Sunday, August 19, 2012

"... Bad Girls Go EVERYWHERE!"

"To know her was to truly love everything about her." says a former assistant of Helen Gurley-Brown. I didn't know her.  I didn't even really know of her, truth be told.  But I do know about the legacy that she leaves behind, and sadly, that doesn't even begin to skim the surface of the life of a woman who could have been my heroine.  Well, at least one of them anyway.

As I began the research for my book, "Why Should Men Have All The Fun?," one of the first reads I ventured across happened to be "Sex and the Single Girl." Flipping through its description and table of contents, I would swiftly dismissed it thinking... surely, a book written in 1962, (and years before I was born) would hold very little significance for today's modern single woman.  Instead, I chose to read books like "The Art of Seduction" by Robert Greene and Neil Strauss' "The Game." It wasn't hard to quantify that further getting inside the heads of men was to have been the chosen road. As it would turn out, neither of which served any purpose, since the my writing quickly took on a life of it's own, in the form of a memoir. Who knew?

But as I think back to those chapters told, I can recall how a few of the sexy, salacious articles in the very same Cosmopolitan Magazine, electrically charged some of the very actions I confessed on those pages.  From the barely there ads of racy under garments, to the erotic samples of fragrances that perfumed my mailbox each month, to say that it  somehow influenced the formidable woman I've become, would be a definite understatement.  Yes, the goal-oriented articles about "How to Land that Perfect Job," would prove to be an interesting read, but it was really the scandalous essays on "How to Please Your Man in Bed" that caught the eye of every college girl around.  And who could blame us?That's the stuff that Mama never told us about.  The sharing of that subscription with my five college roommates became a monthly ritual that would shape us all to some degree...and some of us more than others.  I can laugh now about how vividly I recall becoming inflamed about how my magazine would magically disappearing, never to be found again, which coincidentally led to putting a lock on my bedroom door, just to be able to get through an entire issue. Who knew?

And as I now glance through tidbits about the tantalizing life of Ms. Gurley Brown, I am now overcome by a slight sadness, ashamed to now realize the potential of her reach. Why did I not know of her before? A champion of women's sexual freedoms during the days when Jeannie would magically appear out of her bottle via her pretty puff of pink smoke, (barely showing her cleavage, much less her belly button) at the beck and call of her Master, Astronaut Tony Nelson. These were the days of Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver, whose lives centered around the shenanigans of their children, never kissing their husbands in the lips. Re-runs of I Love Lucy were still very much in the mix, depicting how Lucy and Ricky got pregnant with Little Ricky, while sleeping in separate twin-sized beds.  Yet, there is this trendsetter crying out to all of the single women across all lands to live large, be fearless, stay sexy and remain single. She was not just an infamous promoter of women's sexual liberation, she was a working-class woman's role model who declared herself, her magazine and her message feminist, all the while taking tons of flack from her critics.  She was in fact a teacher who didn't just preach it... she lived every word she wrote.  And while her actions may not warrant a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she does as the very least deserve a place in the pantheon of 20th-century feminist leaders. Who knew?

Now that I know a bit more about this intrepid heroine who I never existed to me until her death,  I  raise my glass of wine to her as I celebrate her words...

"Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere!"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fifty Shades of Fascinating Philosophies...

I can't speak for you, but there was a time in recent months where everything I saw and read had at least a reference to the trilogy... "Fifty Shades of Grey." Wanting to understand what all the hoop-la was about, I like everyone else, jumped on the bandwagon  and purchased a copy of the first book in the series.  Despite the publicity,  as a newly published author, I was genuinely intrigued to understand what the excitement was all about.  Exactly what was it about this book, by a fellow first time author, made everyone who read it... want more?  I could in fact understand, if this work centered around a famous person or persons that we could relate to on some tangible level.  But as a society, have we become so starved and curious about the sexual escapades of fictional characters?  Curious minds wanted to know... what magic was concocted in this particular series that would make THREE books, best sellers?  Does "Mommy Porn" really sell 20 million copies in a matter of a span of twelve months?  Inquiring minds really wanna know...

As research would determine, this primary audience who just happened to be married women, fantasized the core message about the redeeming power of love. These women verbalized buying "Steele-Grey" ties for their husbands while shopping for similar sex toys and blogging about the novel's unrivalled power to reignite the heat and intensity behind closed doors.

