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Penn Museum hosts their annual Valentine's event, discussing the sexually deviant behavior of ancient Egyptians. Credit: Frances Hu

Attendees of last night’s lecture at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology learned Mrs. Robinson has nothing on the cougars of the ancient world. Lil’ Wayne can’t compete with the “playas” of old Egyptian thrones. The rift between Courtney Love and her daughter stands trivial next to the drama between the babies and mamas of the Middle Eastern lands long ago.

Jennifer Wegner, Penn professor and curator of the Egyptian section of the museum, spoke at last night’s Valentine’s Day lecture, “Cougars, Playas and Baby Mama Drama in the Ancient World.” The lecture attracted approximately 125 people, according to Nicole Stach, co-chairwoman of the event and Young Friends Board member.

The Young Friends Board, a Penn Museum committee of abut 20 professionals in Philadelphia, organized the annual event, said Sam Brewer, co-chairwoman of the event and Wharton Graduate alumna.

“We usually highlight a more scandalous part of history for Valentine’s Day,” Brewer said. “Wegner blends funny anecdotes and her deep knowledge of ancient history very well to make for a very entertaining presentation.”

Wegner began the talk with a picture of a rather salacious Egyptian statue. “Obviously, the ancient Egyptians were quite creative and acrobatic,” she said, soliciting laughter from the crowd. “And from similar types of work, we can assume the art from that time period represented the sexual relationships that existed in Egypt at that time.”

She went on to narrate stories about “cougars” and drama between parents and children in ancient Egyptian society. “And since I am approaching the age of a cougar, I, of course, had to look up the definition of ‘playa’ online,” she added.

“Wegner is really a dynamic and well-spoken presenter,” Stach said. “Her presentations are always highly entertaining, especially to younger audiences.”

The lecture drew mostly Penn faculty, graduate students and many young, local professionals, according to Bea Jarocha-Ernst, the Penn Museum’s administrative assistant of membership and annual giving.

Shaun O’Brien, a biomedical studies graduate student, said he had a pleasant time out of the lab and at the event. “Most of what Dr. Wegner talked about is usually swept under the rug when it comes to history,” he added.

The Membership Office and the Young Friends group want younger people to become involved with the museum, according to Emily Winetz-Goldsleger, assistant director of Membership and Annual Giving.

“They’re our future audience,” she added. “An event like this helps draw these younger audiences to the museum and get them interested in what the museum has to offer.”

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