Monthly Archives: March 2011

My One Minute Book Pitch Meets with…Steeerike ONE!

Last night I ventured out to Brooklyn for Pitchapalooza, a sink-or-swim book idea slam organized by “The Book Doctors,” David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. The venue was the Green Light Bookstore and featured celebrity guest judges Richard Nash and Jason Pinter.

There must’ve been 100 eager authors crammed into the indy Ft. Green store, each nervously clutching their script and editing on the spot. The format provided one minute to spill your spiel, followed by feedback from the panel. Writers were not permitted to respond to their feedback or otherwise defend themselves.  About 20 writers were randomly selected and offered the opportunity to pitch their books. I was one of the fortunate few.

I managed to get through about 99% of my pitch before the buzzer. When I first uttered the word “menopause,” there was a collective audible gasp. What can I say? It’s not a popular topic. Men don’t want to hear about it. Period. Just like they don’t want to hear about periods. Or anything else “feminine and messy.” And women, unless they’ve actually been through it — though sometimes not even then! — really, REALLY don’t want to hear about it! Females of every generation are terrified of getting old, of becoming invisible and irrelevant, of reaching an age when they can no longer trade on their sexuality or femininity, thereby negating everything society has been teaching us for the first 50 years of our lives. So I was proud of myself for even giving it a shot. I wasn’t at a woo-woo women’s support group; it was a retail establishment stuffed with my “I wanna get published!” competition. If I had to guess, I’d say there were maybe 10 women in the room who could even vaguely relate to me.

My paraphrased feedback:

Arielle began, “When you first started, I thought, ‘Oh, no, here we go again.’ I’ve heard hundreds of pitches for ‘funny’ menopause books. There are a million of them out there. But then you got specific about the kind of rock ‘n’ roll people you’d be targeting and I got it!” I’m pleased that she “got it,” but I’m not necessarily targeting just rockers. I’m going after badasses of every genre. And all you need to do is Google menopause books to learn that there are not anywhere near a million “funny” menopause books. She may have heard a million pitches for them but, for whatever reason, no one’s published them. Which is a shame, because I sure could’ve used one. All there was when I went looking was Menopause for DummiesMenopause Sucks: What to Do When Hot Flashes and Hormones Make You and Everyone Else Miserable and Is it Hot In Here? Or is it me? The Complete Guide to Menopause. There are, of course, the Christian Northrup books and Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause, which are not, in my opinion, either entertaining or even remotely badass.

Richard Nash suggested I come up with some catchy phrases that would really sum up the intended demographic, such as “The menopause book for the CBGB’s generation,” — which I immediately appropriated, by the way — though again, I’m hoping the book will have a bit more reach than that. Sure, the broads who are “still out clubbing til 3am” would be my primary market, but ideally everyone who doesn’t feel like part of the hippy-dippy purple caftan demographic will want to read my book!

Jason Pinter read a few notes that were primarily words of encouragement. Thank you, Jason!

Wrapping up, David added, “You said this was a funny book. Where were the jokes? You didn’t make me laugh.” Well, given that all I had was one minute, there wasn’t much time for stand-up. But more specifically, this is not a humor book. It’s an informational book, written with a sense of humor. Will it make people laugh? I hope so. But I won’t be telling jokes; I’ll be cracking wise. And doing my best to help my readers to not jump off a building in despair.

The panel also let me know it was a bad idea to say that 50% of the planet would be interested in my book, since that wasn’t accurate. They were in agreement that I should’ve mentioned other menopause books and how mine was different. I had avoided that in an effort to not come off sounding negative — easily remedied. But they all seemed to believe I have a viable book!

Fortunately, seconds after I ceded the mic to the next pitcher, a handsome young reporter beckoned. “We’d like to shoot your book pitch for NBC news,” he informed me. I couldn’t believe my luck! How many potential viewers would I reach with my idea? And my newly appropriated CBGB’s catch phrase? I threw my motorcycle jacket back on to appear appropriately badass. The segment seemed to go smoothly; I think I got my message across with an appealing amount of humor. I’ll look forward to seeing if I make the cut and whatever resulting adulation transpires.

While my first real “pitch” may have been a total strikeout, at least I had the nerve to attend the event and enough luck to be picked — and filmed! Since I bought the book, I get to schedule a 20-minute consultation with David and Arielle. I’ll be sure to re-work my pitch, taking all their constructive criticism into consideration. If I could pack a pitch into a minute, 20 will feel like forever!

