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The Best American Erotica 1995 is the ideal collection for all lovers of first-rate erotic literature. Edited by Susie Bright, whom the Utne Reader calls "one of the leading thinkers and visionaries of our time," this third annual edition of a best-selling series brings together the most outstanding erotic writing of the year.
Susan St. Aubin
Robert Olen Butler
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Susie Bright is the editor of The Best American Erotica series and host of the weekly audio show In Bed with Susie Bright on Audible.com. She has been a columnist for Playboy and Salon, and has been profiled in USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. An international lecturer on sexuality and feminism, she won the 2004 Writer of the Year Award at the Erotic Awards in London. Ms. Bright lives in Santa Cruz, California.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I met Cheryl through an ad in the newspaper. It said something like, "Very attractive blonde looking for female playmate. Boyfriend wants to watch." Yeah, my boyfriend wanted to watch, too.
The first time I tried answering a personal ad looking for a blue-moon girlfriend, I was single and I didn't have very good luck. I wrote a short letter giving my name and phone number and enclosed a picture. It was one of those black-and-white photo booth prints of me dressed in black, smiling. I hand-colored it, made it kind of arty. I never got a response. Maybe she chickened out. Maybe she thought I was a dork. I tried again with a different ad and ended up meeting this softball chick in a sports bar. I knew it would never work. I hated sports. Plus she had bad skin.
After I started seeing Greg, I decided to try it again. (Greg was the first guy I ever watched a porn movie with, and every one we rented was a "lesbian" one. He was an all-girl action connoisseur. He never picked a tape that had any guys in it, and I can't say I minded. Women turned me on and besides, who wanted to see a bunch of ugly guys with nothing going on but big dicks?) One night, after a sweaty session in front of the VCR, he said, "I'd like to see you do it with another woman."
Now some women might interpret such a fantasy as the product of a selfish, macho mind, doped up on too much fake lesbian porno. But I thought of it more as classic, bedrock eroticism. I know that watching two women fuck each other is no doubt the number-one hetero male fantasy, but I like it, too. Until Greg's brilliant idea, I'd slept with one woman, and it was a lot less gymnastic than any porn video. I was amazed by how soft her skin was; it really was like silk. While we were doing it, I kept thinking, "Girls are so soft. Do I feel that soft to her?" I was drowning in her silky water. I liked feeling her nipples in my mouth, the way her cunt smelled. Her body was peculiar and familiar at the same time. And I liked the challenge of figuring out how to hold it in my hands and make it work, how to make her come, even though I'd spent hours toying with my own circuitry! Greg's interest was a green light for me; he encouraged my desires. So rather than accuse my boyfriend of having a sick, Bruce Seven-induced fantasy, I decided to live it out.
Finding a woman who will just go home with you and your boyfriend, who, depending on the angle looks like either Jeff Goldblum or a demented rabbit, isn't the easiest thing in the world. It's not like in the movies where everyone just wants to fuck and suck at the drop of a hat. Greg and I spent lot of time in bars saying, "She's cute" or "How about her?" but that's as far as it got. I got restless waiting for that perfect pick-up moment, where she'd start rubbing my thigh and I'd let her mess up my lipstick while Greg silently paid the tab and guided us to his apartment. Deep down, we were both nervous and neither one of us had the courage to act.
So I wrote another letter. I picked an ad where having sex was clearly the goal. I laid it on thick this time, but didn't send a photo. I hated giving away good pictures of myself that I never got back. A few days later, Cheryl called. She had this cigarette-smoking, tough-girl voice, but it was sexy, and she was very matter-of-fact. She was young, early twenties, same as me, and she gave me a detailed physical description of herself (height, weight, bra size, always emphasizing very attractive) and let me know that fucking "her old man" was out of the question and she wouldn't lay a hand on mine. We arranged to meet at my favorite snotty art bar, the New French Café. "You'll know me because I'll be wearing a black jumpsuit," she said. Jumpsuit. My heart sank a bit. The only place you could get a black jumpsuit was at the Army surplus or Frederick's of Hollywood. I imagined her to look like one of the go-go dancers on Laugh-In: big hairsprayed curls and mondo cleavage stuffed in a low-cut, bell-bottomed spandex capsule.
I wore black, too: leather jacket, dark sweater, jeans. And I think my hair was black then, fashionably unbrushed and matted with gobs of gel. Greg showed up in his usual plaid flannel shirt over some rock T-shirt, which may have been "The Cramps: Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?," his long dark hair equally shocked with styling goo. He had "I can't believe you're doing this" pasted on his face. I ordered a glass of Côte du Rhône; he had scotch. It was a late afternoon in winter, still light out. I usually tried to wake up before the sun went down again.
