For the next two months, I am on the road promoting my new book, "Full Exposure," which is about creating your own sexual philosophy and erotic perspective. When I've gone on long book tours in the past, I've taken a sabbatical from writing my Salon column because I thought it was too insane to try to write well and be a book-selling hussy at the same time. But this time around, realizing that I left my sanity back in O'Hare airport about five years ago on another book tour, I decided I had nothing to lose. And who knows, maybe writing while you're going crazy is the best way to stay in a good humor.
So, If you've got any questions for me while I'm driving up the West Coast with a trunkful of erotic books and my Hitachi Magic Wand, please drop me an e-mail. But before you do, don't forget to check out the following list of FAQs.
How often do you get laid on your book tour?
The answer to this -- and I'll bet that any author, from cookbook maven to disgraced politician, will tell you the same -- is not nearly enough. The amenities lavished on rock stars elude us. It isn't easy to slip away from signing autographs in a cheery, brightly lit bookstore to some secluded spot for a quickie with a book groupie. We don't get dressing rooms, and we sure don't get drinking and drugging rooms. And I haven't got a roadie to screen the hotties from the stalkers and the droolers.
These practical inconveniences aside, I have a hard time changing hats from empathetic sex therapist to babe on the prowl. I listen earnestly to each person's family history and philosophical dilemma, and I don't have the nerve to change the subject by saying something like, "Gee, I'm just a lonely girl who wouldn't mind having an angel like you wrapped around my entire body."
Just last night, a beautiful young man came up to my podium. He was so bedeviled by the question he wanted to ask me that he could barely stutter it out. He looked like a young Val Kilmer, or maybe Jim Morrison crossed with a butch dyke, and he was clearly seeking relief from some kind of anguish. Yet all I could do was nod at him as I fantasized about taking his hand and putting it right over my breast, against my heart. If we were fucking, could I make his unhappy world go away for a minute? Could I get down off my pedestal? Would he get close to me on the ground?
But I didn't say or do any of that. I talked to him about some books he might like reading, empathized with his dilemma and finally dragged my tired ass out the door. There was no geisha waiting for me at my accommodations, just my Chinese sleeping pills, Throat-Coat tea and Advil for my sore everything.
But surely you have had some extraordinary erotic adventures on the road, the kind that other authors don't have?
OK, I have. One time in Ann Arbor, Mich., I got picked up for a campus lecture by two student "chaperones" who also happened to be putting themselves through school by running a dungeon in an extra room in their flat.
One looked like Cindy Crawford (an honor student in astrophysics) and the other resembled Madonna back in the "Like a Virgin" days. She had a tattoo of Medusa on her back. The two of them chimed, "We'd love it if you fisted us!" They were so wholesome about the whole thing that I couldn't resist. I felt I really ought to give it a try; in fact, I felt that if I succeeded, it would probably be the most important thing that ever happened at the Ann Arbor Holiday Inn in its entire history. In the end, I fear, it was more of an athletic event than an orgasmic one, but nevertheless it was charming. We all wore party dresses and smeared our lipstick on each other and then we ordered room service afterwards. I wanted a chocolate milk shake (my favorite after intimate encounters in hotel rooms), and my new friends followed suit.
Of all the hotels you've visited, which one serves the best room-service chocolate milk shakes in the middle of the night?
That's easy: The Palmer House Hilton, in Chicago. They serve your shake in a chilled pewter goblet, with a linen napkin and a glass on the side filled with the extra from the blender. Add one lover and pour.