I hate to keep harping on this, but since it still keeps finding ways to squeeze in to my life, I thought I would share. Yes, I am going to talk about sex again. Apparently, it is a hot topic (forgive the pun). Daily EL James and her Fifty naughty Shades of Grey continue to plague me as I receive friendly emails with hyperlinks to articles, blogs, invitations to discussion groups, You-tube videos of her guest starring on television shows – where I might add she acts all innocent and feigns hours of research that went into her trilogy, when every writer knows that one’s best writing is done when it comes from the heart or at least some sort of experience, but hey, to each his own. Who am I to judge? So what, my own husband has to endure stunned glares from co-workers who think my Shades and James’ are one in the same. Forgive him when after twelve years of parochial school he feels the need to sternly correct them. He finds it difficult to appreciate the humor of the novel confusion. My thirteen year old daughter, on the other hand, thinks it is absolutely hysterical that her friends’ mothers greet me with winks and thumbs up when they congratulate me on my fabulous book. This is not to say that my Shades do not deserve a flashing affirmation, but there is a wink and there is a wink, if you know what I mean. And when a cousin called from New Jersey to clarify that the two books are definitely not one in the same I noticed a slight sense of relief in her voice when I assured her that EL James is not a pseudonym for SJ Hale. Was she truly worried for her own reputation? Nah, I laughed about it once more.
Then I began to reminisce about when I was a kid and Erica Jong’s book Fear of Flying was the “mommy porn” of the day. The difference is that Ms. Jong is a distant cousin of mine and back then I was far too young to understand the winks and flustered awkwardness linked with the association, that I recall my mother finding humorous. At the time I was ten years old and obviously not allowed to read her novel and always wondered why. So, of course, as soon as I could get my hands on it I read it and wondered for years about her infamous zipless fuck. While having tea with my grandmother and Erica’s mother many years later, even then I wondered if the two gray haired, very classy women had read it and understood more than I did. (Years later my question was answered when my grandmother read another of Erica’s books and casually asked me what cunnilingus was. I still turn fifty shades of awkward when I remember that dreadful moment.) If they had read Erica’s Fear of Flying, did they judge her for it? I hoped not, because to this day I still think it was rather plucky and I (inwardly, because I was still too young to understand why) envied her ostensible courage.
It’s true. I am not judging. Kudos to all who have taken either of these books into the bedroom and regenerated a sleepy sex life. Even Dr. Oz supports the book’s many uses and anyone who knows me, knows that Dr. Oz is my guru. What I am concerned with is that others are still appraising each other without full knowledge. We all should know by now that no one really knows what happens behind closed doors, yet we live in a condemnatory society. Even as my friends and I shared way too many behind closed door stories the other night at ladies night out, I try not to judge. I always try to look toward the affirmative. I think Darlene’s unmitigated boldness to share with her eight closest friends her latest find from the sex shop, to which she generously offered up coupons and a field trip for our next night out, is a form of feminism at its best. So what, if Cara laughed until she cried when she was forced to say words like butt plug and Ben Wa balls as we once more discussed Anastasia and her adoring Mr. Grey. And Kathy, it is true, we don’t care if you husband keeps his socks on or not. I am not judging. And you shouldn’t either, because you have either read it, talked about it, plan to read it or have left it on your husband/boyfriend’s nightstand with the hopes that he will skim a chapter or two. As I like to say, it is all good. Don’t judge.