Tuesday, December 4, 2007


It’s Tuesday, which strikes me as the perfect day of the week to talk about a topic of momentous import to us all: pet peeves.

But since this is a blog post and not the Oxford English Dictionary, I’ve decided to limit myself to my two peeves. I want you all to have a chance to get out of here before lunch, after all.

So here they are: first-time sex and hackers. One of them has to be about sex, because that way people will find us on Google who had no idea they were even looking for us. It’s a marketing thing, really. In fact, some may assert that’s a peeve of their own. “Hey, are you marketing at me? I came to read a blog post and here I am being lured into reading books by a big long raft of writers. (Help, help, I’m bein’ repressed.)” Something like that.

But that’s not my peeve. If it’s your peeve, you’ll get a chance at the end of the post to give me my comeuppance, especially if you arrived here via a Google search for “magnificent man-thing.” Look at it this way, at least I’m not marketing to you via spam, such as the one I got this morning from “Counterfeit Diamagnetic Deerkskin” (who would name their child such a thing? Besides Tom Cruise, I mean?) Counterfeit offered to make me a “pornstart,” which was a compelling offer, but had nothing to do with my pet peeves. Except maybe the sex part. And that’s what I’m talking about here.

I think.

Okay, so what’s the deal with sex scenes in novels? Particularly first-time sex sex scenes.

I was reading a novel recently, a very good novel in fact, when suddenly I was confronted with a mighty, tumescent, sweat-soaked computer hacker. This guy could hack anything. And when I say anything, I mean not only banks and the NSACIAFBI, but also (probably, since this wasn’t specifically mentioned) into the picture and movie section of dozens of porn web sites offering you instant access for only $24.95 per month. Which, if that’s what you came looking for via Google, sorry, but we’re not talking about porn. We’re talking about pet peeves and crime fiction. Serious business. But you’re welcome to stay. And buy our books. (Help, you’re being repressed.)

Now, you probably have many questions, the first of which is, “Bill, are you drunk?” and the answer to all those questions is yes. But you’re probably also wondering about the hacker thing and what it has to do with first-time sex. As if hacking a porn site wouldn’t explain it.

The thing is, the super hacker reminded me of another book I read recently, one which had another thing which, like super hackers, seems to appear just a tad too often in novels — if you ask me. Which you might if I gave you the chance to get a word in edgewise.

And that’s this.

Where were we?

Oh yeah, first time sex. So I was reading this book a few months ago, and He and She have an “encounter” on an “island” and performed an “act.” Okay, they hooked up in a bar, went back to the dude’s hotel room and went at each other like folks might have done in a movie called “Snakes in Elaine.” * tick, tick, tick * (Sheesh, they had sex.) And the moment of consummation arrived, as they so often do. And it was great. I mean, it was incredible. The man? He had the stamina of a marathon runner and the self-control of a zen master. The woman? She moved in perfect rhythm with her partner and was able to communicate without words just the right moment so the man knew to release the hounds (as it were) for utter and perfect simultaneous bliss. It was as if they had known each other for years, knew each other’s every need and nuance. It was as if they were born already a synchronized, well-lubricated machine. I mean, this couple had been humping since the dawn of time and by golly we were gonna read about it.

And the thing is, that happens all over the place. Every time I encounter a first time sex scene in a novel, it’s almost always cosmically great sex. At first I thought it was probably a guy writer thing, but then it occurred to me that like 8 of the last 10 mysteries I’ve read have been by women. Now, not all of them had sex scenes, but those that did had the basic theme nailed. The man “takes” her. (Where? To the movies? Dairy Queen?) He’s a turbo stud. She’s multi-orgasmic. They wonder how they lived without each other for so long.

And half the time one of them is a super hacker. Hack into anything. Now, I happen to be a hacker myself. Not too long ago I hacked a hole in the back yard with a pick axe to plant a butterfly bush, which promptly died because it turns out our soil is made of ceramic. Hence the need for a pick axe. But the point is I know about hacking, and I know that you don’t just dial 4-1-1 on your wireless telephone and ask for “hackers.” They’re not everywhere, certainly not as ubiquitous as the “magnificent man-things” (go Google!) which penetrate so many “she-holes of bliss,” or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

So here’s my question: what’s up with that anyway? Aren’t mystery novels allowed to have ordinary first time sex? Bad first time sex? Awkward I-can-never-face-you-again-and-oh-crap-where’s-my-wallet sex? Why is it always “he took her and their lives would never be the same” sex? And what if you need access to someone’s secret computer files but there wasn’t a hacker to be found for five hundred miles (because they’re busy surfing porn)? Would that be so bad? Maybe you have to just take your pick axe in there and bust the bad person’s computer open the old fashioned way? It’s not like you have to worry about being caught. The bad person (note that I am using gender neutral language to allow for the fact that even women can be eeevil) is off having great first sex with some stranger they met at a beach bar on a Caribbean Island while . . . well, anyway, you know where I’m going with this. And am I peeved.


Mark Terry said...

First, I want to thank you for the much-needed, funniest, most insightful and tumescent blog post in a very long time.

Then I want to share a few words from a novel I'll probably never get around to completing:

The bathroom door opened and the woman stood there, now wearing a terry cloth bathrobe in some weird off-white color. Natural, probably. “Gotta go?” she said.
“Yeah. Sorry.” He staggered to his feet, clutching his clothes in a bundle. “You mind if I take a quick shower?”
“Want some company?” She flashed a wicked grin. “Try again? Maybe we can do it right this time.”
Looking at her, he flashed on her naked form walking into the bathroom. Gorgeous. Long, tangled, golden brown hair, flawless skin, hourglass figure.
Nothing stirred.
Nothing had last night, either.
“Sorry,” he said with a shake of his head, edging toward the bathroom door. “Uh, sorry about last night. I mean...”
“Hey,” she said. “It happens. Makes me want to try harder, you know?”
Great, he thought. Sexual dysfunction as an aphrodisiac. He got past her, gave her a quick kiss and shut the door behind him before she decided to try to arouse him again.

Nina Wright said...

Oh, Bill, you are too clever! Not only will you lure unsuspecting "manstick" maniacs to our blog and possibly convert them to READERS, but you may even...um...arouse a few of us regulars with all that sex talk. Not me, of course. I'm far more discriminating.

I write Whiskey Mattimoe as a protagonist with profound sexual insecurities. Example: when she accidentally overhears a tenant having sex, she becomes obsessed with the fact that she's never made noise like that and is probably therefore seriously deficient in the sack.

Needless to say, I'm not the least bit like Whiskey Mattimoe.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Like Mark, I needed a good laugh this morning. Thanks Bill!

I have a book with a bad first-time sex scene, but it's never been bought by a publisher. In fact, the few times the couple have sex, it isn't that great. Think there's a connection between the sex and no takers? I mean no buyers?

Joe Moore said...

Bill, I'm still laughing. Really good stuff. Thanks. Here's a link to PJ Parrish's blog on the Bad Sex Awards. Worth dropping by. Enjoy.


Bill Cameron said...

Always a pleasure, folks.

And, Mark, yes. I love you.

Keith Raffel said...

Inkspot -- one stop shopping for good sex, bad sex, no sex (and man crushes).