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.