Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

Of Hot Springs and Volcanoes

david-archuleta-pro-bowl-02I think I echo a number of people who’ve said that David reminds them of themselves when they were young (Paul Anka, Jason Castro, and Jimmy Kimmel – well, at least when Jimmy was 9).  Yes, at 18, I remember being as clueless as David about adult life.  And I was just as “innocent” in going off to college as he was in going off to the music world.  But, being a woman meant my cluelessness was sexy.  Being a “good girl” at 18 meant lots of guys flocking around who were eager to 1) initiate me into the sexual world or 2) protect me from the “bad boys” (with the eventual goal of also initiating me into the sexual world).

The sexy innocent is a regular trope in selling female sexuality – think Josephine Baker (as innocent savage) or Marilyn Monroe or Britney Spears in her teen queen days.  But the cluelessness, the sexual innocence lay in how these women unleashed their uncontrollably wild and buxom curves every which way without realizing the devastating impact they had on their onlookers.  It’s the “Oops, I think I did again” philosophy.  Or, “Whaaat?  I didn’t do anything!”

I don’t think we’ve ever seen a guy do sexy innocence.  Not until David!  And I think he’s really thrown us for a loop.  It’s not just in his innocent tweeting of “hot springs and volcanoes,” which he finds “weird,” but also in his performances.  Here he is, slaying women and guys left and right, just in the sexy roll of his R’s or in a long-held note or deeply-felt falsetto – all while holding your gaze with his sparkling eyes – and he hasn’t got a clue as to why he is slaying women and guys left and right. 

I do believe that’s why so many in the media would prefer to make fun of David, or dismiss him as only being appealing to “3 year olds and Grandma.”  If we dared to call his “innocence” sexy, therein lies the danger.  And let’s face it: we haven’t seen such genuine innocence in the public view in a long time.  It doesn’t matter how many purity rings Disney forces on a Jonas Brother, none of them hold a candle to David’s purity.  Also, just in the way our culture works, it’s okay to lust after innocent girls and clueless women, but men are supposed to know what’s going on.  Even when they don’t – like most 18 year olds who haven’t yet figured out how their body parts are supposed to work, let alone the body parts on the opposite sex (hence their incessant dirty jokes about them) – they’re supposed to pretend that they know.  They create bravado and masculine facades and the “cool pose,” as if they know what they’re about sexually.  

We don’t get this from David, and that’s a huge part of his appeal.  Too bad we live in a culture where we want to hide the fact that sexual innocence is just as sexy in a man as it is in a woman.  Too bad we have certain members of a fan base that want to shrink from any sexual conversations about David’s appeal.  It is what it is, and I’m certainly not going to hide that I see things in David that he clearly doesn’t see in himself.

It’s part of the journey, I think, for I’d like to cherish these early beginnings of David’s public career.  For one day, he will catch up and learn, and when he does, WATCH OUT!