Warning: The subject matter in this column may not be appropriate for all ages of readers. Certain concepts may not have been explained to elders by readers under 12 years of age. Kids, screen your parents and grandparents as they scan this with their magnifying glasses to catch signs of heart rhythm interruptions.
It’s time we talked about the facts of life. Things have changed, you see, since the days of “Leave it to Beaver” and Ozzie and Harriett when the birth of offspring was a subject judiciously to be avoided. If Ozzie started to follow Harriet toward the bedroom, you could depend on a fade to black for a commercial before they got halfway down the hallway. If Beaver asked Ward, his dad, some innocent but treacherous biological question, you could see dad blush on black and white TV. If Lucy Arnaz slept in the same room with Desi, it was clearly understood that it was in a separate single bed. The presence of children was evident, but they seemed to be the result of immaculate conception as far as any biological treatment of their existence was concerned.
If you need confirmation of this, consider the family unit depicted in “My Three Sons.” In this half-hour sitcom, Fred McMurray, the father, had three male offspring and Grandpa completed the core family. Nowhere was a female in evidence nor was there much consideration of how the male lineage was perpetuated without female participation.
“Back in my day,” as those of us approaching or inhabiting geezer-hood are wont to say, TV was judiciously sanitized of any taint of the nitty gritty of procreation or other naughtiness. The closest we ever got to seeing any treatment of bawdiness was when Lucy rolled her eyes at some supposedly off-color reference of Dezi’s.
In contrast, television of today can be pretty well depended upon to acquaint even the least interested of pre-pubescents with anatomically correct, detailed, and thoroughly portrayed depictions of sex acts by the time they’re out of onesies. And that’s just the commercials. If the action in the programming gets too mundane, said youngster can fast-forward to the next commercial since he learned the operation of the TV remote before he discarded his binky.
If it should come to pass that one is asked the once unavoidable question, “Mom (Dad), where do babies come from?” it’s convenient nowadays to instruct, “Ruthie (Kevin), watch TV in primetime tonight and if anything’s not clear ask me later.”
It should be noted, however, that considerable confusion has been caused by the lack of explanation related to the commercial use of the image of a couple in adjacent clawfoot bathtubs facing the setting (rising?) sun in a cow pasture. This scenario concludes the advertiser’s presentation of a pill to enhance romance. It’s picturesque as all get out of course, but one wonders:
How did we make the leap from love making chemically enhanced by a magic libido capsule to side by side soaking in isolated bathtubs in a field? And far from plumbing and a water heater besides?
Why two single tubs instead of a hot tub/spa for two?
Just how did the tubs get filled with heated water? Was it laboriously hand-delivered by the same crew that’s running the camera?
How long does the couple have in hot/warm/tepid water before it gets too cold? What happens when it gets cold? Where are their towels and clothes?
Are the tubs actually watering troughs for the cows that were already inhabiting the field? If so, were our lovers just out enjoying a naked post-lovemaking stroll, being careful to step around the cow patties until they came across the troughs and decided to slip in while the cows were busy elsewhere?
And, of course, the lingering unanswered question posed by the admonition to “Call your doctor for an erection lasting longer than four hours.” Could the presence of the unplumbed bathtubs in the field be a subtle reference to the unspoken antidote for that condition, namely, immersion in cold water?
I asked my doctor if he thought I should have his home phone number in case of such an eventuality were I to avail myself of the capsule previously referenced with no outdoor icy immersion readily at hand, but he thought not.
As an adjunct to that, though, he offered the opinion that such a warning, while the equivalent of warning of the dangers posed by flying pigs, was still-and-all an inspired marketing ploy. After all, what daredevil of a certain age wouldn’t be challenged by risking it all for that!