This text was submitted for a contest held a few years ago to explain Celeste's temporary [alas, now permanent] absence from Celestial Reviews on ASSM. Some readers have become confused between the author, the narrator, and characters in the story. One reader even suggested there may be some autobiographical reference involved. This is naïve, but understandable for several reasons. First, the name of the putative author, Homer Vargas, is also the name of a character in the story. Second, although the story is written in the impersonal third person, at various points the narrator speaks to the reader as "I," seeming, thereby to pierce the veil between author and narrator. Finally, the character "Homer Vargas," also claims to be a writer of erotic stories as the putative author would appear to be.
Readers should not be distressed by these shenanigans as other writers such as Phil Roth, Johnny Updike, even Homer's own cousin, Mario Vargas Llosa, have done the same. Nor is this a new literary device. You probably remember that Mickey Cervantes in Book Two explicitly poo-poos any correspondence between himself and the author of Book One of "Don Quijote." Doubts have even been expressed about the authenticity of Homer's own namesake, although most scholars now agree that both The Oddessy and The Iliad were written either by Homer or by someone with the same name.
Professor Gail Myrthwright has an excellent treatment of the problem of subject/frame interaction in her recent thesis, "Exhibitionism and Self Reference in Internet Erotica." In her paper, Professor Myrthwright cites dialogue of Mercedes Cortez a character in "A New Infection," also by Homer Vargas (or someone with the same name) to explain the phenomenon:
"But, Vivian, can't you see, deconstruction of a text ALWAYS requires attention to the semiotic conventions of time and place. I find your attempt at a-historical analysis futile, at best. A deeper analysis... uuh, yes, a little deeper. DEEPER, Darling. You KNOW how Mommy likes it! Oh, oooh, OOOOH!"
While holding in tension the dialectic so well expressed by Dr. Cortez, Ms Myrthwright also presents us with the contrarian view which Vargas puts in the words of Vivian Wu in the same story:
"Mechas, my dear, you simply fail to recognize the importance of STRUCTURE. A hermeneutic exegesis of a messages can no more be disguised by convention than can the language in which it is transmitted. With a little more time I know I can explain it to you. I'm really so close. YES! So CLOSE. Work that tongue, you bitch,... AYYYYY!"
Those interested in a broader, if somewhat popular, treatment of issues of self reference, should see "Godle, Escher, Bach" by Douglas R. Hofstadter. The rest of you, who may be tiring of this postmodernist horseshit by now, can go right on to the story below.
I know a lot a people have been wondering why Celeste has withdrawn "temporarily" from publishing the Celestial Reviews. I don't suppose anyone actually believes the phony explanation she put out in CR 310. Hard disk crash. Haa! The story is a lot more complicated. Incredibly, it started with the marital problems of a minor pornwriter, "Homer Vargas," thus...
Homer loved his Angela.
He loved her deeply, totally. She was his light, his life. Even after thirteen years of marriage, she still had the smashing figure of a woman in her twenties. People constantly expressed amazement that she was old enough to be married and even more that she could be the mother of a twelve year old daughter. His Angela was just beautiful. Every day at work, Homer yearned to get home to her. She filled his thoughts and she filled his dreams. Unfortunately, she did not fill his arms.
Homer had met Angela when he was working in South America. They had been virgins when they married; Angela because of very traditional, protective parents and convent education; Homer because Anglo girls in his small Southern high school just didn't find big brown boys with funny accents very attractive. In State University, even the few Latina women were more interested in the Black and WASP "jock" types, so he had been very frustrated. When Homer met Angela and she let him hold her hand on the very fourth date, he was in heaven. No other girl had ever let him take such liberties with her body. Within a month or two, Angela was letting him feel her titties. She was beautiful, intelligent and she had shown she really liked sex. What more could he want in a wife?
The problem seemed to start when they came back to the United States and had Cindy, bang-bang, almost as soon as they were married. Angela hadn't really planned to have a baby so soon; it just happened. Homer guessed she became frightened by her own fertility. Angela's mother had had thirteen children; Angela must have wanted to avoid anything like that. She was determined to finish her degree and to have a career. Cindy was a setback and she said they weren't going to have any more babies for a while.
Angela was one of those women who could not take the pill, so they had to use the rhythm method. (They tried using condoms a couple of times, but by the time Homer got the damn thing on, he'd lost his erection. This did not seem to upset Angela.) Unfortunately, Angela's period was pretty irregular. On average it was short, but occasionally she could go thirty or more days. Those of you who know about how the rhythm method works know that means they had a very narrow window of "safe" days each month.
After Cindy was born Angela decided that to reduce the risk, they would have to stop having sex so frequently. They hadn't been having sex that frequently, anyway. Homer took it badly. Sex was very important to him. He thought was the ultimate way of saying "I love you" to the most desirable woman in the world. Maybe it was difficult for Angela, too at first, but through some kind of internal discipline, she seemed to convince herself that she didn't really want sex that much. Once or twice a month seemed fine with her. Once or twice? Many times they were (Homer was) still eagerly awaiting the "safe" days when Angela's period showed up unexpectedly early and he had to start counting all over again.
The standard advice for couples using the rhythm method is to use "other means" to express love and affection during those days. Angela, however, was very conservative and reacted with disgust when Homer tried to pleasure her with his fingers or -- worse -- with his mouth on her pussy. He got them a copy of "The Joy of Sex" and once or twice after reading it Angela brought herself to place her lips on tip of his penis, but she just couldn't force herself to put it in her mouth. Thus, for most of each month they ended up not having sex of any kind.
Don't get the wrong impression, Homer was sure Angela did love him, but she began to think that love didn't need to include sex. They had much in common in addition to their daughter. Angela was a great cook and they enjoyed reading and listening to classical music together. She did all those sweet "wifely" things like straighten his tie, tell him when his socks didn't match, and keep an eye on his weight. Homer knew that if he looked a lot better than most guys his age, it was because of Angela. He didn't think she meant to be cruel in denying him sex; he suspected that she really did not understand just how much a man needs it.
Since she was intent on their not "doing it" most days, Angela became reluctant to let Homer be too "lovey-dovey." Over the years, she began to reject his kisses, took a dislike to being hugged or cuddled, and would seldom let him even touch her beautiful tits, which she was constantly complaining were "too big." "What's got into you, Homer?" she would protest if he forgot and tried to take her hand or slip his arm around her waist. She probably felt (maybe with some justification) that he was trying to seduce her. Perhaps she feared that if she allowed herself even a little sexual pleasure, she would loose control and go "all the way" and another trip to the maternity ward would be the result.
Homer was going crazy. He tried doing all those things that are supposed to make women melt. He sent her flowers, but she berated him for being silly or thanked him because they made "the house" look nice. He asked her to go out on romantic evenings for dinner, but she thought it was a waste of money. (Even then his company was starting to take off and there was always enough money for entertaining members of her family.) Angela didn't like to drink, so sharing a bottle of wine over a quiet dinner at home was out, too.
Homer had the idea of their taking dancing lessons together, but that was another disaster. Angela hated it and constantly criticized the other women there for wearing short skirts and heels (the things Homer has always wanted Angela to wear) to "show off their legs." He began to leave those women's magazines with articles on how to keep the "spark" in your marriage lying around. Angela wasn't buying. She was determined to make sure that no sparks led to no fires.
.... There is more of this story ...