A S*XY Post from Camille
In my home and neighborhood, the F* word was king: "Pass the F*-ing salt, will ya?" But the S* word - fahgettaboudit.
I remember a lot of winks, especially at wedding receptions, waiting for the bride and groom to arrive from church. The old ladies would say, "I'll bet they're around the corner (wink)." And the response: "I wouldn't be surprised if they've already (wink) and she's already (wink)."
For a good part of my life, I associated the prudish reluctance to use the S word with the climate of the 1950s in my immigrant Catholic neighborhood.
But much later, in the late 1990s, I found the same attitude in a WASPy young woman who was my editor at the time. I remember meeting the blond Ms. K in her Sixth Avenue, New York City, building for the first time. She swept into her office, all bright and energetic, wearing the professional version of a little black dress.
We're talking about my fourth book, in progress.
"About Gloria and Matt?" she says. "They're attracted to each other, right?"
I nod. In the Periodic Table Mysteries, Gloria Lamerino, met homicide detective Matt Gennaro while doing her amateur sleuth thing. In the first book, Gloria gets twinges when Matt's around; in the second book, they hug briefly; in the third book, they neck. A bit.
(Hey, I'm not writing romance. And, remember, my very first book was a nonfiction treatise on nuclear waste management. Not a lot of opportunity there.)
"They're adults, right?" Ms. K adds.
"Right," I say.
"And they're free. I mean no commitments, right?" Ms. K hooks a chunk of hair over her ear.
"Right," I say.
"Then don't you think . . . ?" she asks.
I gulp. "You want me to . . .?" I ask.
"Move them forward," she says.
"So they should . . .?" I ask.
"Yes, definitely, they should."
"Okay," I say.
And thus in book four, Gloria and Matt move forward. Behind closed doors, of course.
Though Ms. K looked like the forerunner to S*X in the City, she behaved like the old ladies in my neighborhood. I wonder if by now Ms. K has adopted more contemporary talk. Would she say Gloria and Matt should hook up? become friends with benefits? have sex?
OMG did I really write that word?