December 20, 2004

Lust For Writers

Curtis Sittenfeld calls attention to a very real asymmetry:
The thing about groupie stories, and this is especially true of the salacious ones, is that they always seem to feature men in the starring roles. What I've been wondering lately is, has any woman writer -- ever, anywhere -- had a groupie? Does, say, Barbara Kingsolver get phone numbers after the bookstore closes? Do 20-year-old boys throw their boxer shorts at Toni Morrison? And finally, if women do indeed have groupies, might I acquire some for myself?

Based on conversations with editors, booksellers and fellow writers, I've come to believe women can have groupies, or at least there are plenty of female writers who strike the fancy of male readers. The catch is that typically these women fall into one -- or both -- of two categories: either the woman is very attractive or she writes a lot about sex….

Basically, I'm not convinced that female writers can transcend their hotness, that they can elicit lust based on literary prowess alone -- not because they're women, that is, but because they're writers.
Which brings us to the all-important topic of blogosphere lust. I've noticed, from trawling around internet comment boards, that Wonkette gets a fair amount of groupies—mostly based on the (admittedly rather adorable) cartoon picture on her banner. But maybe that doesn't count.

From personal experience, I'll admit I've long, long had a genuine literary crush on Joan Didion, and with all due respect, I just don't think physical lust is the reason. Oh, hell. While I'm at it, I'll add Flannery O'Connor and Elizabeth Bowen—and I don't even know what they look like! (Though obviously I'm going to go find out now.) So there.
-- Brad Plumer 7:32 PM || ||