Forget about the War in Heaven. As many single-and-looking Salt Lakers (as well as early '80s Pat Benatar) can attest, love is a battlefield.
Whether your love life is ample or Deseret, pure and undefiled or, like mine, consisting of opening a hook-up app wherein a pop-up announcing "Syphilis increasing in Salt Lake" greets me, one thing is for sure: Dating in the Beehive State ain't easy. So we here at City Weekly have put together this handy-dandy guide to help you out of your dry spell.
Put the laptop down and stop making up excuses on why the enter button is stuck. A 2009 still-debated study out of Harvard found that Utah leads the list of states with most online porn consumers per capita. Abstinence-only is still the law of the land when it comes to sex-ed, and while a report published last summer by Voices for Utah Children points out that teen pregnancy in the state is at a record low, the same study reveals that STDs among the same population have spiked fourfold over the same rates from three years ago [insert sad trombone noise here].
My personal introduction to sex came at a very early age, when my school friend Fernando shared a porn he'd secured from his dad's stash. In the culminating scene of the forbidden (and oddly sticky) VHS, the star pleasured herself with a lit candle. The image is forever embedded in my head and to this day, I experience a form of PTSD shopping down certain Pottery Barn aisles.
This issue's mission? To clean up doing the dirty's image; approaching the topic without taboo and highlighting some of the folks that are taking an unapologetic stand to sex-related issues. People like Russell Greer, who longs to open up the state's first brothel and Spanish Fork's Tresa Kehl, who took her experience running an area love boutique to become a sex educator. We also explore coming to terms with your sexual identity within the LDS Church, and on a lighter note, ask a drag queen for romance tips, assemble the perfect locally sourced playlist to get it on and a countdown of the best movies to Netflix & Chill—or in my case, Blu-ray & Butt-play.
Oh, and before falling too far into the hive, you should familiarize yourself with some of the terms you might hear the cool kids saying nowadays whilst on the prowl. Times have changed since the Victorian Valentine, honey.
Regardless of your age, we hope you leave empowered to put yourself out there. Just remember: We are young. Heartache to heartache, we stand. No promises, no demands.
OK, I'm off to the free clinic now.
The ABC's of Utah's Dating Scene
A useful guide to terms you might come across dating around these parts
By Katherine Ellis & Devin Wakefield
Utah is a strange, confusing and (sometimes) wonderful place, but it gets particularly bizarre when it comes to dating. As part of a generation with plenty of ways to meet and "court" someone outside the realm of face-to-face interaction, things can get tricky. So we've complied a glossary to help you navigate the tumultuous waters that make up Utah's dating scene. And while we can't promise that mastery of the local vernacular will get you a date, at least you'll know what other people are talking about.
Afterglow: the warm, wholly satisfied feeling that comes after really great sex. Also, the name of an oddly successful LDS Mormon pop duo.
Bae: baby, sweetie, honey bunny, boo, pookie bear, etc., ad nauseum.
Catfishing: to create an alternate persona or entirely fabricate a fictional person in order to attract a stranger on the Internet.
DTR: Define the Relationship. The dreaded conversation about what a relationship means.
Eternal Companion: the ejector seat on an unwanted relationship or the Mormon sexual greenlight.
Feminist Boyfriend: a local myth (legend?) in Utah.
Ghosting: the French exit/Irish goodbye—fading out of interactions with a person to the point of full-on disappearing.
Hipster: beard-growing, plaid-wearing, film-camera-using, man-bun-flaunting guys who seem to be heavily concentrated in Provo (though Salt Lake City has its share).
Indigo Girls: If you're a man pursuing a woman and this is her favorite group, you may be barking up the wrong tree.
Jack Mormon: someone who may still be Mormon but doesn't care to hide the fact that they don't practice church teachings by doing things like drinking coffee or going out on a Sunday.
Kittenfishing: to exaggerate or fabricate small details about yourself when meeting someone online.
Lumbersexual: If a beard and flannel gets you all hot and bothered, this is you.
Mormon Baseball: 1st: hold hands, 2nd: kiss, 3rd: marriage, home: scheduled sex.
NCMO: Non-Committal Make Out. It's like a Mormon one-night stand.
Outercourse: dry humping, HJs, etc. See also: middle-school sex acts.
Pull a Mosby: proclaim love on a first date.
Quiche: sort of like an egg pie, but more importantly, a telltale sign that you've found yourself at brunch, which means that you are in a committed relationship. So congrats, or whatever.
