"The Ultimate Sex Test" is a work of cowardly cynicism

"Ridiculously broad assertions about both men and women"

By Salon Staff

Published June 14, 2000 7:22PM (EDT)

Everything you need to know about men BY KAREN CROFT (06/12/00)

To combine the themes of two of your articles featured in the Salon of Monday, June 12: If there is indeed a hell, there is no doubt a special burning seat therein for anyone who mentions "marriage" and "market" in the same breath, as Smith and Doe do in their article. If that isn't enough to consign Smith and Doe to the Stygian pit, they also commit the mortal sin of capitalizing on the latest relationship self-help fad: trashing their own gender in the interests of making a quick buck and some notoriety. In that event, Smith and Doe can stew in the "bad place" right next to Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, authors of "The Rules" -- who at least had the guts to publish under their own names. That leads me to a third mortal sin the boys have committed: hiding behind pseudonyms. It's not as if they are publishing a corporate exposi, a Hollywood tell-all, or their memoirs as spies. All they are doing is trying to grab their 20 minutes of fame and the money which that spawns, by battening on the fears of insecure, self-doubting women who read this kind of book. Smith and Doe are nothing more than cynical scam artists, and as such are bound for the innermost circle of hell indeed.

-- Crystal Di'Anno

I have noticed much more sexual restraint in my fellow man than Smith and Doe have, and more sexual shallowness from women. From what I notice about people in my age group (25-35), be they male or female, straight or gay, they all like and value sex and sexual gratification and relief. I often enough think men are hardwired for sex. But I am always meeting women that show me they are no less so.

-- Richard Barnes

I'm not really sure what's more offensive -- Smith and Doe's transparent cowardice in concealing their identities and dubious credentials, or their ridiculously broad assertions about both men and women. Smith and Doe claim to be telling "the truth" to women, asserting that men who object to their viewpoint are just trying to hold back this "truth." That they are merely re-affirming cultural stereotypes that have probably done enough damage to relations between the sexes is presumably not a valid viewpoint. They betray themselves, however, when they suggest that women should bargain with men "for pairs of shoes." Excuse me? No explanation of revealing the "truth" about men can justify such obvious pandering to cultural stereotypes of both men and women. Why don't they just say all men care about is football, beer and sex and be done with it? It would far more accurately represent the intellectual level of their argument. I can assure any women who may have taken this article at face value that while I certainly know men who might behave exactly like Smith and Doe's stereotype, I and the majority of my male friends would not -- and as a recent high school graduate, I should theoretically live in a hotbed of such behavior.

-- Matthew Seraph

Dear authors of "The Ultimate Sex Test": You're not helping.

-- Sincerely,
Louise Sherman
Minneapolis, Minn.

Salon Staff

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