Welcome to Freaky Friday, the one day of the week when you can turn the lights down low, and get freaky with a forgotten horror novel from the past that knows how you like to have your flowers rearranged.
Paperbacks from the Seventies and Eighties have a smell — an overpowering stink of rotting wood pulp and cheap cardboard that makes your eyes water and your tongue go dry. It’s the stink of wet library, used bookstores, and Goodwill. But these books also have another smell beyond that smell. It’s a rich, deep musk that smells like hairy chest, chiseled chin, and blow dryers. It’s the smell of Queen Anne’s Lace, pink wine, and orange sunsets. It’s the smell of denim stretched over hot packages, bearskin rugs by roaring fireplaces, Japanese whiskey on the rocks, leather driving gloves, and mounted longhorn horns. It’s the smell they bottled to make Mandom. It’s the smell of Tipalet cigarettes. The smell of Weyenberg Massagic shoes. It’s the smell of sex, Seventies style.
Seventies sex lasted into the early Eighties, but died around 1985 as AIDS and the rise of the moral majority took the fun out of boffing total strangers. But for almost fifteen years, Seventies Sexy was tops: manly men, surrendering women, belly bracelets, and lots and lots of hair. Not only was it in movies, pop songs, and television, but it infiltrated horror novels, too. Which brings us to today’s Freaky Friday and our discussion of two of the gears on the transmission of Seventies Sexy: Swinging and Hemingway.