I’ve noticed, scanning the new releases on the Blind Guy Library catalog, how many romance novels involve a lust for aristocrats. The favorite title seems to be Duke, though there are some Earls and even a Viscount or two. I guess lots of people have fantasies about possessing wealth and power, but what strikes me particularly about these is that they are usually more focused on ensnaring a duke and then giving him pleasure than on being a duchess or experiencing pleasure oneself.
I have a hard time getting my mind around the fact that these utterly shameless and grasping wish-fulfillment stories are so other-directed: How to Dazzle a Duke, At the Duke’s Pleasure, Desperately Seeking a Duke, Devilish Pleasures of a Duke…the scene that keeps coming to mind is from The West Wing, where someone has been promoted to Chamberlain or Lord of the Stool or whatever, and the inner circle guys one by one repeat the creepy mantra “I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.” It’s all rather kinky, and I have tried to bring that out in a little poem:
Did You Know the President Is Super Sexy?
At the Duke’s Pleasure
The music tumesces as the aides intone in turn,
I serve at the pleasure
of the President of the United States.
Their reflected pleasure is an ecstasy of dark appointments,
leather and silk and the plush texture of gravelly voices.
but I like it too.
Devilish Pleasures of a Duke
More tedious than wicked, the President,
but their quivering desire is laid at his feet.
The very pointlessness of his whims,
making you stand while he natters,
making you dress up in silly outfits,
gives them their erotic charge.
They call it Big Boy School.
A Duke’s Temptation: The Bridal Pleasures Series
They serve at his pleasure, yes,
but their pleasures are bridal,
not the tingling of mere skin
but the marks of rank’s ritual,
the driver, the access, the clearance.
The Wicked Duke Takes a Wife
She knows his most desperate secret,
but the tragic passion of the aides
is not for her, not
for her the urgent, panting
“Yeah” of the underling.