In May, the writing exercise took a trope and made it unique. Often writers take a troupe, flip it, and use that as a social commentary. After all, tropes exist because of expected action and situations, and expectations are instilled by society. So today I would like to take one of the more unquestioned one – Born Sexy Yesterday, and ask people to flip it around.
Born Sexy Yesterday is about an uneven power dynamic to a relationship, a teacher-student situation where the student has absolutely no knowledge and the teacher has all control of dispensing that knowledge, and then initiates a romantic or sexual relationship with the student during the instruction. Colonialism performed it when military leaders took the local (conquered) girls; sci-fi does it by having women emerge in fully realized adult female form with an untrained mind.
Born Sexy Yesterday is nearly 100% related to the woman being the weaker half of the relationship. The few times you see it with men, it’s played for laughs. I think the reason is, in American Society, women are the primary caregivers of children and it gets creepy thinking about making a play for a child-mind. They have been told by the culture to take care of the mentally young and ill. Men don’t have the training of “don’t touch children” banged into them beyond “check the ID for jail-bait”.
WRITING EXERCISE: So here is the writing exercise, write a story with the Born Sexy Yesterday trope turned on its edge. With the woman the teacher and the male the student but fully realized naive adult male (at least 24), but don’t play it for laughs. Make it as sexy and acceptable as Splash and Fifth Element, but with the guy needing to be dressed, hugged, and kissed. In this particular case the relationship must remain hetero, because the object is to study the socially ingrained dynamic American (and like) societies presently have. This is a social commentary piece. You can work it in high fantasy, sci-fi, urban fantasy, or other genre, even humor, so long as the relationship itself isn’t where the humor comes from. For example, in Splash much of the humor is based on her naivety, but the love developing between the Ordinary Joe and the Born Sexy Yesterday was not played for laughs. You might find it easiest to write the piece with the standard male-female setup and then reverse genders after the initial bit is complete. Aim for between 500 and 2000 words.
Further information can be found in the link below from Pop Culture Detective and from TV tropes: Born Sexy Yesterday.