Day 5: Bored, Bath, and Beyond


Just before Bloom leaves the church he notices that his waistcoat buttons were open, which I expect may have been just as bad as if he were unzipped.  He muses that women never tell you about such things, but men are always pointing it out, even if they kind of like it.

Excuse, miss there’s a (ww!) just a (whh!) fluff.  Or their skirt behind, placket unhooked. Glimpses of the moon. Annoyed if you don’t. Wh didn’t you tell me before?  Still like you better untidy.

Not surprising, given the gritty descriptions of his wife’s boudoir.  Reminds me a bit of Herrick’s poem “Delight In Disorder”.

A SWEET disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness :
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction :
An erring lace which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher :
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly :
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat :
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility :
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.

After sitting through the mass, Bloom wanders over to the local pharmacy to pick up a few things.  Of course back then a pharmacy was more like…

...this place

but hey, it’s the early 1900’s, so you can’t really expect a Drug Mart or even a GNC store.  The aroma of the place is palpable in Joyce’s description:

Mortar and pestle. Aq. Dist. Fol. Laur. Te Virid. Smell almost cure you like the dentist’s doorbell.

The scent of the place is an obvious reference to “The Lotus Eaters” in  The Odyssey.  It’s almost too obvious, actually.  But then again, this is paired with the observations of the church, so the devout may be the Lotus Eaters as well.  In a sense, so is Bloom, with his preoccupation about a bath.  Of course, we don’t get to hear his inner monologue when taking a bath, just his dreams about it.

He forsaw his pale body reclined in it at full, naked, in a womb of warmth, oiled by scented melting soap, softly laved. He saw his trunk and limbs riprippled over and sustained, buoyed lightly upward, lemonyellow: his navel, bud of flesh: and saw the tark tangled curls of his bush floating….

Then again, maybe it’s better we *don’t* see it all.

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About Geek Squirrel

Author, Poet, and fan of all things geek.
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