Yours truly
November 2, 2010 11:39 AM   Subscribe

"The modern hand-written love letter is dead," says Doyle. "That is the consensus. People communicate differently now – though not necessarily without meaning. They still are learning to get to know each other through the written word." Love written digitally may not have the romantic image of quill and ink (though ink-stained fingers may also have dampened some ardour in the old days), but the new medium doesn't necessarily harden the heart. Think only of the popularity of dating websites, which prove that communicating feelings of hope and tenderness in text continues to thrive in certain quarters. ~ The dying art of the billet doux
posted by The Lady is a designer (23 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

Dublin 8 December 1909

My sweet little whorish Nora I did as you told me, you dirty little girl, and pulled myself off twice when I read your letter. I am delighted to see that you do like being fucked arseways. Yes, now I can remember that night when I fucked you for so long backwards. It was the dirtiest fucking I ever gave you, darling. My prick was stuck in you for hours, fucking in and out under your upturned rump. I felt your fat sweaty buttocks under my belly and saw your flushed face and mad eyes. At every fuck I gave you your shameless tongue came bursting out through your lips and if a gave you a bigger stronger fuck than usual, fat dirty farts came spluttering out of your backside. You had an arse full of farts that night, darling, and I fucked them out of you, big fat fellows, long windy ones, quick little merry cracks and a lot of tiny little naughty farties ending in a long gush from your hole. It is wonderful to fuck a farting woman when every fuck drives one out of her. I think I would know Nora's fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women. It is a rather girlish noise not like the wet windy fart which I imagine fat wives have. It is sudden and dry and dirty like what a bold girl would let off in fun in a school dormitory at night. I hope Nora will let off no end of her farts in my face so that I may know their smell also.

You say when I go back you will suck me off and you want me to lick your cunt, you little depraved blackguard. I hope you will surprise me some time when I am asleep dressed, steal over to me with a whore's glow in your slumberous eyes, gently undo button after button in the fly of my trousers and gently take out your lover's fat mickey, lap it up in your moist mouth and suck away at it till it gets fatter and stiffer and comes off in your mouth. Sometimes too I shall surprise you asleep, lift up your skirts and open your drawers gently, then lie down gently by you and begin to lick lazily round your bush. You will begin to stir uneasily then I will lick the lips of my darling's cunt. You will begin to groan and grunt and sigh and fart with lust in your sleep. Then I will lick up faster and faster like a ravenous dog until your cunt is a mass of slime and your body wriggling wildly.

Goodnight, my little farting Nora, my dirty little fuckbird! There is one lovely word, darling, you have underlined to make me pull myself off better. Write me more about that and yourself, sweetly, dirtier, dirtier.

-- James Joyce
posted by theodolite at 11:44 AM on November 2, 2010 [12 favorites]

James Joyce is to Henry VIII as Governor Sanford is to Congressman Foley.
posted by shinybaum at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2010

...wait, the other way round.
posted by shinybaum at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2010

That was a love letter? Man, I've been doing it wrong.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:06 PM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

I blushed.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:07 PM on November 2, 2010

How I love this post...let me link the ways.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:09 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Great googily-moogily, James Joyce is indeed a filthy man, in terms of his amorous writings. That Nora must have been some lass. Mozart was pretty filthy, too (Google Books search result, found following this list of 6 famous geniuses you didn't know were perverts, found from theodolite's sweet words).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:21 PM on November 2, 2010

Smells like a flatulophile.
posted by black rainbows at 12:23 PM on November 2, 2010

-- James Joyce
posted by mykescipark at 1:14 PM on November 2, 2010

Somehow I imagined we'd end up debating the pros and cons of electronic text versus hand written letters, not furiously blushing like a naughty milkmaid caught in flagrante delicto over Joyce's earthiness...
posted by The Lady is a designer at 1:17 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think the problem with this post is the weak first link. It goes to a post that just mentions a few writers, and then quotes a cliched sentence or two from a love letter from each.

