I Wanna (blank) You Up!

This picture captures that time perfectly

This picture captures that time perfectly

My Running Man is still on point!

My Running Man is still on point!

One of my favorite songs (and a bonafide classic in its own right) of the early 90s is “I Wanna Sex You Up”. That song was pretty much perfect. It had really good vocals and a beat you could dance to. That’s all a pre-pubescent teenager such as myself needed at the time. I took every opportunity I could to get off my technically superb “Running Man”. I used to KILL the Running Man. I would step out to the side, step back. I had my whole shit down. My brother Jason has always been the better dancer so all I had to do was keep up and I was looking like an expert.

Whenever Color Me Badd came on it was on. Jason and I would find an empty space to fill with Running Man moves. Notice I called it “Color Me Badd”. That’s what we used to call that song. Why, you ask? Because our lovely mother didn’t allow us to say “The ‘S’ Word”. Or “S” as we called it. I was the only kid at school that thought “sex” was a bad word. Mom had some odd rules for us.

I remember hearing the word “sex” for the first time. I was about six years old. Mom was watching “Golden Girls” and Blanch had a date or something. She said something flippant and the audience did that “Ooooh” thing. My mother chuckled:

- Ooh, Blanche is sexy.

The light bulb went off. What is this sexy? It’s something adult. Mom found it entertaining. I must share this with the others! Later on we were in the room playing. Alisha with her dolls and Jason and me with every single toy that we had ever gotten (now Bash does this and I understand). I decided to pass on my new word. I didn’t know what it meant but whatever I said to them led to pretty much the dumbest conversation ever.

- Jason, you got sexy with Alisha

- Nuh uh! Jon, you got sexy with Alisha

- Nuh uh! Alisha, you got sexy with Jason

- Nuh uh!…

And on and on. I remember wishing I could come up with a different combination. But there was only three of us. This game went on for too long. I think the game would still be going on right now if my mom didn’t walk into that room. She had been spying on us for a few rounds of our dumb ass game.

- What did you just say?

Parents asking you to repeat something is the worst! You feel dumb no matter what you said. My head got warm. What did I say wrong? My brain was moving so fast that my words had no choice but to come out extremely slowly and extremely dumb.

- I was saying… that… Jason got… sexy… with Lisha. And then Jason… said Lisha…

- What does sexy mean?

- I don’t know.

- Don’t say that anymore. Sex is a bad word.

That was it. Then she walked out. I looked apologetically at Jason and Alisha. I mean, she had just said the word watching Golden Girls. How was I supposed to know. Golden Girls is wholesome comedy.

Our ban was real. When Mom made a rule we followed it. Nobody wants to get spanked over a word they don’t even know the meaning to. That word was quickly removed from my vocabulary. I even snitched on a kid in school for saying it. The teacher broke it to me that “sex” is not a bad word. I felt like the dumbest little snitch ever. The kid looked at me like I was an idiot. The teacher must have picked up on my shock.

- It’s not a bad word, but some people say it’s a “grown-up word”.

Ah, now it was coming together. You can’t get more grown than the damn Golden Girls! No wonder Mom said it then.

Then Color Me Badd burst onto the scene with their one smash hit. They were S-wording everybody up. As one not to break the rules, I yelled the chorus at the top of my lungs while omitting the “grown-up word”.


“Rumpshaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect was okay to sing to tho

“Rumpshaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect was okay to sing to tho

We all did it. A silent pause. In retrospect it makes the song sound even more graphic. I didn’t know what the F-word was, but that could easily be what we were muting. Mom would watch us with that hawk eye of hers to make sure we weren’t sneaking and saying that dirty word. It was messed up that she was letting us go around sounding dumb and prude. On the other hand we could say all of the lyrics to “Rumpshaker”.


I’m pretty sure that song is about having a lot of S-word. Way to be consistent, Mom!

I was finally allowed to say the S-word once I knew it wasn’t that bad. We took sex education in school shortly after Color Me Badd was popular. It would have been very embarrassing to ask questions about “S-word”. I’m glad that phase is over. Though whenever we’re together and that song comes on we do a hard pause and laugh heartily. I guess it was all worth it. Until next time…