One element in my nearly regular Web jaunt involves a trip to websites operated by urban weeklies, to check out what’s happening in the world we in Siberia with a View can only dream about.
I regularly tap into The Village Voice, LA Weekly, Phoenix New Times, Dallas Observer, Houston Press, Chicago Reader, City Pages, SFWeekly, Westword and the like. This beats sitting in the living room hour after hour in a pair of paint-stained PJ bottoms, staring out the dirty windows watching snow fall and waiting for plows to free me from the berms that keep me a prisoner in my hovel.
If the local electric power system is functioning (things have improved of late and we have juice nearly four days out of five) I find myself in front of the computer screen at 8 a.m., pudgy fingers poised above the dusty keyboard, a free soul soaring in a bright, virtual sky.
After an hour or so flipping the digipages, I am refreshed, sophisticated. I’m unusually susceptible to illusion; it’s my life’s blood.
I don’t often read the “news” as presented in these publications, unless it’s something like Westword’s recent “Smoke Pot Like an Adult in 2015” or SFWeekly’s “High-End Marijuana of the Month Club Hits San Francisco” and “Top Five Exhibitionist Posts of 2014.” News has to seduce me with a boffo hed or I’m off to better things.
I generally center my attention on articles and slide shows in the Food and Drink and the Arts sections of these weekly tabs. This allows me, in the case of food entries, to imagine meals I will never enjoy at new and exciting establishments in the country’s culinary capitols and, in the second case, to shout at the computer screen whenever I see examples of artwork in a distant cultural mecca that look as if they were created by someone’s pet hamster. Actually, I don’t shout until I read the rave reviews that accompany the photos.
But, last week, I chanced upon a news item I could not ignore: an article resulting from exhaustive research, touching on a topic critically important to the nation and its future.
I was stunned. I’m not naïve, mind you, but my long exile has dulled my social blade, so this article shook me like a rat in the jaws of a terrier. I sat before the screen slackjawed but wide-awake in a way I had not been since a sparkly encounter with DMT in the East Village in 1967.
Let those who say investigative journalism is a dying art take note. Let anyone who bemoans the rapid disappearance of high-quality writing and integrity in the news business take heart.
“The Top Ten Most Sexually Active U.S. cities — and where Denver Finishes.”
I read the piece in one sitting (not hard to do considering the text came in the form of long cutlines accompanying photos of erotically inclined young folk), then re-read it to make sure I understood it.
Wow, I thought, this is what I have wanted to know for such a long time and now, finally, an intrepid journalist (more likely a team of crack reporters, each a J School grad) has dealt with the subject.
My interest is fueled from two sources. First, I am old and absent a prostate so, lacking any chance of an actual carnal engagement, I require material from which I can fashion adequate fantasies (No. 10 city? Oh, yeah, I’ve been there. A clandestine, passionate coupling with an aging member of the Junior League at a two-star hotel down by the plaza? Sure!). Second, I’m a Denver native. Granted, I’ve lived in exile for nearly three decades in Siberia With a View, but I remain a proud son of the Mile High City (second generation Denverite, born at St. Joe’s, fourth generation Coloradan) and I cherish any and all accolades our state’s glorious capitol city receives.
The report is structured in such a way as to orchestrate emotion in the most skillful manner, the tension amping up at each step. It gripped me at the first word.
The list moves from No. 10 to No. 1.
No. 10 — Cambridge, Mass. Photo: A trim, bi-racial couple kisses passionately, wet with the mist thrown off by a waterfall. I guess I missed seeing the tropical waterfall the last time I was in Cambridge, but those Harvard and MIT geeks are pretty clever. If anyone could build a tropical waterfall in Massachusetts, it would be them. The lovers in the photo look like they’ve discovered Crossfit. I hear that Crossfit, as cults go, is a pretty progressive organization.
No. 9 — Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo: Trim couple lying on the beach, him on top of her, frothy surf licking at their abdomens, nightfall. When I was a kid in the music business, a trip through Cincy involved a stop on Mount Adams and there was, in the mid to late 60s, quite a bit of him-on-top-of-her action in the neighborhood. I don’t remember a beach in The Queen City, but I visited in the mid to late 60s and I don’t remember much about anything that happened at the time, in Cincinnati or elsewhere. I do, however, have a vague memory of lying atop a young Italian-American princess in 1967, in Philadelphia, home of the original American Bandstand. I also remember being obsessed with Justine, one of the regulars on Bandstand, but that’s another story.
No. 8 — A tie, between Alexandria, Virginia, and Salt lake City, Utah. Photo: Couple locks lips in low light; man, shirtless with prominent pects, slides his hand under the woman’s bra strap. I’ve never been to Alexandria but, home as it is to a legion of government serfs, I imagine low-level bureaucrats living in small apartments need to let off steam on a regular basis. Salt Lake City? What? Sex? In the shadow of the temple? Perhaps back when Brigham and his harem arrived, but most of the heavy action moved to Colorado City and surrounding environs years ago. (Some advice, rooted in personal experience: Do not leave the highway for a Sister Wife safari in Colorado City).