Return Missionary: when a Mormon couple has sex twice in the same day.
Soaking: penetration but no movement. Little known fact: It is not a way around the Law of Chastity. It still totally counts as sex—just lame sex.
Wait: when you swear off all humans of the opposite gender for 18 months to two years until your bae comes home from his or her mission.
Underage: a term for Utah brides who tend to marry at ages 18-21, thus awarding the state the lowest median age in the country at which a female weds.
Thirsty: return missionaries eager for one thing and one thing only.
Vacation Crush: This is the white whale. It's the hope that you'll catch the fancy of some Sundance starlet or stud and get whisked away to be the world's happiest sugar baby.
Xfiniti: because getting screwed on our cable bill is about the only action most of us can hope for.
Young Adult: an unmarried adult from the age of 18-30. See also: Spinster.
Zion's Loophole: also known as God's loophole. It's most of the above definitions sans a Mormon baseball grand slam. All the awkwardness and wincing of your first time but without the fiery damnation. CW
Katherine Ellis, Editor-in-Chief of the U of U's Daily Utah Chronicle, managed to find an elusive, real-life feminist boyfriend in Happy Valley. Devin Wakefield, the Chronicle's page designer extraordinaire, spends a lot of his time complaining about how hard it is to date while living below the poverty line.
Utah County's longest-running love boutique vibes on
By Colby Frazier
In 1990, I turned 8-years-old. In addition to the regular birthday presents, my parents gave me a CTR (Choose the Right) ring and a Book of Mormon. A few days later, I found myself standing in an oversize tiled bathtub at the Nebo Stake Center in Spanish Fork, Utah. It was April, and the belly button-deep water was cold. Some prayers were said, and before I knew it, I was dunked beneath the water—along with every hair on my head—and my name was added to the rolls of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Round about the same time I experienced my spiritual entrance into the Mormon church, a 28-year-old named Tresa Kehl, frustrated by the lack of fancy stockings available to wear to her husband's work Christmas party, opened up a lingerie shop called Dirty Jo Punster's on Spanish Fork's Main Street.
As I slipped that CTR ring onto my finger and began an unsuccessful and half-hearted crack at reading verse after verse of the Book of Nephi, some of my fellow Spanish Forkers were busy signing a petition in an attempt to thwart Kehl's efforts to become a small-business owner.
That petition drive, and those that came afterward, failed. And today, Dirty Jo's continues to be a mainstay on Spanish Fork's main drag, thriving on brisk sales of clitoral stimulators, stiletto heels and racy lingerie.
"I remember women saying, 'It's OK because they're only going to be around [for] six months,'" Kehl says of the attitude toward her store after the petition failed. "Now, we're going on our 26th year."
When Kehl first opened the store, she remembers the economy was in a slump and vacant storefronts stretched up and down the street. Like any enterprising businessperson, Kehl did her part to lure people downtown, helping to organize a trick-or-treat event on Halloween and a scarecrow contest.
Kehl says she and the local Chamber of Commerce were the first in the state to adopt the use of orange flags at crosswalks along traffic-choked Main Street—not former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson who, to Kehl's chagrin, got all the credit.
No sooner was Spanish Fork's downtown humming again, though, than the city allowed developers to destroy the North Park, situated near Highway 6. A Costco and other big-box chains have moved onto this real estate, leading many downtown shops to flounder.
But Kehl says she believes the street is on its way back. In 2014, the city received some federal assistance to help create plans to revitalize the downtown core. With some parallel parking and a traffic-slowing device, like a roundabout, Kehl hopes that more of the folks traveling Main Street will have the chance to slow down and realize that shopping exists there.
Through boom or bust, though, Kehl's business has thrived. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that neither the nearby Costco, nor the Wal-Mart, sells double-headed dildos and silicone lube that enhances blood flow to sexual organs.
While Kehl initially only set out to provide lingerie and a small assortment of toys to the south Utah County population, an entirely different aspect of her expertise has surfaced: Educator.
In addition to teaching the occasional human sexuality course at Westminster College and Utah Valley University, Kehl says she and her store provide a refuge, and a classroom, for residents who dare not ask their loved ones, doctors or LDS bishops about what they are or are not enjoying about their sex lives.
"They really don't have anywhere to turn to ask some of these questions," Kehl says of some of her customers. "They don't even want to ask their doctors sometimes, so if we can make it a little easier on them, it's a good day."
