The Valentine’s of the Autumn is soon upon us – get ready to be sexy for Halloween! Somehow there’s an expectation to be sexy for all of these holidays nowadays, but hey, any excuse. (Will we ever get a break???) If a random website selling random stuff tells me this is the sexiest time of the year, who am I to contest any of it. Herewith how I’m intending to pass the sexy-time All Saints holiday that’s right around the corner.
OK, I’ll give in to sex, but only as far as reading about other people have it (I’m taking no questions on this topic). I’ve recently been on an unintended half-educational, half-entertaining literary spell about sex. Herewith my favourites, each blissfully short – less than 150 pages each:
Tomorrow Sex Will be Good Again – Women and Desire in the Age of Consent by Katherine Angel
This would fall into the educational category – it’s a recent piece that very elegantly moves through the topic of female consent spanning science, pop culture, MeToo, pornography, literature and the very latest events involving R. Kelly.
Very, very interesting and thought-provoking. What are we indeed talking about when we talk about consent? Angel’s angle is mainly on the study of how is a woman supposed to express her desire and consent, and how do our stereotypes about female desire clash with the sometime notion of men insisting they know what women want, even if sometimes the women themselves don’t.
And ultimately, why are we expecting the women to know?
A great short read.
Weird Fucks by Lynne Tillman
This one would probably qualify as an actual mindfuck. A short novella about a woman who reports about her sexual encounters around Europe and, inevitably, New York. According to the blurb the precious few pages manage to include unlikely fucks, disturbing fucks, outlandish fucks and truly weird fucks. I can confirm.
Lynne Tillman, now 74, is cultural critic, English professor and Guggenheim Fellow (whatever that might entail), and I feel I should probably acquaint myself with her other oeuvre as well, it seems interesting enough. Weird Fucks was published in the 80s.
May We Borrow Your Husband and Other Comedies of the Sexual Life by Graham Greene
I loved this collection of short stories. Written in the 60s, many of them taking place in Antibes in South of France, the pieces are mainly highly comical, light, and very observant. The title story in particular is impeccable piece of situation comedy mixed with naughty sexual exploitation – and again, the pieces were written 50 years ago.
What I might read on the day of:
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. It’s a little less obvious than going down the Brontë-road.
The Inseparables by Simone de Beauvoir. Likely nothing goth about this one, but it’s a recently recovered, thus far lost novel from de Beauvoir about two friends growing up and falling apart. The English translation is by Lauren Elkin, she who wrote the brilliant Flâneuse. The foreword is by Deborah Levy and the afterword (there’s also a novel in between all of this, I’m assuming) is by de Beauvoir’s adopted daughter Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, who discovered the manuscript in a drawer.
Speaking of Lauren Elkin, I also have a book by her, No. 91/92: notes on a Parisian commute, which is a small book of her iPhone notes she typed during her morning commute. I envy her for having this thing published, it’s literally everybody’s dream to get a book out. Seriously. iPhone notes.
I will not be likely to dress up as a sexy witch/sexy corpse/sexy nurse/sexy vampire/sexy bat or such, but might play with my collection of Hermès makeup, which is both sexy (the brand) and frightening (the price tags).