I know a chap who used to carry a bit of weight. He was fit, just heavy. When he finally got wed his wife took charge and he slimmed down a treat. I mentioned this to one old lad who also knew him. The old fella just took his pipe out of his mouth, played with it a while and said “Aye, Tups alus lose weight when they’re working.”
Someone asked me about ‘Ribald’ and it struck me as one of the things a writer has to deal with. It’s like a story another mate of mine likes. Someone was surprised to see him in the pub watching football and said as much. So totally deadpan my mate said, “It’s the wife, she’s been reading all that fifty shades of grey stuff.”
“Thought that would mean you were too busy for the soccer.”
“She turned up in the front room stark naked carrying all these ropes and gags and handcuffs and whatever and said I could do whatever I wanted. So I tied her up, gagged her, and came out to watch the soccer in peace.”
Ribald is apparently referring to sexual matters in an amusingly rude or irreverent way. It’s probably what a lady of my acquaintance was doing when she described de-caf coffee as being as much use as sex by post.
I have one friend who makes a living writing erotica. At the moment it’s all the rage. But frankly I never saw it as my job to provide a manual for people. In fact given that a fair number of my readers seem to be ladies who’ve done the whole childbearing/rearing thing it strikes me that telling them what to do and how to do it is downright presumptuous.
But when thinking about ‘ribald’ what did strike me was the humour. It’s the humour that realises that actually it’s not all about perfect bodies and everything in unbelievable synchronisation. In fact it’s the humour that actually giggles at the whole ‘perfect bodies’ delusion.
On those rare occasions when I’ve heard men talk about the sexiest woman they knew, it was never the prettiest or the one with the best figure. It was those who were just unselfconsciously fun to be with. Even when doing something perfectly innocent like walking the dog.
Now that’s something the fashion industry never tells you. But then as the fashion industry is dominated by women and gay men, would they ever know? Now there’s a thought, impose quotas on all fashion houses, magazines and whatever and demand that their staff be at least 40% heterosexual males. That would be the end of civilisation as we know it.
But without getting erotic, how do we do ribald.
“Benor was sitting in bed, making a few notes in a small notebook. Alissa tucked Alinia into the cot by the bed, glanced at him, muttered ‘Cartographers’ and, throwing a robe over her shoulders slipped out of the room. A few minutes later she came back carrying two glasses on a tray.
Benor blew on the ink and closed the notebook carefully, placing it on the table by the bed. “A drink?”
“Hot toddy,” she said meaningfully. “I was told you couldn’t get to sleep without a pretty girl bringing you one, so I thought I’d better take over the role.”
She handed him a glass and kissed him, then sat on the side of the bed. She sipped her own drink, and said, “You are looking tired. I don’t think Talan agreed with you.”
Benor finished his toddy in silence. He put the glass down on the table next to his note book. Alissa ran her fingers up the side of his face. “Demons, monsters and unsuitable women; you’ve not had an easy time of it have you?”
“Unsuitable women?” Benor tried not to sound guilty.
“Well, stealing people’s concubines for a start.” She climbed into bed and snuggled up against him. “Anyway, we’re going to have to start north soon.”
“One minute I’m looking tired, the next minute you want to be back on the road.”
“Alinia is not many months from having a brother or sister. Delightful as your nephew Maurshott is, I am not going to spend another winter in a Ranger post.”
“You’re pregnant?” Benor sounded both shocked and delighted.
“Not yet, so I thought it was perhaps time to do something about it.”