This was a tough one for me as well. There are a lot of options. One that hasn’t been mentioned yet was that beforehand, Doc Daneka notices the wife wears a St Christopher medal between her glorious breasts, and he comments on St. Christopher’s temptation, and neither wife nor husband get the joke. When he comes back and punches Doc, maybe he just got the joke?
I really didn’t get this novel back when I was a high school kid in the '80’s. So the randy young husband says he “Puts in her nightly”, but she’s still physically a virgin after Doc’s exam? So what’s he doing? I didn’t get it. No one could possibly be so inept, even in the most backwards, repressed, time and place to not have the very basics. Right? The point is, I was wrong.
So I’m left wondering. In the butt? Really. Again and again? And he never slipped and hit the correct spot? No one ever mentioned it to them, ever? So Doc shows them carefully with the rubber models, presumably they go home and try it, then what? Husband preferred the butt? Wife preferred the butt? First vaginal sex too painful? Suddenly embaressed at their stupidity? Suddenly upset at how closely the wife had to be examined by the Doctor?
It didn’t make sense to a 1980, 13 year old mind. Yes, since college I’d heard about a variety of lovemaking play, and about the warm caring intimate relationships between two men. But back then, I was just confused. In the butt? Really?
There’s something else. I’d head that, it was common, in the 50’s and the 60’s literature to tap-dance around the subject of anal sex. It was always alluded to, in just the sort of way as it is here. All the hip people of the era got it, and it passed completely over my head. For example, in Nabokov’s Lolita, Humbert says that he a Lolita do … something … not associated with procreation, Lolita doesn’t do that, but she knows … what to do to make people feel good. I always thought she was grinding him. But, nope, I’m an idiot. Lolita, like all girls in the 50’s, knew how to have penetrative sex and not have a baby. Shesh. I’m a dummy.
I’m guessing the point is, the US in there, in Europe, trying to correct injustice, and maybe a “bad culture”, when our own is so repressed, we can’t even reproduce.
But there is so much WTF in the novel, Milo’s whore beating him with her high heeled shoe. Why? We never know. The bandaged soldier, getting his urine bottle reattached as his plasma bottle. How is that remotely proper medical procedure? The maid with lime green panties and the photographer who forgets the lens cap on. Mentioned. Then forgotten.
I just didn’t like Catch-22. I was assigned to read over the summer. I tried to, but it was just so disjointed, pilotless and weird. What was the point – war is hell, the military is illogical? Shesh, I saw MASH* on TV, I got that much on my own.