What Do We Tell the Children?

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

Eyes–  The opening lines of Loita by Vladimir Nabokov,

 Sex, or the promise of sex, has permeated literature since the days of Tristan and Isolde. So much so, that I can ‘t imagine one without the other.  D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Philip Roth, Harold Robbins, (I could go on).  So, as an author, I always assumed it was part of the craft and part of my job.

I never considered, however, the effect that writing a book with sex scenes in it might have on the people around me.  Say, for example, my children.

“I don’t have enough money to pay for the therapy it will take to remove those scenes from my head,” says my youngest (who at last counting is 24 years old).

Another son complained that at a weekly poker game with his buddies, one of his friends asked, “What’s up with your dad?”

His friend pulled out Anvil of God and started reading aloud one of the more graphic scenes.“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Gleason,” A young family friend said the other day, shaking his head.  “After reading all these sex scenes, this book is suddenly becoming about you.”

My neighbor tried to put a cheerful face on it.  “I’m still on Chapter 2…and already hooked on the family drama, the disturbing church-imposed penance, and a lusty masturbation scene!  LOL!”

I’m getting a wide berth from the girls their age.  “Wowser!” said one.  “I had no idea.”  Even people my age are thrown for a loop. “It’s saucy,” my old boss says.  “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

The only ones who apparently aren’t wigged out by the experience are my mother’s friends.

“It’s ‘saucy,’” I warned my mother’s neighbor, Peggy.  “I just want to make sure you know what you’re getting into.”

She winked at me and smiled.  “I’ve been an adult now for a few years,” she said.  “I think I can handle it.”

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