The One-Minute Book Pitch

I’ve got a book that’s relevant to a mere 50% of the people on the planet. That’s right, every woman in the world will go through menopause! And there simply isn’t enough information about it out there, not even on the almighty internet.

The Badass Babe’s Guide to Menopause will fix that and crack you up! Hardcore medical facts with a rock ‘n’ roll sense of humor will explain what the hell is happening with your hormones and how to handle it with dignity.

The book will debunk myths and offer realistic coping strategies without resorting to hippy-dippy lavender caftan homilies or telling you that old age is the best part of life!

Beyond all the hilarious straight talk you’ll get quotes and stories from the world’s biggest badasses: Joan Jett! Chrissy Hynde! Tina Turner! Whoopie! Madonna!

And why should I write this book? I have decades of experience waiting in a comical, conversational style about sexuality, kink and other taboo topics. And hey, why not me?

You’ll want to buy this book because either you’ll eventually want to read it or someone you love will!

Ima Cunt

On OkCupid, I attract every polyamorist, bisexual, crossdressing, BDSM-inclined sex freak in the country! So I’m not surprised when guys like “ISOPoly” or “BoyInDress” checks my profile or drops me an email. I’m always a bit more boggled when they’re from far away or unwilling to meet in person or unavailable in some other similar way. Today I noticed this guy had viewed my profile so I clicked on his. Yes, the photo is of him over Santa’s knee. Yes, it is almost April. And yes, when I checked his profile he was, indeed, an elf! At an impressive 5’3″, it wasn’t a long tumble from standing tall to St. Nick’s lap! And yes, I am a total cunt who simply could not control myself. I stopped short (Hahahahah!) of calling him a fucking gnome. But I did poke fun at him. Poke-poke. Not merely at his size, because beauty comes in an array of sizes. Yeah, whatever. I was more intent upon taking the piss out of his whole “dominant” stance. Seems like he didn’t appreciate the humor and found me to be a bit dense. Ah, if only he knew…I present for your perusal, with inserted editorial comments:

You’re 5’3″?
I would KICK YOUR ASS!
Sorry, it needed to be said.
Okay, back to your regularly scheduled “dominance!”
Abby

But judging one by stature is an assumption one should never really make. [It wouldn’t be an assumption, it would be a judgement. And the only judgement I’m making is that YOU’RE SHORT!]
In all honesty, my first wife was a 6’1″ Vegas showgirl and my 2nd was 5’11” [Whatever you say, Napoleon! And I’m sure your cock is HUGE!]
I just liked your profile, your attitude and the answers you gave to the questions.
(never judge a book by it’s cover) [See my latest book review post.]
cheers,
David

No worries! Glad you liked the profile.
Frankly, I’m not kinky so I don’t submit to anyone of any stature.
I just meant that if it came to, ya know, wrestling or something similar, I would have you beat by sheer weight alone. Nothing personal. Given your experience with larger women, I’m sure you understand, no?
Happy to hear you’ve scaled the heights!
A

One needs not be kinky to make a connection (of any sort), nor do you need to submit. [Wow, forgive me for assuming. You are aware that your screen name is IamDom_I_Nant, aren’t you?] Yes, I’d probably lose a wrestling match with ya, oh what fun. And no personal offense taken, was just a tad bit surprised.
Come and talk sometime, that certainly cannot hurt. [Come where? Talk? Huh? Does he mean chat? Is there an invisible living room on here somewhere that I don’t know about? Wait, are we in Second Life?]

Talk where? You don’t live anywhere near me.

Ahhh, you missed the point entirely. Never-mind, no worries, it’s all good.
And DO have a lovely day. 
[How could I possibly have a lovely day without you, you 5’3″ stick of love dynamite? You pocket-sized prince! Rawr!]

I haven’t missed the point. I GET the point. I’m just curious…why would you want to spend time “chatting” with someone at a distance? Just for fun? I am not an idiot. FAR from it. I am not a big fan of “chatting” online, as in IMing. I prefer face-to-face, actual human interaction. Forgive me if that misses any point…

again, never mind

Haha, okay then. No BIG loss!
Hahahahaa! [And then I clicked BLOCK!]

 

Promise of an Affair Cures Influenza! Call Kathie Lee!

