comedy you come with more of an open mind. You’re willing to laugh at things that you wouldn’t necessarily laugh at if it were a serious matter.” And the self-categorized “FemProv” troupe has certainly left an impressionable effect on the community. After the Spotlight on the Arts performance, an elderly UGA alum excitedly told them, “Back in my day, we would have never let women do this, especially not in pants.” Lady Parts performer Molly Pease says, “That was like the best definition of what Lady Parts is –– doing it in pants.”
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BY STEPHEN MAYS AND ABI LAMBERT
University of Georgia LGBT Resource Center
P H O T O S B Y NICK SEYMOUR
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n Nov. 8, 2013, students and faculty at the University of Georgia marched in protest. Their cause? Fighting homophobia and racism. Their prompt? Derogatory posts made to the Facebook pages of the Black Affairs Council and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center. In the wake of such events, a look into the Athens cityscape reveals gaping holes, holes created by a lack of gay bars and the absence of an LGBT community center. It begs the question: “What’s a gay to do?” The question has no answer, at least for those living in Athens. Less than 60 miles away, Atlanta stands as the former “gayest city in the nation,” according to a 2010 issue of Advocate Magazine. Within four years time, though, none of those queer-oriented establishments have radiated into Athens. Despite those lack of venues, some Athenians have taken to creating their own. Ricky Roberts, an active member of several LGBT organizations in Athens and Georgia, began a group called Saphyre in 2010 to fill in some of the vacancies for gay women (or womyn as she would spell it) in Athens. She also began a regularly occurring party called “Under the Rainbow.” “There is not a lot going on in Athens for gay people,” Roberts says. “There is a genuine fear for adult people to be out in Athens.” She says she doesn’t feel personally affected by homophobia on UGA’s campus but also mentions the lack of gay venues and community center. However, she is currently working on creating one for the Athens community. Athens LGBT has the public support of the mayor, but Roberts believes that the town still has progress to make to include people of color, transgender individuals and people of low socioeconomic status. On the flip side of the coin, Roberts expresses how impressed she is with the LGBT student organization at UGA. “I have never seen anything like Lambda or the [LGBT] resource center at any other school,” she says. “They are so active.” With an on-campus presence this strong, the lack of similar programs in the surrounding area is peculiar. Almost always described as a college town, Athens itself has a disconnect with this facet of the university. Roberts attributes this lag in social progression to the fact that both Athens and UGA lie in the South and along the Bible Belt. “People are not used to being around gay people. The atmosphere is not completely accepting of those who fall outside of the norm,” she says. “I worry about the safety of all my students, but I believe that those who are different in some way are more at risk.” The high level of activity from the student LGBT group doesn’t exactly parallel the actions of the university itself. UGA only provides soft benefits for domestic partners. Those include “life, dental and accidental death insurance, which are entirely paid for by employees,” according to Flagpole. A proposal to offer hard benefits was struck down in June 2013. Geography, as mentioned by Roberts, isn’t the cause for this, since the University of Florida provides hard benefits for partners. UGA researcher Corey Johnson studies the relationships between dominant and nondominant groups in areas of race, sexual identity and gender. Influenced by the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Johnson also works to promote tolerance in schools through the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, a group that helps high school students having a difficult time with their sexual identity. While he personally finds Athens to be “quite tolerating,” he also points out the lack of a gay singles scene. “Your perspective on tolerance is going to be different depending on
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where you come from,” Johnson says. “Someone from a big city is going to see Athens as lacking diversity if that person is used to always being around gays and people of color. Someone from a small town might see Athens as an oasis for acceptance.” So despite the presence of LGBT activism on the University of Georgia campus, the surrounding city pales in comparison. Uzma Chowdhury, vice-president of the Student Government Association, says, “I think what we really have to deal with here is not just Facebook posts — it’s something bigger. It’s a culture and a history that comes with what has happened in the past (and even continues now) at the university, and the South in general.” Through the events that played out on Facebook, UGA was again reminded of the struggle for equality facing those of the LGBT community in the South. The lack of gay bars and venues on a surface level echoes a deeper failure to acknowledge this portion of society. Chowdhury notes the distance between LGBT and straight members of the Athens community as a key problem. “What we really need to do is to expand the community of support to include more than just members of groups who are marginalized.” Steps toward commonality are being made, though, through Roberts’ attempt to establish an LGBT community center and the work of student groups. “We are working to begin hosting Open Dialogues — open discussions, safe spaces to talk about these issue, and to address them,” Chowdhury says.
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The February 2014 Issue of Ampersand Magazine, the Lifestyle magazine of The Red & Black.