In Which I Let Loose on “Control”

Yesterday, I went fan-girl crazy over a book called Control by Charlotte Stein. I have so many deadlines pressing down on me and this was absolutely not the time for me to spend an entire day reading a Slutty Little Bookworm manifesto. But I couldn’t stop. There was so much I adored about this book, but as is almost always the case with my reading pleasure, it came down to the language. Stein has voice, people. And I love it.

When I feel this happy about a book, I tend to get all effusive and I’ve already done that over on Twitter, probably embarrassing Ms. Stein with my enthusiasm. I also make A-B-C gratitude lists. (This might be a pastime I picked up in a 12-stop program in a former life; I can’t remember.) In any case, I highly recommend it, this alphabetizing of things you love.

So here is my Gratitude List for Control by Charlotte Stein, with excerpts from the book in italics:

A – Anywhere (It pours through me, and pours through him, and all I can think is this: I would find you anywhere.)

B – Books. Books. Books. Books in the bookstore alcove that Gabe has penciled in. Books piled all over Maddie’s messy apartment. Books under Gabe’s bed. Books the cousin made Gabe read in his youth. Just…books.

C – Cousins

D – Dirty Clothes (‘These are my – you know. Dirty clothes.’ Of course I’ve got no idea what that means. But I’d certainly like to subscribe to its newsletter. Just where does one find these so called dirty clothes, and what activities might one partake of while wearing them?)

E – Erection (‘Really? I thought my erection had turned invisible.’ It warms my heart, to hear him snark. Thank God no irrevocable psychological damage has taken place. Go us!)

F – French Movies (It’s all romance and tragedy and sex, people foofing around in French until you just want to drink coffee and have tortured affairs with the entire world.)

G – Grey Gardens (I think of Gabe’s comment about Grey Gardens again, as I go. Maybe his parents aren’t dead and I’m going to find them somewhere, dressed in their swimming costumes and carrying raccoons.)

H – Humiliation (I need to know how much humiliation you want, in order to get you to that place of shuddery, red-faced excitement, without the uncomfortable self-doubt and awkwardness, afterwards.)

I – I do too (I guess the I do, too was much more pathetic than I gave it credit for. I guess I’m much more pathetic than I gave me credit for.)

J – Jeannette. (I can believe that I adore Jeanette, in that moment. And I’m so happy, to have her as some sort of friend. I’m happy to be the dirty sidekick, to her semi-pure and half-decent heroine.)

K – Knickers (He’s still wearing the pink knickers.)

L – Licking (‘Here, let me make it better,’ I say, and he stops rubbing the injured party. He drops his hand, without me having to tell him to. Then I bend at the waist, and poke out my tongue. ‘Is this the good part of BDSM?’ he
asks, when I lick. Just a little.

M – Maddie. Madison. Dear Ms Morris.

N – Nancy.

O – Opening the bathroom door.

P – Plastic covered furniture.

Q – Quickly (I had to find places quickly, because by then I really  … I  … well.)

R – Right angles (I like right angles, I tell him, and his tongue touches his upper teeth.)

S – Slutty Little Bookworm

T – Toys. Toy drawers and Toy museums.

U – Under Gabe’s bed (‘They’re not mine.’ I love him for trying to deny it – it just makes the whole thing so much less awful, somehow. So much more like a game. Now I get to force him to confess.)

V – Vegas (‘If you liked it too much, then what did I do?’ ‘You ran away to Las Vegas and married it.’)

W – Wicked words.

X – Hmmm, I can’t think of anything X-rated…LOLOLOL.

Y – Youth (The way my dad used to chase me around and around it, just in fun – because I was still little and not yet unwieldy, and confusing. How I used to long to go back there, back to that first home where everything was good and happy.)

Z – ZOMFG about this whole damn book. Not that I even know what ZOMFG really means, but I think the Z is supposed to give a little extra oomph. Or as Gabe would say, “mmph.” (And I kiss him hard enough to force this noise out of him: mmph.)