When Julian Anderson-Miller and Bruce Joshua Miller began asking Americans to divulge their dreams about President Clinton, they knew they were onto something -- but they couldn't have imagined how much. Now their 1994 book "Dreams of Bill," an enigmatic collection of somnolent fantasies about the president, seems eerily prescient. The collection -- from hundreds of ordinary citizens, mostly female -- shows that long before Monica Lewinsky talked of trying out her "presidential kneepads" on Clinton, other American women had been there, done that in their dreams, and were more than happy to go on the record about it.
The genesis of the book was Anderson-Miller's dream that while she was working at her computer, the president appeared and began massaging her neck. The dream felt so real -- not only did her neck feel better after she woke up, but she could recall the sea-breeze scent of his after-shave -- she was convinced others must be dreaming of Bill too. So she and her husband ran classified ads around the country and began playing the part of sympathetic friend, recording breathless kisses and heart-stopping glances. Among the hundreds of recollections included, many are garden-variety dream scenarios in which the president shows up at McDonald's, jogs with the dreamer or consults on foreign policy. But there are also quite a few romantic dreams of Bill -- and, curiously, a handful of dreams from new mothers, who attend cabinet meetings in their nightgowns and accept the president's compliments on recovering their prepregnancy figures.
If the snatches of dreamscape shed any light on current events, it is that sexual encounters with the president may be best in fantasy. None of the women report feeling sexually harassed or taken advantage of -- indeed, the only regrets come from a woman who turned Bill down only to become infuriated with herself for missing the opportunity to have an affair with the president. Those who indulged their fantasies, on the other hand, were often left with a glowing warmth that lasted long after the dream ended. And according to the authors, some said the dreams were so vivid, "They thought it might actually have happened, or might come true."
-- Camille Peri
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I dreamed candidate Bill Clinton was visiting our area, and I was responsible for driving him to his quarters (a large private house) for the night. We were having a warm and friendly conversation as I pulled the car up in a circular gravel drive. We got out of the car and walked to the door of the house, where a nightlight shone.
I said, "I've never kissed a candidate before. Would you mind if I kissed you?" I was aware that this was terribly bold, but I was much taken with him.
He threw back his head and laughed, saying, "Not at all!" And he embraced me in a great, warm bear-hug and kissed me on the mouth -- a long, soul-melting kiss that was delightful. (It was a kiss so satisfying and real that I remembered every detail and feel of it on awakening.) We both laughed and went into the house, where I introduced him to a crowd of people in a wide foyer.
It turned out I was also staying there, so I soon went to my room, undressed, got into bed, and began reading with the lights on. Bill sort of wandered in wearing only his shorts and said there didn't seem to be any bed for him and could he share mine? I said, half alarmed and half sexily, "Well, why not?" He got in and we worked the New York Times crossword puzzle!
Then my son walked in carrying his baseball mitt and a ball. (My son was not his present age, but about ten, his age when he followed the election of JFK with great interest and wrote Kennedy a letter congratulating him on becoming President.) He said he wanted to meet Bill, too. The obliging Bill hopped out of bed and played catch and did high fives with him.
-- J.D.W. (Female), Retired Advertising Executive
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In my dream, I woke up coughing late at night, and I was in a strange bed: a high, large, Queen Anne-style, four-poster bed. It was a very ornate room, and the clock said 2:30 a.m. I turned to my right and there was a woman lying next to me that I had never seen before, and lying next to her was a man reading with an Itty Bitty Book Light. I got out of bed and went over to his side, and was shocked to see it was Bill Clinton!
I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I hope my coughing didn't wake you."
He replied, "It's no problem, I'm always awake reading at this time."
I said, "What are you and I doing here, and who is that woman?"
He said, "Oh, this is part of my Getting to Know America Plan. I am going to sleep with two different people each night of my presidency."
With that I congratulated him on his victory, and then I left what turned out to be the Lincoln Bedroom.
-- J.A. (Female), Nurse/Anesthesia
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I dreamed I was just getting ready to sit down on a sofa because I was tired, and I was kind of falling down, and Bill Clinton put his hand under my behind, and I was struggling to keep from sitting on it, and jumped like crazy in bed -- so much that I woke up my husband, who had a good laugh when I told him what I was dreaming about.
