Last night, I went to the Film Club – it’s in a small town nearby – to see White Ribbon, a German black and white film directed by Michael Haneke.
It’s set in the early part of the last century. The White Ribbon is nominally a symbol of purity, but it’s a fraud. The village is full of repression, hypocrisy, violence and sexual abuse.
There is a shocking scene in which the Doctor humiliates the housekeeper whom he uses to satisfy his sexual needs.
Quite a few people from the village were there and Melanie invited us back to her house for a drink. She likes to be host.
Melanie put some Budvars on the table. She said: “I have got six more of those. The other thing I have is Limoncello, which someone brought me from Naples. It’s a sweet liqueur. There’s coffee if you’d like some…”
Mark, Brian, Melanie and I took a beer. Pete asked for coffee.
Deirdre said: “Can I try the lemon thing?” Maureen said: “I’ll try it too”.
Melanie said she would put it in the freezer for a few minutes. “It should be drunk ice-cold”.
Then she brought in some little round glasses and put on a Marvin Gaye CD.
“What about Scrabble?” said Brian. They must have done this before. I got the feeling he liked to play and expected to win.
“Good idea”, said Melanie. “Who’s in?”
“Not me”, said Pete. Deirdre and Maureen clearly weren’t keen either. I think Mark wanted to play but was being polite and waiting for the others.
It ended up as me, Melanie, Brian and Mark.
Pete said: “I’ll referee”. He said he would use his iPhone to search for disputed words.
I was doing OK, staying well ahead for about half and hour, until Brian went out, adding all seven letters to Us to make Anilingus.
“What’s that?” said Melanie, looking sharply at him.
He paused: “It means inserting the tongue into the anus, otherwise known as “rimming”. It’s quite common among Lesbians”.
There was something unpleasantly aggressive about the way he said it.
The room went quiet.
Marvin Gaye was singing: “I’ll be doggone if you ain’t a pretty thing”…
Maureen said softly to Deirdre. “How can people do that?”
Though the remark was clearly not meant for him, Brian jumped in: “Sensible girls do it through a dental dam, used by endodontists to protect a tooth socket from debris and bacteria while they operate. The girls don’t make an incision in the rubber like the dentist does, of course”.
This was getting objectionable.
Mark said: “I think this is also called the Devil’s kiss. Witches had to kiss the devil’s buttocks”.
“Ugh”, said Maureen. She was probably thinking: how could anyone could put his or her tongue into someone’s rectum?
“Better than coprophilia”, Brian went on “which is eating faeces. That’s what killed the American photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe”.
Now I realised Brian was getting drunk. After two Budvars, he had gone for a small glass and repeatedly helped helped himself to the Limoncello, which is probably pretty strong.
“Oh, My God” said Deirdre, “and he did those amazing flower pictures on my wall.”
Mark got up and left the room, saying he’d be back in a moment.
Melanie said, “Brian has easily won so we don’t need to add up the scores. And that’s enough on obscure sexual practices, Brian”. She got up too.
“Want me to wear a white ribbon?” he said, with a bold stare.
Melanie forced a smile, looking directly at Brian. “Time for bed, Brian”.
So there was some history there.
Mark came back into the room and started to clear things from the table.
I drove Maureen home – at her request. She was very quiet.
I think she may have had her eye on Brian. Now she was seriously reconsidering.