Okay, so I went to the doctor this morning. I’d been feeling lousy for so long I thought something must be seriously amiss. Not so! After a phalanx of tests — boy, did I get my $20 worth! — the very nice man told me that although he was trying his best, he simply couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Oh, there is plenty wrong with me. But apparently I am incredibly healthy! He assured me that whatever was plaguing me was no doubt viral and that it would soon disappear. And he told me to schedule a colonoscopy. Ah the joys of being over 50!

While I was in the waiting room, I watched Hoda and Kathie Lee do a piece on AshleyMadison, a site with the (original) intent of assisting married people with having affairs. Or, as the reporter so aptly put it, “for aspiring adulterers.” Their guests were Jeff Gardere, a pyschologist, and Editor-in-Chief of Redbook, Jill Herzig.

Gardere finds the site “morally reprehensible” and I’m not going to even bother weighing in on the virtue of any web site since the internet is, and always has been, essentially one enormous singles’ bar. Especially since I got home and immediately joined the site!

I was given the option of selecting “Attached female seeking males” or “Single female seeking males,” quickly putting lie to the talk show hostesses’ claim that “you must be in a committed relationship” to become a “member.” Within an hour I’d received over a dozen “winks” and more than 50 emails, including many “Access to Private Showcase” keys, some of which included, yes, photos of penises. Sigh. In what universe do women actually find this enticing? Is it just me? What happened to the mystery and the magic? If I’m gonna conduct an affair with someone, can’t his cock be a surprise? I digress…

There are also, not surprisingly, loads of bare chest portraits. I suppose if you’re cheating on your wife, it’s best not to put your face right out there. But those oh-so-easily ogle-able “private showcase” shots aren’t what I’d call discreet. If you had even an inkling that your husband — or wife — were on AshleyMadison, it wouldn’t be very hard to find them.

Herzig expressed surprise that so many men seemed to be searching for “a connection,” for that initial thrill of the new, that “passing notes in class” excitement. Really. Now what on earth would make anyone want romance and passion and new and exciting? No idea. Yeah, gimme some more of that no-thanks-honey, roll over and fart, the thrill is gone, will ya please! Holy shit! Is she kidding? How does she think romance novels, womens’ magazines (like her own, for instance), porn publications and countless advice columnists have managed to stay in business for so many decades? Not to mention sex toy shops! If someone figured out how to bottle that “passing notes in class” passion, they’d be rich!

But back to the site and my potential suitors. Succumbing to a last-minute ethical panic attack, I’d decided not to lie about my marital status and signed on as a “single female,” but the assumption is, I suppose, that most of the men on the site are attached. And lemme tell ya, for good reason! Every guy who has emailed me — or at least as many as I’ve managed to view so far — is over 6′ tall and handsome as hell! Even the distinguished older gentleman who I gently rejected wore his tuxedo well.

Though not everyone posts pix and without the benefit of photos, I am leery about the veracity of the mens’ stats when so many of them claim to be 6’2″ and 210 pounds. Um, why all so similar? But let’s not burst my fantasy bubble too quickly! And it wouldn’t be a hook-up site without the unbeatable treat of some lame-ass 18-year-old offering to show me a good time: “Im steve and well i could show you a couple of things …maybe some butt smacking hair pulling or whatever your into , reply if interested” [sic] Yeah, so much for fantasy…

Getting back to my ethical quandary: Do I date these married dudes? Is it bad karma to be “the other woman?”  On TODAY, the reporter interviewed a newly-married couple who’d met on, yes, Ashley Madison! Well, why not? At the time they were both unhappily married to other people but now they’ve found marital bliss with each other. For the time being, at least… What if I should sit down for one of those mythical discreet dinners with some sad sack married man who subsequently falls madly in love with me? Would being a home wrecker be so bad if it meant eternal happiness for me, me, ME? I can’t say it would keep me up at night.

And given that the original purpose of the site was to, basically, facilitate lying, who’s to say that any of this is true? All these guys could be single and looking for NSA flings where they have an “excuse” to never introduce you to their friends, spend holidays with you or take you home at night. Not a bad deal if all you want in return is potential candlelit dinners, sexy lingerie shopping sprees and bedpost-slammin’ sex.

