Thank you to the Gympie Regional Gallery for inviting me to take part in their annual Great Art Debate.
I don’t like being social at the best of times, let alone talking in front of a group, so to find myself standing in front of a room full as first speaker for the affirmative was a bit of a shock. Not as big a shock, though, as when they explained the rules.
“How long do I have to talk for?” I’d asked a week earlier. I figured maybe two minutes – three at a stretch.
“Only ten minutes,” came the reply.
In what universe does ten minutes of public speaking warrant the use of the word only?
Still, now it’s done and MY TEAM WON and I don’t have to stress any more, so that’s good. I do wonder if the audience full of artists and their champions might have helped sway things in our favour.
For anyone who’s interested or conflicted about the idea that art is actually sexier than chocolate, here’s my speech.
Now you may have come into this arena tonight initially and wrongly thinking the opposition’s stance, that chocolate is sexier than art, is going to be more palatable, but I can assure you their argument will amount to little more than matter of taste. In the case of their argument – bad taste.
So, I’m going to set the mood tonight. Tease out the issues a bit, then our second speaker, Karen, will heat things up and I daresay add a little slap and tickle, while Warren will drive our points home, bringing our arguments to a mutually satisfying conclusion. It’ll be very exciting. Very stimulating. Possibly even very sexy. Because debating is a bit of an art form.
I’ve not done a lot of debating in my life and I confess my first idea was to grab a paintbrush and slowly cover myself in chocolate, asking people to stand up at the point where they feel I suddenly become arousing. But my wife, with possibly a touch of bias, pointed out that might prove the oppositions point for them.
So instead, let me restate the topic as I see it: Art is super sexy and chocolate is just a poisonous food substance you need to keep away from your pets.
Intellectualism is sexy, having a good conversation is sexy and art facilitates that. You can get a hot chocolate at the Louvre, but that’s not why people are excited to go there. That’s not what gets the endorphins flowing.
Creating art makes you sexy. Painters often had their muses who’d strip naked so they could immortalise them on canvas. Remember, these were not attractive men, what with their missing ears and refusal to let anyone near the fruit bowl until they’d taken an image of it to show their mates.
And musicians are so damn sexy they have to hire security to protect them from potential lovers. Because songs are the arty stuff which gets into your head and between your thighs, not onto your thighs.
The fact is, if you want to be sexy pick up a brush or a guitar, not a chocolate bar. Enrich the soul not cholesterol.
Shakespeare might have made the best chocolate cake in history but what do we remember him for? Beautifully crafted stories and sonnets which get into your head and make you swoon.
Barry White might have been a whizz at rolling his chocolate salty balls for pre-concert nibblies, but that didn’t make him sexy.
Art is about evoking emotions, whether it’s the written word, a song you heard, a painted bird or the sculpture which stirred, whereas chocolate just looks like a turd.
You know what the sexiest colour in the world isn’t? Brown. No women ever buys brown lingerie. Ferraris don’t come in brown. Why? Because brown is the Nissan Cube or Datsun 120Y of colours – they serve a purpose but they just doesn’t do it for anyone.
When I’m looking to ramp things up on the home front I don’t pull a block of Cabury’s out of the fridge. I take my wife out to a movie, so we can get excited together about seeing something which has been created specifically to pull us into a story. Written, acted, edited teased into life by a collection of people all artists in their own fields.
Art is a great tool for seducing your loved one, while we all know chocolate is more an alone time thing.
Chocolate is more the apology for not taking your wife to a nice place with lots of sexy art and conversation because the footy is on.
In terms of sexiness, chocolate isn’t even the sexiest of the confectionaries. Tic Tacs are. And not because they’re unthreatening but because bad breath stops a romantic interlude in its tracks.
Chocolate is more about you forgot your anniversary was the next day until all the shops had shut except the supermarket. It’s an ‘I couldn’t remember which flowers you liked’. It’s a ‘you said don’t bring anything to the BBQ so I got you these.’ It’s a ‘shit I’m tired, but he’s giving me the look and he’s gonna want something for taking me out to dinner tonight. I better have dessert so I can get a sugar rush.’
That’s so romantic, yeah?
It’s an edible apology. And not in a good way. In fact, with chocolate – the more you have the less you’re ultimately likely to get.
So how did it come to be associated with sexy?
My research shows the Mayans and then the Aztecs are probably to blame. They used chocolate as currency. 10 beans would buy you a rabbit or a prostitute. A prostitute. Well I guess that’s sex. Please, stop me if anyone needs to go outside to cool down.
There are some….who will probably tell you chocolate, like oysters or pumpkin pie or rhino horn or tiger penis, is an aphrodisiac.
While it’s true the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation, I don’t know that this is the right way to go. Like, I’m not sure how others work, but the last thing I want when the kids finally go to sleep is to jump into bed and find my wife so relaxed she’s snoring.
Did you know large doses of Chocolate can cause headaches ….something else I’m not keen to be confronted with when I’m in the zone.
And while art is sexy in a smart, intellectual and mentally stimulating way, chocolate, it must be said, only dumbs you down. Never an attractive look.
For proof I draw your attention to Ruth Wakefield, the accidental inventor of chocolate chip cookies, who sold her brilliant biccie idea to Nestle for…wait for it… a lifetime supply of chocolate. Something she could presumably have also spent the money on she might otherwise have earned.
But wait – chocolate gives you energy. Energy you can use for sex.
Maybe. A bit. In the early 80s, researchers detected a chemical in chocolate which is a central nervous system stimulant, usually present in the human brain, that is thought to help arouse emotions. But the human body actually absorbs very little of this chemical from chocolate.
It’s the sugar which actually gives you the energy. And you can get that from a Tic Tac. Yep, they’re two for one.
Even the mighty US military disagrees chocolate is sexy, a point they unwittingly proved when they invented M&M’s in 1941 so soldiers could enjoy chocolate on the battlefield without it melting.
Because what you want in the middle of a warzone is a bunch of blokes with the blood draining from their heads which would now presumably, if the opposition is to be believed, be full of the images of boobies.
So what is in a bar of sexy sexy chocolate which gets you in the mood? Maybe it’s the thing causing the aftertaste you can’t quite put your finger on.
Well, I’m here to help. Did you know the average chocolate bar contains eight insect parts?
Hmmmm chocolate – sexy like a cockroach wing. Sexy like a spider leg. Sexy like a fly eye.
Next time you’re enjoying a Toblerone or a Fruit & Nut, you might consider what else is giving the bar its crunch. Am I getting you in the mood yet?
And before you go thinking that’s a lot of bug to chew your way through, remember I said average. Anything less than 60 insect pieces per 100grams is a-okay.
And if that doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth about the opposition’s obsession with sexy sexy chocolate, I don’t know what will.
Incidentally, you know how many bits of insects you’ll accidentally eat looking or listening to sexy art? None.
Finally, what did society do once we had computers and the internet? Did we look for pictures of chocolate to get us feeling amorous? No. We searched out the very best art the internet had to offer. Still-life’s, sometimes. Performance art if we had the bandwidth and our partners weren’t in the room.
Art can be anything from a tiny delicate carving to a slow waltz to the Karma Sutra to a Shakespearean sonnet to the awe and ahh inspiring Sagrada Familia.
We could spend a life time getting stimulated and excited by the sexy art of the world and enriching our lives, whereas a lifetime of chocolate would be mercifully shortened by the lifetime of chocolate.
But look, I’ve probably been a bit harsh on our friends over there on the negative team.
There probably is a way to make chocolate sexy – but I’m just betting there’ll be an art to it.
Raising a family on little more than laughs