Jimmy Tomlin: Sex and the cities

Apr. 01, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

Well, the news is out: Greensboro is the least sexy city in America.
I’m telling you this as a public service because, unless I’m greatly mistaken, you will not find this particular tidbit of information in the next batch of promotional brochures from the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.
There will be no “Welcome To Greensboring” signs greeting drivers as they enter the city limits. There will be no “First In Blight” license plates or bumper stickers. There will be no YouTube video of Greensboro city officials hamming it up as they dance and sing, “We’re Not Sexy and We Know It” (although I would pay good money if somebody could make this happen).
I mean, think about it: If you are, say, the director of tourism for a city that has just been named “The Least Sexy City in America,” this is what’s known as a PR disaster. Professionally speaking, you would rather have UFOs, Bigfoot, a putrid sewage plant, killer bees and the entire Kardashian family associated with your city than the off-putting title “The Least Sexy City in America.”
But that’s exactly what has happened to Greensboro. A travel dating website called MissTravel.com has declared Greensboro to be the country’s least desirable destination for travel dating, based on a survey in which 170 out of 170 of the website’s members said they would reject a potential travel date in Greensboro.
For those of you scoring at home — Ha-ha! Scoring at home! — that’s a 100-percent rejection rate.
Sounds like my prom record.
So I was trying to imagine a conversation between, say, a would-be tourist and the aforementioned director of tourism:
Tourist: How sexy is Greensboro?
Director: Um, er, we’re great cooks and we make all of our own clothes.
Tourist: Yeah, but is Greensboro sexy?
Director: Well, we have a great personality.
Tourist: Terrific, but I want to know if Greensboro is sexy.
Director: You should see our public transportation system. And our wastewater treatment facility — wow!
And then I gradually began to realize, this is High Point’s problem, too. We could be deemed unsexy simply by association — after all, we do share a county with Greensboro.
Ironically, you may recall that High Point was named “The World’s Sexiest City” more than a decade ago by Weekly World News (motto: “You don’t believe us?! But we couldn’t print it if it wasn’t true! Snicker, snicker.”)
Anyway, the always factual, highly regarded tabloid breathlessly reported in March 1999, “The sexiest city in the world is tiny High Point, N.C., where married couples make love an average of five times a week, compared to a global average of 1.2 times a week, medical journals report.”
I will not comment further on the credibility of Weekly World News, other than to tell you that other stories in that edition included “Astronauts Found A Grave on the Moon!” and “Mom Gets Emergency C-Section ... Because Twins Were Fighting Inside Her Womb!”
Anyway, what an ironic PR dilemma for High Point.
Let me put this in terms you might better understand: Think back to high school, when there was a gorgeous cheerleader that all the guys wanted to go out with. That’s High Point — the voluptuous cheerleader.
Now think back to her best friend, the shy, dumpy introvert who talked like Fran Drescher on “The Nanny.” The cheerleader would only go out with a guy if he could find a date for her socially misfit friend. Well, that’s Greensboro — the hot cheerleader’s shy, dumpy girlfriend.
If you don’t think this could be a problem, I’ve got news for you — it already is. Check out this quote from MissTravel.com’s founder and chief executive officer: “A lot of factors have to come together to create a quintessential environment for romance, and when it comes to setting, there’s frankly nothing sexy about North Carolina.”
You see? His own survey implicated Greensboro alone as being unsexy, but he’s made a quantum leap and thrown the entire state under the bus.
So what do we do? I say we embrace this new identity, banking on the fact that people love humility. I suggest we, as a state, come up with a new marketing slogan.
And I think I’ve got one. Remember the old jingle, “I like calling North Carolina home”?
Well, here’s the new jingle: “I like calling North Carolina homely.”
Greensboro can be our poster child.

jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579