Saturday, September 17, 2011

Eleven: Voix et Livres

I do have a certain fascination with classic erotica. Books, of course. There's the whole bibliophile attraction of collecting classic erotica--- things from that demi-monde of privately published editions in lavish bindings. Of course, the problem is that you're collecting the idea of a book; the text itself isn't all that important. Which may well be all to the good. The list of erotica, of erotic novels and memoirs, that can actually bear reading (let alone re-reading) is very, very small.

There was a time in my life when young companions asked me to read aloud to them. It's certainly a romantic enough idea, reading aloud to a girl curled up against you on a couch or in bed. I've read things by favourite poets--- Rilke, Cavafy, Wallace Stevens, Eliot, Pound ---aloud to lovers. I've read poetry aloud, but it's hard to imagine reading erotica aloud.

I suppose a more contemporary thing might be to watch DVDs of erotica with a companion, but the same set of problems applies. There are films that one can imagine watching with a young companion, but it's a short list: "The Lover", "Henry and June", certain Zalman King films, the French version of "Story of O" from the early 1970s, possibly "The Dreamers" or the 1997 "Lolita". There aren't too many more. The idea of the shared experience with the films would be to set a mood, to seduce and entice. But so far as I can tell, there are far too few films that actually set a mood, that don't just become trite or repetitive or silly.

Technology has made it actually more difficult to set a mood via music. When I was young, every young gentleman had a stereo system and could discuss the components and specifications. One played vinyl for a visiting young lady. One set the mood with jazz or classical or blues; one defined one's tastes with suitably hip and obscure tracks. Even when vinyl turned to CDs, the idea was the same: the girl curled up on the couch with a wineglass, her gentleman admirer playing music for her. That's not done so much these days. Music is on iPods and laptops; fewer people have stereo systems. I suppose I'll put that as a question: how does one set the mood now? Whatever are the guidelines for playing music as part of a seduction?  Do girls in their late teens or early twenties expect to have admirers play music for them as part of a seduction?

I'll pose this as a question. What counts as music for seductions these days? Does anyone even remember Juliet Greco or Miles Davis? Any girls reading this are invited to comment, too, on what they'd imagine having read to them by a lover. I think I'd be quite interested in that.

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