Friday, February 17, 2012

#225 The word "petting"


Nobody ever says this word unless they're talking about a petting zoo, and then it's used as a participle and is G-rated. Christian culture are the only ones who use it as a verb in a PG-13/NC-17 way and for them it only comes in two flavors: heavy and light.

Its etymology is uncertain but James Dobson brought it into the evangelical vernacular in the early 1990s or thereabouts with his twelve stages of physical intimacy (see here) which included a line that unmarried couples should not traverse. Very practical. Christian culture enjoys clear cut plans and handy guidelines in order to know at which point God goes from happy (not sinning) to furrowed brow (sinning).

Unfortunately for the enterprise of petting, both varieties are disallowed in all evangelical contexts. This restriction predicates the getting of married in order to Do It, which is why people in Christian culture tend to marry young. And getting married young causes another wellspring of problems. To elaborate on those problems would require many more posts, but that's what this blog is for.

24 comments:

Melanie said...

I think in the Dobson parlance, it's technically a gerund :)

/orthographical fascism

buzzalot said...

Thank you so very much for posting the link to the outline.

and the Happy God (not sinning) to the Furrowed Brow God (sinning). Now I understand. love, Farah

Dianna said...

Funny thing: I now have Dobson's "Biblical Guidelines for Dating" open in one window, and a message form for OkCupid in another.

Methinks Mr. Dobson would disapprove.

Jonesy said...

Funny. Bible College chapel was a pretty popular place for petting.

Also my captcha is "healsin." NICE
-Luke

Karla said...

"a.) Do you think fornication is a part of dating in the U.S.A.?"

Yes.

"b.) Do you think what you do on a date will have an effect on any
one else but you?"

Hells no. Y'all are gossipy pervs, peeking through the rear window of my boyfriend's van, watching us get to third. You'll probably go home and spank it when you're done spying, too.

Laura said...

That linked outline is a hot mess--both in terms of format, and content. Yeesh.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I think that Dr. Joy's steps in a relationship make a lot of sense. I remember hearing about this eons ago and how Dr. Joy used this as a way to help couples who were having problems reconnect to each other. It doesn't prohibit actions, it just says that if a couple take a step by step approach to the physical relationship, that the physical won't get ahead of the emotional/intellectual connection that they are building in their dating relationship.

Matt B said...

My only question: which is more likely to lead to sex, dancing or petting?

Eli said...

Matt, don't you know it is the other way around? Sex leads to dancing!

Analyst said...

"Sex leads to dancing!"

"Oh, how we danced, on the night, we were wed!
We danced, how we danced, for the room, had no bed!"

(Tune: "The Anniversary Song").

Anonymous said...

That linked outline was so incompetently written and amateurish:

"the die was caste " (sp)
"tactically endorsed" (sp)

tactically endorsed? With predator drones? I think they meant "tacitly".

Nelson said...

And, and?!
The linked outline starts channeling Norman Vincent Peale? That clown? The same one who ran the anti catholic hysteria during JFK's presidential campaign?
I thought Peale had been completely discredited by now.

Anonymous said...

Cracks me up that the stages go from 9) hand to body straight to 10) mouth to breast. Nothing in between eh? He puts his hand on your stomach and bam! mouth to breast is next natural step? Hilarious!

jasdye said...

I've always heard about petting (especially since I worked at a conservative Bible college and that was the extent of The Sex Talk. Well, that and "They're Gay.")

But I never knew what it was nor really heard anybody else using that vernacular.

Funny, I also don't care enough to click the link...

Michael said...

From the PDF:

3.) What you do effects your children!!!!

I'm sure he meant "affect" but I guess sex does "effect" children, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Indeed the great effector..

Anonymous said...

You're wrong.

"Petting" has been around for a LONG time. And there are two varieties: Light and Heavy.

Here's a good laugh -- and evidence: http://eltonlfq.unblog.fr/courtship-and-the-dangers-of-petting/

Jon's Consciousness said...

Sweet, in the linked to PDF document, I see nary a mention of anal sex. Must mean anal sex is ok kids!

Margo, Bible Fun Factory said...

This blog post is hilarious! I remember when I was growing up hearing people use the term "heavy petting" and not understanding how you could heavily pet an animal—my innocent mind! And I love that you linked to James Dobson's twelve stages of physical intimacy—I hadn't see it before, and I found it very interesting, to say the least.

kari said...

dobson fucked up a lot of childhoods.

Sarah Fegredo said...

"I thought there's no use getting into heavy petting,
That only leads to trouble, and seat wetting!"

Chowder138 said...

There are not much terms coined based on sexuality in the Christian vocabulary. But they do have viagra online as an intimate topic.

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Terie Spencer said...

Petting is a term for making out. From the first half of the 20TH century.