Voting is like sex.
People make videos about it and post them online. And then everyone argues about whether that was a good idea.
In my continual quest to have every possible position on the subject of Lena Dunham, I think I like her latest video, a get-out-the-vote effort. It’s cute and tongue-in-cheek and doesn’t outstay its welcome. With the minor objection that I am fundamentally opposed to the whole concept of get-out-the-vote videos, it works.
Still, given Lena Dunham’s mastery of awkward sex, you’d think she would have made a more honest appraisal.
“My first time voting was amazing,” she gushes. “It was this line in the sand. Before I was a girl; now, I was a woman.”
Twitter has torn through this a few times.
“If voting is like sex,” quipped Ben Domenech, “you’re doing one of them wrong.”
There are, after all, a lot of similarities between the two. If you ask for ID first, it tends to ruin the mood. People all over the country whom you would rather not visualize doing it do it. Women’s enthusiastic participation was discouraged until the 20th century. If you fill in the wrong box, it’s awkward. It’s weird to get e-mails from your grandparents about it. Generally it’s frowned on if you recite the Gettysburg Address as you do it. There are curtains, booths, stickers, UN observers.
You have the dim sense that it was better in 2008.
It seems fun and magical in college. But then it’s just something some people do on their lunch breaks and complain about.
But you can’t really make a video that says that.
The problem with this video is the same as the problem with all sexy, cheeky, get-out-the-vote videos. You get there expecting a parade and there's no parade. Just a line. It’s built for anticlimax.
You have been led by Hollywood to expect background music and suddenly improved lighting, and instead there's no room for your elbows, the lever doesn’t work and an old lady walks in on you by mistake.
Voting is one of those awkward duties of adulthood, like paying your gas bill and removing expired meats from your refrigerator. There are no bells and whistles and fireworks. Save those for the Fourth of July.
“Is sex dirty?” Woody Allen asked. “Only if you do it right.”
Voting is a mess. It’s not sexy, unless you prefer your encounters solitary, furtive and surrounded by strangers. It’s about as fun and sassy as anything you do in a church basement. If you’re lucky, the booth doesn’t smell.
Maybe you wait for the perfect gentleman to come along. If so, you will be waiting a very long time.
But probably you do it because it’s your duty, and it’s Tuesday.
There’s a reason this video is aimed at first-timers. Everyone else knows better. But it’s still worth a chuckle.