Kehl says a diverse group of people turns to her for advice. She says a 30-year-old man who had never had sex visited the store the day before his wedding. The man, Kehl says, was in tears because he hadn't a clue what his wedding night would require. A week later, she says the man's wife visited the store to thank Kehl.
Kehl also sells a number of products that doctors prescribe. Some of the top prescription-based sellers include a "Kegal," which helps tighten and repair the vaginal walls; pumps for men with prostate issues and the Magic Wand, a vibrator of sorts that helps stimulate women who have damaged nerves.
In 1999, I could have used Kehl's advice. The teenage pregnancy rate at Spanish Fork High School was on the rise, and I thought it would be a good idea to run for student body president. For campaign fuel, I settled on the tactic of passing out condoms. In Mr. Stone's second-period science class, a couple of us taped a piece of paper to each condom that said: "Be safe, vote Colby." Soon after the condoms were disbursed, I found myself in the principal's office. Disappointed at my immaturity, the man sent me home from school and disqualified me from the election. (Rumor has it, I won that election, but my crown was given to the second-place finisher.)
Kehl gets a kick out of this story, and commends me for my efforts. On this front, sex education in Spanish Fork—and the rest of Utah public schools—remains a desert of abstinence-only, even as the state, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had the 38th highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation in 2013, with 2,269 women and girls under the age of 20 giving birth.
Like many fledgling businesses, especially those that are persecuted, Kehl has had to fight for her right to do business. In 1998, a fire in a neighboring building caused severe damage to Dirty Jo's.
Kehl remembers the firefighters telling her that she'd never be able to reopen at that location. And the fire, she says, reignited the controversy surrounding her business's risqué inventory. "That's when the naysayers came back," she says, recalling that people said, "She fully got what she deserved. God burned her down."
But Kehl says she gutted the place, built it back up (her more erotic stock toward the back of the room was unharmed) and her doors were reopened 30 days later.
While Kehl continues to keep women in stockings (she now offers 500 different pairs), the store, she says, has carried her through a divorce, and it's put her four children through college.
And whether she knows it or not, the mere presence of the place, even for a young boy too timid to open the door and get kicked out, serves as a shining reminder that beyond the walls of the Nebo Stake Center, there is a world awaiting that oftentimes looks mighty nice wearing lingerie. CW
Only the Lonely
A disabled Utahn seeks to open the state's first brothel
By Stephen Dark
Russell Greer has tried everything to get a date. "I've tried the Internet; I've tried in-person dating. I just can't find anyone." The 24-year-old paralegal has a form of facial paralysis called Moebius syndrome from birth, where the deadened nerves inside his face deform the shape of his mouth. His quest for some form of intimacy took him to Salt Lake City escort agencies, which are legal in Utah. He says he paid $800 for a woman who took her clothes off and danced, but "she did nothing I wanted. I wanted a kiss, but she wouldn't do it."
He Googled "prostitute" and where to find them and ended up going to several brothels in Nevada, where prostitution is legalized. He flew to Reno and after 10 minutes of self-consciously hiding his features by keeping his back to women working at the brothel, he met "Jade," who took him to her room and negotiated a price of $1,800 for intercourse. "She made out with me, she kissed me, it was my first real kiss. I never felt so alive."
A subsequent encounter at the famed Moonlite Bunny Ranch in November 2014 did not go so well. Greer felt the woman he had hired for $4,000 cheated him, although she claimed he had consented to not have sex with her. After he sued her and lost, Greer decided to pursue another option. Rather than travel eight hours to Nevada or engaging in activity in Utah that could end up being criminal in nature, he drew up a manifesto for the "Mile High Neon" Brothel," which he intends to see open its doors one day. In the manifesto, he wrote, "A person should be free to pay for affection in a regulated, legal place—a place that offers security and health protection."
After Greer read case law related to the state's fight over same-sex marriage that upheld the individual right to "belong, to have companionship," he decided to confront what he saw as Utah's hypocrisy when it came to licensed sexual-orientated businesses. On the one hand, Utah code allows strip clubs and escort agencies, where what clients and escorts do off the books is a question of negotiation, yet prostitution itself and brothels are illegal. "I don't want to own or run a brothel," he says. "What I'm trying to do is say it's unconstitutional to deny a license for a brothel."
Greer admires the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, featured in a HBO reality show called Cathouse: The Series, as being closest to the business model he seeks to emulate. Owner Dennis Hof is a determined advocate for legalized prostitution, as well as author of The Art of the Pimp. Ask him what the challenge is of running a bordello and he says, "Being man enough to be around all these girls having a great time all the time. I just wish I had 10 penises. I'd be a happy guy."
