The Sideways Smile

Humor and sex obviously have a lot in common, and anyone who has seen a Woody Allen movie knows this. Both can be uncomfortable or relieve tension. Both drive the plot of numerous popular sitcoms, movies, and books. What makes you laugh and what makes you screw says a lot about your character.

But at the same time, I believe there is a fundamental conceptual disjunction between humor and sex. The idea of a clown or comedian having that drive strikes us as absurd. If you’re laughing and the world is laughing with you, no one assumes you’re trying to get laid in a way that isn’t necessarily pathetic. There’s this idea that if you’re a funny girl, you’re probably not a sexy girl or a very good time in bed.

These are just general observations and do not affect me a whole lot. My sex life is fine, thanks for not asking. Everything is functional, and two of my vaginas are perfectly normal.

But these tensions are real. We can observe them in how we treat the class-clown as opposed to how we treat the class slut. We can observe them in whether we consider someone dateable or not and in how we think of famous comedians or actors.

As such, I decided to write a poem about it, because finding tensions seems to be a good method in writing any genre. Because, as authors, we are supposed to find what itches.

Clown Seeking Copulation

What are you so afraid of,

that a dozen balloons will

fall out my vagina—

red or in any other color?


Do you think I’ve painted

my two sets of lips garishly

or that I’ll juggle your head

mid-thrust along with two bright balls?


Or you might be thinking

I’m a bearded lady in quite

unexpected ways because

you’ve never taken off more than a shoe.


What’s most worrisome is I’ll say some

ridiculous thing after completing the act

about coming and going or I’ll say I must

be a sinking ship because the seamen pour out.


But I won’t. I won’t say a word.

The moon will leave its oily stain

like the softest of lipsticks.

I’ll arch my back like a cat made out of sea.

And afterward, you won’t have to hold me—

at least, not very much.


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