Every time I sort through the books at the charity shop where I volunteer, I come across some amazingly weird book that makes me pause and grin.
A month ago it was this book, which made me laugh because I have a friend who claims her cat is gay. The kitty would follow the hubbie everywhere, as well as perform “suggestive rubbing, doting looks, attentively pushing his anus against hubbie’s toe…”
The opening page of the book confronts you with this earth-shattering question: Have you ever found yourself pondering your cat’s sexual preference?
The book then proceeds to painstakingly describe the many situations that would help “pet lovers get in touch with their feline gaydar”. Sadly I’m unable to refer to it now as the book has since been carted upstairs for sale, but I do vaguely recall something about stumbling across your cat strutting around the house like Lady Gaga, or catching him applying nail glitter at the vanity table. Or something similar.
Today, however, I fatefully came across this book – Position of the Day: Sex Every Day in Every Way.
Wow. 365 sexual positions.
This book made me smile for another reason entirely. It had me soaring down memory lane, all the way back to 1997, when I – minds out of the gutter now! – would create what would become one of my favourite characters.
He was for a MUSH, which for uninitiated is basically a text-based game where players from all over the world role-play characters with each other in a shared universe. Just think, you could be playing characters from Star Wars, Highlander, Lord of the Rings, Transformers, and dozens more!
Imagine taking on the role of a character – becoming that character – acting out their story, exploring their motivations as you describe what your character does or say to the characters of other players, in real-time. In short, you were creating that narrative together, developing your character as time goes on, and carrying them through complex, interconnected stories in ways few games allow nowadays.
This was in 1997, way before the days of World of Warcraft and other flashy, non-text, multiplayer online role-playing games of today. Even now, I could never play one of those MMORPGs. I don’t care what Richard Garriott or Peter Molyneux says. None of these games can compete with the ones you build with your imagination.
In my case, my first MUSH, my first love, was with Dragonlance.
I would love to explain my passion for Dragonlance, but for now, let’s just say that over 14 years ago, I fell hard for this fantasy world of dragons and Highlords and brave, flawed heroes.
And within this world, I created a new character starting off in the bustling city of Palanthas.
His name was Eliande. And he was a professional escort.
Now understand, the Dragonlance MUSH wasn’t that sort of game. Other than two players’ occasional need to squirrel themselves away into a private room and play with each other for hours and hours and hours on end, the MUSH was a fairly clean game. Really.
But for some reason I wanted to play something different from the usual city-destroying mages or the holier-than-thou priests or the warriors bristling with weapons as huge as their egos.
Nay! I will instead play one of those rare ‘peasant’ professions. No, not a blacksmith, too sweaty. A tavern keeper? A merchant? Well, what would be fun? Exciting? Provocative?
To this day, I am still amazed the MUSH staff – the administrators who ran the game – approved my character. I did explain to them that I would not at all role play any of the ‘naughty’ stuff. Instead as a professional escort (or gigolo or whore or however you call him), Eliande is meant to be flamboyant, fun, charming, outrageous, unapologetic. Completely at ease as he provides a service just as needed in any quasi-medieval society.
(We’ll leave his clandestine spy activities for another time :)
And because the topic would undoubtedly emerge from lady clients hoping to ‘engage’ Eliande for the night, I actually spent some serious thought, considering my vastly limited personal experience, on the number of sexual positions my character would likely know. What would be realistic? What would be possible?
In the end after some wide-eyed nail biting, I decided on 126. Obviously after seeing today’s book, that was too low a number.
A common line, played gleefully over-the-top:
“What do you say, fair love?” Eliande says, bestowing his warmest smile upon Lilian after noting how dazed she looked. He had merely kissed her hand, after all, a brief press of warm lips over the knuckles. A gentleman does not slobber over a lady’s hand. “Which do you prefer? I dance, play music or can attempt to hold you enraptured with scintillating conversation in any subject you desire. Or if you wish, we could go upstairs to my chambers. I am highly trained in eight different massage techniques and 126 sexual positions–”
“126 positions!?” Lilian / Jenna / Lady Etcetera would sputter in disbelief.
And by then, Eliande would usually smile and flit on, sauntering through the rest of the crowd in that merry tavern, a promise here, a favour there, stealing a secret or two along the way.