While Greer's drive to see a legal brothel open in Salt Lake City stems from both conviction and personal need, Hof identifies significant benefits to legalizing prostitution. The trafficking of minors "will slow way down," since they would have to get a business license to prove their identity, at least according to the Nevada brothel-licensing model.
While talking on the phone, Hof goes online and tells a City Weekly reporter that in just two minutes he has identified close to 150 women in Salt Lake City selling sex on Backpage.com and Eros.com. "It wouldn't surprise me at all that the illegal sex trade in Salt Lake City is a $100 million business. There's no benefit to the state, it's a detriment." Legalizing prostitution would mean sex work changing from crime-driven to "a huge profit center."
Laurin Crosson runs RockStarr Ministries, a Utah nonprofit dedicated to providing resources for trafficking victims. She disagrees vehemently both with Greer's plans and Hof's characterization of brothel life. Crosson says her one-time pimp ran her through a West Coast circuit that concluded with working at a Nevada brothel, between 2003 and 2006. The brothel took half her money, the pimp, the rest. "I don't ever remember seeing any money," she says. Women are "confined like a prison to these places," she continues. Contrary to Greer's assertion they get to chose the clients they service, she says once the men have paid, it is their responsibility to service them. At least with street-sex work, she got to look into a car at a potential client. If she got a weird vibe, she could walk away.
"People go into it thinking it's just going to be sex work," Crosson says. "The brothel is your pimp, the brothel requires you to make a quota just like a pimp does. You're supposed to moan and groan on cue, and everything's fine. It never was. I lived in fear." As to Greer's need to have access to legalized prostitution, she says that being disabled and unable "to go out and get a relationship," does not lead to having "a right to ejaculate. That's not a basic human right."
Salt Lake City Police Dept.'s public information officer Det. Gregory Wilking expresses shock that anyone would propose opening a brothel in Utah, "because I feel it's not in the realm of reality in this community." That said, Wilking argues there are some advantages to a regulated brothel in terms of preventing the spread of STDs, documenting and having legitimately reported income and also providing a safer environment than hotels or other locations "for this activity to take place."
After the Department of Commerce wrote to Greer in early January 2016, telling him that his initially approved application to register a brothel as a sexually orientated business was canceled because the business was illegal, Greer decided to sue Utah. He sent a letter to the governor's office and to the Department of Commerce informing them of his intent to file an "applied challenge" to Utah laws that define brothels as "nuisances," claiming that laws that render prostitution as illegal are unconstitutional.
He hopes to hire local attorney Andrew McCullough, who has made a career for himself in part defending people involved in the adult- entertainment industry. McCullough says he is intrigued by Greer's plan, noting that several attorney friends who are members of the First Amendment Lawyers Association, to which he belongs, have filed federal lawsuits in San Francisco recently, seeking that California's prostitution law be stricken. "I firmly believe that it's nobody's business what you do in the privacy of your home or in somebody else's home or in a brothel," he says.
Greer is working two janitorial positions currently, saving up to go back to the Bunny Ranch and to hire McCullough. The lawyer told him it would be a long, uphill battle, something a friend of Greer's, who works for the state, confirmed for him, in a text in early February 2016. "The Legislature is seeking to ban porn," his friend texted. "I don't think they're inclined to have a brothel." CW
Updating the Ol' Testimony
A journey to finding acceptance in my faith and in myself
By Chris Van Bibber
As a child, when I would wish to bare my testimony, my mother or father would kneel by my side at the podium at church and tell me what to say. I would repeat after them, "I'd like to bear my testimony, I know this church is true ..." and it would continue from there.
As I have lived my life, that has been the basis for my testimony. Serving two years proclaiming to the state of Michigan that I knew this church to be true was one of the greatest times of my life. I sit here as a 27-year-old man, humbling myself as I clarify that I no longer believe that everything that goes on in the Mormon church to be true.
I knew from the beginning that I was different. I knew that I found boys cuter than girls and, even though I didn't know what the term "gay" meant, I felt I needed to keep that part of me a secret. I remember meeting with my bishop when I turned 8 to prepare myself for baptism. My father would sit me down in our family room on our plaid couch with the television on mute (because there was always a game on), and he would ask me about Joseph Smith. He would take me into our front yard and teach me how to hold onto his arm when he'd practice dunking me in the baptismal font.
