Monday, October 22, 2007

By Request: Psychology of Human Sexuality

Normally I do not take requests for blog postings, and in fact, discourage it. I write this for me and no one else. Not even M or Zozo. Although I'm sure that Zozo, when she reaches her teenage years, will be sufficiently mortified by her mother's musings so as to make me declare, "But I did it all for you, honey!"

There are a few people out there who feel the need to police my blog, giving me running commentary on my subjects, content and quantity, and to them, I say "Phooey!" I'd like to say something stronger, but most of the time this is a family-friendly blog. Except when I curse. Which is often.

Anyway, I've recently received a request from a new reader whom I've never met, but whom I've heard good things about. Her name is Colleen, and apparently she's a really smart cookie, and we do share an alma mater and at least the knowledge of (and perhaps the transcripts from?) the same class at Mizzou. That class is called Psychology of Human Sexuality (yup, just lost the family-friendly rating), and Colleen, after reviewing some recent posts, threw out that I should blog about it.

You know I loves me a challenge, so here goes.

Psychology of Human Sexuality is pretty much just that. It's like your average public middle-school health class on steroids. The University of Missouri - Columbia offers Psych 2810 every fall and spring semester, and possibly every summer (I don't know for sure about the summer session, having been at Mizzou over only one summer and having already passed Psych 2810 by then). The official course description in the student catalog is as follows:
Survey of research on sexual behavior including sex norms, gender identity,sexual dysfunctions, sexual deviation, homosexuality, and legal aspects of sexual behavior. Attendance at small group discussions may be required at the option of the instructor.
Now, I can honestly tell you that this is the first time I've ever read the actual course description. "How can that be?" you ask. "You signed up for the course! You must have read the description!" Well, let me explain. In my college days, I was known to do what certainly all good college students do every once in awhile. Sign up for a slam-dunk. When I was there, way back in the stone ages when course numbers were only three digits instead of four, I heard through the student grapevine that if you wanted an easy A, you took Psych 210 (or whatever number it was back then). Here was the official word-of-student-mouth description:
Want an easy A? Want to see new things? Want to hang out in a gigantic lecture hall with 400 strangers while someone discusses the birds, the bees, and things that made you squirm when your parents cornered you to "talk" back in grade school? Take Psych 210, and take it during the spring semester, with LoPiccolo.
When I was there, two professors taught Psych 2810: LoPiccolo and the other guy, who no one remembers. I'm pretty sure that had I shown up for the "off-season" of Psych 2810, I'd have seen one lone faculty member at the head of a sparsely populated lecture hall, which is probably where "attendance at small group discussions" comes from in the current description.

Anyone and everyone knew to take Psych 2810 with LoPiccolo. Why?

Because he's the one who showed films.

And by films I don't mean the after-school specials where Polly has to deal with Jane and her friends making mean comments about her new boyfriend, Sam.

By films I mean those types that are normally found behind the curtains in the "adults only" section of your locally-owned video store. Or so I've been told. In those films, Polly had to deal with Jane and her friends and Sam, all getting it on, all at the same time.

Now, before all you parents out there get in a huff about the innocence of college students being sullied by depraved college professors, let me just state that these films aren't what you'd call raunchy. Okay, yeah, they were raunchy, but they were so out of date as to be part of a film genre I'd call comedic porn.

The guys all had poofy hair and fu manchu 'staches, and the girls had glitter eye shadow and blonde Farah hair. And the music! Most of the sets (and I use the term sets loosely) consisted of what looked like the Ropers' apartment from Three's Company. Lots of dark cabinetry and shag carpeting.

I'm not quite sure what LoPiccolo's point was in showing these films, unless it was solely to crack up 400 college students and ensure that next year's course would have no vacancies.

I vaguely remember having to study more for the course than I originally thought, as the tests actually required you to know something other than the names of the film stars. But I toiled through and earned my A.

The best part of the whole semester was the day I invited my boyfriend to attend the class with me. "Come on," I urged, "there are like 800 people one will even know you don't go to school here!" You see, he was an engineering student from Rolla, where they not only didn't have Psychology of Human Sexuality, they didn't have any Psych classes at all. Well, they probably did, but it was most likely something along the lines of "Psychology of Engineers," which is pretty much summed up with these solutions: throw a calculator at it, and, there's nothing a good Excel spreadsheet can't fix.

M was up from Rolla, on Spring Recess or something like that (Rolla had to have Spring Break, and then Spring Recess, which always fell the week of St. Patrick's Day, since no students would show up to class that week due to imbibing massive quantities of green beer) and I convinced him that rather than sitting in my apartment for a couple hours while I went to class, it would be "fun" if he attended with me.

So off we went. Poor boy, he had no idea what was in store. You see, it was Film Day.

His first clue that something was very, very different than his usual engineering courses came when the professor turned down all the lights in the lecture hall. That's when he started to squirm in his seat. I grinned in the darkness and thought, "Oh boy...just wait!" Soon, the screen lit up and an image flickered to life.

I waited a few moments before looking at him. There he sat, my smart-as-a-whip engineering student, with his mouth hanging open and his head slowly shaking from side to side. I leaned over and whispered, "What do you think?"

"They don't show things like this in classes at Rolla!"

So that was my experience with Psych 2810 at Mizzou. The course is still offered, and I just checked Mizzou's site and see that Prof. LoPiccolo is still there. Oooo, he's a PhD from Yale. Wow. You'd think a smart guy would know where to get better porn.


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