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September 10, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Mulled Whine with H.G. Beattie

Wherein erotica fails to cut the mustard. And I make a pocahontas reference.

My life is a series of mild anecdotes ineloquently and nasally articulated. To “wit”: I spent the holidays watching Suits (I know, you discovered it ages ago), making some royalist art for my bedroom wall, and reading my friends’ and antagonists’ horoscopes in the Dom. I passed an entire day last week overcome by sadness for Pisceans, whose local astrologer could only go so far as to tell them that their half-birthday was approaching. Looks like the hard sciences are on the slippery slope.

While it is out of character for me to show any form of self-appreciation, instrumental in my constant stream of consciousness approach to conversation has been a prodigious skill in anecdotal elaboration. Without outright lying, it is clearly possible to talk in such a way as to present what you said as actually having been funny or interesting. The golden rule is that unless someone says “did you really say that?!”, don’t disclaim it. Unfortunately, all I’ve got going on at the moment is future fear with a side of Feist. It’s a real saga.

In keeping with aforementioned self-indulgent stream of consciousness approach to life, you should know that I just stared at the word ‘saga’ for so long that it lost all meaning.

This reminded me of when I got bored in school assemblies and used to unfocus my eyes on everything except people’s noses and just move along the row thinking “button, button, ski jump, John-Key-in-vaguely-anti- Semitic-newspaper-cartoons, button.” I digress. Essentially, the word ‘saga’ is blatantly overused, to the extent that the only words more frequently overused are ‘essentially’ and ‘blatantly’. The only – and very tenous—link I have to any kind of saga would be my friend telling me the other week that I reminded him of the heroine from Fifty Shades of Grey. The conversation went a bit like this: “Her thoughts remind me of you. She’s witty.” “Doesn’t she hang around with a millionaire who wants to put electrodes on her nipples? I’ve only ever done that with middle- income earners. You know. Mum and dad investors.”

So I read Fifty Shades of Grey and debunked the myths of erotica. I am not warranting that my narrow venture into cliterature yields any novel point of view. Here’s the deal. As the female lead, the reader, with all her god-awful insecurities, has to be able to relate to you. Simultaneously, you must be some kind of groundbreaking, hair-swinging Pocahontas figure that is ‘just different to other women’. So you can be flawed, but only insofar as you’re still so special that you leave other women in the field holding the corn while you go and have a chat to a yonic metaphorical tree. It is a little difficult to see in Fifty Shades, what with all the virgin propaganda that you’re being beaten around the head with. This is where erotica falls down for me. Bridget Jones is flawed yet somehow different, right, but you’re under no false impression that her first time was with some Gosling lookalike in a four-poster bed overlooking the Seine where they had simultaneous orgasms and then just held each other for three days straight because he wanted to.

I should probably say something token, like, don’t worry if you read the book and take from it the heartwarming notion that some rippling Adonis is just around the corner for you. You’re probably right. There are plenty of fish in—nope, can’t manage that one with a straight face, sorry. Happy half-birthday to all you Pisceans.


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