I ran into Charles Smith, recently moved to New Haven, at a bar. The last time we had seen each other was at the country club at home two summers before, when he had just graduated from college and I was about to head to law school after a year off from formal education, having finished college myself the previous spring. Neither of us can remember exactly when this encounter was, but we both remember it vividly, because of the subject matter and a single look that passed between us.
For reasons that are now impossible fully to reconstruct, we started talking about the sexiest passages of classical literature we had read, and began trying to top one another, as it were.
(If I had to try to reconstruct it might go like this:
EMILY: I heard you were teaching Latin. I don't think you know that I majored in classics myself.
CHARLES: No, I didn't know that! Awesome--best major there is--but you knew that already.
EMILY: (suddenly distracted by the kindness she sees in his eyes, the interest in what she's about, which she's never noticed before) Yeah--and everybody thinks there's nothing exciting or sexy about it!
CHARLES: (taking the dare) Pedicabo et irrumabo. . .
EMILY: Yeah! And Archilochus, and Sappho. . . OK, let's do this: what's the sexiest passage of Greek or Latin you ever read?)
It was I who brought up the part of Book 1 of Herodotus where Pisistratus fucks the daughter of Megacles in the ass because he's worried about his kids inheriting the curse on her family. Charles topped me with an epode of Horace, I think, but the look he gave me when I said "fucks her in the ass". . . Charles says I turned bright red, and he could tell that it was at his look, and definitely not at the words.
It wouldn't have been at the words, because Réage was now part of my erotic DNA, and anal had become a kind of sacrament that I was as willing to discuss intellectually as I was to discuss civil procedure or the Real Presence in the eucharist. But he was right: his look had caused a very strong reaction in me. It was only much later, after Charles had, um, celebrated and consecrated the aforesaid sacrament with me, that I confessed that I had, at that look, seriously dampened my panties and felt weak in the knees.
It was a look of appraisal; I don't think there's another way to put it. Charles Smith appraised me as a possible anal-submissive, and I felt searched out and known as I never, ever had before.
But it was only a fifteen-minute conversation, and although we said, with feeling, that we had to get together again before I went back to New Haven for law school and he went to take up his first teaching job in Massachusetts, we didn't. We both aver that that was because we were scared about what might happen.
As well we should have been.