In a semi-viral youtube video “Pretty Ricky – Late Night Special,” (2007) a group of African-American males in Montgomery, Alabama “dry hump” an ottoman in succession, before convening to dance and vaguely dry hump walls and other objects in the vicinity.
The performance is to demonstrate the adroit ways they can maneuver their lower backs for the missionary position, the poor ottoman acting as supine recipient of such techniques. A visit to the account holder’s youtube page yields interesting information: that their dry humping proclivities are not merely aesthetic or born of boredom, but of commerce and solicitation:
Too all LADIES we are do parties, house calls watever…we travel everywhere…jus hit us up wit a message wit yo number, city and state (Song Request Optional)…and we will set sum up…the prices are different dependin on wat u want…our manager will work wit u…[sic.]
In short, inexplicably, it seems either they have been paid, or seek payment, for performances of this type—proving once again that the American dollar goes a long way to procure those who would go a long way to have the dollar procured to them. The “escort,” “sensual massage,” and “exotic dance” industry are usually euphemisms veiling the culmination of such enterprises, namely, the sexual satiation of the client.
Prostitution and war are the world’s oldest industries. Of the former, Picasso offers “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907), or (trans.) “The Young Ladies of Avignon,” a painting of five prostitutes in a brothel in Spain attributed by many as the inception of modern painting for its self-consciously formal/spatial transgressions. A still life at the bottom is said to have phallic symbolic capacities, which, knowing Picasso, is very reasonable. They formidably stand, arms raised and legs spread, showing off their goods. Two of the women’s faces are rendered like tribal African masks, of which the painter had a notable collection.
From African to African-American we, and they, have traveled far. Montgomery, Alabama was the hot-seat of the black civil rights movement, where Rosa Parks was arrested and Martin Luther King, Jr. began his early career. Based by the Mississippi river, it shares the mud and blood of a most difficult history, though it seems, five decades later, that we’ve come a cute distance—that short of being called “niggers” in the comment section, they are simply called “fags” (scare quotes because, well, I’m scared). Of course, this does not justify the use of the latter, but may serve to illustrate how our hatred has migrated elsewhere. The important thing is there’s always someone to fear and hate. Someone to kill.
At the beginning of the video, our dry humping friends introduce themselves as Relentless, X2C, Pipelaya, Pressure, and Satisfaktion. (They are not perverted, just sic.) Modern painting may have escaped them, as well as proper suitor behavior, though I have firm confidence in their unequivocal heterosexuality. One can clearly see luscious breasts on that ottoman, or, case in point, ottowoman.