I actually know someone who has been on Ashley Madison for a while. She cheated on her (very handsome and talented and perfectly lovely) husband for years with all manner of strange men and wore her scandalously expensive lingerie as a badge of honor. They are now separated and I’m not sure if she’s still shopping…for boudoir ensembles or men. But I’ll admit, the idea of someone taking me to Agent Provocateur for a pair of lacy panties sounds like a damn good time to me! And I couldn’t blame this woman for her infidelity. The heart (and, obviously, the genitals) wants what it (they) want!

Noel Biderman, President of Ashley Madison, was part of the TODAY piece and his opinion that monogamy is on the wane is debatable. I certainly know dozens of people who are living what most would consider “alt” lifestyles. But is marriage a thing of the past? I think not. At least not yet.

I realize this topic — or topics, actually — cannot be encapsulated, especially in this somewhat sprawling blog post. It is a juicy one, though! And it’s really all just further fodder for my online dating odyssey. Okay, I’ve got some emails to answer! Stay tuned!

Welcome! And Thank You!

It seems there has been an impressive increase in readership of my not-so-secret blog. Sure, it probably helped that I tweeted about my last few posts but I believe it was the exposure on Jamye Waxman’s blog and podcast that probably drove most of you here. Well, WELCOME! And thank you for taking time out of your busy days to read my bloggedy-blog! My apologies that there haven’t been more entries but I’m still struggling with this sickness.  I promise I’ll be back at it (at least a bit more diligently) as soon as possible!

Mwah!

Must Love Dogs

In my flu-induced stupor I’ve been watching bad TV for endless hours. It isn’t easy to avoid  seriously bad programming when you don’t have cable. I’m surprised I haven’t wound up with nothing but informercials. Weekends mean movies, which is an improvement over  Everybody Loves Raymond. So yesterday, sweating through another fever, I found myself watching Must Love Dogs. I felt fortunate for a film I’d never seen before and to catch it in its entirety, as opposed to half-way while flipping through channels. Have you seen it? The romantic comedy stars Diane Lane and John Cusak, and IMDB gives this synopsis: “A forty-something preschool teacher looks to the personals for a change of pace and a relationship, with hilarious results.”

The movie was made in 2005 and one might assume many strides have been made in online dating since then. But one would be wrong. While I wouldn’t exactly say the movie was nearly as hilarious as some of my online dating experiences, at least the amusing predicaments posed by finding strangers in the ether certainly are one thing that won’t ever change.

I was surprised by how much I identified with the Diane Lane character. I know, I know! I shouldn’t have been surprised one bit! It’s not a stretch: a woman turns to the internet to find love! I’d be happy to find someone I can tolerate a meal with! Even more surprising was my reaction to the ending: I burst into tears! I’m not sure if that was a true indication of my emotional fragility or the severity of my flu! In either case, it caught me quite off guard. I’ve gotta get a grip.

And in further news of not having a grip: Today I received an email from the ex that reduced me to tears. I sure wish I could afford a therapist…

Burn This Book…Or Perhaps Your Bra…

A bunch of months ago I agreed to review a book or two for a friend, who is working with a women’s magazine called SageWoman. I suppose I should’ve actually read the publication before I jumped in; its tag line “Celebrating the Goddess in Every Woman” might’ve been an indication of the books I’d be reading. But I’ve read — and written reviews of — some serious “goddess” literature and know plenty of females who embrace that whole woo-woo, moon unit view of womanhood. So how bad could it be, I thought. Well…

After my recent travels, I returned to find my little package. It was a book I’d actually chosen, based solely on the title. When they say don’t judge a book by its cover, may I further advise not to judge one by its title, either. Somehow I’d assumed that Wild Feminine would be some paean to unbridled bitchdom, to living every second as the righteous cunts we are. Uh, wrong-o!

As I started reading the Foreword, written by  Sarah J. Buckley, MD, I found myself vaguely irritated. But when I began the Introduction, written by the book’s author, Tami Lynn Kent — touted on the cover as a “mix of Christiane Northrup and Caroline Myss — I was having a tough time finishing a sentence. Clearly I was so totally unenlightened that I wouldn’t be able to read this book.

Ms. Kent is an experienced “holistic women’s healthcare provider” with a background in physical therapy. I was tipped off right away that this was gonna be a real west coast, new age take on things by her immediate reference to a drum circle. Fuckin’ hippies! Anyway, suspending my judgement — and nausea — I plowed on.

