by Sophie Mouette (aka Dayle & Teresa)
“Really, sex and laughter do go very well together, and I wondered—and I still do—which is more important.” (Hermione Gingold, Canadian Actress, 1897-1987)
“Laughter is the best tension reliever and sex is second. So if you’re having funny sex you're probably in good shape.” (Mark Gorkin, “The Stress Doc,” Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
Despite these comments, some people still think that erotica and humor don’t mix well. A recent interview with Morrow/Avon editor Lucia Macro in Romance Writer’s Report sounds the death knell for romantic comedy—done to death, this editor surmises, by too many heroines who were supposed to be funny and lovable, but came off as helpless and ditzy. (Although she does say “a dose of humor” is welcome.) And can the ever-popular alpha male have a sense of humor? (One of us knows a dominant who favors Hawaiian shirts and Hello Kitty sunglasses, just to confuse his sub, but the dominant/alpha male as seen in romance novels tends to be dark and brooding and lacking in the ability to laugh, except menacingly.)
When Teresa pitched our manuscript Out of the Frying Pan—an erotic romance whose secondary characters include a cross-dressing Vin Diesel look-alike action hero—to an editor, the editor stared blankly. “It’s sexy…and romantic…and comic?” she finally said. “How would that work?” The editor was young. Perhaps she hadn’t learned that the pleasures and pitfalls of falling in lust/love can be comedy gold, at least when they’re happening to fictional characters. (We prescribe a course of classic Hepburn films, where the dialogue is sharp and snappy and the sexual tension is thick enough to cut with a knife, even if everyone keeps their clothes on.)
Dark and angsty themes are all very well, but sex and love can be pretty hilarious, too. Plus, just because the sex is serious doesn’t mean your whole life is. It’s not necessarily the sex that’s funny, but we believe a romantic comedy can be really sexy, too. And that’s often what we set out to write.
In the case of our story “Behind the Masque,” (in Sex with Strangers) there’s sly humor in the voice of the narrator, a jewel thief with attitude:
I glanced down at my enticingly displayed décolletage. I could talk the talk, but the girls helped, too.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been pulled over for speeding, only to drive away without a ticket. I can convince the proprietor of a swanky shop that I really did buy this item, but I lost the receipt, and I honestly do deserve a refund. I can charm the fur off a mountain lion, as they say.
And when she gets down and dirty with a security guard she needs to distract, the heat gets serious, but she keeps the attitude:
He was leaning over me to kiss and lick and suckle, though, so I was humping empty air.
Until he stood and my mound connected with the impressive swelling in his uniform pants.
Oh! Well, then.
‘What have we here?’ I murmured. Unable to keep my hands off something like that—a hard cock is almost as enticing as a hot rock, and certainly more fun to play with—I pressed my palm against the bulge.
His hips jerked, and I felt his prick throb even through my gloves. My mouth watered.
Well, what better way to keep a man distracted? With a rustle of silk and brocade, I sank to my knees.
[…]From Joe’s reactions, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t have noticed a parade of elephants galumphing down the hall.
Sometimes, though, it’s not just the tone or the voice. Sometimes ridiculous things really do happen when you’re making love—as our two heroines in “Busted” (in Caught Looking) discover:
I couldn’t form a coherent answer. She buried two fingers in my folds, pressed them up into me. I clamped down on them, desperate for release. The combination of thrusting fingers and the thumb she had pressed against my clit and her mouth clamped on my aching nipple was overwhelming. So many sensations, driving me further to the edge.
I crashed over into orgasm, grinding myself against her hand. I clutched the headrest with one hand and pounded against the car’s ceiling with the other. “Fuck, yes!”
And that’s when a bright light shone in the window and a strident male voice said, “All right, kids, let’s break it up in there.”
It was the voice rather than the light that caught my attention, largely because my bare ass was facing the window, giving the officer a fine view. I pulled my bra up, and tumbled sideways into the driver’s seat, my feet still tangled in my jeans. The action revealed Elle’s breasts in all their glory. She yanked the edges of the cardigan together, but not before the cop outside got a nice eyeful.
I’d been caught making out in a car before. Even caught by a cop. But never with a cop herself. Never when one of my partner’s co-workers, essentially, was watching.
I reached behind my seat and flailed around for my shirt.
“Jesus, MacIntyre.” Elle’s voice sounded annoyed rather than embarrassed. She rolled down the window a little farther and glared up at him. “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
And sometimes, the funny things lead to more hotness:
The way I was squirming wasn’t just from embarrassment. Some little part of me was turned on, not so much by what actually happened as by images running through my head.
(Caught Looking is an voyeur/exhibitionist anthology. Extrapolate from here, or better yet, buy the book and read the whole sexy story.)
