Monday, October 09, 2006

A Small, Yet Stimulating Guide to Erotic Punctuation

As the notorious inventor of the erotic chess story, people often ask me “what is it that makes your erotic stories so absolutely devastating, so painfully lascivious, terrifying and carnal, so hot and wet that I felt I must rip myself to shreds and committed incest with my brother in the parking lot of that car wash?” The answer is, of course, that I care. Not only that: I care. As a humble student in the world of the erotic arts it is a pleasure to relate my simple, unadorned experiences in incredibly filthy narratives that will soil your imagination forever like a masturbating bat. See what I mean? (Those that are disturbed by the idea of masturbating bats should probably stop here and perhaps jump to here: this is what I do when I can’t take anymore masturbating bats, what with all the screeching, the squeaking, the dizzying weak bobbing beam of the head lamps, the female bats tangling in your hair and the male bats ejaculating in it and the sudden stunning blow to the head that signals a collision with a stalactite).

Other than that, however, there are simple procedural things, the knowledge of which, however cursory and vague, like the location of the clitoris, improve one’s style immensely, the most neglected of which is: punctuation.

The Exclamation Point

I have always been of the opinion, with Thurber, that the exclamation point should be avoided, if not actually shunned, in print, as in real life. You may find this thought alien if you are one of those people who respond to casual demure questions like “how are you?” with “Super!”, but I can tell you know that there isn’t much that we’re going to agree on and this relationship is going nowhere, except for your really hot body, which is perfect and gives glory to Allah just walking around.

I feel the same way about the exclamation point as I do about a lot of mainstream male-oriented representations of heterosexual intercourse: it places emphasis on exactly the wrong things in the wrong way. In fact a lot of mainstream male-oriented representations of heterosexual intercourse is so terrible it makes heterosexuality itself seem like a bad thing, and a bad thing that happens when you’re eighteen and in an RV surrounded by a lot of dudes in baseball caps. As representations go, imagine a world in which advertisements for hot dogs consisted entirely of 300 pound men in eating contests to the death and you have the image given by most mainstream pornography.

Not that I have seen such things.

The exclamation point is not much better. The mark itself is just a horrible phallocratic giveaway:[!]. It consists of a long, solitary shaft which has onanisticaly yielded a small, pale rapidly cooling spot of graphematical excess that belies its original passion. By itself, the exclamation is a sad and lonely thing that tries to conceal its profound hollowness with a lot of extroverted noise. It is the Tigger of punctuation marks.

Worse still, the exclamation point will sometime band together with other exclamation points in the inferior erotic narrative:

“I can’t believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My flippers are so dirty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must have gotten them dirty when I walked across that erotic cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of our Founding Fathers!!!!!!!!! Evacuating!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know what I mean!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So dirty!!!!!!!!!!!!!Won’t you please lick them!!!!!!!! Clean!!!!!!!! OHHHH YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NNNnhhh!!!!!!!!”

The effect of these multiple exclamation points is not so much arousal, or the communication of arousal, as it is short graphic stretches of pointy fencing that warn the reader to “stay away.”

The exclamation point, LIKE ALL CAPS, is really an entire language of bad pornography. And to imagine a language is to imagine a form of life. This form of life has a name: it is fascism.

For it is only in an imaginary perfect fascist state that all men have ROCK HARD BATTERING RAMS and all women are TOTAL SLUTS who WANT IT REALLY BAD and ALL THE TIME: “OH, YES!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!! PUT THE DUSTBUSTER ON MY CLIT!!!!!!!!!!!!”

In short, any conventions that appear in spam should be avoided.

The Period

The period is, on the other hand, while certainly not under utilized, is under appreciated. In eroticism, as with anything else, sometimes it helps to come to a complete stop, get some more martini olives, check the news.

There is nothing more erotic than lying there, crimped like a kitten, drifting in and out, muttering various nonsense endearments when various slow distinct technical noises inform you that your lover is now doing laundry. Indeed, very cool people will now pretend that nothing has happened: “So, what are you doing this afternoon?”

Though archetypically the erotic narrative is a comedic one, of springtime, renewal and eternal return - a thing of commas and semi-colons -it is ideally well-stationed with the regular servicable period:

It did not matter. They were dead. They were all dead. Who would know the winner of the blowjob contest?

The Dash

Nietzsche once wrote:

In the mountains, the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that, you need long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks: and those to whom they are spoken, big and tall.

Nietzsche was, of course, a five-eight giant, but this aphorism sets the scene for us: already we can imagine this Socrates who practices music in a bar, seeking out the long and sexy legs that can traverse such mountains, someone big and tall, a “blonde animal”; we can imagine him chatting up (or more likely, at home imagining chatting up) some vast Amazon brazenly devoid of pessimism or the encumbrances of slave morality or panties.

Likewise the dash: the jump-cut, the javelin, the sudden unexpected ejaculation of prose -is under utilized and appreciated. Is the history of the erotic literature imaginable without:

While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened—there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind—the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight—my brain reeled


In an instant I was inside of her -then I felt myself bump up against something hard and plastic.

or even

Take it off. Take it all off. -Oh No!

The Colon

Finally, the colon is, without rival, unequivocally the most erotic punctuation available to writers in English and not for the reasons you are thinking, Sheila. The colon is very simply: seduction. One minute you are just talking the next: you are kissing.

The colon can be used to start a list:

They put inside of her the following:

or introduce a subordinate clause or phrase whose erotic potential is all together all-too formidable:

She became: a jungle cat

Or even:

Have you seen: the toaster

If the dash is a jump cut, then the colon is an uncanny dissolve where things change and you are not sure you are not dreaming. If the erotic potential of both those features are not obvious, you should probably get out more.

Graphematically, the colon is a picture of two homogenous dots hovering above one another: this by itself is almost indescribably filthy, as they poke out at one like two intense little dark eyes, darkish nipples, or darkish identical clones undressing in front of each other for the first time. Don’t tell me you’ve never just written a length of colons:


just to imagine it’s an aerial top down view of some sort of same sex barracks full of model N66 Attack Clones all naked and lined up for inspection. In fact, here come the bad ass clone Sarge
and it looks pretty pissed!

:::::::::::::::::::::: .

-Drop and give me twenty, skinjob!:

:::::::::::::::::::::; .

Well, I could go on with this all day, particularly when they hit the showers.

TURN #83: WEEK 69; WORDS: 79,186