I have, of late, been reading Haruki Murakami's 'Norwegian Wood' on the bus to work - a recommendation of Dave Nelson's. It started innocently enough but it soon became clear that rather than having just one obligatory sex scene this book has many spicy pages - erotic enough to raise the heart rate of the most lustless reader. I turned the leaves a little self-consciously, chuckling to myself that for a shy guy Dave was very keen to promulgate this piece of culture. For culture it is, a beautiful story with an engaging atmosphere and lovely descriptions of Japan. Lea, Eric, and I have all read it now though I suspect the others read it without a stranger sharing their seat.
After the first couple of saucy scenes inadvertantly experienced in public I decided I was probably safe and it made me smile, so I decided not to save it for reading only at home. The next such scene carried me all the way to the last bus stop and I had to get out and sit down on a bench to finish the chapter before walking the rest of the way to the apartment. It was the hot lesbian sex scene - now almost obligatory in most forms of entertainment it seems - except it was told in such a matter of fact way that it was more amusing than lubricious. Of course I did not hesitate to inform Dave that he was a very naughty man.
This morning I managed to make the lady next to me get up and move seats. It may have been coincidental but she was looking over my shoulder just as the line 'Three guys at once! They're going to tear her open!' came into view. As a measure of how these scenes are merely accents to a rich and skilful storyline, it was interesting to note the look on Eric's face when I told him of this morning's incident. "I don't remember that line being in there!" He then told us a tale of a book he and his classmates read in highschool (a Catholic school) where his edition had had a line about masturbation removed. Shocking censorship revealed only by frantic thumb-licking, page-riffling comparisons at recess.
This conversation was taking place just outside one of the main entrances to the Harvard Medical School Quad. Dave and I were sitting at a bench having just finished a burrito and coffee for dinner and Eric was just leaving to go home. The racy novel theme led to the mention of 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' - another curriculum favourite. I commented that I now only recalled the awfulness of the TV adaptation with Sean Bean as the earthy adulterer. Eric mused that it must only have been shown late at night on French television or some such, to which Dave and I disagreed. "The BBC tend to air these dramatisations at family friendly hours of the day - just look at 'Tipping the Velvet'."
To Eric's quizzical look there followed a description of the period lesbian tale including such scenes as the heroine posing as a boy soldier and giving oral pleasures to old men on the street to earn money - along with the immortal line "It's a sov for a dubbing, two for a suck, but I won't be buggered!", followed by the scene where - having been taken under the wing of a mature lover - she was shown naked, painted gold, wearing a golden dildo. The contortions of Eric's face were exceptional. "And with that, goodnight." Eric sputtered before continuing his journey home. As he receded with others leaving the Quad he proffered, "I'm off to think of golden women." To which I replied, loudly to cover the distance, "And Dildos!" Eric did not stop or turn, but nodded mutely as Dave shrank redly into his seat beside me.