The gap between Christmas and New Year is always a slightly odd time. I’m sick of food and the company of other human beings, and craving the return of normal life. This year, however, it has taken on a special piquancy for me: Herbert is finally reading The 52 Seductions.
Now, I have always said that Herbert chooses not to read my blog. This isn’t strictly true. He’s always known where to find it, and I’ve always told him what goes into it. But I’ve also made it clear that I’d prefer it if he didn’t read it. I wasn’t sure that it would be healthy for him to see his sexual performance reflected back at him the day after every seduction.
He tended to agree. Except that, towards the end of our year, he sneakily read a few. He seemed nonplussed.
But still, my stomach turned over when he first started reading the whole thing. It’s not that I think I’ve painted him in a bad light (quite the opposite; I feel like I’ve spent a whole year writing an extended love letter to him); but I know that, in his shoes, I would be outrageously pernickity about how I was represented. I would almost certainly demand that whole seductions were re-written to show my point of view (I DID NOT burn him with candle wax!). I also suspect I would, at some point down the line, accuse him of not fancying me somehow.
Herbert, as we know, is significantly more rational than I am. After reading the first seduction, he said he though it was ‘all really sweet and innocent’; fifty pages in he was ‘sad in a nice way, just thinking about the year we’ve had’, and yesterday, at page one hundred, he came upstairs to tell me that he is ‘really quite touched’ by it all.
So while I’ve been agonising over how he’ll respond to my descriptions of our arguments and occasional erotic disasters, Herbert has been taking the bigger view. He can feel the love oozing out from between the lines. I must say I’m relieved.
‘After all,’ he says, ‘you’ve written a whole book about me. How many men can claim that, eh?’ Then he adds under his breath, ‘Even if you do make me look like I never shower and am obsessed with spanking.’
I can only report what I see, Herbert. Happy New Year. Here’s to many more.