Friday, December 9, 2011

What's your pleasure?

We are all aware of the symbolic meanings of plants and flowers.

If four leaf clovers are reputed to bring luck, red roses signify romantic love.

If lotus' enlightenment counters narcissus' egotism, then sage's wisdom subdue's marigold's cruelty and jealousy.

But grasses, specifically Cortaderia selloana, a.k.a. Pampas Grass? What, pray tell, could its association be?

As British television and radio presenter Marielle Frostrup has recently learned, Pampas signifies a whole lot.

Hoping to soften the edges of her balcony and give it a bit of natural appeal, Frostrup planted two Pampas Grasses. But she sowed the seeds of something more.

Calls began flooding her home to schedule play dates. Not play dates for her children, but adult play dates; play dates to exchange spouses.

Apparently, she learned, urban legend has it that Pampas Grass is the botanical equivalent of "keys in the bowl:" of good-old fashioned swinging.

Now she seeks to give them away.

I've struggled to find the origins of this association, but to no avail. Thus, I proffer my own theory as to the coupling of Pampas and swinging in the spirit of David Letterman's Top Ten Countdown

(10) It is a fast grower: up to 10 feet tall, and is a premium choice for filling large, barren spaces quickly.... enough said.

(9) It grows into a thick mass--perfect for privacy. Uh, yeah...

(8) Pampas Grass attracts all sorts of wildlife: birds, reptiles, and small mammals find refuge in that thick mass....Is that code for indiscriminate taste?

(7) Pampas Grass evokes the tropics... tropics, for many here in the north, equates with escape, abandon, drinks served in coconuts, letting one's hair down....

(6) Its plumes...well...haven't the French designed something naughty akin to that plume?

(5) Pampas Grass is one tough plant, drought- and pest-resilient, able to withstand the ice and snow and salt it may encounter here in the north.... I assume swingers, too, must be emotionally (and physically) resilient with all of that partner swapping and sex....

(4)   Its plumes provide a nice visual contrast to all those accoutrements of modern, urban life (the signs, the concrete, the metal). Interpret that as code for "we do it differently here."

(3) Pampas Grass is low maintenance.... swingers, I would presume, must be low maintenance sorts themselves... I mean, I can't imagine "high maintenance" emotional sorts to partake in swinging games. Wining and dining and expensive jewelry and morning-after phone calls doesn't seem from my limited vantage point and complete personal unfamiliarity with swinging to befit the practice.

(2) Cortaderia selloana is a native of South America: you know, Latin lovers and all that....

And....the number one reason for this bizarre association:

Pampas Grass is cheap. Swinging might be the most inexpensive form of adult entertainment out there.

It makes you wonder: what do cacti symbolize?!     Ouch.

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