“O God John, no!”
Those were the words uttered by my wife Norma last week, signalling a grave moment in our relationship. I will recount the tale here. But be warned this is not for innocent eyes:
“It is a bitterly cold evening as my wife Norma and I sit infront of the hearth warming ourselves. I wrapped in my wool cardigan, holding a cup of cocoa peruse the internet for Anthony Beevers while Norma reads a work of modern literature entitled Fifty Shades of Grey. It is a book, she says, on the virtues of temperance. I too believe in the virtues of grey and am particularly satisfied by her reply.
Ten O’ clock and Norma has retired to bed. I am still quite wide awake though. The potent concoction of Ovaltine and chocolate has rendered me with a fizz of energy. Perhaps, I think, I will take a look inside her book and thus drift off to a clement sleep. I turn the page. ‘Tis a pleasant opening. A narrative by a rather sprightly woman. Perhaps it is a modern Little Women. Ah indeed, it is a typical work of Christian chastisement and homely didacticism. Most pleasing. Observe as he is throwing her over his knee. Now he is spanking. But wait. I read on. Hmmm, I do not understand. The spanking appears to be pleasurable. Now he is removing her clothes?! This does not look like your normal work of Christian literature.
[Ed: the page is obscured by several chocolatey splashes here]
O God. This is my fate. Yes it is true I too did once purchase a pornographic magazine. It was on the very day that I started as junior home secretary in 1976.
I still remember the terror that addled my brain as I travelled on the central line into work with the soft pornography magazine inside my briefcase alongside a cheese sandwich, an apple, and a photo of Norma. O God the fear, the terror that I might be found out! I had, of course, locked my briefcase with both a seven-digit combination and security key which I hung around my neck. And yet my mind quivered with fright! What if it fell open on the train? What if a thief purloined it and discovered the contents? What if, somebody with X-ray spectacles, such as were all the rage those days, was able to see inside? What if, what if?! I would be ruined.
Yes, I will admit that I was a quavering wreck by the time I reached Whitehall. The experience was akin to an Edgar Allen Poe story I had read in my youth in which a beating heart so hounds the subject that he throws himself into the arms of the law. Yes I almost gave myself up to the police plebs that guard Westminster. This experience was preternaturally thrilling and so I vowed never to buy another magazine of this nature ever again. Fortunately that was when Norma came into my life.
But that was always a man’s privilege. Things are so different these days. Boys as young as sixteen will peruse the internet looking for images of women in states of disrepair. Men send each other blue photographs of their wives in the toilet. In my curious and inflamed sense of despair I decide to find out more about this Christian Grey? Who is he? What is he? And how is he….I peruse the internet to find out more. There someone has constructed an image of him. I see it.
He is indeed a beautiful man. I think of Harry Hotspur. “And on this day which man shall hold his manhood cheap.”
But my own beacon is all burnt out. Flames of youth quenched. Now indeed all is grey. Woman thy name is vice…O no my hand has slipped. I find myself on a website called bangmeonthebus.
God what is this, I must get it off the computer. Quick, quick I hear footsteps on the landing. It’s Norma! O god I’ve clicked close and four more pornographic pages have sprung up.iee close, close you filth close. Nooooo…..it’s too late.
Norma appears at the door. She catches me peering into this hideous convocation of images. No Norma no it is not as you think. I was just curious.
“Is this what it has come to John? Arousing yourself over pornography?”
“No Norma no I merely wanted to see what you were reading. I thought it was a book on temperance for god’s sake!”
“There is no such thing as temperance anymore John. Why don’t you grow up and get into the 21st century.”
She walks off. I am destroyed. It’s just like the time the backbenchers revolted over the council tax. I sit and stare forlornly at the screen…look at it, pages of pages of naked women enjoying flagellation, extreme upskirts, voyeur cams, sybian machines, girltogirl munch….”