Al Martinez on Everything Else: California's golden bares

al_martinez-mug.jpgThis is Al Martinez's first column for LA Observed. He will be back frequently.

As a long-time resident of Northern California, I can declare with impunity that nothing that happens in Berkeley ever surprises me, and that includes the U.C. campus.

Then why, I hear you ask, write about it at all, Berkeley being so, you know, far away? Well, because what happens there occasionally trickles down to our own colleges, and I want everyone to be prepared for what could escalate into a new academic pursuit: sex on campus.

Right. Here come the Golden Bares.

I realize there are sensitivities involved here, not the least of which is that many parents are learning for the first time that a columnist for the impish Daily Californian is leading the way in what seems to be encouraging , er, intimate relationships on campus without getting caught, although fear of detection doesn't appear to be a real concern.

The writer is one Nadia Cho who, one is led to believe, specializes in sex. She tried it with a woman once and wrote about it and decided that what the seething undergraduates of the prestigious university needed was "a nice little sex tour through the campus."

It was, you see, a holiday week, the campus was relatively abandoned and there wasn't much to do, so why not grab her boy friend and explore the question of whether sex inside of Sather Gate is a possibility. Her answer is yes, it's "very doable."

Her essay was reprinted in Facebook and while I admired her ingenuity I was appalled by her audacity. Was she suggesting that campus sex be included in a regular curriculum and that class assignments involve field studies? Beats me.

She claimed to have found a good site for her own dalliance in a section of the campus library devoted to the archives of the British Royal Academy, which I suppose at least adds the whisper of an intellectual tone to her eroticism. But because silence is traditionally required in libraries regardless of one's activities, it probably isn't the best place for a loud and lusty roll in the archives.

So next they tried an empty classroom where they not only could be as noisy as they wished but where she could prance about in her underwear "writing dirty things on the chalkboard," a practice not yet acceptable during regular sessions.

I emailed Cho to ask if her giggly take on sex was real or only a whimsical piece of satire. She replied that it was finals week and she didn't have time for an interview. I emailed her again for just a yes or no to my basic questions and never received a reply. Finals first, sex-talk later, I guess.

I fear that the fun-loving nature of her treatise could inspire others to conduct their own experiments and that campus fornication might spread to UCLA, USC and even Valley College where they're still learning how to do it, not where. At least it will be a more visual response to those wondering if their kids are really learning something in the halls and bushes of academia.

A version of this column ran in the Daily News and at Al's own website. He will appear occasionally at LA Observed.

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