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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

Sexuality and Sexual Identity Quotes

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Quote #10

The trouble was, that kind of junk is sort of fascinating to watch, even if you don't want it to be. For instance, that girl that was getting water squirted all over her face, she was pretty good-looking. I mean that's my big trouble. In my mind, I'm probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw. Sometimes I can think of very crumby stuff I wouldn't mind doing if the opportunity came up. I can even see how it might be quite a lot of fun, in a crumby way, and if you were both sort of drunk and all, to get a girl and squirt water or something all over each other's face. The thing is, though, I don't like the idea. It stinks, if you analyze it. I think if you don't really like a girl, you shouldn't horse around with her at all, and if you do like her, then you're supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it, like squirting water all over it. It's really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes. Girls aren't too much help, either, when you start trying not to get too crumby, when you start trying not to spoil anything really good. I knew this one girl, a couple of years ago, that was even crumbier than I was. Boy, was she crumby! We had a lot of fun, though, for a while, in a crumby way. Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it, though, the same week I made it – the same night, as a matter of fact. I spent the whole night necking with a terrible phony named Anne Louise Sherman. Sex is something I just don't understand. I swear to God I don't. (9.14-15)

Bust out those highlighters, Shmooperinos: Holden says if you like a girl, you shouldn't do "crumby" stuff to her. Crumby = dirty in the sex way, not in the mud-puddle way. To him, what's "sexy" is "dirty" and therefore degrading to the woman. So, if you like a woman as a person, not as a sex object, how could you ever get dirty with her?

Quote #11

"Where ya stopping at? Perhaps we could get together for cocktails tomorrow."

"I can't make it tomorrow," I said. "Tonight's the only time I can make it." What a dope I was. I shouldn't've said that.

"Oh. Well, I'm awfully sorry."

"I'll say hello to Eddie for you."

"Willya do that? I hope you enjoy your stay in New York. It's a grand place."

"I know it is. Thanks. Good night," I said. Then I hung up.

Boy, I really fouled that up. I should've at least made it for cocktails or something. (9.52-58)

Faith Cavendish is a girl who “doesn’t mind doing it,” and it sounds like she wouldn’t mind doing it with Holden—but he backs down, just like always. Every time he actually has a chance to have sex, he … abstains. (Again, remind us why this book is banned?)

Quote #12

The blonde was some dancer. She was one of the best dancers I ever danced with. I'm not kidding, some of these very stupid girls can really knock you out on a dance floor. You take a really smart girl, and half the time she's trying to lead you around the dance floor, or else she's such a lousy dancer, the best thing to do is stay at the table and just get drunk with her.

"You really can dance," I told the blonde one. "You oughta be a pro. I mean it. I danced with a pro once, and you're twice as good as she was. Did you ever hear of Marco and Miranda?"

"What?" she said. She wasn't even listening to me. She was looking all around the place. (10.13-15)

Hm. Holden is hardly sexually or socially inept here. He's bold enough to ask the girl to dance in the first place, and then adept enough to make decent conversation. Again, we’re pretty sure he could get lucky if he really wanted to.

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