The Erotic Literary Salon
1315 Sansom Street
January 19, 2010
There were two major reasons why I was nervous that night.
When I finally arrived, I could see that she was already stumbling a bit and having a hard time with life as it stood but was enjoying the sweet simple pleasure of throwing out her cigarette that was smoked way down almost a 1/4 past the filter out onto the curb and into the gutter. As she did this, she mis-stepped a little and gave a sloppy but sexy grimace as the cherry of the smoke rolled down the crook of the sidewalk and into the grated abyss. She had broken her promise again. She was totally hammered.
When she looked up and saw me, walking at my usual city driven pace, she gave me that childish frown of disappointment and frustration that I’ve almost grown accustomed to even after all these years. “I had to take a shit,” I half lied, and she laughed off her grimace expeditiously. Giving me a big, crooked hug, her magnificent peacock feather earrings tickled my neck. Really I was late because I had to run home after a date, and while yes, I did have to S.S.S., really it was picking out the cutest (read:tightest) pair of jeans I could muster for an event like this that took so much time and made me late.
It was an exciting time for us in more than way than one, we hadn’t seen each other in months and it was at this same event that we had seen each other the last time but in a different venue. It was the Erotic Literary Salon, an event I can barely remember who heard of it first, there had been so many of them we had gone to, each of them unmemorable and indelibly etched into our memory.
The salon is a monthly gathering that is much like an open-mic held at a small restaurbar where patrons either partake or listen to original and published works of a lusty persuasion. The salonnière is a free-loving, frilly haired, sweet mouthed wonder. A Hippie basically with some pretty remarkable interests and accolades. She is also a Clinical Sexologist and Educator and created the salon as a place for individuals to express themselves and enjoy the edgy, passionate and romantic stories of others.
Being a book nerd, and yes, someone who has always enjoyed the benefits and charms of a well written erotic story, novel or psychoanalysis, was very open to reading at the very first salon where me and V (we’ll call her) first stepped onto the slippery dais. The place was dripping with irony, everyone was there for a reason and while that reason seemed like a closeted taboo, we were there to revel in it. But the atmosphere was tight that very first night, almost as if a raunchier crowd were expected.
So yes, it was a bunch of bookworms with open minded tastes. It wasn’t a gaggle of sleazy porn mongers. It was kind of disappointing, and kind of discomforting, but it was a motley crew nonetheless and we were all in good company. We still were freaks.
The first night, V read about some pretty intense topics, all personalized stories regarding certain fetishes. I of course wasn’t fazed due to our history together: staying up late, eating chocolate and drinking wine out of a jug, smoking cigarette after cigarette and reading personal ads and dirty books to each other, listening to NIN and Hole. And The Cure of course. We must’ve burned 17,000 candles just from our porn reading.
V is probably the most well-read person I know. Even one of her teachers in high school admitted the same, even more so than himself. It is hard to get her face out of a book. She always has one on her person. She’s let many cigarettes burn out between her fingers just flipping page after page, never stopping. She can dish out syntax in the most elegant and appropriate ways. So it is no wonder then that I marvel over the fact that she is my biggest fan as far as writing is concerned.
I too read some pretty explicit content at the very first salon. But for me, there is this inordinate amount of irreverence that makes my work so less serious. And while I sometimes say things that invoke pity, the black comedy always shines through because to me, funny is sexy.
In the past, V has had issues with getting completely way too fucking hammered. In the last venue, there was more background noise, so it was easier to muffle laughs and inside jokes off to the side, whispering in each others’ ears behind the clinking of glasses. For us, being veterans of dirty talk, it was sometimes hard to bear the “roses” and “sweetness” and “stared into each others’ eyes” that came with some of the readings. We wanted nasty.
It had been a while since I attended a salon with V primarily because I have to take long breaks from her to finally get over her never ending drunk escapades that frighten me emotionally and riddle me with frustration. She is the reckless and unruly Samantha of the group and most times the shenanigans are not only a buzz kill, but coerce sincere concern.
As we walked up the steps, her sexy boots stomping all the way, she asked me about my date and I explained that he was very sweet and nice so I probably won’t be calling him again. She exclaimed, “Well, did you FUCK him!?” just as we made our way into the lounge area where the salon was being held and we were being ssshushed by our gracious (and annoyed) host who had the whole room full of people quiet and at attention. This was the beginning of my night. I was nervous.
