Dirty Minds

As is my wont (there’s a word you don’t hear much these days!) when I’m working on too many things at one time, I turned on the TV to watch Judge Judy in the middle of the day, and stumbled upon a commercial for Liquid-Plumr “Double Impact” drain cleaner that made my jaw drop. Even by today’s almost-anything-goes standards, this one really pushed the envelope by tapping into porn references you may or may not be familiar with. Which is to say it identifies who watches porn or not… or might send you Googling for explanations, the same way “MILF” did for a lot of people. (I confess it was awhile before I decoded the MILF abbreviation.)

The Double Impact spot plays off the “DP” porn term that most men will know from watching sex videos or reading about sexual trysts that involve two men and a woman. In this case, it’s a housewife who begins fantasizing about two hunks in the supermarket after she picks up the Liquid-Plumr bottle while a Barry White sound-alike intones lines such as “snake your drain” and “flush your pipe” … at the same time, if you get my drift.

I suppose some women might just view it as an innocent little “romantic” fantasy about a woman being ravished by two handsome men, but I assure you the response it triggered in men was more hardcore. At least it was for me — and I don’t think of myself as being oversexed or perverted. But any time a middle-aged man talks honestly about his sexual desires, it just sounds… well, dirty. Older women can openly brag about reading “50 Shades of Grey” and everyone smiles or titters — oh, that’s so naughty! If a 50-something man writes about lusting after young ladies, he’s an immature sicko. Or a Hollywood star, who can get away with it.

What got me to ruminating about the Double Impact commercial was watching A DANGEROUS METHOD the other night. The story revolves around the relationship between Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and a woman patient, who suffers from “hysteria,” which turns out to have strong correlations to sex and her conflicted feelings towards sex — as well as Jung’s personal and professional views on sex. The irony is Jung believes there is more to the subconscious than repressed sexual desires, which is what Freud thinks is the motivation for everything we do or don’t do. Jung makes the case for a collective unconscious and interconnectedness among all things — “there are no coincidences” he states. I’ve always favored Jung over Freud because of the Big Picture stuff.

Yet Jung finds himself unable to resist his urges for his female patient, whose manic fits are wild and animalistic. She’s everything his prim and proper wife is not. She turns him on. Jung tries to justify his attraction by noting how the two of them share the same thoughts and ideas. However, the patient also happens to be played by the comely Keira Knightly and not some frumpy, plain-looking actress. He may indeed have been attracted to her mind, but youth in a female is an aphrodisiac for aging men.

Is it a good movie? Eh, I found it to be kind of dry. And a little boring. The sexual tension and debates between Jung and Freud were interesting. But I wanted to hear more about Jung’s thoughts on synchronicity and the meaning of life — beyond sex and lust. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and sex is just becoming the stuff of risque Liquid-Plumr Double Impact commercials that imply mainstream America has a dirty mind.

Here’s an Adweek piece about it that includes the commercial video. Funny or bad taste? What do you think?

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