-- Elsie M. Archer, Housewife
Pine Grove, Pennsylvania
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I was in my living room with Bill and Hillary and some other people, discussing the state of the nation. I was standing next to Bill, and he reached out to hold my hand. There seemed to be some sort of instant rapport between us. No one in the room noticed that we were holding hands. Then Bill asked to see my garden. We went out back, and suddenly my tiny backyard turned into rolling hills and valleys. We wandered around and Bill told me how hard he was working and how discouraged he was at the criticism about his work. I told him how much I believed in him and that he should keep trying, that we were all depending on him. He said he needed someone to admit his weakness and fear to and that I was the most sympathetic listener he had met in a long time. He said Hillary was not always sympathetic.
I felt very close to Bill, and the dream was very erotic, but we didn't touch in the dream except to hold hands.
-- Katherine B. Lang, Software Technical Support Engineer
Mountain View, California
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The first recollection I have is of riding with the President-elect, Bill Clinton, in the back of a black stretch limousine. We were sitting on the bench in the far back along with another woman. Bill sat in the middle. The woman was wearing a black sequined evening gown, and Bill was wearing a business suit. I'm not sure what I was wearing. Bill leaned over and whispered discreetly in my ear that he wanted me to be his mistress. As he said this his hand touched mine lightly. The first thing I thought was, "What if someone finds out?" It ran through my head that this would ruin not only his reputation but mine as well (not that I have one).
We (only Bill and I) were suddenly standing outside the limousine, which was parked on a dirt road edged with fields of tall brown grasses. The sky was overcast and it looked to be about dusk. Off to the right, there was a small farmhouse with a low barbed fence encasing another field of taller grasses and small trees and bushes. This house had a few rays of sun beaming down upon it. To the left, although I didn't see it, was the house where we were supposedly staying. I asked Bill about the woman who lived in the farmhouse and what would happen if she decided to tell someone about our affair. He went running into her field, jumping over the fence screaming that he would build her a higher fence and make her land a National Wildlife Refuge. He said that she was very into animal conservation, and if he did this for her, she wouldn't say anything.
-- M.G. (Female), Student/Secretary
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The dream took place in another city, but I don't know which. I was dressed provocatively and I was waiting for the President with a male Clinton staffer. The staffer indicated for me to open the door which led to a private bedroom where President Clinton was awaiting me. I don't remember any introductions or niceties. We immediately embraced and consummated the most erotic encounter.
After the fireworks, he quickly departed, leaving me feeling quite cheap. I also somehow knew in my dream that these rendezvous were arranged almost nightly with a different woman each time. I wondered how they kept it from the press, and especially from the First Lady.
-- Carmen Moody, Housewife and Mother of Three
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My dream of Bill took place in a large elegant hotel ballroom, or a grand room in the White House where a social gathering might take place. There were maybe fifty to one hundred people there, all relaxed, talking, enjoying and laughing. The women were very dressed up, and the men wore suits. Everyone knew each other, and there was no pretense or phoniness among us. There was soft music in the background, soft jazz: piano, sax, bass, soft brushes on the drums. The hall had two levels, there were twenty steps or so up to the second level, and I could see the crystal champagne glasses sparkle, and all the people above enjoying and laughing.
I was standing with Bill on the lower level. We were talking, but not with words. We were communicating through our thoughts only. It was not a "physical thing," but more a spiritual connection, as if we had known each other forever. He leaned in to hold me in his arms, and we hugged for a long, long time. Time seemed to stop, and everyone around us went into slow motion. We stayed like this for a very long time. It was the warmest and most complete and whole feeling I've ever experienced, even in real life. You could compare it to the end of your relationship with your first true love, knowing you had to say goodbye, but knowing you would never feel this deeply again. It was a very spiritual moment.
Finally, I pulled away from him slightly, looked up at him, and said (with thoughts, not words), "Hillary is on the landing," which she was! I was surprised. She looked beautiful as she stood laughing with some friends. She had her back to us, but we could see the profile of her face.
He looked back to me and said with thoughts, "It's okay because she doesn't really care." I looked at her again, and saw that she was totally self-absorbed, but not in a negative way. We resumed our hug for a very long time, and nobody around us really cared. It seemed to last for my whole night's sleep, and it seemed that night as if I was sleeping for a whole week! The feeling was so incredible that even to this day I can recall that lovely time, that peace, that serenity, that joy and feeling of completion and wholeness.
-- Donna Bennett, Dancer/Choreographer
South Windsor, Connecticut