Can Popcorn Be Sexy?

What Women Really Think
Jan. 23 2014 3:11 PM

Can Popcorn Be Sexy?

Oxymoronic snack food

Screenshot from

Recently, Slate’s New York office received a large cardboard box containing 24 small bags of SexyPop popcorn. SexyPop is a product launched a few months ago by Robert Ehrlich, the creator of Pirate’s Booty, and a self-proclaimed “Shaman of Snacks, and genius innovator.” “He has created five sexy and tempting flavors just for you,” reads the press release accompanying the package. “Bangin’ Cheddar, Lightly Salted, Brazilian Coconut, French Butter, and Black Pepper.”

The arrival of this package raises an obvious question: Can popcorn be sexy? The obvious answer: No, it cannot. I can think of at least six reasons why “SexyPop” is an oxymoron:


1. Popcorn has a tendency to get stuck in your teeth when you eat it, and food stuck between teeth looks silly, not sexy. (Also, the act of getting popcorn out of your teeth is not sexy to most people.)

2. Popcorn is a dry and dusty food, which often results in crumbs, which are not sexy, on the front of one’s shirt. Crumbs on one’s shirt also present a practical challenge when you attempt to get sexy by removing said shirt, because then the crumbs get transferred to your bare skin or perhaps onto your partner, making even more of a mess that you will then have to clean up, and cleaning up is not sexy.

3. Flavored popcorn—such as SexyPop’s Bangin’ Cheddar (ew)—leaves residue on your fingers and it is unpleasant to be caressed by someone with residue on his or her fingers. I suppose some might find the act of licking that residue off sexy, but anyone who has ever eaten powdered-cheese-covered popcorn knows that you really need to wash your hands with soap and water to get the stuff off your skin. Even after a good lick, your hands are still sticky.

4. Popcorn is crunchy, and crunching is not a sexy noise. (I am defining sexy noises as noises that resemble the sounds that people and their bodies make during sex—squishing, smacking, “mmm”-ing, etc. Anyone who hears crunching during sex should probably see a doctor right away.)

5. Eating popcorn can make you feel bloated, and bloat is the exact opposite feeling of sexiness.

6. Popcorn kernels are irregularly shaped, asymmetrical clumps, and irregularly shaped, asymmetrical clumps are not sexy. (Yes, the association of sexiness with symmetry and smooth lines is inextricably linked to the objectification of women’s bodies, and we should definitely expand our conception of sexy shapes. But popcorn kernels do not look like any type of body, nor any body part, and sorry, popcorn, you’re not beautiful just the way you are.)

That’s just off the top of my head, while I snack mindlessly on popcorn. I’m sure you can think of other reasons.

Anyway, congratulations on your media coverage, SexyPop! You win. And also, you taste pretty good. However, readers, you’d be much better off making your own popcorn at home.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Don’t Panic! The U.S. Already Stops Ebola and Similar Diseases From Spreading. Here’s How.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 6:59 PM The Democrats’ War at Home Can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.