Interestingly enough, it would appear that readers are somewhat undecided about the writing talent of Ms. E.L. James.  While 55% of the James fans view her as is a genius who writes with tantalizing detail about forbidden sexual desires to submit, succumb, possess and ultimately punish our virgin princess who has just graduated from college, another 45%  of audience viewed in unfavorable, by giving it only one star on  What's more, the audience appears to relate to the complicated relationship between the insecure virgin and her bossy prince charming, whose relationship evolves very quickly over the course of this series. But at its core, James manages to captivate her readers with the most popular category in book publishing... "Love and Romance." Despite its mixed reputation, the series is an old-fashioned love story involving mild bondage, uncommon sex toys, and good old "vanilla sex" mixed with "kinky fuckery."  It is truly the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back plot which has fueled audiences for centuries.  And while I can honestly say that I have never really been a fan of "Chick Flicks" for the fictional sensationalism that continues to fuel this particular fantasy craze, I shamefully admit to not being able to put this book down, earnestly wanting to know with every page turn, what will happen next.

So exactly what did I learn from my experience through the best selling genre of
love and romance, also known as "Mommy Porn...???"

Does SEX Sell... Usually YES, but more importantly, most appear to be ultimately interested in the love aspect of this series. True enough, as the story unfolds, our virgin princess not only develops quite an appetite for her partner, she shows a stamina for what appears to be sex on almost a daily basis. While married women may NOT have that insatiable appetite for raw unadulterated sex, getting caught up in the sensationalism of fictional romanticism could prove to be quite the challenge.  After all, what woman wouldn't desire the best aspects of Mr. Grey to be hidden somewhere within their own true  partner? Page after page is a dissertation about how lost in love these two are for one another or descriptions about being in the throws of unbridled passion, although our hero can't stand to be touched. Ironic... maybe not.

Don't Show All Your Cards- Fiction or not, our virgin princess continually displays her insecurities throughout the trilogy by professing... "How can a beautiful man like this be interested in a young, inexperienced girl like me?"  Understanding that no one is perfect, its only human nature that we all might come to the table with our own form of insecurities.  Believing that we are all a work in progress, shouldn't we also think that it is in our best interest to continuously work on our issues, until they are no longer at the fore-front?  Even our prince recognized his faults and understood their origin as well as a need to resolve them.  Throughout the series, he continues to work on them, never giving up, and even encouraging the love of his life to do the same. While his solution was to seek the guidance of a shrink (and our prince confesses that he's seen many shrinks with many different methods of attack,) he established the need to continue on until he discovered who and what therapy worked best for him. Further acknowledging that he is still a work in progress, and still willing to do the work to get the job done. We are all deserving and worthy... if we believe we are.

What Works For Some May Not Work For Others-    Call it "degrading" or "mommy porn" or any of the other things that reviewers and critics alike have labeled it.  And while it may not be your thing... what it is very successful at is allowing its readers to escape the humdrum of every day life while addressing the needs of a particular woman, albeit it inexperienced, to have her every desire met by a man who truly adores her.  Tell me what woman in their right mind, would not want a piece of that action?  Fiction or not... sign me up!  And while the strong single women of today may not be willing to recognize "the N Word," the longing to be desired has to be forefront in the minds of those women simply just want to be loved.  Who among us can blame them?

Do Not Over Think Things-    As if you didn’t already recognize from our princess' constant inner dialogue, she spends way too much time in her head. Instead, let loose every now and then and go with your instincts.  If so led,  feel free to look for love in all the unexpected places. Yes, I understand that this is fiction true enough, but who knows what could be in store for you? How many times have you heard about a real-life romance that happened right under the receiver's nose?  You could call it fate or destiny, but isn't it plausible that it was a matter of taking a chance on something totally unexpected on the road the less traveled?  But even more simplistic than the task of finding love, is how this particular phenomenon of the tangible paper kind caused millions of women, including myself, to take a selfish time out to address a more important need... "ME TIME!"

So before you make the same error that I did... dismissing the hoop-la of the Fifty Shades Trilogy... Take heed to the words of our fictional Adonis, Christian Grey:

“My belief is to achieve success in any scheme.  One has to make oneself master of that scheme, know it inside and out, know every detail.”