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Too sexy for my age

by Jane Stebbins

It has been a long time since I’ve set foot inside a nightclub. A very long time.

That point was driven home to me recently when a group of us decided to celebrate a coworker’s birthday at a club in Breckenridge.

Oh, my, have things changed.

I knew there would be trendy drinks – in this case colorful martinis. I knew the people there would be young. I didn’t know how very young. My friends said it was because I am now so very old. I knew these young kids would be dancing up a storm to loud, booming music I don’t like.

But I was not prepared for the video games.

When I was – ahem – a bit younger, we’d all venture to a pub called Clodfelters, where the video games included Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede and Space Invaders. These games were hot. They incorporated all the computer technology of the time: 16K memory, four colors and jerky movements. We couldn’t get enough of them.

Throughout the years I advanced to, well, Mario Brothers, where I stayed stuck in a computer loop from which I am determined to escape before I move on to other games. You could say I’ve been stunted in my video game growth.

That was made clear the other night when we sat down at the bar. I was seated next to two extremely young women who were watching an equally young man play a video game. The computer quickly flashed (no pun intended) about eight pairs of photos of women in compromising positions; the idea is to remember which photo pair was where and select the ones that match. When you get a match, the cards flip over to reveal part of a larger picture.

A larger picture, indeed. The women revealed in these photos were in similar positions as those found in magazines kept behind the counters at convenience stores. They were in sharp contrast to the men depicted in these photos, who were shown, in all their chiselled jaw and six-pack abs glory, from the waist to chin.

I almost choked on my colorful martini.

Video games have come a long, long way from the days of Donkey Kong.

OK. I could live with this. After all, I am hardly a prude. And this is a bar, not a daycare center. And I approve – or not – with the change in my pocket, which stayed there as my barmates slid whole dollars into the titillating machine.

I was, however, shocked. I don’t think I could have found a “game” like this 15 years ago without going into a building with dark windows and signs promising . Advertisers have always pushed the sex envelope as far as they could – I know it, they know it. And their target audience gets younger every year.

My daughter was 5 when she told me sex was gross. I almost fell off my feet. I sat her down and explained, as best one can to a 5-year-old, the whole sex thing. I asked her if she understood. She told me she was hungry.

And there’s Barbie. I fought the Barbie war – successfully – explaining to my little girl that Barbie’s body shape is called “an-or-ex-ic” and isn’t healthy. I asked her to find any girls’ feet that are permanently en pointe. I’ve explained that, if Barbie were a real person, she’d be something like 6-foot-5, 122 pounds and with measurements of 46-17-42. Not exactly realistic, or the image I want to portray to my girl as the norm.

But manufacturers of everything are trying to get to her any way they can.

There are lollipops available now that have sensors in the center. When they are licked, they moan. And they are targeted at kids my daughter’s age. This is a kid who tosses her head to the side and slowly blinks her eyes as she flicks a boa over her shoulder. The last thing my prepubescent teen needs is a lollipop that moans when you lick it.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep my eye on my girl, my finger on the TV’s off button and my money away from establishments that sell moaning candy.

And I’m calling my mother to see if she still has our old Atari Pong game.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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