What’s happened to book genres recently? We knew where we were with Western, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure, and the like, but now the branches of the Genre Tree bear the fruit of some strange and confounding sub-genres. One that caught my eye recently was Vaginal Fantasy.
What’s that then? Any book written by Derek Acorah? It got me wondering, and I imagined a few possible explanations for the phrase. At first I thought Vaginal Fantasy might be a whole sub-genre written for women who spend their lives dreaming of possessing increasingly absurd and far-fetched vaginas.
‘And so, as the sun set behind the hills of Dakota, I squatted in the half-dark, wishing with all of my heart that my fanny could be a leopard. In the morning, my wish had come true, and Tiddles, my pet cat, had paid the ultimate price.’
Perhaps it is the vaginas themselves that are fantasising:
‘Oh what a tortured cunt am I! How I dream of art, of culture, of music! What music I could play as a pianist, were I not condemned to be rammed by one… if only the world could hear me perform I know it would show its appreciation. Oh, how I long for that clap!’
(This next bit hinges on you pronouncing the word ‘vaginal’ in your head so that it rhymes with ‘Lionel’. Potato, pota-toe.) Or is Vaginal Fantasy the latest instalment of the weird Japanese video game series, but with a mingey twist? If so, it’s begging for a Pokemon cross-over.
But, no, unsurprisingly, it’s none of these things. A book qualifies as Vaginal Fantasy if its intended readership comprises the sort of women who want a dash of porn with their schmaltzy romance. I suppose it’s just a snazzier way of saying ‘erotic fiction’. Thrills and Boom, if you like. Or Thrills and Broom, if you’re feeling really, really adventurous: JK Rowling take note.
Incidentally, JK, if you’re reading this, sweetheart, I’ve come up with a few ideas you can use if you want to do a Vaginal Fantasy version of Harry Potter – squeeze a few millions more out of the franchise before everyone gets swept away by the next big thing in young adult publishing, which will probably be a fantasy romance about a time-travelling, sex-mad college kid who just happens to be a flesh-eating zombie. Anyway, here are my suggestions for new, sexy Harry Potter titles:
Mary Squirter and the Thrill Officer’s Bone
Hairy Botter and the Chained Bear Secretes
Old Harry Scatter and the Pensioners of Ass-Kablam!
Hell, JK, why be so subtle? Why not just go the full hog and call it:
Harry Potter Goes Absolutely Fucking Bongo Mental and Pumps Everything That Moves, Even Dumbledore, And I’m Talking About the One That Died AFTER He Died
If more Scottish writers get in on the act then we could have our own sub-sub genre, simply called ‘Fanny-tasy.’ Anyway, 50 Shades of Grey is a good example of Vaginal Fantasy, although, having endured some of its chapters, I’ve decided that if a woman wants the book to have a sexy effect on her vagina then she should probably just roll it up and fud herself daft with it.
I stumbled across another sub-genre a few years ago as I was wandering zombie-like around 24-hour Asda. When passing through the book aisle my eyes chanced upon a ticket on a shelf that read: ‘Misery 3-Pack.’ Misery 3-Pack? Who the Hell thinks to themselves, ‘Ooh, I’ve got a wee night to myself here. Get the fire on, put my feet up, get a book out, all cosy. And do you know what I’m hankering after? A nice bit misery, that’s the ticket.’
And not just one chunk of misery: but a three pack! Human history is a long, bitter struggle for survival, throughout which we’ve made it our mission to remove as much misery as possible from our existence, largely through advances in sanitation, medicine and technology. And now, as most of us in the West are privileged to live in an era of comparative safety and luxury, we’re turning to misery as entertainment? What a peculiar little species we are.
Books in this genre are usually autobiographical, and always harrowing; tales of abuse endured and survived; stories that would make even Hitler reach for a box of hankies (although he probably did reach for a box of hankies when his lieutenants reported mass Jew deaths to him; using them to mop up something other than tears, I’d imagine). Typically, Misery Lit books contain sentences like this:
‘It was then I realised, as granny tethered me to a rat in the dungeon and prepared the greased javelin for my helpless starfish, that we probably weren’t going to Disneyland after all.’
As with sex, there’s big money in misery. I wish I could write some Misery Lit. The trouble is, before you can do that you need to have suffered quite a horrific childhood, so that you can draw from those experiences. And my childhood was quite decent. Not perfect – whose is? – but broadly speaking I had quite a comfortable, lower-middle-class upbringing, during which I never feared for my life, or wondered where the next meal was coming from. And the point is this: if my mum had taken the time to beat and shag me, I could’ve been a fucking millionaire by now. Selfish bitch.