A new friend recently posted a titillating piece of erotica that sent me dashing for my second shower of the day. I wish I could write racy prose, not that I haven’t tried. Years ago I learned that many bodice-ripper romances, similar to those that filled Mrs. C’s bookshelves, were written by men. I set my sights on becoming a romance novelist. My manuscript was called For Love Returned, and my heroine, Allison, was described as someone capable of giving a marble statue an erection. She lived in eighteenth century England and was engaged to a handsome sea captain named Justin. Their happiness was cut short when Allison was convicted and sent to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Logic, it seemed, wasn’t a necessary ingredient in these sultry soufflés. More stuff happened…blah…blah…blah.
I’d write ten pages a day and Mrs. Chatterbox (an English major) would come home from a hard day at the office and edit what I’d written, often trimming ten pages down to a few paragraphs. After months of writing and editing, I finally had a modest-sized book. All that remained was the climatic love scene that typically concluded these stories.
You couldn’t just end with: And they boinked and lived happily ever after! Everything had to be couched in metaphor; boobs were rosy blossoms unfurling with arousal, and a man’s unit was a staff of virility ready to probe the interior of her most hidden passions. It was embarrassing how good I was at writing this stuff. I didn’t discuss the ending with my wife; I didn’t want to ruin it for her. My goal was to write something guaranteed to make women moist.
I left our three year old son, CJ, with a sitter and bought a bottle of wine and some candles. I dimmed the lights and put romantic music on the radio. I had little doubt that I would be rewarded with wild lovemaking when Mrs. C’s juices started flowing, thanks to my wicked prose.
When my wife came home from work she said, “Why’s it so dark in here?”
Why? You’ll know soon enough, m’lady. “I thought candles would be nice for a change.”
She sank into a chair. “God, what a horrible day!”
I handed her a glass of wine as she kicked off her shoes. I rubbed her feet and envisioned what
I’d be getting rubbed as soon as my torrid words put her in the proper mood.
“Where’s CJ?” she wanted to know.
“I arranged for him to stay at the sitter’s for a few hours.”
She took a sip of wine. “Why did you do that?”
You’ll know soon enough, my coy wench. “I thought it would be nice to be alone.”
“Did anything interesting happen today? I don’t usually come home to candles, wine and music. What’s up?”
I took a deep breath. “I finished For Love Returned today.”
“You did?” she exclaimed, with less enthusiasm than I’d expected. “You finished the love scene?”
“How did it turn out?
“Guaranteed to make one moist!” I bragged.
She didn’t say anything.
“You do want to read it, don’t you?” I tried not to sound too needy.
“Of course I do; it’s just that I’m not feeling very…”
“Moist. I’m not feeling very moist right now. It was a killer of a day and perhaps it would be best if I read it tomorrow.”
My face fell. I gave her my best kicked puppy look.
“Oh all right! Let’s have a look at it.”
“If you insist!” I produced the final pages and added, “I think you need what these pages have to offer.”
She wrinkled her face. “I need what they have to offer?”
This wasn’t going well, but I knew everything would work out according to plan once she finished reading. “Just take these pages into the bedroom and give them a read.” Then get ready to screw my brains out!
She grabbed the pages along with the wine and disappeared into the bedroom.
While she read, I popped a Tic-Tac in my mouth and fluffed the cushions on the couch in case her return was accompanied with such passion that we weren’t able to make it back to the bedroom. Then I heard something unsettling, the last thing I should have been hearing. The tic-tac slid down my throat and I started coughing. I spit it up, and as an indicator that nothing was going according to plan, it landed on one of the candles on the coffee table, causing the tiny flame to gutter and go out. In the background I heard my wife—howling with laughter.
My future as a romance writer also flamed out, not that day but in the weeks to come when more women read my manuscript and thought it hysterical. Not a single female was made moist by my story. Mrs. C. felt guilty at having derailed my writing career and provided me with several weeks of pity sex, which I wasn’t too proud to make the best of.