Monday, March 9, 2009

Reading Erotica on the 9 o'clock

My mother bought me The Best of Best American Erotica 2008 for my birthday last year. It was something of a milestone for my mother who was born in 1950 and was raised by a very Catholic and traditional family. My grandmother, wasn't the most accepting person in the world, despite how loving she was. Sex was a subject of taboo for her as she raised my mother believing that babies came from swallowing watermelon seeds or when a woman is sitting down wind from a man. Yes, my mother was one of those individuals who happened to find herself, at an early age, facing death the moment her period first came around the corner. Several decades later, on my 25th birthday, my mother takes the book from my hand, looks at it and then at me before saying, "This is what you want?"

Okay, maybe it wasn't the best step forward for my mother, who eventually handed me the money to make the purchase myself, but the fact remains: She bought me the book knowing what she was buying. Later, when I mentioned the event on a blog of mine, Susie Bright commented on the post, stating the 2008 edition was in fact the final edition. So this year, while roaming the aisles at Barnes & Noble, I notice the empty feeling that I will not being seeing another edition. Great.

My mother is probably one of the many people who I've come across of that thinks pornography when they hear the word erotica. One time, on a bus to Brownsville, when I was visiting my at-the-time girlfriend, I pulled out the 2002 Edition and started reading. Because it was a morning bus ride, no one really sat around me to begin with, but the moment the neighbor across the isle saw the sort of "smut" I was reading, his face slackened and suddenly I was a leper. When I got off the bus, the girlfriend saw the book and made a face. Ironically enough, the collection would be the first book she actually wanted to read that wasn't forced on her.

Several years later, I'm sitting at my computer reading a Google Alert that informs me that a website (and I won't link it here because I don't feel the need to) with the term erotica has sold for a nice chunk of money. Curiosity, once again, gets the better of me. Sadly, I am disappointed. I suppose I'm an unusual guy - pornography, while fun to watch, isn't something I wanna see. Disappointed, I find myself wondering if erotica does in fact equal pornography. It's something I'm still attempting to figure out.

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