In the church, it is very apparent how not OK it is to be gay. You are supposed to grow up, get married to a woman and have babies to multiply and replenish the earth. So naturally, when it came time for me to go through the temple before my mission, I continued suppressing the truth and—for lack of a better term—lied in order to receive those blessings.
My time spent lying about my sexuality has fortunately come to an end. When I came out, and even to this day, I have had people tell me that they support me, but they wouldn't vote for me to have equal rights, or that they support me, but don't think that I should be allowed to raise a family or get married. Here's the thing, if you support me, you support me getting married and having a family if I choose to. If you support me, you understand that I deserve love, and I deserve all the same rights that you and your spouse have. If you support me, you also agree that my hypothetical children deserve all the same blessings and experiences that your children will be able to partake in. If you do not support these things, please do not tell me that you support me—for few things make my blood boil quicker.
With news that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has decided to publish in its handbooks that anyone in a same-sex relationship is an apostate and that their posterity—whether adopted or biological—are not allowed the opportunity to be given a name and a blessing upon birth or to be baptized until the age of 18 (and only after disavowing their parents), I find myself at a substantial loss of understanding. Some have argued that this law has been around for years due to polygamist children, and this is nothing new. My argument back is that the church's own 2nd Article of Faith states that "Men shall be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression." Why would any child not be given an opportunity to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost simply because of their parents relationship?
Another question that baffles me is why would my child (again, hypothetical) disavow me in order to receive the blessings of the church, but my temple-attending family members don't have to disavow me in order to keep their recommends? This particular point leads me to feel that the current church leaders are simply fearful that children growing up in LGBT homes may find "gay love" to be normal, and one day when these children become the leaders themselves, laws and ordinances may change because they do not see the problem.
I would never wish ill-will toward another person's child. I have supported my sisters and their kids as much as I possibly can. To think that someone would not do the same for mine breaks my heart. I had always thought that when I have children of my own, I would want them to know the doctrine of the church. I would teach them myself or I would even suck up my pride and take them to church so that they may have those blessings. I am not even a parent, and I can attest that once you have children, your life is no longer your own, and you must make sacrifices for your children.
When I was preparing for my mission, I remember my bishop telling me that I would obey my Mission President without question, even if he told me to go stand on my head in the corner. I disagreed immediately, for was this church not restored through Joseph Smith questioning his local leaders and asking God himself for truth? Is this church not founded upon personal revelation and seeking wisdom for one's own soul?
So, I bear my newly updated testimony knowing that my Father in Heaven loves me and is aware of who I am. He did not make a mistake by making me gay. He knows I did not "choose" to be gay. He knows of the life I live, and that I continue to strive to be a better man each day. I know that the Atonement of Christ covers all of our Father's children, not just straight people's kids.
As my own father sought to take me under his wing and teach me of the gospel of Christ, I know that I would do so with my own children. I know that whatever happens to me on this Earth, I will account for it in heaven. I hope that I will be able to say that I stood for what is right, no matter the cost.
I was raised LDS, and I believe that it is the most true church on the Earth, but I do not believe it has all the truth. It is a church run by men who make mistakes just as I do each and every day. I believe that one day, maybe not in this life, I will have answers to many of my questions. Above all else, I believe that the day will come when my Father in Heaven opens his arms and holds me so very tight. He will hold me to make up for all the times I felt alone or had no one to talk to, for all the times I wished things were different or questioned why?
Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to be gay, for this blessing that has made me have an open mind and has taught me how to be compassionate toward my fellow men. I am proud of how far members of my family have come from the day I told them I'm gay and I pray for those who seem to continue to feel I have a disease. I pray for many things: that all children are given the same blessings from God, no matter who their parents love. That those who are depressed or feel alone in this world know that they are among many others who understand them. I would urge each and every one of you to look at your own testimonies and decide what you believe to be true. Maybe it doesn't agree with what I believe, and maybe it does, but we could all use the refresher. That is my testimony, and that is what I now know is true. Amen. CW
The author grew up in Murray, and is currently preparing for a move to Southern California. You can read more of his words at evenifiwantedto.blogspot.com
The Queen Speaketh
Miss City Weekly dishes on dating, hair teasing and why she hasn't touched a banana split in five years
By Enrique Limón
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Just ask Harry-It Winston, current Miss City Weekly. Soon after moving to Salt Lake City from Malad, Idaho, or "the Lotto capital of Utah," as she calls it, Winston clawed her way to the top, thanks in no small part to a vintage supply of Lee's Press-on Nails she found at the canned-foods store.
