Ulysses: Sex and Pints

Sex and pints probably got your attention. It’d get mine! What is the woman going on about and will it entertain me?! I’ll bite.

While reading this morning, something dawned on me. Some books you read for the story; what happens, when, and why. Some books you read for the meaning of life; a glimpse into human nature, how these people are like me. And some you read like you’re mining gems. The dirt is pretty nice, but not all that important at the moment. You make tailing piles of it, and keep on going until you find the shiny pieces.

open book in my lap

I’m currently mining through Ulysses and loving every page. The following are some of the shiny pieces I’ve found over the last few days. If you want more, check out my Instagram profile. I post a quote there every morning with the sunrise.

This one was so simple and personal. It’s what I’m looking for.

“I’ll take a mélange, Haines said to the waitress.
Two mélanges, Buck Mulligan said. And bring us some scones and butter and some cakes as well.
When she had gone he said, laughing:
We call it D. B. C. because they have damn bad cakes. O, but you missed Dedalus on Hamlet.
I’m sorry, he said. Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.”

Two men getting a bit of something at a café. And the bit about Shakespeare… sigh… They’ve talked a lot about him over the last few pages. I’ve read enough Shakespeare to get much of it. But this exchange took me two reads to catch the drift, and finding it the third time, to share with you, cemented the scene in my mind’s eye. Beautiful.

“When she talks like the clapper of a bellows. They can’t imagine men’s intervals. Gap in their voices too. Fill me. I’m warm, dark, open. Molly in qui est homo: Mercadante. My ear against the wall to hear. Want a woman who can deliver the goods.”

Is he saying what I think he’s saying?! “Molly in qui est homo: Mercadante.” I think that means she is looking for this man Mercadante. Or she’s wondering who he is and hot for him.

“I was blue mouldy for the want of that pint. Declare to God I could hear it hit the pit of my stomach with a click.”

I’m saving that line for future use!

And then speaking of an execution:

“There’s one thing it hasn’t a deterrent effect on, says Alf.
What’s that? Says Joe.
The poor bugger’s tool that’s being hanged, says Alf.
That so? Says Joe.
God’s truth, says Alf. I heard from the head warder was in Kilmainham when they hanged Joe Brady, the invincible. He told me when they cut him down after the drop it was standing up in their faces like a poker.
Ruling passion strong in death, says Joe, as someone said.
That can be explained by science, says Bloom. It’s only a natural phenomenon, don’t you see, because on account of the…”

And then he does explain it, which is crazy and leads my mind in some pretty wild directions about a currently popular sex act which I will just leave right there.

“And says Joe:
Could you make a hole in another pint?
Could a swim duck? says I.
Same again, Terry, says Joe.”

Another line to save for future drinks with friends. Maybe I’ll get a notebook and keep it in my pocket for future use!

I’m not sure if it’s my own mental bend or the author’s intention, but it seems every page is studded with some kind of sexual innuendo or another brilliant way of asking if someone would like a pint.. or two… or three. I’m loving it more than McDonald’s.

If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on James Joyce’s Ulysses, go back to my first post. At the bottom of that post, you’ll find links to all my commentary.

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