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Porn in Public?


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Ok, ok I know nobody really wants to read another article on E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, but- there’s a bone I need to pick with this book and it astounds me that no one else has had the same issue.

Why are people reading porn in public?

Hop onto any London underground line lately and somewhere, I can guarantee you, there will be a woman engrossed in paperback porn on her way home taking a break from the pressures of daily life.

Why is this suddenly socially acceptable? Because it’s written down in a book with a contemporary looking front cover designed in some by some up-market graphic studio?

Perhaps it’s because it’s managed to integrate itself into pop culture? Or is it the presence of a plot? This isn’t implications and insinuation s- it’s full blown, quite specific in taste, sex. It’s Explicit. It’s Porn.

There are visual pornos that have a plot line that explore particular fetishes and have made it into pop culture. Does that mean I should watch it on public transport on the way back from work?

From this I get a myriad more of questions. Would it be acceptable for me to listen to Fifty Shades of Grey on an audio book wearing headphones on a train?

Lets be honest you know exactly what song the person next to you is listening to even if they’re wearing earphones- right?  Exactly. To be honest, I’d be sorely embarrassed if caught listening to a description of a sex scene on public transport knowing full well the person next to me would be able to distinguish what I was listening to. I’d feel like I had a voyeur and worry his sweaty demeanour was no longer down to the stuffy undergrounds and overcrowding. Well, the same principle should apply to a book, best seller or not.  I don’t need to know you’re reading steamy sex scenes sat next to me on the train, do that in the comfort of your own bed, in private, like sex.

 You know what next time I’ll crack out my ipad on the tube, take full advantage of the free wifi at station (thanks Olympics) and watch some porn shall I?

OK, that’s probably too far but it’s the same kind of principle.  A child of reading age could easily catch a glimpse of their mother’s ‘mummy porn’ while she reads it on the bus on the way to his school, is this still acceptable then? A man watching porn on his mobile device or browsing through a copy of Nuts/Playboy would be vindicated by society so why should women get away with reading explicit material in the same environment?

I understand it’s no longer the Victorian era, and we can uncover table legs without worrying men and women will suddenly become uncontrollably aroused at the questionable phallic symbol and that things are a lot less shocking than they used to be, but i still think there needs to be a line.

Perhaps in ten years time no one will think Fifty Shades is as erotic as we make out now, just like Lady Chatterly’s lover has ceased to be shocking to audiences today- but then what is there left to shock audiences?

Maybe I’m just being a prude and old fashioned and all the rest of it.  Maybe this is part of freedom of speech (or expression) or whatever- but i just can’t help to think that it’s wrong.  I understand that written text is harder to casually read than to watch a video over someone’s shoulder, but it’ not impossible.  

Next time you can’t wait to see what tantalising tangles fifty shades has in store for you, can you at least wait as far as your home? I’ve got to have my dinner yet and somehow knowing you’re enjoying yourself a little too much on the tube is a lot more than unappetising.

Alternatively invest in a dust jacket and pretend it adds to your sense of mystery.

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