Kent overshares right from the get-go. She started with her “spirit daughter” story, about her miscarriage and how she wrapped the bloody mess up and put in in her pocket, before she ceremoniously buried it in her back yard. Um, OH-KAY! That was in the Introduction. On page 2 she shared her tale of traveling while breastfeeding. Way to exclude the many women, myself included, who have not experienced motherhood. Sorry if I don’t feel your pain. Then came a series of what I can only snidely refer to as overstating the obvious. “We live in our bodies.” I live in an apartment, thank you very much! Next up, the song and dance of “the womb cycle,” wherein we learn that “the uterus contains the cycle of transformation.” Not anymore, it doesn’t! At least mine doesn’t! It was everything I could do to not chuck the fuckin’ book out the window. But she assured those of us who are no longer moon cycling or whateverthefuck that we, too, are still cycling or mooning or whatever: “Regardless of her reproductive status, or even if she has entered menopause, the energy of the female body continues to to move in outward expansion and restorative retreat in alignment with the full and new moons or personal creative and life cycles.” Huh? I mean, just listen to this shit: “As the gatekeeper, the vagina regulates the cycle of regeneration.”

But when she launched into her “pitch” about vaginal massage, I lost my shit. Mind you, there was much preamble about how present-day women are out of touch with their “root” and their inner femininity. I can completely understand how masturbation — and/or the joy of sexuality in general — would be beneficial to anyone who is feeling somehow removed from their womanhood. But once she transitioned from “self vaginal massage” to actually paying someone else — her, apparently — to spelunk in one’s twat, well, that was just too much. Is it just me or does no one else notice the parallel between this “practice” and the turn-of-the-century male physicians who would hold newly-invented vibrators to the genitalia of their female patients to cure their “female hysteria?” I felt torn between total disgust and incomprehensible unenlightenment. (Which, by the way, both spellcheck and dictionary.com tell me isn’t a real word. But I was feelin’ it!)

The talk about creativity and the womb held an appeal; I’d love to know how to better — or best — channel my creative energies. But when she compared art work and other truly creative endeavors with childbirth, she lost me. Indeed, for some, motherhood can certainly be “creative,” but one can hardly draw a parallel between a biological drive resulting in birth, often merely an accident, and a painting, book, sculpture or other deliberate act of productivity.

Even skimming the book made me angry. “Amelia came for pelvic care to address a tight knot in the muscles on the right side of her vaginal opening.” What kind of world are we living in when women actually need to go see someone because they’re experiencing tightness on the side of their twat? HolyfuckingmotherofGAWD! I mean GODDESS!

Seriously, I could go on all night. All I need to do is keep flipping the book open and there, magically, is yet another laughable quote! “Excess uterine holding causes stagnation in the pelvic space.” Is that like some sort of spiritual — and vaginal — constipation?

Here’s one last passage I’ll leave you with that sounds vaguely fundamentalist Christian to me; either way, it’s hateful: “Sexual desire should have a very specific place. It belongs between two consenting adults who ideally understand the power of their union and its potential to create new life.” So I guess that means those of us whose bodies no longer have the potential to create new life don’t have a specific place for their sexual desire. I am, quite frankly, currently experiencing a lamentable “VACANCY” in my “pelvic bowl” so if anyone out there might like to help me with that, and, ya know, fill ‘er up, get in touch. Er, I mean shoot me an email. (Whoa, I simply cannot resist the double entendres!) Anyway, I promise not to talk about cycles of any sort!

Fuck Facebook, Redux

Why would I think that WordPress would do anything evil? Well, when I saw their “Publicize” link, I clicked on it. Easy enough: enable Twitter and Facebook to be connected to my blog. I guess. But when I got to the Facebook page it of course said that clicking “Allow” would mean that all sorts of things would just automatically be okay. I wasn’t cool with that. So I opted out. Or tried to. It has taken me a few hours of clicking, canceling, restarting my computer and other irritations to be able to actually post again. Bah! See below for more Facebook bullshit:

To enable Publicize: Facebook, you will need to authorize your WordPress.com account onWelcome to My Words! to connect with your Facebook account.

Clicking the link below will take you to Facebook where you will need to log in and click “allow” several times.

Authorize connection with Facebook

Um, WHAT? I have to click “Allow” not just once but “several times?” Fuck that. Okay, now I’m gonna go actually write my post.