BOSTON. Inge Helvig is a statuesque blond and a former fashion model, but inside her striking exterior she has the crusading temperament of a Carrie Nation. “I want my daughters to grow up in a better world,” she says demurely as she affectionately puts her arms around Kristin and Marthe, two young women blessed with their mother’s striking beauty. “It is not for myself that I alone fight,” she adds in her somewhat broken English.
Helvig has been a widow for two years, having lost her husband in a luge accident while on a family vacation in New Hampshire. “No one told us the snow in New England is like ice,” she says ruefully. “Petr hit a snow bank and never regained consciousness.”
As paramedics lifted his limp body into the ambulance one of them slammed his finger in the door and let go with a vulgar term for copulation that begins with an “f,” ends in a “k” and has a “u” and a “c” in between–and thereby a cause was born. “I was shocked, not so much that he would say such a thing while handling my husband’s lifeless corpse,” Helvig says. “It was the thought that American men so lightly take the name of love in vain.”
“Would you get out of the f__king way and let me work?”
And so Helvig decided to dedicate herself to the cause of banning the F-bomb, or at least persuading American males to voluntarily give it up. “I find them surprisingly receptive to my message,” she says as her daughters hand out pamphlets to a stream of curious men entering Rico Petrocelli Hall here at the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth Streets for an hour-long talk on why the act of love-making is sacred, and should not be sullied by turning the word for the act into an expletive.
“She’s on to something, that’s for sure,” says Larry Nord, of the Broadcast Speaker’s Bureau. “I could have her booked three nights a week, but she makes sure the girls do their homework.”
Some men in the hall are oblivious to the message of the evening, however, since they are here to earn their daily bread and not for enlightenment. “Jesus f__king Christ!” Mel Quarles shouts as he drops a riser on his toe, and Inge is all over him like a coyote on a housecat. “Please,” she says in a sultry voice to the union laborer. “You do not know how much it hurts me to hear you say that.”
“It’s not a show–it’s just a talk.”
“Sorry lady, excuse my French,” Quarles says with genuine sincerity in his voice.
“No, it is not French,” Helvig says. “In France, you do not hear this desecration of the pure and natural erotic impulse.”
As Helvig speaks Quarles’ eyes drift lower to her decolletage, and between the aural and visual stimulation he is lulled into a receptive state of mind. “Maybe you’re right,” he says. “I should probably place love up on a pedestal and not swear about it.”
“And so please–keep your thoughts and your language of love pure. Thank you.”
“That is my message for you men tonight,” she says as she brushes her long blonde hair to the side. “I hope you will change just a little bit–for me?” she asks coquettishly.
“You got it babe,” Quarles says. “Nothin’ but pure sexual thoughts for me from now on.”
“That is good,” she says. “Now I must excuse myself to speak to so many of your fellows whose minds I have not yet made up for them.”
Helvig strides gracefully to the podium and a hush falls over the crowd–except for Elise Copenhaver, who has accompanied her husband Duane to the seminar to make sure he’s not attending some romp in a sauna with the Scandinavian babe depicted on the materials he received in the mail. She is eating a cookie dough ice cream cone that she admits she shouldn’t, but to which she is treating herself as payback for her husband’s night out to listen to a beautiful woman “talk dirty,” as she puts it.
“I figure if he gets to take a break, so do I,” she says before her husband cuts her off.
“Will you shut the f__k up?” he snaps. “I’m trying to hear!”