August 30, 2006

Little Dirty Wordies

Today I got an e-mail from reader titled "mash note." I just freakin' love that. I am behind on answering e-mails. I am behind my own behind. I am neglecting YOU, my most beautiful internets. I am SO sorry.

I will be a better human soon, you will see. I have all sorts of plans for reformation and virtuous goodness. SO many plans that ONE of these long summer days, a couple of these plans must surely pan out and leave me a better person, scrubbed and hopeful and halo'd and less worrisome and stinky. Yes? No? Yes.

Let's play a game. I'll say a word to you, and you say the first word that comes into your mind. Are you ready? Here it is:


I like that I can put up polls now, for the cost of one irritating pop up ad from the free poll service per vote. POLLS! Let's have another one.

What word did you think of?
Sunset. Well, Sex, really. But if I SAY sunset I sound less pervy.
Sunset. No really. Sunset. Pinky swearsies.
Neither Sex nor Sunset. I thought of something much cleverer. Yeah. The The Grey Elephant from Denmark eating a Grape Trick doesn't work on me either.
Free polls from

OKAY, you said, Sex, right? COME ON, you thought the word "sex." Or am I just a perv? See I think I may be just a perv, because when I asked my pervy friends (Julie and Pam), they said, "Um, sex." But when I asked my UNPERVY friend (Vicki) she said "Sunset."

She had NO IDEA it was used to mean, um, you know...Afterglow. This leads me to believe it may only be pervs who think it's a sexual term. Although I did call my excessively UNpervy mother and ask her, and there was a LONG silence which could best be interpreted by "Why is my daughter asking me this" and then she gently said, "Honey... it's sexual. Did you not know that?" Which, really, that is not a comfortable question to answer when one's mother asks. I rang off quickly.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from my church --- here in my small Georgia town we have an end of summer festival with big pillowy jumping air castles for the kids and street vendors and music in the bandstand and clogging grannies in the gazebo and pony rides and funnel cakes. It's called Powder Springs Day. And yesterday, my church sent out an e-mail that said that our church would be having a community outreach event that will be called.....Afterglow. Because it begins AFTER Powder Springs Day. At SUNSET. See? But I'm thinking to myself, "Afterglow is nice and all, but it's not something I want to experience with my whole church family. It's sort of an event for TWO. Don't get me wrong. I love my church family. Just....not that much.

I called the organizers and gently said I thought the name might be...not the best name, but now I am wondering. AND LET ME SAY, the organizers were ABSOLUTELY in the Vicki-non-pervy-I - am-thinking-of-lovely-sunset camp. 100% in that camp. AND! When I look up Afterglow in the dictionary, the ONLY definitions are SUNSET related or otherwise non sexual.

BUT if 90% of the rational world thinks afterglow means a lovely sunset orange soft beauteous sky light , well then. I should shut up and get help for pervertness. BUT if 75% think it is sexual, as my Three-friend-and-one-mother poll indicates...It may not be the best name for a GROUP activity. We're not that kind of church.

BTW...Here's a link for you if you are sitting there thinking, Dude, what's the Grey Elephant in Denmark Eating a Grape Trick?

Posted by joshilyn at August 30, 2006 1:10 PM

Well, colour me a perv2, because I voted sex! lol

And, don't laugh, I called my Mama too...

A girl has to be sure, ya know!


Posted by: North at August 30, 2006 1:26 PM

*shakes head*

Bless you Joss. I'm pretty sure that your mother IS pervy and you are just not privy to that knowledge (thank God). And your church probably is as well. I mean, it's a family thing, right? What's more "familial" than the enjoyment of the marital fruit? I mean, the kids aren't exactly "involved", but they are a product of. So it's all good.

Personally, I know I'm in a pervy church and I'm proud of it.


Oh look! See how the lightening makes my hair look strangely like Rosanna RosannaDanna...