I picked out Cheryl like a cherry when she walked in. Cleavage and everything, just like I pictured it. And she was very attractive in a working-class way. Her sexy outfit was expected but sincere. She wore dark eye shadow and bright pink lipstick. I watched heads turn, not because she was that beautiful, but because nobody would come to the New French dressed like that. When she sat down, I wanted to reach over and touch her downy, powder-puff skin. Her man, on the other hand, was a greaseball. He had a bad haircut and a big gut and a mustache. Let's call him John. I was very thankful for the anti-cock swap arrangement.
Just like on the phone, Cheryl got right down to business. She basically said that she and John, let's call him, answered a lot of ads and were always looking for new thrills. She wanted the four of us to go out to dinner one night, to "get to know each other," and then we'd go back to their house and do it. Greg suggested he bring along something from his girl/girl collection. "But he don't touch me and you don't touch him," she reiterated. Thank God.
She dictated a very particular dress code: "I want you to wear something on top that's tight and really low-cut and a miniskirt with thigh-high, spike-heeled boots. Stockings and a garter belt, of course" Uh, okay. I didn't own any of these items, except the miniskirt, but I didn't want to tell her that. While Cheryl was dressing me up like a total slut, the guys were talking and snorting, bonding in that guy way. I think they were talking about beer. We made plans for the following Sunday.
The next night, I got a call from Cheryl asking if I'd like to come over to their house and spend some time getting to know each other, as she put it. I said okay, but told her that Greg was working and so I wasn't gonna do anything, if that's what she had in mind, without him there. They picked me up and we drove to their Minneapolis suburban home. In the car I noticed that Cheryl was wearing panty hose; not cotton tights or colored stockings, but these No Nonsense suntan-colored panty hose. The dinosaur of hosiery. I felt bad for mentally picking on her panty hose, but they were so strangely out-of-date. I began to wonder if I could really get to know a person who wore beige panty hose.
Their house was tiny with paneling in the living room and a lime-green shag carpet. I sat down at the kitchen table in a chair with a wrought-iron back and puffy, flowered vinyl on the seats. John handed me a Schlitz. He asked me what I did for a living. "I'm in film school," I said. He worked in a factory, I think. Then Cheryl wanted to show me some of the other responses she'd gotten to her ad.
She and I went into the bedroom, and she plopped a big cardboard box on the bed. One by one, she showed me photos and letters from the girls who wanted to play with her. It had never even occurred to me to send a naked picture of myself, much less one with my legs spread wide and a dildo in my pussy. I was shocked, simply shocked, that people would send this hard-core, possibly incriminating stuff through the mail to some stranger at a P.O. Box. No wonder I didn't get lucky the first time around. The letters were just as explicit, outlining how much they loved to eat pussy or how they wouldn't do anal, and of course how disease-free and very attractive they were. Well, who's going to admit their unattractive piggishness, right?
As we were looking through the stuff, Cheryl started rubbing my leg. Her skirt was hiking up her thighs and I now saw that she was not, in fact, wearing panty hose, but flesh-colored nylons and an industrial-strength garter belt. I couldn't decide if that was better or worse than the panty hose. When she saw me looking at her legs, she leaned over and kissed me. Her mouth was soft and I liked the way she kissed. Then, out of nowhere, greasy John appeared in the doorway, hand on his crotch. I gotta go, I said. She reminded me about the clothing requirements for our date. I admitted that I didn't have any thigh-high boots, so she made me try on several pairs of hers. I hoped for black, but the only ones that fit were an ugly tan with a thick broken heel. It was hard to feel sexy in tan boots, but I reminded myself to be open to new experiences.
A few days later I got another call from Cheryl. She wanted to take me lingerie shopping. Immediately I flashed on one of those contrived Penthouse-type letters where two innocent girls are seduced in the dressing room of the bra department by some horny saleslady. But I did need that stocking and garter belt get-up, so I agreed to join her.
We ended up at a suburban mall, but neither Cheryl nor any of the salespeople seemed the least bit interested in attacking me. In fact, Cheryl seemed quite nonchalant about the whole thing. She didn't even ogle as my naked breasts slipped from bra to bustier. She sat on a tiny stool outside the dressing room, dryly indicating her preferences. I picked out a white, lacy set. "Now remember," she said, "always put the stockings and garter on first, then the panties. That way you can take the panties off without having to undo everything." On the way home she told me how she occasionally worked as a stripper, both in clubs and at bachelor parties, and about some of the other personal ad experiences she'd had. "But you know, I'm really just looking for a friend," she said. "Someone I can hang out and do stuff with, like go bowling."