Advice to mefites: always put the best link first. Here, I think it's the last few links that are more interesting.
posted by washburn at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2010

...Dress up and look and suggest and let you see and see
more and defy you if you’re a man to see that
*poot* and, like a
sneeze coming, legs, look, look and if you have any guts
in you. Tip. Have to let fly.
Wonder how is she feeling in that region. Shame all
put on before third person. More put out about a hole in
her stocking. Molly, her underjaw stuck out, head back,
about the farmer in the ridingboots and spurs at the horse
*Pwart* And when the painters were in Lombard street
west. Fine voice that fellow had. How Giuglini began.
Smell that I did.
*pwaaaap* Like flowers. It was too. *pfffffft* Violets. Came
from the turpentine probably in the paint. Make their own
use of everything. Same time doing it scraped her slipper
on the floor
*pfwrarptt* so they wouldn’t hear. But lots of them can’t
kick the beam, I think. Keep that thing up for hours. Kind
of a general all round over me and half down my back.
*poot* Hm. *pptt* Hm. *prrrrrroot!* Yes. That’s her perfume. Why she
waved her hand. I leave you this to think of me...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2010

What was the word!?
posted by fritley at 1:49 PM on November 2, 2010

I was thinking on this only the other day and came to conclude that one thing about physical, hand-written love letters that will never find an exact equivalent is the ability to include physical objects. Things that become transformed into a kind of totemic object by their inclusion, the miraculous intrusion of the physical at a distance acting as a reminder of the missing, physical presence of the lover, in a similar to the way the peculiarities of their handwriting might do, or the inclusion of sketches and notes in the margin.

I was reminded of a time I was sitting (and living!) in a tree overlooking a mountainside, writing a love letter and describing the view framed by leaves. And the way i was able to reach out and pick on to slip into the envelope before I sealed it (a relationship, as it goes, framed by a course of letters, that ran parallel to, but quite independent of the times we spent together). I suppose I could have included a digital snapshot of the view in an email but it seems somehow banally literal, lacking the necessary incitement to imagination that forms such a vital part of the love letter. I might just be guilty of romanticization, and it is not as if electronic communications don't provide other opportunities: I have written before of smuggling love notes past corporate firewalls by including then in X-headers of emails that otherwise appeared to be bland business missives.
posted by tallus at 2:40 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Knowing that the modern hand-written love letter is dead just makes my modern hand-written love letters even more special.
posted by box at 2:46 PM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

A few days ago I saw my wife had purchased "Cooking for Dummies" book. I took a piece of paper and taped "beautiful women who do an amazing job" over the "dummies" part.

It's no civil war letter or anything...but she liked it none the less.
posted by toekneebullard at 2:52 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Aw, I'm going to write an old fashioned love letter to my sweetie tonight.

It will not discuss farts.
posted by wires at 2:57 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

A few days ago I saw my wife had purchased "Cooking for Dummies" book. I took a piece of paper and taped "beautiful women who do an amazing job" over the "dummies" part.

The little things like this stick with me, melt me, make me weak in the knees.

A few years ago, when my husband was my brand-new flame, he used to coo "beautiful girl" into my ear*, which gave me goosebumps and a fluttery sensation in my belly**. (Butterflies in my stomach? Hell, no --- they feel like eels slithering and thumping around in there. Angry eels.)

For one of our early dates, we planned to see a matinee of Serenity... but neither of us knew how lost I'd be, since I had never seen Firefly, the show from which it sprang.

A few days later, he picked me up for the movie and handed me a printed, thoughtfully crafted article he'd written briefly detailing the characters, their established relationships, and their various traits. Its headline: The Beautiful Girl's Guide to Serenity.

The love letter is dead? I think not.

*He still does.
**It still does.
posted by Elsa at 3:17 PM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

For our one-year anniversary, I gave my girlfriend a mixtape, on cassette, along with a walkman to play it. I painted the walkman white, and wrote an appropriate Ogden Nash poem on it. She seemed to like it.

The walkman immediately broke, so she had to listen to the mix on mp3. Some new things just work better than old ones. Depending what you're trying to achieve, anyway.
posted by jhc at 6:29 PM on November 2, 2010

Francis: It ain't D-E-R-E, it's D-E-A-R. And "Sarah" ain't got no two R's, King. Damn you're dumb.

King [laughing]: It don't make no difference, she know what I mean. She don't read too good nohow.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:18 AM on November 3, 2010

Metafilter: a mass of slime and your body wriggling wildly
posted by ersatz at 6:34 AM on November 3, 2010

I need to dig up all my fancy stationery and fountain pens I think
posted by The Lady is a designer at 6:45 AM on November 3, 2010

The Phone Call Is Dead

posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:19 AM on November 14, 2010

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