Posted by: Angela at August 30, 2006 1:28 PM

I said, "Sarah" as in Sarah McLachlan. Her cd Afterglow was playing in the OR when baby #2 was born. But now that I hear your definition, I fear I made an inappropriate musical choice to bring my baby girl into the world. :)

Posted by: Cat at August 30, 2006 1:33 PM

Well, I thought 'sex' and I'm not a perv. At least I don't *think* I am. Am I? Wait! Am I???

Posted by: Aimee at August 30, 2006 1:39 PM

Now it's time to give your unpervy church family a little writerly lecture on denotion versus connotation.

Definitely sexual.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at August 30, 2006 1:40 PM

I just took the poll, and I was part of the 69% (ahem) who think of it as a sexual term. I've never heard it used in any other way, which leads me to believe I am surrounded by pervs. I had long suspected this...

Posted by: Laura at August 30, 2006 1:59 PM

Hmm... Well, admittedly sex did *eventually* wander across my thoughts, but really...

I always thought Afterglow was a type of party. Some party for people in the 'in group' that happened after an event they were instrumental in. Like a theatre after-party or something.


I thought this, and I am probably the 87% perviest person in the world. So, either it's not a totally pervy thing, or it's a Southern thing, to which we northern girls aren't privy.

Posted by: Alix at August 30, 2006 2:24 PM

There was a time when I would have first thought "sunset", but that was a LOOOOOONG time ago.

Posted by: Tori Lennox at August 30, 2006 2:44 PM

I think that maybe Joshilyn has been spending too much time playing with the ch-ch-chiggers spray. Gets the ol' afterglow on the brain, IF ya know what I mean?

Does anyone know what I mean?

Come to think of it, I don't even know what I mean. But I can tell you this.... nobody who is as grossed out by the KY Mist commercial as you are can possibly call themself a perv. Rest easy.

Posted by: Noah at August 30, 2006 2:51 PM

I think it actually means sit up in bed and light a cigarette. Since cigarettes are now verboten the term is just floating around looking for a home.

Bet your Mama was way worried about you. ;-)

Posted by: Gillian at August 30, 2006 3:06 PM

I thought sex too, but of course, I rank among the pervy.

That said, I have seen "Afterglow" in reference to after-parties several times. Even parties kids attended!

Maybe it's sorta like those people who name their kids BJ. They probably know, but they think the name is still cute, so they just don't care.

Posted by: Martha O'Connor at August 30, 2006 3:14 PM

They cannot use that word in connection with a church activity. They CANNOT. I will be scarred for life. Tell them I said so.

Posted by: Amy-Go at August 30, 2006 6:04 PM

Well...when I was a teenager way back in the olden days (early 80s), our (very conservative) youth group meetings after church on Sunday nights were called "Afterglows." We all thought it slightly amusing that our adults had no idea what the connotation was, but I think we were too embarrassed to say anything out loud. Maybe they were just testing us.

Somebody stop them. :)

Posted by: Julie at August 30, 2006 6:39 PM

Well, I was going to post almost the exact same thing as Julie ... similar 80s conservative-church upbringing, only I was so naive I had no idea there was any other meaning to "Afterglow." (I'm sure the other kids did. What a nerd I was. AM.)

Since words always stick with the first context you heard them in, for me "Afterglow" will always mean a bunch of teenagers sitting around in a semi-dark church auditorium singing "Side by Side We Stand," and "Pass it On." So whenever I hear the word in a sexual context it's -- kinda weird for me. Really. Like after sex, my husband and I should hold hands and sing "Side by Side," and maybe if we're lucky there'll be an altar call.

Posted by: TrudyJ at August 30, 2006 6:55 PM

sex, yes sex, definitely sex.


I guess that plants me firmly in the perv camp.

Oh well, at least I have lots of good company!

Posted by: Lisa at August 30, 2006 7:21 PM

I voted sex on your poll. . .although any afterglow I might have obtained from "time alone" with the hubby more resembles me being run over by a Mack truck than me actually glowing. . .it's not a bad thing. . .more of a "just diddled" thing.