Currently, Salt Lake City's glamour fixture works alongside the Matrons of Mayhem in their monthly drag bingo and, in another equally fabulous move, recently unleashed drag Sunday brunch at Club X. We met over Middle Eastern food at Shawarma King, a fitting choice, wherein I cut straight to the hummus and asked her about sex. "That's one of my favorite topics!" she beamed, the overhead fluorescent lighting catching one of her rhinestoned lash appliqués.
What defines the dating experience in Salt Lake City?
The dating reality is: Are you a part of their group or are you not a part of their group? And, just how you are going to get into that click and mess with them? If they're married, I'm all about it, because it just ups the ante. Sorry girls, they're mine! Thing is, I have parts you don't.
What is your most memorable dating horror story?
I met a gentleman caller, and he invited me up for the evening. He lived up the canyon; he picked me up at the gate, fixed dinner and, apparently, I was, umm...the dessert. Since then, I can't listen to the sound of a whipped cream cannister. I blame him for making me lactose intolerant.
On the flip side, what was a good one?
One where there were no expectations. It was down to earth, relaxed and chill. We went to the park...
It was during the day, and it wasn't in the bathrooms or in the bushes, for once. I'm a lady of honor—I only do that when I'm in between paychecks.
What's your best advice for SLC singles?
Be yourself, be open to the opportunity of meeting people outside your cliques or your natural habitat, because you never know if Prince or Princess Charming is in that other group.
What advice do you give straight girls when it comes to dating?
Back off, he's mine!
What about your advice to straight guys?
Be open to the possibility of finding a fantastic drag queen that you might want to date, wink!
Would you say that romance is dead in Salt Lake City?
No. Look at all those people having babies. There are fleets of romance and lust, at least once every nine months here. Romance is strongest in the winter; that's why we have so many children here born in October.
There is a term in drag, kai-kai, to describe when two queens go at it. Have you ever practiced this particular brand of forbidden love?
No! That is just something that this queen does not do. She kikis but she does not kai-kai.
Why is that?
For starters, there are so many layers down there that I don't think you can find it. It'd be like huntin' between the couch cushions for that lost potato chip that you're just starving for.
OK, you have five minutes to get ready for a hot date. What do you do?
I put my lashes and some blue eye shadow on, my hot pink lips, and I don't worry about my garments because those things are coming off. I also make sure that my hair is at least presentable, so it has a chance to get messed up, you know?
Is volume a concern?
Yes. It's all about big and bold. The bigger the hair, the higher the fare.
Wow. I thought you were going to say the closer to God, but that works, too.
I still can't compare to those bitches in Utah County, but who wants the Bumpits, really? That was the '90s, sweetheart. We're past that, we're done.
What final piece of advice do you give to singles who long for true love?
Well, I gave up searching for my one love at the gym because it was much like a bath house, and you're not going to find anything there but foot fungus and damp towels. That's my advice. CW
Songs of Sex & Love & Hate
A local music playlist for the smooth (and scorned) lover in you
By Randy Harward
People write songs about anything, but statistics I just totally made up say that 73 percent of songs are about relationships. And did you know that 99.9 percent of our local musicians have experienced some type of romantic entanglement? (There's only one lonely virgin in the scene, but we won't out him here. At least not today.) And 100 percent of those music makers wrote songs about it! So here's a playlist fulla songs that follow the arc of a relationship. We'll subvert the moralism prevalent in our state and start with sex, then fall in love and finally, because monogamy is so 1955, break up.
Big Ditties! Hookup Songs
This song is pure sex. The bump-and-grind bass, paired with the image of the titular, white-hot vixen, is enough to bug singer Eli Morrison for the digits of whoever inspired this aural Spanish fly. Then there's that sassy-snotty vocal: "Candy, candy, choc-o-late candy/ tryin' to get me to taste yours/ you're the one in the back of my head, sayin'/ don'tcha wanna eat me." Yum.
Canyons—"Don't Force It"
If you want someone bad, you can't let them know. In fact, it's a good idea to make hanky-panky seem like their idea, like it's you who needs to be talked into it. When they nibble at the bait, activate your smooth talk. Express your hunger ("Can I double-dip, to taste you twice?") and how much work you're willing to put into their pleasure ("Oh, baby, this could take all night.") That's the secret to getting laid, right there in a breezy folk tune. Thanks, Canyons.
