Sizzling days and sultry nights heat up my summer Reading List so don’t judge me for seeking smut. I’m no prude, but since reading E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey I’ve been hot under the collar, blushing fifty shades of pink.
It’s not what you think. The romance/erotic genre isn’t virgin territory for me. In fact, after reading Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, I discovered Exit to Eden, which she wrote under the pseudonym Anne Rampling. The story centers on a make-believe Caribbean club where sex games and love Hurt So Good. Exit to Eden is fun and harmless. Ms. Rice also happens to be an award-winning author.
Great authors are like rock stars. That’s why I salivate over Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy and George RR Martin. Add Barbara Kingsolver and Jane Smiley to the mix and you see I swing both ways in writers who wow me.
The excruciating anticipation of joining the orgy of E.L. James fans ranging in age from my sons’ girl friends to octogenarians at our golf club led my hand to the Kindle On switch and my finger pressed firmly on the Buy button. The tantalizing title page flashed on the screen and pages later I plunged into the lurid world of doms and subs.
I haven’t been this worried about being discovered reading a book since I was ten and stole my parents copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. That must be why I practically knocked over the hair dryer at the salon when the lady next to me leaned over to ask, “What are you reading?”
“Uh Moby Dick,” I lied, fumbling for the Sleep switch.
Turns out it is all Herman Melville’s fault.
Days before I downloaded Fifty Shades of Grey, I expected complete Moby Dick, become obsessed with Sperm Whales and be driven mad by American Romanticism. Instead, I fell asleep every time there was an extended soliloquy or narrative. (You have no idea how hard that was for me to admit.) I craved escapism and sensual stimulation.
Fifty Shades of Grey did not get the fantasy job done. To get my sex on, I must suspend my disbelief. I never did. I did not buy the protagonist, an educated young woman who said Yes, every single time I wanted her to say No. Yes, to getting spanked to the point of needing Advil. Yes, to being bossed around. Yes, to lying to everyone. By the time she finally said No, I no longer cared.
When I complained to my husband, he said. “Yeah. And don’t you wish you wrote it?” I’m back to reading Moby Dick. Call me Ishmael.