Posted by: Roxanne at August 30, 2006 7:30 PM

I said sex.
But I've never denied being a perv.
Maybe the church should keep the name for the service and consider it a campaign to get pervs to come to church and become less pervie.
Just a thought.
Because really, that wouldn't work with me.
I LIKE being a perv.

Posted by: DebR at August 30, 2006 7:47 PM

My first thought was "Sex" but I voted that I said "Sunset" but thought "Sex" choice because my next thought was "is there another way to use the word?" and yes, I think there is. I would use the word afterglow perhaps to describe a group of people lounging around after good food and good conversation, all relaxed and happy, basking in the "afterglow" of good food and good conversation. So it's not ONLY sex. But yes, that's the first thing I thought.

Posted by: Laume at August 30, 2006 8:59 PM

Um, HELLO! If you think of SEX when you hear the word "afterglow", it doesn't make you a perv. It makes you NORMAL

Yay for afterglow!!!!

Posted by: Kim at August 30, 2006 9:21 PM

Okay, I voted sex because...well, duh! But honestly, it was tied with - brace yourself - Jayne Ann Krentz. No, now stop that! She's a lovely lady who lives just up the street from our shop, and she has a novel called "After Glow", and I just shelved a copy! So there! But she's a romantic suspense writer, so "afterglow" is probably quite apt.

But yeah, both Lillian and I agree, it's all about sex!

Posted by: Fran at August 30, 2006 10:14 PM

OK...I'm starting to worry here. I *am* a perv, I AM, I AM, I AM! And I am NOT turning in my Perv card; you'll have to pry it out of my warm, stiff...heh.

But I'm afraid I'm like Trudy J. and Julie. I thought about sessions around the campfire singing "Pass It On." But "Pass It On" wasn't a poll option.

Posted by: Katrina Stonoff at August 30, 2006 10:19 PM

Just wanted you to know that wikipedia agrees that one POSSIBLE definition is definitly sex. Last one on the list --

Sorry for the lack of super-techy linkage ability. :(

Posted by: wendy at August 30, 2006 11:03 PM

Sunset?! GET REAL.

Posted by: Courtney at August 31, 2006 12:41 AM

My mind went the music route as well, to a Genesis song by that name from the mid 70s (right before Phil Collins made his deal with Beelzebub). But then, considering how much conception has resulted from Phil Collins songs over the last 30 years, yeah, that's a ticky box for "sex."

Could have been worse, though. They could have put up a tent for people to resort to in case of rain, with a sign saying, "Avoid the wet spot!"

Churches do seem prone to this sort of malaprop. I've been emailed the "bulletin blooper" list many times, but my personal sick favorite was one seen with mine own eyes right here at Williamsville UMC, on the calendar of weekly events:

8:00 p.m. Bereavement support group for parents who have lost children in the library

(Are you sure you looked in ALL the stacks? And checked that they weren't goofing off in the Audio Visual supply room? Hell, that's where I always used to hang out....)

Posted by: Ray at August 31, 2006 6:55 AM

I am not ashamed to say I thought of sex first. Ok, maybe a little... But it is a term the world has been using to describe post-coital bliss, well, for a long time.

My church also refers to meet-and-greet time after functions as Afterglow's, so in church if the word afterglow comes up, I naturally think of church stuff.

Outside of church though, my brain tends to run amuck when this word is used.

If that makes me a perv, my church will never know :D

Posted by: Mary at August 31, 2006 11:47 AM

Joss you really need to offer either 1) None of the above. Or 2) Other. To your poll.

I am now concerned. I thought Warmth, and then I blushed. Just what the hell does that mean? I think I need therapy.

Posted by: Cele at August 31, 2006 12:23 PM

I was just thinking that Powder Springs Day would be a great thing to take my 2-year-old to, until I learned it would involve a Methodist orgy. I had no idea life was so kinky in Powder Springs. ;)
(P.S. I thought of sex first too.)

Posted by: Liz at August 31, 2006 12:27 PM