Once upon a time, sex was unmentionable among polite people....
Now the subject is inescapable. Topics that were once confined to discreet, brown-paper packages are now fodder for afternoon talk shows and supermarket aisle women's magazines.
In fact, just a few years ago, my jaw hit the tabletop when I found an article in Redbook -- the champion of casserole-carrying, middle-class, mom-and-apple pie probity -- on the pleasures of anal sex. (I'm not making this up!)
For better or worse, we've come a long way from Puritan/Victorian taboos about sex. But what about money?
Just today, I got feedback on copy I wrote for a brochure about an investment plan. In one section, I listed the key features/benefits of the plan under appropriate category subheads such as, "Participation," and "Tax advantages." But the client objected to the one labeled, "Using the money." Why? Because it's "too crass."
But why is it "too crass"? After all, you sign up for the plan in anticipation of a future day when you (or your beneficiaries) can use the money. That's what it's all about.
If it's too crass it's because it's too naked -- it openly acknowledges the reality beneath the sheets of "planning," "future," and "dreams": money. Filthy lucre.
Think about it: If you have children hovering around the age of puberty, you've probably already engaged them in conversations about sex. But do they know how much you earn? How much the mortgage or rent costs? What it takes to pay the bills each month? If they're like most children, they probably have no idea -- the stork brings the income every month, or it's found every week under the cabbages in the back yard.
I guess the word "crass" hits a sore spot with me. In college, a professor tagged my inquiry with that word when I asked how a certain artist -- with outspoken left-wing views -- could afford her amazing studio on Prince Street, in the heart of a booming SoHo.
I should have known better. Art is about the spiritual. Or social enlightenment. Or political change. Not about something so crass as mere money. Though, of course, nothing moves in the art world without it.
Little moves in our own world without money. But we like to feel superior to it. As a consequence, every corporate mission statement touts "commitments" to every virtue under the sun -- except the one that's at the core of their existence, turning a profit.
What do you think? Talk dirty to me -- tell me what you think about our attitudes toward money.
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