Thunderfist—"Want It, Need It" or "Dick is Afoot (Endino Mix)"
Fast-paced like it's trying to outrun a ragin' case of blue balls, "Want It" is about when you "just can't have it." You know, when you're beggin' and not choosin', so desperate that you pledge confidentiality if only someone would just please lower their standards and scratch your itch. Then there's the band's classic punk-rock "Dick," which could be a brag or a warning. Full disclosure, no surprises: It's common courtesy, people.
Reaper the Storyteller—"Best Sex"
A list of songs about doin' the do needs a rapper reppin'. In character as a typical club douche, Reaper, blends Isaac Hayes' famous slow-jam smooth talk and Blowfly's unabashedly libidinous rhymes. "I'll give you that good sex that leaves a big mess," he tells the object of his affection. And, later, he tries this one: "I'll be swimmin' in the coochie sea wit' my Moby Dick/ hopin' that your boat-shaped lips can handle it." Finally, realizing things aren't going his way, Reaper's character says, "Just remember you met the biggest dick you ever seen."
Awww...! Love Songs
Candy's River House—"Siren Song"
We start off with this loud-and-proud barnstormer, wherein CRH singer/guitarist Jordan Young growls as much as sings, "I'm in love, I'm in love and she's my only one." It's no ballad, but it's what a lot of us guys sing in the car when we're especially proud of our women. You know, when we're not barking along to sappy ballads in, what we hope, is a private moment.
Starmy—"Belong to Love"
Remember what it was like to be on a date, at the movies, sitting in close proximity to your date and feeling the will-we-or-won't-we tension? You know your side of things: You're infatuated. But the question ("Do you belong to love?/ 'cause I belong to you"), like John Lyman's cool, funky bass line, is the whole of your inner monologue.
Mad Max & the Wild Ones—"The Screaming End"
Nope, not a breakup tune. This surfabilly number is all about proclaiming undying love—again, at volume: "I'll never let you go until the screamin' end!" But love makes you want to shout from the mountaintops, or in this case, from the roof of a 1959 Ford Fairlane.
The lyrics are scanty and hard to make out, but the title, the watery keys and ethereal vocals say plenty. A comforting song to play for the person you love when they need you the most, and all you have are hugs and a couple of words.
Get Out! Breakup Songs
The Blue Aces—"I Don't Wanna Know"
Cristal Ramirez' raspy moan drips with sorrow in this song about getting jerked around, and dwelling in that shitty limbo where you're begging for an end to the torture, whether it's a happy end or not. When Ramirez' bandmates chime in and the chorus peaks, it's exponentially achy.
Cult Leader—"You Are Not My Blood"
Sometimes you want to hurt your ex, give 'em a taste of the pain they so callously brought you. Or maybe you just want them to understand, in no uncertain terms, that they should go—and stay gone. The hate in Mark Kozelek's words (yup, it's a cover) is icy and burning. Google the lyrics and memorize them. They'll work on everyone but the crazies.
The Moths—"You Sold My Soul"
Eli Morrison, again, this time lamenting "lies on top of lies" in a snarl that lays perfectly over the bright, arena rock-via-the garage chords that ring like that string of untruths. A cathartic song for when you start to realize you're better off without her.
J.W. Blackout—"Whiskey, Weed and Wild, Wild Women"
This rowdy, garage rock-meets-roadhouse country number is good for when you're climbing back on the horse, even if you're high as hell, and hammered enough not to care that you used your last condom—and your best prospect for the night thinks chlamydias are pretty and smell nice. 'Cause, as Jamison Wilkins yowls, "She don't care!" CWBee MoviesWhether you're in the mood for Hulu & Screw-U or Amazon Prime & Booty Time, these Utah-centric flicks are sure to wet your whistle
Whether you're in the mood for Hulu & Screw-U or Amazon Prime and Booty Time, these Utah-Centric flicks are sure to wet your whistle
By David Riedel
Do you love Utah? The movies sure do! On John Ford's résumé alone, you'll find Monument Valley listed at least seven times. And while many classic (and not-so-classic) films have been shot in the Beehive State, here are 10 that, in my estimation, stand above the others for reasons that are completely arbitrary, and only obliquely touch on love (or sex).
Best period movie with the worst use of a contemporary song that kills any romance in the air
In 1890s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, while Butch (Paul Newman) and Etta (Katharine Ross) sweetly bicycle through ghost-town Grafton, B.J. Thomas croons the very 1960s "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Sample lyric: "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head/Just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed/Nothing seems to fit." This song won an Academy Award, people. The Oscars may be #SoWhite, but they've always been clueless.