I was also a little bit nervous because I had finally finished a piece that was much more personal than work that I usually share. It delved into feelings about my relationship and was much more reality-based than fantasy-based. I remained in the latter in all my other attendance at those salons because I was in a relationship, so I didn’t really talk about sex with my boyfriend, I just made up stories and jokes about my overactive imaginary fantasy life. But this time, it was for real.
Throughout the first half of the session we were treated to an onslaught of PG-13 eroticism, and while I tried my best to remain respectful, V kept at me like we were in high school biology class and we kept cracking up over and over again, making little jokes about the watered down spice level in the house.
As she filled her cup of Diet Coke with more brown stuff from her flask, I knew the night was going to end in mischief and I shook my head in my hand in spite of myself. The librarian in me tried the “shh” tactic a few times but that only made it worse until a full throttle “SHUT UP” came out of my mouth as she gasped, exasperated.
During the break she talked to the hostess and was the loudest person in the room going on and on about how “Everything’s not always roses and candy!”. It was adorable and embarrassing all at once and I didn’t know whether to kiss her or slap her.
Admittedly, I did like some of the readers’ works, even though it wasn’t a lot put out there that I would read on purpose. That was until the second part of the salon.
I was the first to read after “intermission” and it was kind of all of a sudden. V had told me that she was asked to read next and that she would if she were called and she also told me that the hostess had asked if she would be the guest star artist at the next salon. She asked me if I would read with her and do some dialog, and while the idea seemed novel and exciting, I just could bear not having my few months off from another exhausting fiasco like this.
I got up on stage and wondered if my piece was too long. I knew it was good and it didn’t matter, but I really wanted to respect the 5 minute reading limit. Then I thought that once I got reading that no one would want me to stop. I didn’t give any background on the piece like I had originally planned, I thought it would be best just to jump right in.
And that I did.
My story started off racy and funny as usual, getting right to the pith and throwing in plenty of puns and alliteration as possible proving that I am not only a literary genius, but that I am a performer as well. I sucked everyone in with my natural ease of storytelling although I was shaking a bit and talking from my stomach.
V, my biggest fan, laughed profusely, spilling all over the bench seating, and again, she was the loudest one in the room. About 5 minutes into reading, everyone was hooked and wondered how the story was going to end. When I finally got to the dirty part, people laughed more hysterically than ever and I had to keep taking long pauses like I was doing stand-up comedy, which in turn caused people to laugh even more. Must be my funny faces and asides.
When I was done, I curtsied (per usual) and V was in the back row giving me a standing ovation. Finally, something nasty.
After me V read. The hostess had introduced us both as “special” regulars who read frequently at the salon and pointed out that we were the first two to ever read at the original gathering. V told the story of her first performance and how she wanted to create an environment where people were uninhibited and felt as though they could write or say anything, so she basically brought the raunchiest shit she could find.
That evening, she read a delicate yet perverted piece about a true to life experience. It was a tender moment when she read, if there is nothing more that I love than her writing, it is the way she reads. I always loved the way she read my writing. So did she. You could tell. It never sounded so good. I was enamored with the piece she brought that was an excerpt from her blog, and I wish that she would write more. Me too. We’re so good at it.
After us, V got more and more frustrated and more and more loud and kept laughing and leaving in the middle of other people’s readings. I felt horrible. A lot of them were really nervous and were pouring their guts out in front of all these strangers. Thrice people mentioned how hard it was to follow such a great act (me) but they trudged along and tripped over their pseudo sexy sentences.
After a couple of yawns, a cute nerdy Jew woke me up with this awesome little story that read like a murder mystery but he was talking about food and food eroticism. It was this story about a couple who were making dinner together and the way he enunciated it was really fun and very sexy. It was hysterical. Then a young lad read some witty little limericks, one of which I heard before, one of which was an original of his. He did the whole “Once there was a man from Nantucket..” bit. It was a much needed break in the tension.
By the end of the salon, V had totally disappeared and I thought I might be in for another night of dragging her out of a bar and trying to slap her into consciousness. I left that place and her guest who she was with and I tried to get a hold of her to no avail. Since we were only a spit’s distance from the gayborhood, I figured she’d landed a spot in one of the queer places’ finest bar stools and that by now she had a drag queen doing shots with her. I was over it.
I was still running high on the accomplishment of writing a really good, really sexy story. Many came up to me and thanked me and congratulated me and poked me in the back and said “Wow, that was really good, man.” It was great to hear the vague feedback but in reality it was V I wanted praise from. She’s the only one who ever tells me when my work sucks.