Sophie and Sian stumble home and Sally immediately knows they’ve been drinking. “Have you two been drinking?” she demands, kind of affectionately actually. “You know, sometimes I don’t believe you Sophie Webster.”
Sophie explains that “Jesus was well into wine. That’s what he turned water into it.”
And then they nick all the sandwiches and scamper up to Sophie’s bedroom.
Sian: I like it when you’re like this.
Sophie: What, splattered?
Sian: No, just like letting your hair down. Having fun. And you look great when you smile.
Sophie: Can you see two smiles? What, are you not seeing double?
Sian: No. And I wouldn’t mind if I could see two of you. The more of you, the better.
Sophie: You know what, though? Seriously? I don’t know what I would have done these past few months without you.
Sian: Well, you have me now.
Sian: Yeah, forever.
Sophie leans in to kiss Sian sweetly, like she’s kissed her a million times before. And then that thing happens, that almost imperceptible shift where one person nudges things just beyond the other million kisses, and who ever even remembers what it was after the initial push? An accidental brush of one person’s fingertips in a new place, or the uncommon pressure of slightly tipsy lips. Whatever the catalyst, Sophie and Sian are on their knees, tearing at each other’s clothes. Sian falls back on the bed and Sophie pushes her hair out of her eyes. They’re dead sober. They’re both dead sober. And Sophie says, “Stay with me tonight? I want you. Please stay with me.”
Sian searches Sophie’s face. They both took a vow of celibacy. They said they were going to wait. Sian smiles (just a little), breathes (just a little). She nods.
Literature professors will tell you everything is about sex, that there’s some kind of Freud/Weston/Frazer/Jung thing happening in all the stories in all the world, even if the symbolism is only written subconsciously. Swords and guns and keys for blokes. Grails and chalices and bowls for gals. Every scene is about sex. Except sex scenes. Actual sex scenes — porn withstanding, of course — are about a billion other things. Psychological neediness; the desire for power; liberation; political nullification; artistic revolution; commitment; rebellion; enlightenment; supplication; domination; the quest for autonomy. (Sex can be about the simple awesomeness sex; don’t get me wrong. But in story, it tends to take on more concentrated significance.)
I mostly agree with that narrative paradigm, except for lesbian sex on TV, because writers usually have no idea what the f–k they’re doing. I don’t mean that technically, in a Jenny Schecter “Yes, with your hand — unless you have some other apparati that I don’t know about” kind of way. I mean writers either have to keep it inexplicably chaste so they don’t upset networks/viewers/The Parents Television Counicl. Or they go the ratings whore route and use it to titillate and exasperate.
I’m amazed at how right Corrie got it. I mean, frankly, I’m amazed they broached it at all. They had an out with the vow of celibacy thing, and Sophie and Sian’s age. They had an out because it’s a 50-year-old soap your grandmother has been watching her whole life. But they didn’t take it.
This scene works on a variety of levels. It works on a physical level because Sian’s been teasing this thing out for months: the festival, the one-man tent, the quiet night in. It works on an emotional level because Sian is Sophie’s refuge, her respite — she just said so — and she knows the peace and the pleasure can go even deeper. It works on a commitment level because the thing Sophie reached for in the wake of the destruction of her parents’ marriage was “Forever?” And, best of all, as far as I’m concerned: it works on a subversive religious level. ‘Cause watch this: Remember that set-up shot I showed you earlier? Here it is again, with an open Bible.
People love to take the Bible out of context (narratively and historically) and pretend that it says things about sex that it does not say about sex. (That gays are gonna split hell wide open, for example.) But the Bible is not silent about sex. Oh ho, no! The Old Testament book “Song of Songs” (Or “Song of Solomon,” depending on which translation you’re holding) is about the raciest thing you’re even going to read. And it was written in 950 B.C.! Some religious scholars like to pretend that “Song of Songs” is an allegory, that it’s sweet talk from God to Christians about how he wants to pinch their wittle cheeks ’cause they’re just sooooo cute.
“Song of Songs” is about falling in love and about sex, sex, sex. Old school Jewish scholars knew it; they wouldn’t even let teenage boys read it. The fourth chapter is where things get really erotic, with the lover praising the beloved’s naked body with every metaphor imaginable. In chapter seven, the lover starts at the beloved’s feet and works right up to the top of her head, and this is the best part:
Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts are like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit!”
Dude. Do not tell me that is how God feels about the Church. Do not tell me God wants to climb my palm tree and take hold of my fruit. Because: Gross. No. That little stanza is not about God. It’s about what awesome people think about boobs.
After Friday’s episode, I read that loads of conservative Corrie viewers were torn out of the frame because girls kissing in the same room as an open Bible?! How dare they?! And I love that. I love that. Let’s f–king talk about that. Let’s engage in that conversation. Let’s stop with the hoodwinking about how the Bible condemns gay people. It doesn’t. And let’s stop with the masquerade about how the Bible doesn’t talk about sex. It does. I swear, you guys, this is like TV from the future. This convergence of religious and social themes and beautiful girls kissing beautifully. This is a dialogue I am excited about; this is a story I want to be a part of.
So Sophie and Sian fall on top of each other on top of Sophie’s bed. And the Bible is open. And let me tell you what it says.
I have come into my garden,
my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
My lover has gone down to the garden,
to the bed of spices,
to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.
I am my lover’s and my lover is mine.