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Dirty Weekend is a collection of sexy short stories written over fifty-years from 1954 to 2010,
Love's quality should be calculated in a number of ways, including memorability. Evelyn Waugh wrote of the “remembered pleasure” of an act of love. If it is of high quality, it can be remembered and enjoyed – it can provide pleasure in recollection – for years, perhaps a lifetime afterwards. The man who made love to Sally at the coast or the man who was visited by Jenny in hospital will remember it always. So will she. Both lovers will also remember forever the un-sound-proofed room at the hotel in which once they made love. In the same way, Jeremy and Angie will remember always the turmoil of jealousy that Jeremy experienced in Cochem at the Weinfest.
We must calculate that timeless quality into our equation in deciding how much real time our act of love or our episode of loving occupied.
Even if the quality and memorability are relatively low, an act of love is rarely just a five-minute thing. The five minutes should be raised anywhere between the power of two and the power, let us say, of ten or much more. On some occasions of exquisite recall, the five minutes might be raised to the power of more than ten or even to n – an infinity.
The five minutes becomes, let us say, about half an hour at the power of two. It can become days or months or years when it assumes its proper place under a power of ten or above. Within otherwise forgotten years, a dirty weekend at the coast might now occupy such massively delightful slabs of time in recall that nothing else seems to have happened in and around that time – in those weeks or months or even years in which the loving occurred. Important as other activities might have seemed on the day before or on the days after he made love to her, they will fade away completely as time illuminates the loving and its dazzle extinguishes the rest. In other words, while memories of other things are blotted out, memories of much of our loving will grow ever more vivid as the years pass. The time our cherished loving occupies in our memories will constantly expand.
Even so our calculation of the time occupied by a single random act of love remains inadequate. Quite apart from the sexual act itself, the preparations for it and the glowing moments after it are ruthless pirates of time. Just as ruthless sometimes are the minutes or hours spent in recalling them.
That is so even though the liaison may have been no more than a spontaneous one-night stand, unpremeditated and perhaps unwise. She left next morning, with a smile and an unforgettable wave of the hand and was never seen again; and yet she lives with you – in memory – still. She lives more vividly than thousands of others of your acquaintances and associates who might have spent years in your company before or since.
We must always acknowledge too that lovemaking can be the act of a glutton or it can be the act of a gourmet. That is the theme of the piece in Dirty Weekend on The Banqueting Table of Love.
Though not always, the woman is usually more inclined to be the gourmet; the man the glutton. The woman nibbles; the man gobbles. The man is often content with a fast-food fuck that might be identified with McDonald’s. The woman prefers a meal prepared by an imaginative chef in a restaurant whose furnishings are elegant, the lights are dim and even the waiters, as much as the Chef, know every little wrinkle of their art and express it in their quest for a perfect romantic occasion.
What she wants is a banquet with every dish a delight because
what she knows – what she has always known – is that the banqueting table of love is crowded with a variety of dishes with an infinite variety of flavours. The nibbling of the goodies may begin with the exchange of glances “across a crowded room” or with a wink in a boutique or a supermarket. The shape, size and colour of her eyes but especially the invitation in them will add flavour for the next hors d’oeuvre. More will come with the sweet taste