This lazy-seeming and somewhat derivative history of the American blowjob was redeemed for me by linking to its source material, especially the much better 2006 essay on the subject by the late and lamented Christopher Hitchens:
For me the laugh-out-loud Hitchens anecdote was this one:
My friend David Aaronovitch, a columnist in London, wrote of his embarrassment at being in the same room as his young daughter when the TV blared the news that the president of the United States had received oral sex in an Oval Office vestibule. He felt crucially better, but still shy, when the little girl asked him, “Daddy, what’s a vestibule?”
Nobody could write about a delicate subject — or an indelicate one for that matter — like Hitchens:
Stay with me. I’ve been doing the hard thinking for you. The three-letter “job,” with its can-do implications, also makes the term especially American. Perhaps forgotten as the London of Jack the Ripper receded into the past, the idea of an oral swiftie was re-exported to Europe and far beyond by a massive arrival of American soldiers. For these hearty guys, as many a French and English and German and Italian madam has testified, the blowjob was the beau ideal. It was a good and simple idea in itself. It was valued — not always correctly — as an insurance against the pox. And — this is my speculation — it put the occupied and the allied populations in their place. “You do some work for a change, sister. I’ve had a hard time getting here.”
I’m interested to discover just how much I enjoy the Hitchens essay today. Nine years ago, it didn’t impress me nearly as much.
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