You know when you’re reading a book in a public place like a bus or your office at lunchtime, and you get really absorbed in that different world, so it seems totally normal when there’s a naughty bit? ‘He put that there, she made an unusual hissing sound, they used a melon’ – all that sort of malarkey happens around you and it’s fine because you’re swept along with the narrative. Only then you have to get off the bus ,or answer the phone to a stationery supplier, or do whatever other thing it is that brings you crashing back to normality.
What next? Do you feel slightly embarrassed that you just witnessed something so intimate in public? Do you feel a bit giggly, like you have a naughty secret? Do you look around furtively for people that have read the book before, with that sinking feeling they know they know exactly what you just read and are going to mention it in front of everyone?
Also, do you factor in book snobbery? If you’re reading 50 Shades of Grey, everyone knows what’s happening in there cause of the terrifying hardware shortage in the US – that was on the news, by jimminy. But more literary books have sex by the shed load too. (See what I did there? Shed load? Cause that’s where you keep your hardware, unless you’re kinky billionaire whats-his-chops – I havent read 50 Shades, but I think I get away with it…) This week I’ve been reading Half of a Yellow Sun, and there’s human anatomy all over the shop. The very first chapter ends with a boy listening to his new boss have intimate relations, and it starts as it goes on.
For my part, when I come across a rude bit and I’m in the office or wherever, I opt for a giggly/furtive mash up. I’ll look around surreptitiously to see if anyone else has clocked me reading about bedtime highjinks in the middle of the day, smile secretly to myself, and carry on about my business.
How about you?