Art galleries are such sober places. Forget about those occasional exhibitions where you’re encouraged to touch or somehow interact with the work on display; usually you’re standing in silent appreciation of the skill of artist who’ve been dead for hundreds of years.
Yet, something about this atmosphere makes them a prime location for people looking to hook up. I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s been chatted up in an art gallery – in my case, it was while admiring the Pre-Raphelites in the Tate Britain. This was a few years back, and while I brushed off the approach as nicely as I could, a) I was already spoken for and b) I really, really wanted to make the most of my first opportunity to get up close and personal with Millais’ Ophelia, a painting that had haunted me since I first saw it in an encyclopaedia I was bought for my 11th birthday.
The unspoken need to be on your best behaviour, coupled with that faint undercurrent of sex, inspired me to write Sunday In The Art Gallery With George, my contribution to The Big Book Of Submission, the latest anthology of short short stories edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Mina loves to play the brat and, bored out of her mind on a gallery visit, she sees a perfect opportunity to act out. Here’s how the story begins:
George has been looking at the woman’s ass for the last ten minutes. I know it’s only rendered as a series of broad charcoal strokes on canvas, but he’s studying it as intently as if it were warm, bare flesh. Yes, he may be an ass man, but this is taking it a little far.
I scuff the toe of my black patent T-bar shoe on the wooden floor, trying to attract his attention. We take turns at choosing how we’ll spend our Sundays, and as soon as he said he was going to take me to the art gallery I knew I was in for an afternoon of sheer, unrelenting tedium.
“Can we go yet?” I ask, my voice loud enough to make the frumpy, middle-aged woman admiring the reclining nude to our right turn in my direction. Her gaze scans my too-short skirt, my swinging ponytail tied with a childish polka-dot ribbon, and she can’t keep her obvious distaste from her expression. Wherever she thinks my place should be, it’s certainly not in the hushed confines of an art gallery.
To find out how Mina misbehaves, and read 68 other stories that cover the whole delicious spectrum of submission, pick up The Big Book of Submission here. And check out the Tumblr blog post where you’ll find all the details of the stops on the virtual blog tour and learn more from Rachel about this fantastic book by clicking on the image below.