“The first time we were in bed together, he held my hands pinned down above my head.”
A promising start.
It had been a long day. The alarm went off early so that I could make my flight. There was a hurricane swirling its way into the Gulf of Mexico, casting doubts onto all flights into Miami.
Thankfully, the flight was uneventful. The hotel check in went quickly.
An early dinner sent me into a nap. The nap left me refreshed and relaxed—and awake just after midnight.
A reasonable hour to take in the nightlife of South Beach.
I looked out the window at the white caps of the waves in the dark sea. I could see the shoreline from my bed.
I preferred to stay in.
I poured a bourbon and glanced at the nightstand. I had made some headway on the De Kooning biography during the flight. I could dig back into his life for a few hours.
Or I could read Elizabeth McNeill’s Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair.
I had seen the film version back in the day. But as I read past the first line and into the first pages, I realized that it was a pale imitation of the text.
The memoir is the story of a successful New York woman who finds herself drawn into a sadomasochistic relationship with a man she encounters by chance. For nearly three months—nine and a half weeks, to be precise—her life is riven into two parts: her days as a capable businesswoman, and her nights as the man’s submissive.
She gives herself over totally. He baths her. He feeds her. She fulfills any request, going so far as to mug someone as his behest.
What made the book so shocking in its time—1978—was this convergence of an accomplished woman who would, so readily, give herself over to being dominated by a man. Wasn’t submission a contradiction of feminism?
As I read it, I was primarily taken by the language. McNeill writes in matter-of-fact style that would have pleased E. B. White. The clarity of the text heightens the reality of the narrative, lending plausibility to extraordinary events.
McNeill is a pseudonym. Without revealing her identity or my own, I can say that I went to high school with her daughter. Back then, I was taken by this proximity to an extreme; all of this actually happened to a real person who was not all that different than anyone else.
That remains a rather thrilling thought—that real people can take one another to such places. That someone can take such pleasure in moments at the other end of their daily lives.
For McNeil, as for some others with demanding lives, there is an appeal to the notion of surrendering control.
I turned the page.
“This is good,” I said. “Have you read it?”
I lowered the book.
“No baby, that’s not right.” She had my entire cock in her mouth, very hard and very deep.
Her brown eyes looked at me questioningly.
“I can still see some of the base of my cock,” I corrected her.
I took her head in my hand, and pushed her mouth further down my shaft. Now I couldn’t see my cock at all.
Drool puddled in my pubic hair.
“Better.” I took a sip of bourbon and returned to the book.
“Just fifty more pages or so.”
I stroked her hair as I read.
Nine and a Half Weeks