Best movie that makes you feel less weird about your particular fetish
It's not love that Taylor (Charlton Heston) is showing Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter) when he says he wants to kiss her in Planet of the Apes. It's respect, which Zira undermines immediately when she tells Taylor that he's "so damned ugly." Still, man-on-ape action makes your man (or woman)-on-whatever obsession seem less weird, right? Look out for Lake Powell and Glen Canyon while you're watching those damned dirty apes.
Best time-travel movie with a sweet romance
Back to the Future Part III has lots of things going for it, starting with its vast improvement over Part II. It also features the only real love story in the series, a romance between Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and schoolteacher Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen). Sure, Marty (Michael J. Fox) has a girlfriend, Jennifer (either Claudia Wells or Elisabeth Shue), but it's the Doc's trip down Cupid Lane that we watch unfold on screen. Monument Valley plays a small role outside that romance—the movie is done with it shortly after Marty arrives in 1885.
Best movie to watch if you're into the strong, silent type
Jeremiah Johnson features star Robert Redford's love for Utah and its many breathtaking locations, including Ashley National Forest, Snow Canyon State Park and Zion National Park to name but three (and there are plenty more). This movie isn't the easiest flick to watch—there's a lot of violence, not much talking and Johnson is something of prick—but if you can find a pristine print (or the Blu-ray), Jeremiah Johnson is a rewarding portrait of a difficult person (and landscape).
Best movie to use as a break-up tool
While Fletch has provided hours of joy through the ages for countless doofuses, it also really, really pisses people off. The reason (and this, along with my contention that it pisses people off, is totally made up): It's so endlessly quotable that those same countless doofuses have rendered its lines charmless. Do you really need to hear some chowderhead say, "It's all ball bearings nowadays" ever again? Probably not. So if you're the kind of creep who wants to end a relationship but doesn't have the guts to do it, just quote Fletch on a loop until your BF or GF storms off in anger. Then relax with a Bloody Mary, a steak sandwich and a steak sandwich while visiting your friends Marvin and Velma in Provo.
Best movie to watch while in the grips of unrequited love
Dumb and Dumber takes place in Providence, R.I., and Aspen, Colo., but the bulk of it was filmed in Utah. Harry and Lloyd's apartment exterior? Salt Lake City (standing in for Providence). Mary's home in Lloyd's fantasy? La Caille in Sandy. The list goes on. And if you're the kind of person who falls in love with someone who's both unavailable and out of your league, you'll have a lot in common with Lloyd (Jim Carrey). Plus, Dumb and Dumber is still hilarious.
Best movie to watch if you and your S.O. have the kind of relationship no one else understands
In Gerry, after being lost for nearly two hours in disparate and remote locations such as Death Valley, Argentina (!), and the Bonneville Salt Flats, Matt Damon strangles pal Casey Affleck to death and then saves himself. Is it a mercy killing? Or is it totally selfish? You and your lover know the truth and are prepared to undertake similar radical notions of love if the need arises.
Best stand-in for the U.S. Capitol in a dumb romantic comedy
Though the Utah Film Commission website is light on specifics, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde is on its list, so how could it not end up here? That's the Utah Capitol building's exterior standing in for the U.S. Capitol, if every Legally Blonde fan site in the world is to be believed. And LB2 features choreography by Toni Basil. What's not to love?
Best movie to watch if you love Utah (and the 1980s and Kenny Loggins)
The 1980s have so many things to adore: The fashion, the music and actors well into their 20s playing teenagers. Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer were born in the '50s but they're two love-struck kids in Bomont (or Beaumont), a city in an unnamed state that has banned dancing in Footloose. Sharp viewers know Payson, American Fork, Provo, Lehi and Orem play Bomont. Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow play concerned parents and Loggins plays the hell out of the soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, Footloose is completely stupid, but as a product of its time, it's perfect. It deserves our love.
Best movie to watch before revenge killing the people who killed your loved ones
The Outlaw Josey Wales, a super violent tale, makes a couple stops in Utah, at Glen Canyon and Paria. And it features Clint Eastwood doing what he does best: Killin'. And it ain't just killin' for the sake of killin'. It's killin' because someone kilt Josey's family. Yee-haw! While we at City Weekly don't advocate killin' in any form, we certainly don't not advocate vicarious killin' via moving pictures. (Aside: In later years, it was discovered Asa Carter, a former speechwriter for segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace, wrote Gone to Texas, the novel on which Josey Wales is based, under a pseudonym. Yikes!)
Happy Love & Sex Day, everyone. Enjoy your cuddling. Don't drink too many Midori sours. CW