Just when it seems like the Silly Little Show-Biz Book Club has finally hit rock-bottom, that it has reached a new low of debauchery and decadence I find a book that makes previous nadirs of sordid sensationalism look positively pristine. That's the case with today's tacky trifle, a tawdry, titillating tome entitled
You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again that makes previous purveyors of prurient porn like Supahead and Angela Bowie look like C. S Lewis by comparison.
This perverted exercise in literary prostitution recounts the horizontal misadventures of three hard-living show-biz whores (though, honestly, doesn't show-biz make whores of everyone?) and one upstanding young woman who merely engaged in whorish behavior. You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again begins on a deliciously schizophrenic note, with a dour introduction from Dr. Lois Lee, the founder of Children of the Night, a "non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to rescuing children ages 11-17 to from prostitution" and an Editor's introduction from Joanne Parent.
Both prefaces posit the book as a feminist attempt to break what Lee refers to as "the conspiracy of silence" surrounding the skin trade and shift the shame of prostitution from women of the night to johns. In the terminology of hip hop, these feminists are straight up hollering, "Hos Up, Johns Down". To make the feminist underpinnings of the book even more overt the back features a gushing blurb from Gloria Steinem: "The powerless always know the powerful better than vice-versa–which why they're pressured to be silent. In You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again four women break that code and tell us what the Emperor is really like–with no clothes on"
So far, so noble. I briefly wondered if I had accidentally purchased a furious feminist manifesto instead of a gut-busting exercise in voyeurism, soft-core smut and sordid gossip. But Parrent begins to give the game away in her introduction, when she writes about a meeting with James Toback where the frog-faced mountain of a man made a not-so-subtle stab at exploring her ladyparts during a bogus audition. Here's Parent with the play by play.
It wasn't long before this "audition" became more like a scene from a soft-core movie. Toback suddenly grabbed my thigh and stuck his other hand into his pants, clutching his little hard thing, moaning and pulling it out. I jumped up and told him I was leaving. He reluctantly put his penis back in his pants, apologized, and then tried to get my sympathy by telling me he was sexually abused as a child by an older man.
Toback actually gets off pretty easy (no pun intended) by the book's unstinting standards. You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again is a gaudy cavalcade of humiliating sexual revelations about the famous, semi-famous and non-famous. In it, we learn which narcissistic heartthrobs give conquests autographed posters of themselves (Jack Wagner and David Hasselhoff), which thespians may or may not swing both ways (Wagner again and Timothy Hutton, who is all about the two-guys-and-a-gal threesomes) and which Hollywood legends enjoys water sports, and not of the Summer Olympics variety (Robert Evans and Jack Nicholson).
This is perhaps the only book I've ever read where one of the three blurbs on the back appears to be bitingly sarcastic, namely Daily Variety's contention that "this book is a cornucopia of moral questions. It's an act of empowerment. It's a work of dignity. Plus it has class up the wazoo."
Oh sweet blessed Lord does this have class up the wazoo. You can tell by chapter headings like "Lorenzo Lamas: He Had to Have Me" and "Gary Busey: Scary Abusey". And these are from the non-hooker parts of the book, the section written by a woman who just fucked a bunch of famous or semi-famous dudes. Incidentally, I'm strongly considering changing the title of my forthcoming memoir to Lorenzo Lamas: He Had to Have Me. Granted, that title has no basis whatsoever in reality but how can you not buy a book called Lorenzo Lamas: He Had To Have Me?
The book is terribly written in a style that's part Letters to Penthouse soft-core literary porn, part breathless "It happened to me! It could happen to you!" women's magazine sensationalism and part romance-novel purple prose. Here's a passage on dancer, actor, love god and Olivia Newton John ex Matt Lattanzi and his mad sexual skillz:
Matt made me feel like no other man had ever made me feel and brought me to the height of sensual pleasure with his lips and tongue, I surrendered to him totally–my heart, my mind, my body. And that was only the beginning. His penetration took me to Xanadu and beyond with each stroke. When it was over, we were both exhausted. I belonged to him completely.
Sometimes the tender and the tawdry are rendered in the same breathless prose. Here's "Tiffany" on a precious moment shared with Jack Nicholson:
My most memorable with Jack Nicholson occurred after a love session that lasted for hours. Jack excused himself and headed into the shower. After a few minutes, intending to join him, I entered the bathroom and headed towards the sound of the hot, running water. I opened up the glass door and saw his wet body, all lathered up, and that satiated smile on his face. I kneeled on the floor of the shower, then laid face down and slowly rolled over to where my face was on the shower floor, looking up at him. As he looked down at me, I opened my mouth. It was like a choreographed mating ritual of some rare, South American animal species. We were in silent mutual agreement over what was to happen next. It was obvious to me Jack had never done this before, but he instinctively took my cue and peed into my mouth
Tiffany and Jack Nicholson's antics do eerily mimic the rarely observed mating rituals of the endangered South American Pee-Drinking She-Whore (why are they endangered? Too much pee-drinking, not enough scavenging for food). The South American Pee-Drinking She-Whore are a shy and retiring breed, though I understand R. Kelly has numerous homemade videos chronicling their curious mating practices. Who said guzzling urine can't be romantic? Oh right, everyone. They were right.
