The chimera of sex - and lots of it - on Czech streets

24-01-2004

After a while - perhaps more so if you're single - it can all get just a little bit frustrating - the sex, there's no escape from it on Prague's streets. No, I don't have in mind prostitutes lining selected avenues in the capital city, neither am I thinking of the brothels off of Wenceslas Square. One of which sports a limousine parked eternally out front, emblazoned with the words "Falling in Love" - dubious words in this context, one would think.

What I am thinking of is the sex you see on the billboards, the newsstands, and advertisements of all kinds, constantly catching your eye as you make your way to work, home from work, and back again. Nothing else sells anymore, nothing else sells like sex. People may pretend they don't look as they go by, but they do.

My question is the following, how are we going to survive this orgy of "endless titillation"? Surely, there's only so much "artificial arousal" human beings can take!

Let me give you an example: on average any path in Prague will take you down the street where you'll

1) pass a pub advertising topless nights on Tuesdays

2) pass a newsstand only to goggle at the cover of the tabloid Blesk because, yes, the country has - incredibly - been hit by another sex scandal again

3) take the metro in which an ad on the escalator down shows a scantily-clad woman playing beach volleyball - it's winter, we don't even know what she's selling, but never mind

4) not help but stare at a sticker someone stuck on the glass pane for a local escort service as the metro screeches its way down the tunnel

5) be bombarded by half-a dozen building-sized billboards of models as you come out of the station

and finally, as you walk in to work,

6) you find the results of the latest Factum TNS poll on your desk saying that in general Czechs are pretty tolerant about sex in the ads.

Oh yes. Me too. Really. Why not?

It's just that next weekend I promise myself I'm going to go to the mountains to stare at the something else... something I want to see and not what some advertiser wants... trees... my skis... the snow...

Those things at least are real. The sex in the ads is not.

24-01-2004

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