Lust rears its noisy head in the British Library
Submitted by Lee Hadden on July 29, 2009 - 8:40am
From The Times July 28, 2009: "<a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/sathnam_sanghera/article6729152.ece">Lust rears its noisy head in the British Library</a>: All libraries are petri dishes of sexual tension but the BL is extreme." by Sathnam Sanghera. All libraries are, of course, petri dishes of simmering lust, but the British Library is extreme: its walls contain more erotic pressure than an oil rig, a North Sea fishing trawler and several series of Mad Men combined. And it turns out that I’m not alone in thinking so. In 2005, Olivia Stewart-Liberty reported in The Spectator that “the whole building sighs with hothouse groans, which swell and fade to muffle other sounds”; in 2006 a gay website exposed the British Library as a cottaging ground and the regular BL readers who I’ve discussed it with concur. Not that we can agree as to why. Explanations put forward include: the intrinsic erotic appeal of women in pencil skirts, stockings and Sarah Palin spectacles telling you off; the intrinsic filthiness of all librarians (after all, Casanova was one); the enforced silence and bookish atmosphere, which conspire to make you want to do something loud and physical in response; the safety (the theory goes that people feel free to flirt without feeling obliged to take things farther); the presence of books, which after all, are intrinsically sexy and have been connected to seduction for hundreds of years; the unexpected corners.