You would imagine that these dainty pearls of femininity would be experienced enough to see through their lovers' honeyed talk and empty promises. You would be wrong. Time and time again, one of the book's dirty, dirty whores take protestations of love and undying affection at face value, then are devastated when their object of desire loves, then leaves them. In the most ridiculous instance, one of the book's prostitutes is pursued relentlessly by Warren Beatty, who she understandably considers old, gross and out of shape.
Nevertheless Beatty's focus and persistence eventually wear down her defenses. Besides, Beatty has told her repeatedly that he's desperately in love with her. Why would he possibly say something like that unless it was true? So, in a fit of mind-boggling self-delusion, she decides that if Beatty really loves her he'll happily submit to a boot camp-like training regimen to melt away all those layers of ugly flab and submit to extensive plastic surgery, all so that he will someday prove himself worthy of having casual sex with a coked-up twenty-two-year-old part-time prostitute.
Makes sense, doesn't it? If I were arguably the greatest and most respected Lothario of the twentieth century, and rich and famous beyond most people's wildest dreams, I would have no problem with undergoing a rigorous self-improvement program in hopes of someday achieving my lifelong dream of having sex with an attractive young woman. The hooker eventually relents and has sex with Beatty. Now I hope all of you are sitting down because what I am about to write will shock and astound you. Beatty professed to be in love with this deluded prostitute–solely to get her to have sex with him! He did not in fact love her at all! Shocking, isn't it? I can easily imagine a thousand monocles plummeting to the floor and shattering as A.V Club acolytes read that last passage and recoil in horror. Granted, this feature only has about a thousand readers but all wear monocles and are easily shocked. It's a fact!
A lot of celebrity tell-alls make readers suffer through an awful lot of navel-gazing and self-indulgence to get to salacious sex stories about the rich and famous. Not You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again. In porn terms it's nothing but money shots, an endless series of climaxes, sleazy revelations and famous folks in compromising positions. It's a battle of the sexes where everyone loses. The men are pigs and the hookers come off as narcissistic and self-deluded, bragging about their "hot buns" and "tight bods" yet falling for the flimsiest of hustles. One of the ladies of easy virtue in question was roped into prostitution to pay for the questionable services of a sketchy dude with an empty studio who offered to catapult her to the giddy heights of super-stardom in exchange for a mere 22,000 dollar a year "consulting fee". If you're interested in hiring him as well he can be found in the yellow pages under "The Oldest Trick in the Book", right next to Robert Evans' home phone number.
The men here almost uniformly come off as creeps, weirdoes and selfish lovers. Even the actors who get praised for their bedroom skillz come off as whiny and petulant. John Ritter, for example, was apparently a dynamo in the sack, hammering away at one of these gals for nine and a half hours straight. But did he ever ask the prostitute in question about her life? Did he ever top off a marathon fuckfest by sensitively inquiring, "What about you, random skank I'm having anonymous sex with? What are your goals and ambitions and how can I help you achieve them?" No, Ritter just blathered on and on about being torn between his wife and his mistress and about how he had to pretend to be gay so he could continue living with a hot, ditzy blonde and a more grounded, practical brunette.
During a section devoted to Don Henley, one of the ladies of the night feigns erotic rapture by panting "Check me into Hotel California, sweet thing". This amused the holy living fuck out of me. I suspect that even in his coked-up, sex-addled state Henley was able to discern the transparent phoniness and condescension of that statement. I hope that it was followed by an endless series of equally ridiculous, equally personalized expressions of sexual satisfaction based around prominent numbers from Henley's songbook. If I were the hooker in question here's what I'd coo to my john for the evening: "Oooh, sweet baby. All I want to do is dance–on top of your amazing cock!" "My laundry will soon be dirty–because you're making me so wet!" "Forget the boys of Summer–all I need is you and your incredible lovemaking prowess!" "You're taking me to the limit of sexual rapture, you stud." "Don, you love machine, don't ever take it easy on my wet and wild snatch!" "You've got quite the Desperado in your boxer shorts there, Don, and I want it to have its wicked way with this witchy woman all night long!" "I understand why you're so passionate about the environment, Mr. Henley, what with that Giant Sequoia you call a cock. You can plant your seed in my secret garden any day" "Oh yes. Keep thrilling me with that Walden wood of yours for hours!"
But it isn't all sex and sleaze. No, wait: actually it is. The book's thin veneer of feminist outrage becomes even more ludicrous in light of the disquieting fact that most of the filthy whores in the book subsequently sued Dove Audio, the makers of the You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again book-on-tape, for sexual harassment. Oh, the mixed messages! Incidentally, I imagine the audio-book spin-off appealed to a wide cross-section of readers who like to catch up on the latest and most buzzed-about bestsellers while masturbating.
This is a spectacularly awesome terrible book. I've seldom had more fun reading something so horribly written and devoid of substance. I couldn't put this worthless piece of shit down. It rocked my world. So now I am going to take a long, hot shower in hopes of someday feeling clean again. But first I'm going to go online and buy You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again's sequel, the deliciously titled Hooking Up: You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again Again for a future entry in the Silly Little Show Biz Book Club. Christ, the things I do for you people.