Now I don’t feel so bad about my manuscript not having made it through the committee for the Luna line. When the line first opened up several years ago, I sent in a book and got a nice e-mail note from Matrice telling me that it didn’t make it through committee because it didn’t fit with the plan. That was a “straight” fantasy (pun intended, but you won’t get it yet), whereas Luna is going increasingly more “sensual.” I had heard that from a couple of people, but now there’s a discussion on it at E. D. Trix‘s blog. Wow!
I know it ISN’T just me now. Everything is going more hardcore. Honestly, I’m no prude, and I don’t want to turn back progress, but still . . . nowadays I can’t seem to get away from it. Music videos have suggestive lyrics and dancing, even when the dancers look ten years old. Every film has to have the sweaty rolling around that lasts for several minutes on the screen. Next thing you know, it’ll be de rigueur to, um, pleasure oneself (as they’re saying nowadays) in public as you wait in line. They’ll have to apologize to Pee-Wee Herman for arresting him for doing the same thing in the X-rated theater some years back. It’ll be happening in the grocery aisles. Please, people . . . get a room. We KNOW you are a sexual being. Could we talk about something else for a change? I’m getting bored.
(Maybe that’s the secret plan. The neoconservatives plan to let the culture get so saturated with sex that everyone gets bored with it! Nah, that won’t work. The Roman Empire got saturated, and what happened was that soon, nothing was enough. And that led to problems.)
Yes, there have always been bawdy songs. Tavern songs. Stuff sung on Navy ships and so forth. But were they always in my face? No. Now in the supermarket or at a fashionable “bar/club” restaurant, they’re playing rap/hippity-hoppity stuff that is not only sexually explicit (not just suggestive), but also violent and contains some degree of anger. (I am not talking about Afroman’s “Because I Got High” here. I mean that gangster stuff.) There have always been books that were hidden under the counter. But at least Henry Miller, Anais Nin, D. H. Lawrence, and various other writers of “dirty books” (which seem terribly tame these days) were actually poetic about it and made it seem attractive. They didn’t give these clinical descriptions. They didn’t, in fact, turn me OFF.
I’m not saying that society should return to some semblance of Victorian “propriety.” But must I constantly hear the people behind me discussing last night’s sexual adventures (devoid of romance or limerence) while I’m standing in line at Borders Books? Must I always expect to have to skip several pages in every book I read because I am over twelve and don’t actually need to have the body parts enumerated in order to recognize that the characters are involved in the sex act? Several years ago, one of my stories contained the line (spoken by a character), “I’ve got to know whether she and that fool are making the Beast With Two Backs,” and it was changed by the editor before going into the anthology (Heaven and Hell). I never found out whether she thought I was being coy (actually, the character Fred *was* trying to keep someone else in the room from realizing what he was reading–his sister’s diary, or so he thought) or just felt that most people today wouldn’t know what the heck that meant. (If you don’t, let me know. Only kidding! Search the ‘net! I want you to learn this stuff on the streets, not from me! *GRIN*) I can’t see how that could have offended anyone. Now some of the pages-long “erotica/romantica” stuff that finds its way into the novels I pick up is just nauseatingly too detailed. I get sick to my stomach. I really don’t have any NEED to visualize all this. I am a married woman. I have been married twenty years. I used to date. Mama got me one of those books about “Your Body” and “The Birds Do It With The Bees” when I was eight and a half. So I really already KNOW this stuff. (Unlike the time in my teenhood when my best friend Ann Richardson and I hung up an Elton John poster and a Freddie Mercury poster in her room and were admiring them–our pathetic misguidedness should be obvious to anyone who knows the sexual orientation of these rock stars, but back then it wasn’t being talked about, and besides we were sixteen or so and oblivious–and her mother smiled indulgently and said, “You poor, sex-starved young girls.” We may have been interested in finding out “how it feels” back then, but hey, c’mon, now we know . . . how many times must we hear it?) Clearly this writing is serving a purpose for others, but it really seems to have become a fad. If you don’t want to read and write sex constantly, then (it’s implied) there’s something wrong with you. Don’t get me wrong–it’s fine for you consenting adults to do it hanging from a flagpole in the front yard, if city ordinances permit. Y’know, all I’m saying is that I just don’t wanna see it. Especially not ALL THE TIME.
Okay, I give up. I’ve been waiting for the pendulum to swing in the other direction. But it doesn’t seem to have any plans at all to do that. There’s no such thing as a “tease” any more, and that’s kind of sad. It’s always more alluring and interesting to have something that’s hidden and not all hanging out. Mystery is a large part of anticipation and excitement, so I think people are ripping themselves off by starting out as “sexual beings” at around age eight or nine and having sex so early with “friends” (instead of having romantic interludes or old-fashioned dates or what-have-you) and considering it such a routine part of life, something they are entitled to “get” regularly. There’s something being lost that I think shouldn’t be lost. What ever happened to moderation?
(Oh, that’s right–Congress voted it out last session!)