Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Week Two: What You Were Reading When You Were Ten

If I were to talk with any degree of honesty about this topic we would be here all night. Because the truth is? When I was ten, I was reading everything. Ev-er-y-thing. I read under the covers at night. I read at playtime. I read all my library books in one afternoon and whined at my mum for the rest of the week to take me again. I read when I went to my grandparents' house, curling up in their attic surrounded by sixty year-out-of-date children's books about smoking teddy bears and golliwogs. I hid at friends' houses and read until they found me and dragged me off to play. Hell, if I was caught out anywhere without something to read (God forbid!) I would hold my hands together in the rough approximation of a book and pretend. And when you are reading in pretty much every spare second of time - which, when you're a ten year old, is quite a lot - you run out of age-appropriate things to read rather rapidly. So as well as Enid Blyton and Babysitters' Club and Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume I was also struggling (painfully!) through Jane Austen, freaking myself out with Stephen King, getting historically misled by Barbara Taylor Bradford (WW1 and WW2 - exactly the same, the 50s - amazing, the 60s and 70s - never happened and the 80s - chock full of shoulder pads and emeralds), and being preached at by the various religious tomes my grandma sent me home with, leaving me wondering whether my soul really had black stains on it.

Oh, and reading Mills and Boon.

My mum is many things, but she is not a reader. Neither of my parents are, actually; my dad has been reading the same James Clavell novel for the past fifteen years (to be fair, it is fucking long) and my mum would far rather be doing something useful than reading. She did, though, go through a bit of a phase of reading Mills and Boons (no, I don't want to think about why, thank you for asking) and as I will read shampoo bottles if they sit in front of me for long enough, naturally I got my hands on them.

I don't know if my mum knew I was reading them. I suspect she did - not much gets past her - but she has never stopped me reading anything. A Woman Of Substance was on the top shelf, ostensibly to prevent me from reading the gratuitous rape scenes, but when my mum found me reading it, she merely informed me that I was named after Emma Harte (and was NOT living up to my namesake, alas) and carried on folding the washing. So I can't imagine she was too worried about me reading Mills and Boons.

But maybe she should have been. Not because I was having impure thoughts - not for Mills and Boon, God no. Even at ten, I knew it was utter cheese. Back then I was having more impure thoughts about Aladdin and Gilbert Blythe than I was about Mills and Boon style hunks (hell, what am I saying, I am still having impure thoughts about Aladdin and Gilbert Blythe). No, I don't think reading Mills and Boon novels at ten taught me too much about sex (my cousin's more! magazine had that dubious pleasure) but I think what they did teach me was, to be frank, absolute tosh.

Let me demonstrate (I apologise in advance for the horror that you're about to read):

The silken heat of her drove him to the brink. He managed to stave off his own satisfaction only by focusing every ounce of his thoughts on her. Her needs. Her wants. Ignoring the heady scent of floral fragrance and warm woman, Nathan concentrated on finding just the right touch that would please her, make her forget her own name. He elicited gasps, moans, and sighs, but only when he plucked the sweet centre of her with his finger and thumb, and drew her nipple deeply into his mouth did he find the hot button that made her whole body tense and tighten.

In my *mumblemumble* almost a decade *mumblemumble* of having sex, I have never forgotten my own name. At least, I don't think so. I can't say my own name is really at the forefront of my mind when having sex. I also do not have a "sweet centre" as I am not a humbug (plus if it's in the centre, you need to see a doctor) and if I do, I certainly would NOT want it plucked, thank you very much. But as an impressionable child, I just assumed that this is exactly what sex with Gilbert Blythe would be like. Well, I don't know about you, gentle reader, but there is very little plucking of any sort in my sex life, and I can't help but feel that's how it ought to be.

But,if I'm honest, my ten year old self can't help but be just a leetle bit disappointed.


Michael said...

sixty year-out-of-date children's books about smoking teddy bears - they sound amazing, please retrieve them at once! God, next week is so 'Smoking Teddy Bears' week.

Ergh. The 'heady scent' of 'warm woman' just... I'm coming up all Sweaty Betty, it's not sexy.

Ems said...

I still have the Smoking Teddy Bear book, I'll scan it in for you. :D

designed by suckmylolly.com