Chaucer was a perv.
I’m interning at a radio station as a producer for a show, which is a great opportunity and a lot of fun, but the two hosts I’m working will not stop talking about the copious amounts of sex they have with their respective significant others. Let me tell you something: I do not want to come to work at six in the morning every day only to hear graphic descriptions of how you got it on all weekend with your boyfriend in between rounds of weed. For one thing, I’m not even fully awake yet, and I do not want to wake up to your f-bomb punctuated diatribes about how your fiance needs to perform better in a position of your choice. For another thing, why can’t you and your fiance go to a museum or read novels or go hiking for a change instead of doing the nasty every five minutes? Doesn’t that get boring? One would think so. One would think that after a while, you would want to do something more interesting, but apparently, I am the only person at my university my age who would rather watch Downton Abbey than get it on with fraternity dudes.
In short, I am so sick of hearing about sex, sex, sex. It gets old. It gets very old very fast. In their defense, they’re both incredibly nice people and dedicated to their work, but I’m beginning to suspect that they are incredibly nice people who desperately need to go to a twelve step program for sex addiction. I just don’t want to hear it anymore. Maybe I’m just a prude and stuck in my lovely 19th century cocoon, but I just do not care about their weekends spent playing Lord Byron.
So I was really looking forward to a nice G-rated weekend filled with nice G-rated essay writing sessions and nice G-rated Chaucerian literature.
That was a grand oversight on my part.
I’ve always known that Chaucer could get a bit randy. I read a bit of the Canterbury tales in high school, and I remember thinking, “Whoa, slow down there, ye olde boy.” But it was just an excerpt, translated into modern English, and I now know that it left out most of the raunchy stuff. Because I’m taking a medieval literature class and we have to read Chaucer in the original Middle English and guess what?
Chaucer was a perv.
I have spent the last hour reading about how the Wife of Bath basically banged everyone from Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight, and she is pretty darn proud of herself for it, too.
And much like the hosts at the radio show, she doesn’t censor anything.
I knew I was likely to get a bit of this sort of thing, because, hey, it’s the Canterbury Tales: it’s kind of famous for not exactly being family fun entertainment.
But I had no idea how naughty things got in the 14th century.
And how inordinately fond they were of coming up with clever euphemisms for naughty bits.
And I’m seriously about to tear out my hair over here, because I cannot get away from graphic sex descriptions. I get it all week and then I come home and delude myself into thinking that it’s 1380 and there is no way that they’re going to talk about sex in too much detail in 1380 because if they did, the Pope would barge into their house and flay them into oblivion.
And then along comes the Wife of Bath with her whip and her loud-mouthed rants about how she ain’t gonna lay with no piece o’ dried out bacon, thank you very much.
So now I’m pretty sure that I work with the Wife of Bath and thank you, Chaucer, for denying me innocent escapist time and instead plunging me into your happy little world of whips and dried out bacon bits and “quoniams” and I really, really just want to sit in a corner and watch Leave it to Beaver, where everyone reproduced like sponges without touching each other.
BAD medieval pilgrims. BAD.