Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My MA Project!

I finally found a focus for my MA project. I was going around in circles trying to identify what I wanted to do. First, I considered the poetry of genetics as opposed to the biology of genetics. I thought about studying the life of my paternal grandfather and drawing comparisons between him and me and the rest of my family. Then, I thought about creating an "Adult Kindergarten" and using child-like behavior to unlock creative potential in adults. Then I read something about the truancy rate of primary school kids in London increasing, and I wanted to know why, and whether or not there was anything I could do about it. Then, it hit me.

But first, a little back story. In the spring of 2007, I was living in Brookline, MA, and occasionally, I would go to a monthly brunch at a co-op in Cambridge. One of the guys who lived at the co-op was doing his PhD on why Sex and the City became such a global phenomenon. While researching, he came across a factoid that stuck in my head: the STD rates in the elderly were increasing rapidly.

A few months later, I was having a conversation with my parents. They said that an acquaintance of theirs told them the same thing, and that men in the Sun City Center area were
hiring prostitutes in the neighboring town, catching a "phage" (as my dad says), and spreading it to their next partners. This intrigued me.

Throughout my course, the idea kept popping into my head, and I kept pushing it back. I mean, seriously. Did I really want to spend 6 months of my life researching "old people" sex?

But it wouldn't leave me alone. There was too much of an opportunity in it:

1) It could create positive change in people's lives, both young and not-so-young (it could stimulate conversation between generations, and make them aware that everyone is at risk. It could change the way seniors view themselves, and the way our society views seniors.)

2) It has HUGE potential for humor and would allow me to use my comedy background (side note to all Carharts: you will be participating in brainstorming sessions with me via email and phone, so consider yourselves forewarned) and create advertising that is more effective that this:

3) I could parlay this into a career at an innovation consultancy or innovative company because it would prove that I can:
a) identify a problem that the majority of the population can't see
b) take risks by choosing topics that are uncomfortable, and that most people wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole (huh, huh...I said "pole").
c) find a creative solution to a problem and
d) follow it through

Here's the first version of my question/thesis (trumpets blaring): How can I potentially reverse the significant increase of STDs among the elderly?

So, there you have it.
Spread it around (and let the horrible double entendres fly)!


Kirstyn said...

Tam-tam, this is a really interesting idea (in my opinion). Even older-person (define older?) sexuality, without the std component, is touchy and taboo. I thought a lot this semester about sex and power in the older-generation characters in 19th c. novels and I feel like there's nearly as little discussion about it now as there was in the Victorian era. You should totally try to interview the lady who plays Samantha Jones on Sex in the City.

Iva said...

Wow, I had no idea this was even an issue! Just goes to show how much sex ed is being avoided across all generations (at least in the USofA). I'll definitely insist on protection the next time I pick up a retiree during my annual shuffleboard/swingers party. (Look for an evite soon!) Seriously though, I think this sounds interesting and has a lot of potential. I'll remember it when I go out tonight with some girlfriends to watch the Sex in the City movie. If the movie sucks, at least we'll have something else to talk about. Keep posting you progress on your project. I'll be sure to keep reading.