CAMPER GONE WILD
Way back in the day, I was a camp counselor at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.
My second year on staff, when I was 19, I had a great edah (age group)...although I didn't know it at the time (because she was like 12), the girl who would become the woman who would become my sister-in-law was living in the bunk next door. But living in my bunk at the time was a great group of girls...including a girl who talked backwards. She showed an independent spirit (especially on Hippie Day, which was all about the counterculture) that was unusual for that age, and the backwards-talking thing was something we'd never seen (or heard) before.
That girl became the diva known simply as Bex. Or to you, More Bex Than at That Which Sticks Can Be Shook (aka Planet Bex). Her stardom will undoubtedly be enhanced by her appearance in the Battle of the Schwartzes feature in the new issue of Heeb.
But aside from this true milestone, I wanted to share with you a post that she wrote. In it, she wonders why there don't seem to be any Jewish sex symbols (and no, Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus doesn't count):
I can't think of any sexy Jewesses in pop culture from my childhood and adolescence and I'm hard-pressed to find them now -- when we look to popular culture and the cult-of-personality to find our role models of the sexualized gaze, who do we see? skinny hipped, tiny nosed non-Jews. Where are the ladies with the hips? The thighs? The hair? They're not on the screen -- they're not celluloid idols (ha, more like cellulite idols, she quips wittily, like she was trained), so they're like the anti-idealized-Barbie and therefore the notion of the sexy-Jew becomes appealing to anti-establishment sorts of people.
(I found this especially interesting given the fact that I just wrote a singles column about Jewish girls and boys not being able to measure up to the expectations that they have of each other, and that this is in part due to the way singles life is depicted on television. I read Bex and heard echoes of myself.)
On her blog, long-linked to by me, she shares "Bex on Bad Girl Jews," an essay replete with references to both cable access porn and halakhah (Jewish law) that she wrote for Penthouse.com.
At the marriage between her humor/pop culture sensibility and her Jewish education, however secularized and potentially scandalous, how can an ex-counselor be anything but proud?