I and most likely every human male since the species first appeared in the cosmos have been tormented by what has seemed the ultimate unanswerable question, “What do women want?”
Having read the above sentence you might be thinking something along the lines of, “Aha, at last I am about to know the answer.” Forget it, pal. The only “answer” you will find in Laura Stinchcomb's amusing little book, I'm Interviewing Muses, is another question: “What say we just forget about that other question?”
Stinchcomb's writing, which can be described as evoking an unthinkable collaboration between Erma Bombeck and Prof. Irwin Corey, has persuaded me that even women, no matter what they might say or think they want, haven't the slightest clue as to what they really want.
One might expect a man reading such revelations from the mind of an intelligent, articulate, good-humored and admittedly snarky New Jersey mother and wife to scream in self-righteous frustration. I can be as self-righteously frustrated as the next guy, but I did not scream thusly while reading I'm Interviewing Muses. Not even once. I laughed my ass off, is what I did.
An underlying theme is Stinchcomb's obsession—she's reaching that stage in life when women refer to each other as being “of a certain age”--with becoming “a sex symbol.” We learn about her experiments with collagen injections to puff up her lips, and what happens at a party when, wearing breast tape, she bends over too far and reveals too much, and how she claims to have saved her flagging marriage by, on a whim, deciding to have sex with her husband every day. It works brilliantly for over a year, she says, until he pooped out.
On another, admittedly less connubial whim, she cuts down on her trips to the drycleaners because “I have decided that I like to hear my husband ask me in an almost begging way to drop off and pick up his shirts.”
She fantasizes what it would have been like having sex with George Washington. The George Washington, with all the 18th century body stenches including that of fecal traces, a permanent sinus infection and rotting teeth.
She loves potbellies on men.
Are we getting the picture here? Is it just Stinchcomb having a little snarky fun? Or is she ratting out an entire gender?
Can we ever know for sure?
Do we really want to?