Story of O : If We Pull Back The Curtains, What Do We See? : Let Me Count the Ways – Part Five

by |February 11, 2010
(RATED PG – Parental Guidance Recommended.)

Valentine’s Day in the Suburbs – Private Love

Walking suburban streets alone at night can be unnerving. Not just because they can be dark, not just because they are often deserted, but because we come indecently close to the private world of our neighbours.

It can be quite disturbing.

In the absence of visible and audible signs of life the perverse pulse of private humanity makes itself known.

We might break into a trot and hurry on home, but what if we didn’t? What if, on Valentine’s Day, we walked up the front path and peered in the windows like a Peeping Tom – what would we find?

The banal…? A family lounging in front of the TV? A dinner party? A lover’s tiff in progress? Someone at the computer working late?

Or would we find the extraordinary, the abnormal, the devious?

Who are these people surrounding our days and nights? Who are the people who kindly slow and stop to let us across the pedestrian crossing? Who are the people whose faces we recognise but pass in the supermarket without a smile? Who, even, are those we know well enough to wave to in the daylight hours?

What do we really know about them?

Can they be trusted?

If the current spate of titillating tell-all memoirs and saucy exposés can be believed the answer is definitely, and excitingly, no.

Since the birth of time (I’m told time was born somewhere in the sixties), suburbanites have consoled themselves, while doing the dishes, or washing the dog, or downloading rudie nudie pictures, with the thought that someone, somewhere must be doing something interesting. But what they didn’t know was that that ‘someone’ was their neighbours,  Suzanne and Gregory, and that ‘somewhere’ was right next door!

The message of the modern memoir and exposé is –

There is love in the suburbs and its getting weirder!

This Valentine’s Day it might be time for you and your partner to break the chains of suburban respectability, to strip off the dowdy costumes of Mr and Mrs Normal, bathe in scented water and then climb into bed together and read about lives more interesting and daring than your own.

Private Love : The Short List

And one for… ummm… (Why do we slow down to look at a car crash?)

The Classics:

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.

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