The original title of Teenage Pussy had been Holy Shit! but Knopf (who’d shelled out close to a million dollars for the North American rights alone) assured me that Teenage Pussy was the more commercial title. (Outrageous Mike was considered briefly but finally deemed “noncontroversial.”) Knopf was going to call it a “pornographic thriller” in their catalogue, which excited me immensely, and told me privately that Alfred and Blanche Knopf would be rolling over in their graves when the thing was published. Since I realized I was creating an entirely new genre, my bout of writer’s block had vanished and I was working on the book daily, even though it was still only in the outline stage. The book was the story of Michael Graves and this young, hip Manhattan bachelor’s erotic life—a “guy who loves to give love and loves to get loved back” is what I promised my publishers—and I had envisioned a narrative that was elegantly hard-core and interspersed with jaunty bouts of my trademark laconic humor. It was going to contain at least a hundred sex scenes (“I mean, Jesus, why not?” I guffawed to my editor over lunch in the bar at Patroon while he idly checked his blood sugar) and you could read the novel as either a satire on “the new sexual obnoxiousness” or as the simple story of an average guy who enjoys defiling women with his lust. I was going to turn people on and make them think and laugh. That was the combo. Scatological humor intended and achieved. That was the plan. It seemed like a good one.
Teenage Pussy would contain endless episodes of girls storming out of rooms in high-rise condos and the transcripts of cell phone conversations fraught with tension and camera crews following the main characters around as well as six or seven overdoses (attempts on the girls’ part to win our lothario’s attention). There would be thousands of cosmopolitans ordered and characters camcording each other having anal sex and real-life porn stars making guest appearances. It was going to make Sodomania look like A Bug’s Life. Chapters were titled “The Facial,” “The Silicone Queen,” “The Porta-John,” “The Intrepid Threesome,” “Her Boobage,” “The Cliterati,” “The Getaway,” “Hairy Pinkish Tacos,” “Am I Too Big for You?,” “You Know, I Really Don’t Want a Girlfriend Right Now,” “Look, I Have to Catch an Early Flight, Okay?,” “Hey—Did You Get a Chance to Pick Up My Dry Cleaning?,” “I Am Probably Going to Be Quite Distant Now” and “Do You Mind If I Just Jack Off?”
Our hero, who calls himself the Sexpert, dates only models and carries around a large bag filled with various lubricants, ben-wa balls, vibrating clitoral stimulators and about a dozen strings of anal beads. Every girl he meets he makes wet with excitement. He has the cute habit of licking their faces in public and fingering them beneath tables at Balthazar while drugging their gimlets with OxyContin. He fucks one girl so hard that he breaks her pelvic bone. He fucks a semifamous TV actress in the greenroom minutes before she’s supposed to appear on Live with Regis and Kelly. He flashes his biceps and shows off his washboard abs (“Michael didn’t have a six-pack—he had a twenty-four-pack; a case!”) to anyone who might look. Women keep pleading with him to be more open and emotional, and they indignantly throw out lines like “I am not a slut!” and “You never want to talk about anything!” and “We should have gotten a room!” and “That was rude!” and “No—I will not have sex with that homeless man while you watch!” as well as my two favorites: “You tricked me!” and “I’m calling the police!” His usual answers: “Swallowing is about communication, baby” and “Okay, I’m sorry, but can I still come on your face?” A lot of his bad behavior is excused because in many respects Mike is an innocent, though it’s far more likely that forgiveness is always extended because he makes every girl he fucks multiorgasmic. But many women become so upset by his behavior that they have to be tranquilized before returning to their “lesbian pasts,” and then there’s the scandal involving videos Mike had made while having sex with various older married women that “suspiciously” started surfacing on the Internet. “What? You’re gonna fuck your way through life?” one of these older women (the wife of a wealthy industrialist) shouts at him. He stares at her as if she’s a ditz, then forces a gas mask onto her head. He also invents a variety of cocktails, including the Bareback, the Crotchless Pantie, the Raging Boner, the Weenus, the Double Penetration, the Shag Man and the Jizzbag.
His most recent conquest is—hence the title—a particularly vapid sixteen-year-old who thinks you can get pregnant from oral sex and contract AIDS from drinking a Snapple. She also talks to birds and has a pet squirrel named Corky, as well as a problem with silverware; at restaurants, when a waiter recites the specials, she always has to interrupt by asking oh so slowly: “Do you have to use a fork to eat that?” But Mike finds her innocence alluring and soon initiates her into his world, a place where he makes her wear flimsy clothes (transparent lace thongs are high on his list) and has her say, “Throw me a bone” before they have sex and “Who’s my daddy?” once he’s penetrated her. He applies cocaine to her clitoris. He forces her to read Milan Kundera paperbacks and makes her watch Jeopardy! They fly to L.A. for an orgy at the Chateau Marmont and buy sex toys at the Hustler Boutique on Sunset Boulevard and pile them into the trunk of his rented black Cadillac Escalade SUV while she giggles “amply.” He even charms her father—who had threatened to personally kick our hero’s nicely shaped ass if he didn’t stop dating his underage daughter. In a very tender moment, Mike buys her a fake ID. “She doesn’t mean to be that stupid,” he always apologizes to his aggravated friends, other bachelors living in the same lost world as Mike’s. One night he gets her so high on mushrooms that she is unable to locate her own vagina.
But beyond all this riotousness is the tragic ex-girlfriend who has done so much cocaine, her face has caved in on itself (“You damn Russian whore!” Mike screams at her in despair) and there are rooms filled with dead flowers and Mike loses almost all of his trust fund at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas and then attends yet another orgy (this one in Williamsburg—Brooklyn, not colonial) that descends into “utter depravity” and the novel ends sadly with an abortion and a tense Valentine’s Day dinner at Nello (a powerful scene). “How could you do that to me?” is the novel’s last line. The book was all about the hard sell (the million-dollar advance guaranteed that) but it was also going to be poignant and quietly devastating and put every other book written by my generation to shame. I would still be enjoying huge success and notoriety while my better-behaved peers were languishing on “Where Are They Now?” Web sites.— Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park
i haven’t been on tumblr in a while because i’ve been suffering from a rare bout of productivity
No more falling down a wormhole that I have to pull you out — thom yorke