Sex. It’s everywhere these days. Well, at least talk of it is. Not sure that the sex is. Maybe it is? Please, don’t think I’m objecting to all this talk –heaven forbid I should be thought of as prudish- it’s just that sometimes I forget how old I am and that things have changed so much in recent times. I don’t remember it being everywhere like it is now. When I was a boy, the best we could hope for was a sneaky look at the Family Health encyclopaedia in the school library, or else follow the plot of a soap-opera. I was not allowed to watch East Enders very often, and Brookside was strictly off limits. Crossroads was permitted, but my nanny even put a stop on that when Benny named a donkey after the late Miss Diane. Goodness only knows what she thought was going on there. I dread to think.
So, when the subject of S&M was mentioned on the radio the other day, I took it all in my stride. If that’s what people want to do, then who am I to judge? Sounds like a lot of bother to go to if you ask me, but then we’re all guilty of taking the long-winded approach to one task or another, only to arrive at the same conclusion. I know a woman who still uses a dry iron and another who keeps her remote control on top of the TV set in case it gets lost. Honestly.
No, I wasn’t shocked by the talk of S&M; I was shocked that it was only 10:15 in the morning and this was a local radio station. I was driving at the time and kudos to me, my attention was focused more on the white-van on my right, and the pensioner riding his mobility scooter in the curb on my left. If there is one thing guaranteed to freak me out more than white-van-man, it’s mobility-scooter-man. At least the white-van-man KNOWS what he is doing (no matter how inappropriate) and is perfectly aware of what is around of him. Tragically, the same cannot be applied to the senior citizens in question.
I reached a roundabout. The white-van-man went around it the correct way, without caring to indicate. Mobility-scooter-man went around it the wrong way, without a care in the world. In between panic attacks, I managed to pluck out the main points of the radio discussion. A man. A woman. A story. About S&M. Poor reviews. Fantastic sales. Yes, this was “The Fifty Shades of Grey”.
I didn’t think much more about it until week or so later, when I was vacuuming a bedroom. There it was on the chest of drawers. The book. I opened it to some random page and began reading. The woman is called Anastasia. The man is called Christian. I looked for the naughty bits, but I couldn’t see any. It was just the main character prattling on and on about her ‘inner goddess’ (which, as I later found out, was not a euphemism) and her ‘unconscious’. Sorry, ‘subconscious’. I read two pages and momentarily nodded off, standing up, with the vacuum cleaner still running. I put the book down next to a copy of ‘Chat!’ That’s more my kind of reading. I love those sort of magazines, because no matter how depressing the stories are, it makes me glad of my own life. And those readers-tips pages are too funny by half. The things people do with a wire coat-hanger and a dozen used cotton buds is refreshingly unique, if little else.
It got me thinking though, about my own reasonably dull life. Could it be possible for me to form the main part of a ‘chick-lit’? I laughed out loud at the mere suggestion, in much the same way I laughed in my mother’s face that time she tore a strip off me for going to quote for a cleaning job in the knowledge that the woman I was meeting would be home alone.
“Stephen!” she shouted, “you shouldn’t have done that! She might have felt threatened”. The tears ran down my face and onto the floor below. I don’t think I’d laughed so hard in quite a long time. If the woman had felt threatened when I went to meet her, she’d certainly overcome it by the time I arrived to do the job, because she answered the door wearing nothing but a low-cut bathrobe and a set of Carmen rollers.
Still, I thought, there’s no reason why I couldn’t be some woman’s ‘guilty secret’…
“Bonjella lay on the sofa, waiting for her visitor to arrive. Her subconscious reminded her that it had been a long time since she’d had a man in the house. She knew exactly what she wanted him to do for her and she wasn’t about to take no for an answer. As soon as she met him, she knew he was the man for her, even if her subconscious begged to differ.
It was at her friend’s house where they had met. Bonjella had gone round for coffee, thinking her friend would be alone. She didn’t recognize the shabby Fiat Panda on the drive, and when she rang the doorbell it was a short bearded man in white jeans who came to her aid.
He caught Bonjella off guard. She stared intently at him, taking in his ruggedness, the dark, shoulder-length hair, and cheeky smile. “I was looking for Tania” she stammered, “is she in?”.
“She’s in the garden” he said, “come through”. Bonjella felt her heart melting, her inner goddess was throbbing, yet there was something about the way he walked and the way he talked that told her that he could never be her plaything. Her subconscious said there was something about the way he walked and the way he talked that told her he could never be any woman’s plaything. Undeterred, she made sure she left with his telephone number.
And now, after weeks and weeks of waiting, finally she was going to spend the afternoon with him. He said he would be there at one o’clock, and yet it was almost ten-to-two. Had she been stood up? Her subconscious reminded her that despite the veneer, he was all man at heart. There was no way he was going to arrive now. Bonjella climbed off the sofa and made her way to the kitchen. Just then, there was a loud knock at door. She ran to the porch to see who it could be. And there he was, his dark, shoulder-length hair tousled by the summer wind, his white jeans grubby on the knees from a morning spent at work, the rips in his white tee-shirt revealing chest hair that reminded Bonjella what a red-blooded male looked like. Her subconscious reminded her not to get her hopes up and told her to let him in.
“Oh…My….God!” he screamed, “You would not believe the journey I had!”. He looked her in the eye, smiled, and threw his arms around her. She felt his beard against the side of her face as he planted a kiss on her cheek. “Right,” he said, unpacking a selection of dusters and cleaning products, “where shall I start?”.