Our novel Cat Scratch Fever takes place at a wild cat sanctuary that’s being vandalized. One of the volunteers, a former juvenile delinquent trying to go straight, discovers quite by accident that a sewer pipe has broken.
He stopped dead in his tracks. Across the green, his single utterance was loud and clear.
“Language, Lance,” Felicia called.
“We’ve talked about appropriate language—” Felicia tried again, amazed at his sudden descent into crudeness after weeks of him being successfully polite. Cleaning up his language, both grammar and colourful euphemisms, was part of the deal if he was to stay as a volunteer, and he’d been working hard at it.
He had dropped the bucket and rake, and now gestured helplessly, pointing at the ground. “Well, what do you want me to call it?!”
And that’s when the slight breeze shifted towards her. Felicia felt the bile rise in her throat.
But earlier in the book, another character had had the opportunity to see a different side of our bad boy, proving he could be just as hot as he was humorous.
She’d heard that tongue piercings made a huge difference for oral sex—and, from other people, that they didn’t. Melissa was enough of a scientist at heart that she tried to maintain a certain objectivity and figure out the truth. She could definitely feel the stud, a hard ball slipping over her slippery flesh, tantalizing the nerve endings in a slightly different way from the tongue itself.
But it’s hard to stay objective for long when a gorgeous boy is licking your clit—with or without a pierced tongue—and pushing two fingers inside you. Maybe it was the piercing, the rush from the “porn-star moment,” the fulfilment of her long-time yearning for a down-and-dirty session with a bad boy. Or maybe Lance just liked eating pussy and did it well.
All she could say for sure is that she was rapidly losing her mind.
At the end of Cat Scratch Fever we had an erotic clinch in a walk-in freezer that paused (frustratingly so for the characters in the clinch) for a humorous moment. They’re interrupted by Valerie, a wacky and kinky board member who calls out to them, although they don’t respond in the hopes that she’ll go away…
(Warning: Contains spoilers. A name has been disguised to protect the guilty.)
“Well,” called Valerie, “I was just coming to say goodnight.” Something in the tone of her voice suggested that she knew perfectly well what Felicia was up to in the fridge.
Gabe was inside her to the hilt; she was stretched around him. She felt his hand worm its way around her and between her thighs to stroke her wet clit.
Staying quiet was getting harder by the second.
She fluttered and clenched around him, and felt his hips jerk in response. Well, if he was going to torture her, she was going to torture him back. Now a little roll while she tightened some more.
She bit her own lip. That had been a mistake, at least from a keeping-quiet point of view.
“Oh, and I wanted to let you in on a little secret,” Valerie continued, “just between us girls, because I know how angry you are at [the villain]. I suggested to the police that [he] would probably need a thorough going-over, just in case he’s hiding anything. Can you imagine how surprised they’ll be when they find the butt plug that’s stuffed in him? Ta ta, dear!”
The woman’s delighted laugh, which didn’t sound the least bit demented under the circumstances, faded as she left the café.
Felicia was so stunned by the revelation that for a moment, her mind went blank. Then Gabe started moving again, thrusting into her and manipulating her clit at the same time. Felicia clutched the shelf so hard that she thought she might yank the bolts out of the wall.
“God, yes!” Gabe gasped, suddenly moving faster. The blood buzzed in Felicia’s ears as she responded, clamping down around him and shuddering through another orgasm along with him.
Only then, spiralling down from her climax, did she start to giggle. Gabe leaned against her, and she felt his chest rock with his own laughter.
In the real world, guys with a sense of humor have a better chance of getting hooked up—so why shouldn’t our heroines appreciate a man’s rapier wit as much as his killer abs and ginormous erection? (After all, under normal circumstances, you can check out the wit sooner than the…other important attributes.) And besides, science is on our side!
“[N]ew research suggests, humor talent does offer a possible advantage in the contest to proliferate offspring…. At least that’s the implication of a study of college students at McMaster University in Canada. Psychologists Eric Bressler and Sigal Balshine presented the students with photos of comparably attractive members of the opposite sex, accompanied by autobiographical statements supposedly authored by the people pictured. On average, women rated the ‘funny’ men as more romantically desirable than the plain talkers.” (science writer Tom Siegfried)
Then again, maybe we should let someone who's both funny and sexy have the last word, not a bunch of scientists. And so we turn to cartoon bombshell Jessica Rabbit, heroine of the hilarious (although admittedly not very erotic) movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? When the unnaturally curvy redhead is asked why she loves her husband—a manic animated rabbit in the vein of Bugs Bunny—she replies, simply, “He makes me laugh.”
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
by Sophie Mouette (aka Dayle & Teresa)