The List: Your Hall Pass To Sleep With Celebrities
Before the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy became a thing, women were indulging in lusty daydreams about The List. Existing before, but made popular by, an episode of Friends titled, “The One With Frank Jr,” The List became a cultural phenomenon by the time the final credits were rolling. In this particular episode the gang is sipping coffee on their favorite couch at Central Perk, and in turn, they each rattle off a list of five celebrities, whom should they one day meet, they would have a hall pass to sleep with. The idea caught like HVP in a freshman dorm and before you knew it, everyone and their pervy uncle had a List. The immediate popularity and longevity of The List is no fluke, the formula is the ideal foundation on which any good fantasy can be built. The framework is standard: carefully craft a list of famous people you’d like to have sex with, then sit back and wait until you serendipitously cross paths with one of them. Go ahead and fill in the all the steamy details as you wish. Perhaps you imagine Charlize Theron walks into your local coffee shop and meets your lusty gaze over a 12 ounce double dirty chia latte, so you rendezvous in the bathroom and have a quickie before whatever Ray LaMontagne song was playing has ended. It’s your fantasy, so go wild with the particulars. I keep it real with a standard scenario that goes for any of the fellas on my list. We meet at a party, in the middle of the dance floor, and the moment we lock eyes, supernatural juju kicks in. The power radiating from my vagina is so strong that his belt comes undone by its own faculty. Likewise, the potency of his pheromones cause my bra to turn to dust. After that, things happen fast but also in slow motion. Still on the dance floor, minus some of our clothing, we are caught up in the rhythm of a Jamiroquai song. The party hasn’t slowed down since our sex dance started, and I am hoping at least one of the other party goers will be kind enough to capture this moment on video for prosperity.
The additional beauty of The List, is by its very creation it is a Bill of Rights for Infidelity. By officially establishing your limited grouping of famous folk and declaring their names out loud, you have therefore abolished yourself from all guilt and ramifications from a significant other. Those rules are laid out clearly in the Friends episode and have been accepted by all in possession of their own List. However, if you are propositioned by an equally hot, but not registered-to-your-list celebrity, you must decline intercourse, heavy petting, and even a steamy make out sesh. If they are not on your list, your legs must stay closed like a Chick-fil-A on Sunday. This is a very strict rule in the game of doing the deed with celebrities, because veering from your list is like playing with gasoline and matches. Why? No one knows for sure, but it’s blindly accepted across the board. This shroud of mystery remains because no average person has ever, in all of history, made it to 4th base with one of the people on their List. Since I live in Nashville, I have crossed paths with my fair share of celebrities, and never once has one of them tried to help me rapidly unbutton my shirt and shimmy out of my skinny jeans. Even in the rare case where I have exchanged words with a celebrity, the conversation never evolves past casual pleasantries — which is exactly the type of sustenance required to keep the pulse of The List beating. Too much reality and The List will flatline.
It’s the same type of escapist daydreaming that made 50 Shades of Gray fly off the shelves and had sex toy websites scrambling to match their inventory to orders; the idea that something incredibly unordinary and sexy can happen when you least expect it. Just imagine you are drinking a glass of champagne in a swanky hotel lounge, and George Clooney walks by and presses his room key in your hand. I’m talking about George Clooney circa The Facts of Life, but it doesn’t really matter which iteration of George you prefer, I imagine if you’re a straight woman, your panties spontaneously flew off your body when you read that sentence¹. The thing that makes the fantasy so hot is the same thing that makes it so unfulfilling: the odds of it never happening.
After “The One With Frank Jr” aired, my friends and I took to the task of List making as if we were taking a blood oath. There were some very heated discussions about first right of refusal for the same celebrity appearing on multiple lists. If I said Matt Damon before Heather did, then dammit, I was the sole proprietor of Matt Damon and Heather needed to accept that she would have to settle for shacking up with Ben Affleck. The amount of back and forth on what the rules are for double dipping on celebrity booty brought out so many emotions in me, that my cheeks heat up a few degrees with embarrassment just thinking about it. The only peace treaty my girlfriends and I have ever made for The List, makes it permissible for any and all of us to get nasty with Adam Levine. It truly is the only humane thing to do. If I had put as much energy into college as I did into the painstaking creation of my List, I would be the CEO of my own chocolate factory but still would have slept with zero celebrities.
