Monday, May 30, 2016

Forever Foxy: Confessions of a Middle-Aged Eroticist

Foxy then, Foxy now: Pam Grier, circa 1970.  All Images Copyrighted.
I write differently now than when I was in my 20s or 30s, it’s true.  Even the erotica.  It’s not just the choice of subject matter or worries about reaching a "youthful" audience.  It’s not about being braver (then) or less timid (now). 

It’s about Pam Grier. 

Pam Grier played the sassy title character of Foxy Brown in the 1974 Blaxploitation movie.  I was 6.  I never saw her in first run, of course.  Only pictures of her debut, of her clothed or partially clothed, much, much later.  A deadly dark body, a snarling smile.       

What I stayed up late to watch her in was The L Word, circa 2008.  That Showtime show about all kinds of women in love.

Women over 55 often remark they’re invisible to men, even those their own age.  They aren’t.  Not to me at 47.

Pam Grier, film's first female
action hero?
My pool is legitimately wider.  It’s easier to appreciate both ends, the deeps and the shallows, caught midstream.  If I still feel 17, why can’t beauty be older and younger?  Why the either or? 

Pam Grier’s more full-figured at 67(!), but also darker, richer...smoother.

Hear me.  You’d think I was talking about how to indulge in a healthier candy bar or fine rum.  Well, something to savour.  

I want to see Foxy's back.  Ladies’ bare backs and calves now do for me what smiles and hands used to do for me (and, to be honest, still do).

Because there’s tenderness in ’em.  Ask any aging eroticist: tenderness is coveted as skin grows thin in areas no one warned you it would, and the heart grows ever simpler in its desires and ever forgiving of human weakness, noticeably its own.

My elders observe, often with a short, cheery laugh, that those closest to them are either going blind or senile, as if to say that's all there is to look forward to with the people we grow old with.

My work is more preoccupied with intimacy than intercourse.

A bad tryst may be better than not getting any. On the page, maybe, where all is sweet tension. 

And here I go back to a woman’s bare back, to curve and breadth and spots and huesreading its goosfleshed folds is like feeling for a tributary to her heart that may lie somewhere east or west of knotty spine, just north of plush rump, or possibly south of slick hairline.

Pam Grier, circa 2010.
It’s all there in her back, what she has bent to endure or braced to overcome, the depths of her kindness or swift rise of her vanity, the fragility of her sensuality...and my unsteady grasp of it all.

No.  A bad tryst may not be better than none at all.  Not if joy, or pleasure, or some measure of happiness, is the goal. 

What a man (or woman, for that matter) doesn’t do with a hard on is just as important as what he (or she) does do with one.

Wicked.  Rude.  Kinky.  Naughty.  I’ve seen more people get turned on at the mention of any one of these words than with the help of any illicit cellphone visuals. 

I write more slowly.  (Have I been making love more slowly?)

I may be rediscovering the joy of making out.

It’s not youth that’s wasted on the young so much as agility.

A woman reveals her passions, her intentions and manias, in her naked smile, far less in her unclothed body.

And I’ve seen more of Pam Grier fully clothed than I ever will of her otherwise. 

The aging eroticist dreams about women differently, too.  Certainly, he fantasizes about them differently, with a spirit that is at once shaken and stirred.   
Pam Grier, circa 1980.

I write differently, about women and about relationships, now.

What I thought possible as a teenage boy, or in my 20s or 30s, is no longer possible to think.  I finally know too much.  Yes...yes.

Yet still never enough.

· Robert is the critically acclaimed author of the NBM Amerotica titles Attractive ForcesStray Moonbeams and Great Moves.  His other books include the novel And Sometimes They Fly; the story collections Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon SisnettIntimacy 101: Rooms & SuitesThe Tree of Youth and Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; and the memoir Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle.  

All of his graphic novels are now available as e-books from NBM.