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That Time I Found The “Romance” Novel

In my family we did not talk about sex. Sex was dirty. Dirty people did dirty things. And we were religious, therefore not dirty.

But the grownups all had ways of talking about sex, without — you know — really talking about it.

For example, once I found a very explicit novel inside our bathroom, on the closed-up storage shelf on the right side of the toilet seat, next to the extra roll of t.p.

Now you probably know that porn itself is X-rated. And so the concept of a highly “descriptive” novel — even with all the hot and heavy writing involved — well it doesn’t seem to add up.

I totally get that. I do. But you have to remember that I grew up in a half-Chasidish, half-Litvak, fully Orthodox-yeshivish home where even the sight of a National Geographic cover was considered wildly sexual.

So how did I find the “romance” novel?

Usually in the bathroom, in that place next to the spare roll of t.p., there was a Newsweek. I sometimes would open up the magazine to read a particularly promising article, only to find the pages stuck together by wads of snot.

So I avoided actually looking there for things to read.

But one time I did need more toilet paper, and so I opened it.

There sat a very different kind of reading material.

The cover said “The Story of Q,” and I knew right away.

Of course I opened up the book and started flipping through the pages. No snot there.

I remember the shock that coursed through my body, that feeling of having seen something you didn’t want to know about. That feeling that you somehow could not escape knowing it. Even before your hands ever touched the paper, before your eyes fixed on the glossy skin of the title.

It was the secret of your home, the gartel belt between private and public.

I can’t explain what I felt back then. Maybe it was relief. There is normalcy in my world after all. I am not living on some kind of Eunuch planet, with people who don’t feel or experience a passion for life.

Sex is an aspect of that passion, but in my world it was virtuous to keep it completely repressed. Underground.

I think of that day today, as I watch all the crazy hullabaloo that has descended upon this presidential election.

The fact of the matter is, over the past twenty years or so, political correctness has taken hold. Speech police and all.

Things that were considered ordinary in the 1990s, like calling someone “piggy,” is now an occasion for wrath.

Meanwhile, the most important issues for a nation — security, the economy, healthcare, housing and education — these go un-discussed, go into the ground.

All we can talk about is micro-aggressions, that this one pointed to that one’s “pee-pee.”

Look: You can’t judge the present by the past.

If somebody steps up and wants to lead — if their actions speak louder than their words, and if they are sorry for the bad things they’ve said and done before — then that’s good enough for me.

Angels can live only in heaven.


All opinions my own.

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