In general, there are four things that make a sex column entertaining, as opposed to a warmed-over treatment for an ill-advised Sex & The City remake: 1. The person writing the column is Dan Savage. 2. The column is not all about the person who writes it and their sex life. 3. The column is dirty, but interesting, i.e. no romance-novel-like scenes. or 4. The column describes things that are weird-kinky (sitting on cakes for sexual pleasure), as opposed to boring kinky (handcuffs). Unfortunately, the new sex column in The Village Voice, Married, Not Dead is none of these things. In fact, it is almost the precise opposite of all of these things, but worse–because not only is it incredibly boring, it's easily one of the most annoying, least believable things you will ever read. Also, it should come with it's own New-York-parent cliche counter. Here are a few excerpts:
I am standing in the dressing room of Forever 21 enjoying myself. Even though the absurdity of shopping at Forever 21 for an outfit to wear to the Kleinman bar mitzvah is not lost on me. Nor is the ridiculous fact that I am psyched about going to the bar mitzvah. Who gets excited about a bar mitzvah? A woman with three little kids, that's who. I will leave my house. There will be liquor. I will talk to grown-ups. I can't help it. I have three children. I don't get out much.
Tell me about it, girlfriend. You know, sometimes I catch myself at dinner parties telling stories about how Jake refuses to go on the potty without his Dora The Explorer backpack, and in my mind I'm like, "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. No one wants to hear this!" You know? But it's like I've lost all ability to communicate about things that don't involve the kids, or potties, or motherhood cliches.
I can't help thinking that maybe I should go back on the Zoloft when I see Carmichael approaching. She is 45 minutes late. Typical. What is not typical is that her usually stressed-out stride is relaxed. In fact, she's got a shit-eating grin on her face. Did she sneak in a yoga class? Get a facial? Something looks different. Maybe she changed her meds. She rushes over and gives me a hug. "I just had sex with E.L.," she blurts out. I am speechless. She is my best friend. And she had sex. With her husband. I feel like I've been stabbed in the back. I am tempted to throw one of us off the nearby balcony.
Why stop with one of you? Still, this is so true to life. I mean, everyone in New York is on medication, and, what's more, they all use the word "meds" unironically.
"OK, Carmichael," I say. "Where? When? How? Why?"
"Well, it'd been months, you know. I was so off my game I couldn't even deal with it. Do you know what it's like when you're off your game?"
I nod maniacally because of course I know.
"I invented 'off your game,' for God's sake. Please. Are you crazy?"
No comment. Except notice the extremely natural ra-ta-tat-tat of the dialogue. It's practically Tarantino-esque. And then there's this little scene:
This is when I hear myself say, a little too loudly, "I need it, Carmichael." People stare at me, but I can't stop myself. I've totally lost control. "You know what? You're right. I am going home and fucking J.P. tonight. Even if he is working late. Even if I am comatose when he gets home. Even if I don't remember how, and even if there are three kids in my bed."
There is spontaneous applause and a smattering of cheers from my fellow City Bakery diners. The cashier buys me a cookie. Carmichael takes me to 14th Street for some racy underpants. I am full of hope. I will ride that horse, even if it kills me. We ride home to Brooklyn on the F train, bound for glory.
I can't tell you how many times strangers have cheered me for saying something overly personal too loud. In fact, it just happened the other day when I was out at lunch with my best friends Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. I yelled out, "I'm going home and doing it with Mr. Big, and I don't care if the housekeeper's there!" and the diners at City Bakery actually all stood up and screamed in approval, then hoisted me up on their shoulders and carried me triumphantly around the restaurant, while a street saxophone player launched into "New York, New York." It was positively cinematic. Or at least worthy of HBO.