No. 7 — Washington, D.C. Photo: Trim, young black couple tenderly caressing one another as they sit on a tropical beach at sunset, jet ski on the horizon. See comment re. bureaucrat sex above. Also reference Clinton/Lewinsky. I must find an atlas and determine the location of the beach in D.C. It must be spectacular come cherry blossom season.
No. 6 — Seattle, Washington. Photo: Headless woman with curvy torso holds glass of white wine in front of her vagina while out-of-focus man standing behind her leers in anticipation of a coupling. The cutline tells us that Seattle ranks second in the nation in sales at Babeland, “a women-friendly erotica shop.” I attended the American Writers and Publishers conference in Seattle last year and saw no evidence that any of the women at the confab had shopped at Babeland. The oysters, however, were spectacular.
No. 5 — Boise, Idaho. Photo: Man traps steamy blond against a wall, his unmistakable intent conveyed by posture and facial expression. The photo crops the lustful twosome just above the waist. I imagine if we saw a full-length shot, each of the loving pair would be wearing sidearms. Her longing gaze and moist demeanor were no doubt occasioned by a frank conversation about the evil of government and the need to build a blockhouse in the forest, stocking it with enough ammo and provisions to withstand a 10-year-long siege. With the second highest per capita birth rate in the nation recorded in Idaho, there is potential (with access to black market hormonal treatments and Internet porn sites) to create a small army in a decade’s time.
No. 4 — San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Muscular black man clad in blousy white pajama bottoms holds trim black woman clad in silky negligee in his arms on a hotel balcony. They are backlit. Second leading location in the U.S. for condom sales. Obviously, there needs to be an exchange program established with Boise, Idaho.
No. 3 — Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo: Trim, young couple, spooning in bed. Both smile like meth addicts who’ve stumbled onto a free ounce. Both are also partially clothed (the photo is cropped just above the waistlines of the participants, but we can assume their nether regions are bundled as well. Michigan is cold). The University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, so it figures that 24 percent of books purchased in that town deal with sex. In accord with a longstanding No Smoking law, people in Ann Arbor are required to read paperbacks following a vigorous sexual interlude.
No. 2 — Portland, Oregon. Photo: Bi-racial couple in hammock, the woman slithering up the lad’s body like an Anaconda tracking an unwary marsupial. The couple languishes in bright sunlight — a meteorological condition I thought was in short supply in Portland. According to the cutline below the photo, Portlandians smile about a lot more than coffeehouses and microbreweries: contraceptive sales are 127 percent higher than sales in most major cities, and “relationship enhancements” are a prime item for those who are romantically inclined. Too much coffee and beer? Relax, wolf down some relationship enhancements and get to business.
You can imagine what I was thinking as I read to this point.
Where is Denver? My hometown? Home to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo?
Could it be?
My excitement was such that I had to leave the screen for a while, fire up the vape, mix a cocktail (or two), relax, watch snow fall, tell myself that, regardless of which city topped the list, I had learned some important facts about my fellow Americans, added to an already prodigious knowledge of geography and collected enough data to feed my fantasies for at least a night or two. The guy in the blousy pajama bottoms was gold!
In my absence, the screen saver put the machine to sleep. When I crept back to the machine I sat down, hit the space bar, and there it was!
No. 1 — Denver!
The photo could not have captured the essence of Denver any better: a trim, young couple lie next to one another on the grass, her ample breasts set to tumble from a flimsy and lacy restraint, an ecstatic grin filling her mug as he buries his ill-shaven nozzle in her neck.
Denver, just as I remember it — although I have a ferocious allergic reaction to grasses, so I only once buried my nozzle in a maiden’s neck while reclining on a lawn. It was a great experience, however, thanks to a two-bottle supply of Dristan.
According to the caption, visitors flock to the Mile High City not only for the natural beauty to be enjoyed both there and close by, but also for “copious amounts of sex.”
That’s a lot of sex, folk. A whole lot.
And, to make things better yet, the sales of female contraceptives in Denver are 278 percent higher than the national average. Denver women are obviously smart and in control of their own bodies (perhaps this is why no city in Kansas appears on the list.)
As I finished my second reading of the piece, I swelled (well, partially swelled) with pride.
Add one more thing to the reasons Denver is a great city.
The Broncos topped the West this year and are in line for another run at a Super Bowl berth. Denver draws a tremendous number of highly educated young people to an environment that features significant employment opportunities. The nightlife scene is burgeoning and great restaurants abound. The nearby mountains provide everything the outdoor enthusiast could want, in all seasons. They hold the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo every January.
And, if you are of age in Denver, you’re screwing like a rabbit in heat, with someone keeping tabs.
Denver, my Denver.
If the damned plows ever break through the berms blocking my driveway, I might see it again.