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I Love You, Let's Meet » In the Flesh 10-reader orgy, ladies on top

In the Flesh 10-reader orgy, ladies on top

What a way to lose my book-reading virginity, in an overflowing crowd in a chi-chi bar with 10-dollar drinks, vibe more chilly than warm, more men than women, and 9 out of 10 readers sexually explicit. It was charged and sweaty and packed. Rachel had sent an e-mail the day before asking us all to stay under 10 minutes, 8 if possible, and that made it like a slam; readers plowed through the crowd to the mike and launched in. A few of them, most hilariously Sue Shapiro, read really fast so they could jam a whole narrative into 10 minutes. And they really did. All my book’s stories are more like 20 minutes, so I didn’t try.

I just read my critique of eHarmony, figuring I’d shoot for informational and brief and not try to top the slave whose married master made her play a strange prostitute in a 3-way with the master’s wife; or the straight guy peeing into another guy’s mouth for something to write about; and especially not the reminiscences of food critic and droll starfucker Gael Greene, who closed the first half with that distracted charm of beautiful old ladies who don’t want to put on their reading glasses. She waved around a book shedding post-its but never consulted it. Instead she held forth faux-confidentially, with lots of italics and dramatic breath intakes. She tossed us fabulous details like Elvis’s bouncer/handler feeling through her little white glove for a wedding ring before hustling her into the limo and bearing her to the King when she was a 20-year-old reporter and he was young, luscious, entitled Elvis and girls outside the hotel were chanting We Want Elvis (This WAY eclipses her other famous fucks Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, IMHO).Gael Greene

In her gigantic black glittery captain’s hat, she anchored what looked to me like matriarch night at In the Flesh. All the ladies related sex in a wise, grown-up, not-mean, not-victimy, not-seductive, true and complex way, especially Sue and Gael and Helen Boyd. There was a lot of recognizing, surprised laughter from women in the audience, even if the subject was as unfamiliar as having a transgendered husband. (Below is Sue Shapiro, me, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Helen Boyd, Rachel Sarah. Thanks to Brian Van for the photos and here are others.)
Five Authors As my neighbor Francesco said, “All the women were cool. The guys were little shits; who fuckin cares.” I think he overstates. Grant Stoddard , who I’m reading with again Tuesday, and Ron Geraci were very entertaining. But they and creepy curtain-closer Marty Beckerman were kind of like the court jesters last night, offering up tales of their sexual humiliations with a slightly desperate hilarity. They probably also tap-danced harder because they’re younger, but the young women seemed way more self-possessed than the boys. (To dull the edge of that cattiness, I will admit I’m completely intimidated by reading with Grant Stoddard, who is a very funny writer and quite charismatic; I’ve asked to go first.)

But I needn’t allow Beckerman anything: He was the fart that stank up the room. I blame him for everyone rushing off into the cold after the reading ended. At one point in his interminable story, he and his girlfriend try anal sex, and she starts crying. After he recounts this, he asides, “…and I don’t like to make women cry. Unless they’re fucking fatties.” Into the silence, he added, “I wondered how that joke would go over here.” His whole story was so shallow and cartoonish and not-vulnerable even though it was about him taking it up the ass for the first time. He described that experience with a transcript, for god’s sake.(A) he taped it? and (B) dude, you’re a writer, you should be able to tell us more about your experience than a tape recording. I wasn’t surprised that he wrote for the New York Press, where boorishness gets to pretend it’s risk.

But up to the very last reader, it was a good bill and a fun night, lots of friends came, it was cool to see my books in a stack for the first time (yay Mobile Libris who lets us drink at readings by hauling books to bars).

And I even picked up a cute guy! So in a few short hours I had my first reading, and my first time with a guy reading my book in my bed. I was trying to/pretending to sleep in the a.m. but whenever he laughed, I had to go “what part?”

5 Comments so far

  1. Eli on January 19th, 2007

    Oh my! That sounds like the kinkiest book reading ever. Are there pictures?

  2. virginia on January 19th, 2007

    pix on the way. not racy, though.

  3. Big Head DC » Tuesdays with Marty, 2.0: Happy Birthday Edition on January 23rd, 2007

    […] No threats, but this woman hated me. […]

  4. Days of BrokenArrows on January 23rd, 2007

    Anyone who has read “Generation Slut” knows Marty Beckerman has more talent than any of the yentas in that room. This is typical feminist shaming; in this world, men aren’t allowed to talk about sex. Oooo! They’re bad. Only women are enlightened and allowed ot have free speech.

    This writing is the manifestation of Freud’s concept of “penis envy.” I’m not sure how third-wave feminists hijacked sex, but they’ve definitely ruined it with their cliche stories and ugly burlesque troupes.

  5. virginia on January 24th, 2007

    Well, this has sure been instructive. Write something scathing on your blog, and the attacked just may lash back! I mean duh, I knew this, I even specify on my About Me page that I didn’t want my blog to be mean, because the amount of meanness on the Web dismays me.

    But then I lit into Marty. And he wrote some funny nonsequiters about me on his site and then sent an e-mail subject line olive branch and I apologized back and a follower of his lit into me on his website. I think it’s the same guy as BrokenArrows above, but not sure. Marty has some impassioned fans.
    So why did I attack Marty? I wouldn’t want that done to me, and I’m usually better at toeing that line. Here’s what I think was going on: What I liked about the women readers was all the female subjectivity about sex, a little break from the world that after 35, 40 years of feminism is fuller than ever of images of women as fuckdolls and girls and women worrying more than ever that Hot or Not is what defines them. So it’s still important and wonderful to hear women get up and say, “I’m going to tell how sex is for me, and I’m not doing it for your titillation guys, I’m just telling you because that’s what a writer does and I want my version of reality heard.” (I’m pretty sick of neo-burlesque myself, BA.)

    And Marty ruined what was for me a nice vibe with his fat-chick jokes and his gay jokes; suddenly we were all dragged back to junior high. Tensed up against the mean jocks, keeping quiet and trying to make ourselves invisible so we didn’t get singled out to be called faggot, fatty, or slut.

    And that was what pissed me off, and I wish I’d said that, not tried to engage Marty in that pretending-it’s-not-emotional critic way and call him a bad writer. I chickened out, I let the mean jocks win by not saying what I meant, that his performance felt like an assault. And I wanted to speak up for the assaulted and say, Hey, we don’t threaten you when we tell our version. Threaten in the sense of the vicious jokes and also the penis-as-weapon heavymotif of Marty’s story (oops I did it again).
    Which is of course of enormously complicated, because BA is right that everyone’s allowed to write about his own experience, the more honest the better. And Marty and presumably BA are much younger than me and have only known a post-third-wave-feminist world where maybe they feel stifled and shamed for their sexual expression. That’s intriguing and I would like to know more about what that feels like in a way that goes beyond name-calling and attacks.