Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sex

Sex. It is a frightening prospect for most writers and almost certainly the only subject where the writer's rule of thumb, "write about what you know" is dislocated. There is an annual award "presented" by the Literary Review called "The Bad Sex in Fiction" award and it has some illustrious winners in its 14 year history including Melvyn Bragg, Tom Wolfe, A.A Gill, Philip Kerr and Sebastian Faulks; all people whose otherwise superlative descriptive powers are abandoned in a welter of dodgy metaphor and sweaty fluster the moment they start blindly fumbling for the literary g-spot. I know someone who has written close on 200 books, most of these romances containing the obligatory (i.e. publisher insists) mating scene and she abhors having to write it.

The thing is, we've all done "it" (or probably have. I'm not sure about Murph, that would I'm sure depend on which row he sings in the choir). I must have done it a few times as I have a couple of children somewhere who bear me a superficial resemblance and I also still have a note from a neighbour in Crewe who once politely asked if we would consider closing our bedroom window and that they weren't complaining about our snoring, boom boom. Well, we'd not been together long, had we. So, whereas I can write passably decent stuff about football or cricket, Russian Blue cats, beer, wartime jazz musicians and hand-forged ironmongery because I either have first-hand experience of or have done extensive research on the subjects, when it comes to horizontal jogging, I won't even attempt it. At least in public.

One of the reasons why, to be honest, is because what I accept as agreeably normal and accepted practise in the realm of the bedroom (or stairs, kitchen table, garden shed whatever), may make other people point at me and snigger. People I'd hitherto considered friends. Or even family. We all have different levels of normal, don't we. Don't we? There is the (probably apocryphal, but good nonetheless) story that John Ruskin, 19th century artist and critic whose previous experience of naked women supposedly extended to the stylized renderings by renaissance masters and classical sculptors, took fright on his wedding night on seeing his wife's pubic hair for the first time (causing her to eventually bugger off with Millais). I also know of a couple who married quite late. She was very experienced and a bit older; he was nearly 40 and a very definite virgin. Consequently, as the wedding night approached he endeavoured to research what he would need to do to satisfy his new bride. As his chosen method of research entailed purchasing a large number of gentlemen's recreational videos via teh Internet's dodgier outlets, the outcome doesn't bear thinking about. Actually it does, very much so. And speculating upon it has caused some LOLing and not a little LMAOing as a wedding night based on this newly acquired knowledge would have been interesting to say the least. The fact that the gentleman concerned is quite possibly also autistic - of the kind that worries about change - puts an even more interesting slant on their conjugals. Has she managed to persuade him that a money shot isn't necessary every time? And after 5 years could he at least take his shoes and socks off and lay down for once? "Dear Dierdrie, My new wife says she's already fed up with our sex life. She's told me she doesn't want the neighbours to join in every time anymore even though I've told her this is what everyone does. Please help." "Dear Brian, you're obviously not using enough butterscotch Angel Delight and do make sure your mango isn't over-ripe otherwise you'll be pestered by wasps. She'll get used to it given time."

5 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Dave said...

Thank you for writing so delicately on this sensitive subject.

I wouldn't dream of mentioning it on my blog, because my son reads it.

8:26 am  
Blogger Murph said...

Thank you for singling me out here, Richard. I'm only 12, by the way.
I'm thinking of starting a shop to sell little tartan dog jackets called "Doggy Fashion".

12:50 pm  
Blogger Rol Hirst said...

That's a wonderfully British response from your ex-neighbour. I hope you were EXTRA NOISY the following night.

2:44 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Dave, my parents have read this before. Hello Mum.

Murph, if you're only 12 in dog years then you haven't an inkling of what I was talking about. If you're 12 in biped years, you've probably forgotten. In either case, you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. Doggy Fashion. Very good, could be Mr P's passport to riches.

Rol, we still don't know who it was. If it's who we think it was, they're still Sharon's neighbours.

7:34 pm  
Blogger Dyna Girl said...

I love the neighbors.

6:16 am  

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