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I have long wanted to review one of Oggbashan's stories and in fact he kindly sent me a list of the ones which are safe sex, which I promise to reproduce for you at some point. I have been bogged down in Real Life recently so I didn't manage to get onto those. Then I saw he had won the Winter Holiday competition on Literotica and I formed the noble intention of reading his and the other two winners' stories and reviewing them if suitable.
Well, what with the seasonal activities: stuffing a bird (wink), filling my stocking (wink), trimming my tree (wink nudge) and sucking on a little sausage or two (<snerk>), I was slow off the mark and by the time I got round to reading the stories, the list had disappeared to make way for the Valentine's Day entrants. I think it would be a Good Thing if previous competition winners were listed somewhere, so we can all go and pick out a top story if we are having a slow day in the office ... I mean, if we are in need of superior uplifting ... I mean morally uplifting ... I mean, well anyway, it would be a Good Thing.
At least I found Ogg's Christmas Truce, and a jolly lovely tale it is too (sniff sniff!). Romantic and heart-warming and full of the spirit of Christmas. (No I do not mean a 12 year old Jura whisky, and anyway I have drunk that up - the person who has bought all the tiny toys and who does the hard work of stuffing the stocking gets Santa's glass of whisky and mince pie, in my opinion.)
In all the 32 comments on this story, there is just one grumbly one. There are some thoughts of mine and this Critic's which are kinda heavy, so I suggest I tackle those in a minute, and right now we open up our box of tissues and that other one of chocolates. (Cuz this is a definite two tissue story, darlings! about a veteran soldier and a whore - very romantic.) Yup, this is a super romantic story and an anonymous ex-soldier has rightly said that Ogg got many parts of it "Bang-on" so let's bang on to the good bits.
The comments suggest Christmas Truce ought to be in Romance rather than Humor and Satire. It's about the love between a morally fallen woman and a physically incapacitated man. This makes for a nice mirroring balance of characters. At its heart, it's also a story reclaiming women's sexuality. It's made clear why Mary (who is a sympathetically drawn whore - tart with a heart type) was obliged to sell sexual services. The most significant reason is the death of her husband. A married woman but without the consolation of a man's embrace, we are allowed to feel she is justified in having sex with a number of men. That she finally chooses a man who doesn't have 'the equipment' is not so much her turning from the penetrative sex she has had to sell, rather it's saying sexual satisfaction is more than the physical act of penetration. A truly feminine conclusion.
Ogg and I are old enough to remember when it was unacceptable for women to go into pubs in Britain. (Sociological blogpost coming up soon.) He is very good at incorporating this kind of social background, as here when the pub landlord's wife allies herself with Mary the Fallen Lady, because many of the village women won't speak to her either just because she serves behind the bar sometimes.This also works to make us sympathetic to Mary - nowadays we would think it ridiculous to consider a woman immoral because she serves behind a bar, so we realise it's probably only a matter of time before women in the sex industry get treated with respect as well. (Hopefully.)
OK, now for the carping critical bit so if you are raring to go, you may skip the rest of the review and just read the story. No no, leave the chocolates. Oh, alright, take the chocolates, just leave me one on this little plate.
Yes, Ogg's stories are inclined to make sure that any practicalities which will be required for the purposes of the story are set out in painstaking detail. Hey, we might suddenly find ourselves in real danger of being flooded and in need of a chemical toilet, working water pump and some army rations. Personally I find that rather charming and as there is a lot of flooding around in Blighty just now, I am grateful for the tips.
Yes, it seems most unlikely that some retired and injured old bufton would be as kind and helpful as Major Jones - but I tell you what, LOL. I bet Ogg himself is actually just as sweet. (In fact I happen to know that he works very hard on numerous local committees, making sure boring things like traffic flow and licensing hours are so well managed that the rest of us don't have to grumble about them. Even now he is probably sorting out blankets for flood victims near where he lives.)
The figure of the injured ex-soldier is very romantic for interesting reasons to do with gender politics. Soldiers are super-macho, and machismo is sexy partly because super-macho is simultaneously dangerous (high potential for domestic violence both physical and mental). An injured soldier has suffered in the delivery of his macho responsibilities, as perhaps have women at the hands of men. So we might have reason to think an injured soldier will understand women's suffering. Also we think he may be less interested in wham bam thank you ma'am sex and appreciate feminine tenderness. I think I remember that the character Pursewarden in Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet remarks acidly of Lady Chatterley's Lover that an Englishwoman would actually be devoted to the injured Lord Chatterley. Reality is of course a different kettle of fish, as demonstrated in D.H. Lawrence's unsympathetic portrait of Lord Chatterley, and much more sympathetically in the excellent play The Two Worlds of Charlie F. by Owen Sheers (see blogpost on my other mumsie blog reviewing same).
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Like the Critical Commentator, I do feel more could have been made of this lovely story. I too would've liked some sexy massage and fun and frolics between the Fallen Woman and the Unmanned Man. Detail, detail! give it to me! Uh ... in a purely artistic sense, y'unnerstand (wink).