A female person named Sarah Masters has made the Sherlockian wires buzz by adding gay romance scenes into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s text of A Study in Scarlet. Never mind that instead of writing her own novel and doing all the work, she flat-out plagiarized Doyle’s work to create her own. (Does giving him credit make it better? Ask yourself this: would any living author tolerate such literary vandalism?) Never mind that I have no problem with male homosexuality, even if it is Holmes and Watson. (Done well. We have too much of them done badly, all over the place.) But here’s the thing:
I’m a feminist. Been one since I was thirteen. Never a doubt that women shouldn’t have entirely the same rights as men, even when my Sherlockian elders claimed our hobby should remain otherwise at its upper levels. But part in parcel of that belief is the opposite view: Men should have entirely the same rights as women.
So if Holmes and Watson are going to be gay, which has happened before, I would like to submit something that I don’t remember happening before: Irene Adler in a big ol’ pile of naked ladies. Take it away, Dr. Watson!
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. And that fact was never as plain to me as that morning I arrived to visit my friend in the old Baker Street rooms and found Miss Adler swimming in a enormous pile of naked ladies.
Holmes sat in his familiar wicker chair, fingers steepled in concentrated thought. “Come, Watson! No finer opportunity to test your skills of observation shall present itself than this. Make your way around the edge of this writhing mass of feminine pulchritude and make yourself comfortable. We may be here a while!”
As was my habit, I followed his directions silently and swiftly. My senses seemed to sharpen to the level of Holmes’s own in an instant. My dainty blonde fiancée, Miss Mary Morstan, was the first to catch my eye, even though her face and attentions were neither one pointing in my direction. Former clients, Mary Sutherland, working close in her near-sightedness, and Violent Hunter, showing far more freckles than on previous occasions, were intertwined with Mary and limbs which I believe belonged to Mrs. Neville St. Clair, Kitty Winter, and Beryl Stapleton. The Stoner twins, Helen and the pale vampire Julia, combined to form a human throne for Miss Adler, as Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Turner tended to the adventuress’s every request. A group of musicians called Massive Attack were playing a tune which I recognized as “Paradise Circus.”
Need I have Watson go further? And in less family-friendly detail?
Being males, it might seem that Holmes, Watson, and I were objectifying the ladies of the Canon for our own amusement. (Yes, I’ll admit it . . . the musical selection in the last line was mine and not Watsons.) But I assure you, all of the ladies involved in the passage above had very deep feelings for each other, as unwritten in earlier chapters, just as Ms. Masters surely gave to Holmes and Watson in her work. Is there really any difference?
I’ll leave the results of the experiment above to you. And if any of you boys out there want to take the ball and run with it, just to balance out Sarah Masters a little more substantially, go for it!