Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sperm Sandwich

It was book club last night.

I may have had some influence in the selection of Emmanuelle. At the last meeting I related how Emmanuelle 2 had played a significant part in my adolescent sex life. I cannot remember how I came by the book but it became a key text in my small library of erotic fiction. Its lavish descriptions of glittering, exotic orgies and fantastical fucking machines were spun out in my teenage fantasies. The pages became well-thumbed. I kept it under my mattress close to hand.


Dylan has brought the copy he inherited from his uncle. It's falling to bits!

However, the original Emmanuelle book begins as an erotic novel (one in which not a lot of fucking actually goes on) and ends with a interminable rant in which one character expounds his philosophy of eroticism. Mario is the older Italian count who in the second half of the book becomes the luscious ingenue's guide. The second book takes up with Emmanuelle as Mario's protegee. There is a potential orgasm for the reader with every chapter, which is to say that it is more pornographic and more fun.  

We start with a discussion of typefaces, noting the bland sans serif of the new edition and lamenting the loss of the curvaceous Goudy typeface and the apple motif of the original paperbacks. I have a feeling that this is a sign of changing times and that squidgy, bubbly serif fonts are going to be making a comeback.


Somebody intellectual suggests Emmanuelle is more a work of philosophy wrapped in erotica than vice versa, that it is rather badly written and that the philosophy in it is incoherent and not the work of someone who really knows about philosophy (a true academic). I think: "It is what it is. I've read worse." I think about dull sex bloggers who can't help it but they just can't write a paragraph that doesn't have the words "problematise", "articulate" and "multiplicity" in it. 

There is a nodding consensus that the overt philosophising is because it is a French book and that is what the French are like, and that unerotic words like 'mucous membrane', 'sperm' (instead of semen) and 'ejaculate' are probably the fault of the translator. To this day I like to call come sperm instead of semen. I wonder if I picked up the habit reading Emmanuelle 2.
   
A small silence when I express my satisfaction with the descriptions of Emmanuelle's lush pubic hair and lack of bra.

There is a discussion about paedophile moments in the story. In the first chapter Emmanuelle has sex in front of an adolescent brother and sister who share her first class cabin. In another scene she fellates a 13-year-old Thai boy. One person disapproves strongly. (He doesn't like the exoticism of the book either or the idea that eroticism must be escapist and not everyday.) Virgil suggests that a fantasy location in a book is a safe place for subjects on the edge of acceptability. I say "But Emmanuelle is only 19 herself" and Edward  says that at 13 it would have been the best thing ever to get sucked by Emmanuelle. I think of myself at 13, wanking like fury over her adventures.


One thing on which we all agree: probably the best line in the book comes from Mario, who states that the woman who is truly erotic is the one who at lunchtime tells her son to prepare a sperm sandwich for his little sister. Not even Monsieur Bourgeouis Morality has a rejoinder to that.

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