Friday, April 30, 2010

adventures in sinaesthesia: Pepper and passion

IMG_4549 In Salman Rushdie’s Moor’s Last Sigh, a spice heiress and a manager succumb to their passion for one another and make love on sacks of pepper. This scene won Rushdie the award for bad sex writing. I guess the line that seems to especially offend people’s sensitivities is the admittedly very stupid-sounding: “For ever they sweated pepper n’ spice sweat.” Ok, fair enough, that sounds pretty mojo-killing. But I remember the first time I read this novel (when it came out. I admit to being a Rushdie fan), and I remember that I thought this scene was pretty hot. not the terrible n’,  but the scene in general. Reader, what do you think:

link to this page of the The Moor’s Last SighThe Moor's Last Sigh


I found myself thinking of it again, dear readers, when I spritzed on The Different Company’s Rose Poivrée—after the inevitable sneeze, I thought, what a sexy scent, with its pepper, civet, rose, cumin, and coriander, and then all these images of sexy Indian heiresses and their strapping lovers ‘doing it’ on pepper seeds filled my head.  It stays erotically spicy and rosa damascena perfectly blended until the end of its life, drying down to a musky pepper rose and then fading out completely. In all my thinking about beds of pepper, I then realized how fitting it is that the damask rose should form the other major component of this perfume, since it is itself famously crushed to create fragrance. Isn’t it something like 4000 kilos of flower per 1 kilo of oil? Our lovers could just as easily have lain in a literal mountain of roses. Beds of pepper, beds of roses—It all blends together in my mind into a pretty nice erotic image…. Pere de Pierre does a nice review you can catch here.
On a completely unrelated pepper note, one of my favorite moments in my beloved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is when Alice comes upon the cook and the baby. With a complete disregard for sentimental sensibilities, Lewis Carroll gives us the catchy and hilariously disturbing ditty:

“And with that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving it a violent shake at the end of every line: -- --
              "Speak roughly to your little boy,
              And beat him when he sneezes;
              He only does it to annoy,
              Because he knows it teases."
          CHORUS
          (in which the cook and the baby joined): -- --
          "Wow! wow! wow!"
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words: -- --
              "I speak severely to my boy,
              I beat him when he sneezes;
              For he can thoroughly enjoy
              The pepper when he pleases!"
          CHORUS
          "Wow! wow! wow!"

 

 


SO here’s my prescription for this weeks adventure in sinaesthesia: Get Rushdie (or Carroll, if you so prefer). Make a homemade pot of my pepper chai. Spray on Rose Poivrée. maybe eat some pepper tea cookies or pfeffernussen (shout out to you, Sis), open the book and enjoy the ride!


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