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December 04, 2007

Here Comes Santa Clause: Ann Arbor Code § 2-03, ch. 119, art. I (2003)

"Beneath the Briefs"
By Rooks

Though I was a little bitter about our incredibly short Thanksgiving break and a lot bitter about getting jacked by PRS, I’ve nonetheless managed to scrounge up a few things to be thankful for this season, namely open exams, presents, and the prospect of two plus weeks of actual, honest-to-goodness downtime (if only we can make it through the bulk of December madness).

Of course, that’s an incredibly big if, because never have I ever met a population of people as neurotic when faced with a test as law students. (Ok, technically that’s not true – there was this one time when I was working at the free clinic – but y’all get what I’m saying.) The darting eyes, frazzled looks and frizzy hair, progressively more unkempt clothing, people falling asleep in carrels and drooling all over their hundred dollar text books with little red creases on their faces from the pages – it’s a complete turnoff. And sure, you may think you have way better things to do during study break than get a little action, what with impending intellectual carnage to contend with, but if I’ve heard it from one exam survivor I’ve heard it from them all: it’s incredibly important to be relaxed come exam time.

To the end of finding all of y’all in good cheer, and since I can’t just force everyone to chill out, I’ve managed to combine a few of my favorite things into a gift guide chockfull of joy and utility, for the law student who may not quite have everything yet, but will certainly be in need of a break (or a forty) before the month is through. Because hey, even if tests don’t get you all bothered (forget about hot), there’s also the looming specter of holiday shopping and job hunting, neither of which is exactly stress-free. (Oh, if any hiring directors are reading this, I’ve heard it’s better to give than to receive. Just, you know, putting that out there.)

Though it may seem at the moment that the only three wise men worth discussing are Gilbert, Glannon, and Emmanuel, study guides can come in handy in more fields than the law. Sex, being the multi-billion dollar industry that it is, is certainly no exception -- there are scores of books out there waiting to tell you everything you don’t know about sex, and didn’t know to bother asking. Of the many manuals on the market, my money’s on The Big Bang: Nerve.com’s Guide to the New Sexual Universe. Not only is it non-heteronormative (which, even these days, is a pretty tall order), it’s also one of the few sex manuals I’ve seen that could double as a coffee table book (if your coffee table is into that sort of thing). The writing is snarky and smart, the text is well researched, expansive, and generally non-threatening, and there are loads of instructions, charts and diagrams to help you visualize what the authors are talking about. (Yes, you read that correctly, diagrams – ever heard of an Alex Chee Inverted Plum Roll? Me neither, until I read this book; a picture really is worth a messload of words.) Though I was tempted to select either Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn (exactly what it sounds like) or Guide to Getting it On (even more exactly what it sounds like), if there’s one non-scholastic sex book folks should check out, I really think The Big Bang is it; I’ve had my copy adversely possessed three times and counting. (PSA: Real friends don’t steal books.)

But maybe study guides aren’t your thing. Maybe you’re a doer, a hands-on, practice test type of person. Thankfully, there are a number of sex toys on the market that are in no way concerned about your aforementioned state of perpetual rumpledness; sex toys, unlike law professors, don’t get jollies from judging you (and finding you wanting). If you’re into aesthetics (and a really big spender), the holidays might be a good excuse to spring for a glass or jade dildo or plug – artsy, chic, multifunctional, and way niftier than a paper weight. On (or in) the other hand, if you get off on technological innovation, companies are constantly trying to suss out new-fangled ways to attract your sexual dollar. A music lover in your life might enjoy an OhMiBod, a vibrator that hooks up with the iPod and vibrates to the rhythm (and intensity) of your music. Someone in a long distance relationship (aka half the law school) might prefer that same company’s Boditalk, which activates when calls are made to or from your cell, vibrating in response to the signal for the entirety of your phone call. The best of the techie toys, however, is likely the Je Joue. It’s compatible with Mac or PC (but not men, sorry guys), offers a range of motions, and allows owners to program those various sensations into “grooves” – telling the vibe how, when, and for how long to move. You can even share your mad programming skills with others online.

Speaking of sharing, if study groups are more your bag (working cooperatively to help everyone, talking out problems instead of writing them down, getting other people to do your dirty work for you), there are many organizations that could use your money and/or time this winter. I’m not going to proffer suggestions, since one person’s safe space might be another person’s den of iniquity, but it’s incredibly likely that somewhere out there, there’s an organization that involves sex and could use your help, so go forth -- the Internet is a miraculous thing. (If you need a less high-minded motivator, tax breaks from charitable donations might well be the gifts that actually do keep on giving.)

Regardless of how (or on whom) you choose to spend your money this winter, be safe, be satiated, and be mindful of the noise ordinance – ‘tis the season to be jolly, not annoy the neighbors. Happy break!

To submit a question or idea for Res Gestae’s new sex columnist, please feel free to e-mail rg@umich.edu, or, if you’d prefer greater anonymity, deposit your question under cover of night in the RG student group pendaflex outside Legal Research 116.