The lure of The List didn’t fade with college. On a random girls night out or beach weekend, the topic will come up and in turn, we will all recite our lists. For years, my list remained the same, with no foreseeable reason to update — with the exception of a time period when I felt a tad pedophile-ish having Andy Roddick on my list, and he was briefly replaced by Luke Wilson. Then Andy turned 30 and the gap closed, so he was welcomed back with open arms by his fellow long term listers: Jimmy Fallon, Jason Bateman, Justin Timberlake, and Jake Gyllenhaal. I noticed the same trend with many of my girlfriends; they were loyal to their celebs, making only minor edits to those they originally, so mindfully, placed on that sacred list many moons ago. There is an unspoken and underlying fear that making amendments to one’s List will somehow throw off the cosmic sexual karma that makes the fantasy possible. Once you whisper it to the wind, if it is in your cards to knock boots with Charlize, you will feel a tingle in your vageen every time Ray LaMontagne’s voice purrs through your radio. The stakes are low, but as long as there are stakes, there’s a chance. Rotating randoms on and off of your List puts you in a precarious position: what if you remove Charlize only to notice her sitting one booth over from you at dinner the next night? Now you have flushed that opportunity down the toilet for no good reason and you are stuck holding out for a B-lister
Fantasies only retain their magic by never coming true. They remain most lusty when hanging out in the purgatory that exists between your imagination and the bedroom. Chances are, if you were the one in a million who had the dumb luck of sleeping with your movie star dreamboat, you would experience colossal disappointed. Because the truth is this; there is no evidence that being famous makes you good in bed. The List has conjured an ideal that sex with a celebrity is somehow better than sex with everyday people, most likely because the vast majority of celebrities meet (and exceed) our cultural standards of beauty. It’s highly possible that your typical leading man is going to be more hairless, toned, and wrinkle-free than the father of your children, but that doesn’t mean he is going to turn you out between the sheets. As a matter of fact, I’d wager my favorite pair of earrings that celebrities have all the same moves as your baby daddy, but pores so minuscule and enviable, staring at them distracts you from focusing on an orgasm. I’ll go out on a limb and say that James Franco is probably the exception, that freaky stoner could show you some moves that would make you the envy of every gal in your book club. So if you’re really looking for an experience worthy of a free pass, don’t squander it on something as vanilla as a person whose face is on the cover of People magazine. Upgrade your fantasy to feature the tatted-up street skater who blows smoke rings that look like hearts or the Spanish musician who is the visiting yoga instructor at your local studio². At this point in life, a hall pass tryst needs to be an event so delectable that just the one encounter will satiate your fantasy craving until you need someone to help you remove your dentures.
Even though creating Lists appears to be only a fun party game (or a life or death mission for college students who should be studying for mid-terms), the subliminal message you hear when you play this record backwards is, we need to be free. Not free to sleep with famous folk, but free to express our sexual thoughts without being judged. Using the context of a sitcom and fictional story, no one need be on alert for slut shaming or stank eye for speaking up about what they like in bed — the reference serves as a buffer. Being scrutinized and penalized for talking openly about sex and sexuality is a message to woman that females are not encouraged to assert themselves. A lady with this type of control over her life and feelings reads as too threatening to those who believe women should have limited agency over their own lives and choices. Which is why playing in the land of make-believe with a list of celebrity names is only a bland morsel at the buffet of full freedom and expression.
But you don’t need a book or a show or a list of CILF’s to find your inner pleasure goddess, she already lives inside you. You just need to turn down all the background noise and set her free on the dance floor while a Jamiroquai song plays.