I went to a book reading the other night with Adrianna Nicole.
Tristan Taormino wrote a book called Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, and she was reading at a place called Book Soup.
Adrianna and Tristan are pals. By tagging along, I got to meet Tristan…and, maybe if I played my cards right, I could bug Adrianna a whole bunch — cause that’s the way we roll.
She bugs me.
I bug her.
I like Book Soup very much. It’s one of my favorite independent bookstores, and one of a few left. I don’t know how much you read, but you’re reading this blog, so you must know that independent booksellers are kinda like T. Rex — and no, not like Marc Bolan’s most-excellent band.
They’re dinosaurs, but once upon a time that’s all there ever was, and if you wanted to buy a book you walked into a small store and probably handed your money over to the owner…who probably recommended whatever it was you bought, cause they read it already, and then they’d put your book in a paper sack and said “Thanks!”
But now Corporate America has dumbed down another great institution (just off the top of my head, bookstores I used to love until they died and went to Heaven: Cody’s in Berkeley; Black Oak and Chelsea Books in San Francisco; Heritage in Los Angeles; Mesa Bookshop in Phoenix, AZ).
Indie record stores are dying in droves.
When’s the last time you went to a real hardware store, with a person behind the counter that knew exactly what it was you’re looking for?
A mom-and-pop toy store?
Why support a local seller by paying full price for your favorite thing when you can walk into Border’s or Home Depot or Bath, Bed, and Beyond or Toys-R-Us and get it for 30% off…right?
Or order it off The Nameless, Faceless Internet and save a whole bunch?
Anyways, Adrianna shoots a bunch for Tristan, and I was really anxious to meet her cause I’m a geek boy fan of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon. The first time I told Adrianna this, I had to tell her who Pynchon was; in fact, no matter who I admit my admiration for Pynchon to, I have to follow up with an explanation as to who he is: in a nutshell, he’s an American novelist who wrote three really great books that have been placed into the mid-century Canon of American Literature, and he has never allowed himself to be photographed, nor interviewed. There’s a couple super old photos of him floating around the internet before he wrote his first book, but that’s about it.
And one of his three great books is so dense, so complex, and so silly I can’t make it past page 100.
After 3 attempts.
A hard-core recluse who writes infinitesimally challenging meta-fiction about things like entropy and V-2 rockets is just my kinda guy.
And Tristan Taormino is his niece.
And not a time goes by when Adrianna says something like, “I worked for Tristan today!” that I reply, “did you ask Tristan about her uncle for me?” — and I do this for no other reason than to drive Adrianna crazy.
It works every single time.
And when Adrianna told me we were invited to dinner with Tristan after the ready, I knew then my Coup de Grâce was soon in coming.
Before I get there, I gotta tell ya Tristan is simply amazing. Her reading was great, and trust me, I’ve been to a zillion readings — from Nobel Prize winners to acclaimed poets and novelists — and a lot of them suck ass. Major ass.
The thing I like most about Tristan’s reading was her wit, the way she spoke to us, and how easily she talked about stuff not a lot of people really feel comfortable talking about — and not just sexy stuff, but things that aren’t so easy to talk about.
Like open relationships.
All Things Polyamorous.
That sort of stuff.
Think you can do it? Be polyamorous, I mean.
Do you have enough confidence in yourself to let your Significant Other go and get banged out by someone else? Someone else that might satisfy them more than you?
Be OK with Hubby getting his weekly massage with Happy Ending?
Be OK with Wifey meeting her girlfriend for a bush-smoosh? (Um, you’re not invited, either).
You get the idea. If you find this sort of thing might be up your alley, here’s a shameless plug for Tristan’s book, cause I’ve been reading it this weekend, and it’s really good.
But I’m not done with my story. Cause after Tristan’s reading we went to dinner at a local Mexican joint with a whole bunch of people: Penny Flame was there, and Sinamon Love, and a cute make-up artist I was flirting with all night long, and Adrianna (duh!) cause if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have been invited, and P.T. was there, and a whole bunch of other people I have never met before, and I sat across the table from a Professor of Feminist Studies from UC Santa Barbara who loved all my stories about shooting cuckolding scenes for Blacks on Blondes.
The Coup de Grâce came when Tristan sat me and Adrianna next to her, and chatted us up for a bit, cause I got to eye Adrianna — who really wasn’t paying attention to me — when I told Tristan, “I really wanna bug Adrianna, so can I tell you how much I like your uncle’s work?”
Tristan definitely indulged me, and I could tell I was treading in dangerous water, so I made it really quick and told her I got a grant from the NEH to study one of his novels a long time ago, and sure enough, Adrianna heard, and then Adrianna groaned, and Tristan was nice about it all…and that’s really about it.
Not much of a Coup de Grâce, I admit…in fact, if I were to rate this particular Coup de Grâce on The Grand Coup de Grâce scale, I’d say it clocks in at a 3 — outta 10.
But at least I got Adrianna to groan.
Then we ate some chips and guacamole and for the rest of the night I kinda eye-fucked a make-up artist who I think is cute — and I think, maybe for a second or two, I got eye-fucked back.
But probably not.
Cause who’d wanna flirt with some dude that’s a self-professed geek boy over Thomas Pynchon?