Magazine article The Spectator

Getting Away with It

Magazine article The Spectator

Getting Away with It

Article excerpt

A friend at our karate club, Colin, does bondage and 'water sports' pictures and sells them to a web porn site called 'After Midnight'. When I spoke to Sharon in the pub the other night she said she'd done a shoot for him. She was pleased because the L75 he paid her had gone towards her latest tattoo - a cheeky cherub fluttering across her groin.

Colin thinks he's an artist so there were no 'beef curtain' (Colin's expression) shots or anything gross like that, said Sharon. He simply trussed her up, gagged her with industrial-strength gaffer tape, lit the bedroom scene for a chiaroscuro effect and snapped away in black and white. As well as her fee, Sharon made Colin give her some copies of the snaps and had the best ones made up into Valentine cards, which she sent to her boyfriends. In spite of being 18 stone himself, reported Sharon, Colin has told his besotted girlfriend that until she loses three stone she can't move in with him. Sharon was extremely indignant about the sexist hypocrisy of this and kept returning to it throughout the evening.

With me, Sharon admits to five current boyfriends, as many as four of them labouring under the misapprehension that they are the one and only. In such a small town like this, I don't know how she gets away with it. Practice I suppose. That, and a belief in, and an aptitude for, realpolitik when it comes to relations with the opposite sex. (Start bleating on with words like 'love' or 'trust' to Sharon and you're history.) She sent the Valentine's cards to all her boyfriends except the one who knows about the other four. This one, Brian, who works in an abattoir, thinks she's not the kind of a girl who would appear bound and gagged on an Internet porn site. And in his case, says Sharon, she'd kind of like to keep it that way.

Then there's Tony the fireman. He got a card. Tony she sees on Tuesday nights. It's Tony who's given her the state-of-the-art mobile phone she's always quizzically looking at. Last Tuesday Tony'd got hold of some Viagra. Neither of them had taken it before. It didn't do a lot for her, Sharon said, which didn't surprise me at all. Giving Sharon Viagra would be a bit like giving a crackhead a junior Disprin. It worked for Tony well enough, though. …

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