When I was a kid, all the moms had a big secret. They would excitedly gossip like coop full of hens about this big secret, but if a child entered the room, their roar would be reduced to an instant hush as they immediately changed the subject to a new recipe or a more efficient toilet bowl cleaner.
The big secret was the racy 1973 novel entitled Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. The book went into intimate detail about subjects I will refer to as (1) The Big “O” and (2) that 3-syllabled word that starts with an “M” and rhymes with “bait.” Correction. It actually is the word “bait” if it ended in “ate.”
Because I enjoyed being a fly on the wall, I would hide around a corner and eavesdrop on the cackling hens. However, when it came to the subject of this enticing book, I honestly had no idea what they were talking about. It was as if they were speaking another language. So, being the straight-A student that I was, I looked up these two mystery words in the dictionary.
The Big “O” was defined as “the physical and emotional sensation experienced at the peak of (nasty word) excitation,“ and the 3-syllabled word that starts with an “M” and ends with the sound “bait” was translated as “to stimulate the (unknown word that sound like “gentle”) organs of oneself or another to achieve (nasty word) pleasure.”
I read the definitions.
I read them again.
I still had no clue what they meant.
As a naïve 11-year old, I was more confused than ever.
I also used to sneak my mom’s Cosmopolitan magazine, staring at the suggestive cleavages and pouty full lips, knowing that these girls were The Untouchables. This titillating publication was host to racy articles that featured The Big “O” and that 3-syllabled word that starts with an “M” and ends with the sound “bait.”
I was getting very frustrated about all the hype because I wanted to use my newfound vocabulary words in an intelligent sentence, but I wasn’t sure how to do it.
I finally got up enough nerve to ask my mom what they meant.
She told me that The Big “O” was like the feeling when you had a very persistent itch and you were finally able to scratch it. Then she explained the M word by telling me the joke with the punch line, “Can I do it till I need glasses?”
Flash forward to nearly 40 years later, and there is a new book being raved about in hushed circles of moms: E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.
Fear of Flying may have seemed provocative for its time, but compared to Fifty Shades, it’s as innocent as Dick and Jane, even if the characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele would have been more appropriately named “Dick” and “Jane.”
Apparently the book not only contains page after page of hot and steamy S-E-X, but it actually glorifies bondage and S&M – certainly two phrases that would also have baffled me at 11 years of age… and probably my mother even now.
Frankly, I don’t really get the hype. I don’t sit still well, so the idea of being forced to remain in one spot for longer than 20 seconds sounds like the Twilight Zone episode where the really bad guy thinks he landed in heaven but realizes he’s mistaken when he is forced to sit through eternity watching an elderly couple’s super-8 vacation home movies.
As for the S&M (look it up in the dictionary – you too may be baffled), I can already tell I wouldn’t be a big fan. I have a permanent bruise on my thigh from walking into my bedpost every other night, and I find absolutely nothing sexy about the prospect of earning even more war wounds. I think it’s odd that bondage can knock the socks off of some people. Personally, I like my socks.
On the other hand, I live by the mottos: To each his own and One man’s (blank) is another man’s (blank) – there’s a million ways to fill in these blanks.
It reminds me of this great joke:
What’s the difference between “sexy” and “kinky?”
With “sexy,” you use a feather; with “kinky,” you use the whole chicken.
I talk about the sensation behind this book in my very first vlog (video blog). I’ll be part of YouTube’s MomPulse network, creating new content that is 3 minutes long or less. Every week other Mom vloggers and I will be answering a question of the week. This week the question is:
What do you think about all the hype surrounding the novel 50 Shades of Grey?
Here’s my answer. Please click to see my vlog.