Tuesday, June 07, 2011

She Let Him Do This Often (Part II)

It is a marvel, is it not, that you can visit Amazon.com and purchase just about any book you might desire using no more effort than a single click of a mouse? And so when I decided that I needed to track down a copy of Peyton Place you know where I headed. The good news was I could buy a copy of the book for as little as ninety-eight cents. The bad news was it would cost $3.99 to ship it.

This would mean I could get myself a serviceable copy of Peyton Place for about five bucks, not an outrageous price by any means. But by now you know me well enough to accept that there was no way I was paying four dollars in order to have a ninety-eight cent book delivered to my house. Why, that's like buying a scoop of ice cream for a buck and paying four dollars more for the cone!

Sort of.

And so to the local library, where I was told that they did not have a copy of Peyton Place. This was no surprise, since I live in a small coastal town of about 12,000 and our library isn't exactly the New York Public-type. In fact, I suppose we should feel lucky to have any sort of library at all. Ah, but we do live in the computer age and our library is part of a county-wide system. The librarian (The prototype of which hasn't changed in fifty years, by the way.) said I could order the book and it would arrive in a few days. The catch was there would be a fee. (I knew it!) The fee was seventy-five cents. (Sweet!)

And so now if you would kindly excuse me for a bit I'm going to take my borrowed copy of Peyton Place and go in search of that sexiest of sentences. And please be patient; the book is 372 pages thick and this may take a while.

I'm back. Yes, already. Man, I wish I had brought my stopwatch and timed myself. I can't imagine it took me more than two minutes to find the sentence I was looking for, and that's with the handicap of using a different edition than the one I befouled as a horny little child. This newer softcover version was published in 1999 in honor of what would have been Grace Metalious's seventy-fifth birthday, had she remained sober.

Now as I recall, there was some hot action going down when that classic sentence came along. I remembered, or thought I did, that a naked woman was sitting in the driver's seat of a car while a man leaned his head in through the window and bit down, hard, on her nipple. From my memory she seemed to enjoy this quite a bit and it was this salacious act that was referred to in the sentence: She let him do this often.

Now remember, I had read this almost fifty years ago, so not everything was accurate. First off, let me introduce you to the happy couple, Rodney and Betty. And, while it's true that their steamy action began in a car, the part that helped get me through puberty actually happened on a beach.

"Quick!" she said. "Down on the beach. Not here." That's our gal Betty speaking.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was that the magic sentence was not a sentence at all, but merely part of one; what you grammar-nazis might call an "independent clause." But when it comes to the context, my memory was dead-on. Rodney was indeed biting on one of Betty's nipples. (Which were, by the way, "always rigid and exciting." Is that even possible?) The complete sentence reads:

She let him do this often, but it never failed to arouse him to near frenzy.

As I mentioned earlier, my youthful liaison with Peyton Place lasted only for a short period of time. One day, seemingly out of the blue, Mom casually mentioned that perhaps she should remove the scandalous book from the shelf. Whether she was worried about what visitors might think if they saw it or if by some mysterious mom-instinct she knew of my fervid and clandestine readings I don't know and never will. We never spoke of it and I didn't even find the nerve to write of it until after she died.

And then one day the book was gone from the shelf. I never again held a copy of Peyton Place until yesterday, when I picked it up at the library. Still, it speaks to the glory of books that after Mom, Grace Metalious and even I are long dead, the story of that twisted little New England town will go on. And for generations to come Rodney will continue to gnaw on Betty's ever-rigid nipple, and she'll always let him do this. Often.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.