I once read a book about teenage boys who would share pornographic novels and I thought that was weird. I thought nobody would do that — it’s really personal to share your erotic fantasies with some guy sitting next to you in social studies class. Even if you play dungeons and dragons together it stuck me as implausible. “I achieved erotic transports with this. Maybe you would enjoy it.” Nobody does that, I thought, but then I talked to my friend Dan and he said that he and his friends had maintained a small lending library of pornographic books and called themselves “The Horny Porno Club”.
Maybe a similar situation, maybe not, is that when I was a child and young teenager I couldn’t cry, so I tried to learn how to cry by reading books. The best books were the ones that made me cry a little. Sometimes they made me cry a little by describing people who could cry, or things that made the author cry. They didn’t make me cry but I would cry about the fact that they couldn’t make me cry. A little.
Looking back on it I think if I had been willing to have an analogy to Dan’s horny porno club but for crying, my life would have turned out very differently. I would have been able to say to my friends “I had an incredible cry last night, reading this. It was awesome dude! Want to borrow it?”
But I never did anything remotely like that with my male friends. I needed to find a girlfriend and then lose her to cry. I think I was, perhaps unfairly, asking her to do that for me, to be a person who would do the job of a book that would teach me how to cry.