Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday (really Tuesday) Book Review

No, this isn't the book that opened my eyes. It was utter fluff that I needed to distract myself. I read The Washingtonienne's book.

I am an avid media consumer and her story was featured prominently on the Gawker Media sites, most notably wonkette. Gawker, Defamer, Wonkette, Gridskipper - these are all Nick Denton sites and his Gawker media empire. You either get or hate the sense of humor on his sites and I am of the former persuasion. In any event, once wonkette got a hold of the story of Washingtonienne, it was all over but the wrist cutting.

The short version is that Washingtonienne was a former NYC gal who, after cheating on her fiancee and getting kicked out of their apartment, moved to DC. She had virtually no interest in politics or the power plays in Washington, but had a hard on for the finer things in life. DC is, as she puts it, is Hollywood for ugly nerds, so a sophisticated, fit and good looking chick schooled in the ways of NYC, she was bound to encounter a few dramas. She delivered. On her blog, she chronicled her sexual adventures with mid-level political cronies and was unabashed and blunt in her descriptions. She blogged about accepting money from a married staffer, anal sex with a co-worker, getting spanked (and loving it) by The Guy She Really Liked and pretty much everything else that took place in her life.

Many of these exploits probably offend the greater flyover states, but there is something about her delivery that removes the stigma of a sexual woman. I'll save my commentary on that for sometime or someplace else, but suffice to say, her description of these encounters was remarkably candid. She was well aware of the moral ambiguity of her relationships and never downplayed them or justified them. She just recounted them and annotated them with her (then) feelings.

I love honesty. I am, or was, quick to judge, but I found myself not judging her. Just interested in the story. At the end, it was, perhaps a cliche. A cautionary tale about putting your life's exploits on the internet on the off chance that one high profile site might delight in your tale. Duly noted. Some people want fame and attention, but that is not me, and I don't think that was her, either. At the end of the book, I found myself wanting to have a cocktail with her and telling her, as I once told Andrea H (who, in the 8th freaking grade, was already having sex and without shame) that there is something positively freeing about a woman who can speak (or write) about sex without apology. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Women are allowed -- and, fuck should -- be able to discuss their sexual encounters, desires and interests without being labeled as a whore. We are as sexual as our male counterparts, although the pressures of work, motherhood, and other things might take their toll. Sure, you can judge the hell out of her, although I suspect that most people who buy her book are already predisposed not to judge.

At the end of the day, I didn't necessarily feel sorry for her, although I can only imagine what it feels like to have your private musings made fodder for national social commentary. What I took from the book was that she had a way with story telling, she was self deprecating (and owned the fact that her own actions got her to the place she was at the time of writing) and that she was true to herself and lived in the now. I think I have more on that topic, but for this long winded review, that is all.

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