The Sunday of our sordid affair finally arrived. I spent the afternoon getting dolled up in my new clothes. I piled on the eyeliner and made my hair really big with lots of spray. I remembered to put the panties on over the garter belt and tried to get as much cleavage going as possible. Ah, the boots. Now I was painted. I felt like an actor in an absurd and darkly erotic theatrical performance. My prior meetings with Cheryl had been the rehearsals for opening night. And while the meticulously premeditated sex scene gave me a sense of what to expect, it also sliced off bits of spontaneity. I wondered if I might feel the same calculated degree of excitement if we'd picked up a woman in a bar.
Cheryl and John picked us up at my place in the early evening. The deal was that Cheyl would pick a place to have dinner. I assumed it would be someplace nice, and most importantly, dark and mood-setting. Instead we ended up at a family restaurant, a Denny's knockoff, right at the highway exit. It was blindingly bright, with glowing orange booths and plenty of screaming children. The place didn't even have a liquor license. I teetered through the door in my high-heeled boots, looking like a Hollywood whore, and feeling the burn of a thousand eyeballs. I wanted to explain to every single patron that, hey, I don't usually look like this, but that would have been impractical. The waitress sneered at us and I knew she was thinking, Hookers. Dinner couldn't have been over fast enough.
Back at their house, I finally started to unwind with a few slugs off of a Schlitz. John rolled a joint while Greg fiddled with the VCR, cueing up his favorite vibrator scene. Then the doorbell rang. Cheryl put her eye to the peephole and screamed, "Oh shit, it's my dad!" She waved her arms insanely at John, indicating he should hide the pot and mouthed, "Turn that fucking thing off!" to Greg. "Hi, Daddy" I heard her say, sweet as pie, when she opened the door. Daddy had come, tool set in hand, to fix something. Cheryl gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, then made a few frantic introductions.
"So how do you know Cheryl?" he asked me. My mouth hung open for about ten years, until Cheryl made up some lie. Bowling. Or maybe it was a party. "Well, seeing as you have company, I guess I'll come back tomorrow to fix that thing," he said. Oh no, stay, I thought. Stay for a porno movie and watch your little girl get banged! I held my breath until he left.
I don't remember how long it took for everyone's edginess to dissolve but eventually Cheryl and I ended up in the middle of the living room floor on a blanket in our underwear. Greg and John sat quietly on opposite ends of the sofa, watching. We made out for a while, slowly peeling off each other's bras. With the new panty trick I'd learned, the stockings and garter stayed in place, although I actually tried to take my stockings off at one point because they started bagging at the knee and I thought it looked rather unappealing. "Keep them on," Cheryl whispered in my ear.
Exactly how I licked and sucked her or what she did to me is a melted-down dream, except for this: She brought out a strap-on dildo and told me to use it on her. It was a slender, pink rubber cock, attached to two white elastic straps. The dildo itself was hollow and looked oddly clinical. (It wasn't until much later that I learned it was really a penis-extender, designed so a man could slip his cock inside of it and make himself "bigger." Makes me kinda wonder about John.) I didn't want my naïveté to show, so I stuck my legs through the straps and Cheryl got on all fours. Just as I was getting the hang of it -- I mean it's not very easy trying to maneuver a piece of plastic that's belted to your crotch with a couple of rubber bands -- one of the strands snapped.
"Oh, that happens all the time," John said and held out his hand in an offer to fix it.
I didn't have a mind-blowing orgasm. I don't think Cheryl did either. We just stopped, I think, when Cheryl detected a feeble moan from John. Strangely enough, neither one of the guys took out their cocks and beat off during the show. Etiquette, perhaps. John didn't whip it out, so Greg decided he wouldn't either. But in the end, John did have a large wet spot on the front of his jeans and had obviously been doing some discreet grinding.
Our good-byes were polite. I expected to have trouble tearing myself away from such a landmark moment, but what I really wanted was to be alone with Greg. We called a cab and went home.
I didn't hear from Cheryl the next day or the next week or in the following months. After all that, the pornographic reality just folded up into an odd and not particularly sexy memory. Occasionally I'd find a snapshot from the event floating in the front of my brain and I'd say to Greg, "Remember when her dad came over?" or "I can't believe that dildo broke."
Nine months later, I went to interview my first porn star, Bunny Bleu, for my cut-and-paste xerox sex 'zine, "Magnet School." I walked into the adult bookstore on Hennepin Avenue and through the crowd saw Bunny having her picture taken with a fan. She and another woman were standing with their backs to the camera, arms around each other's shoulders. "Okay, on the count of three turn your heads around and smile," said the Polaroid photographer. When the flash went off, Bunny turned and smiled and so did Cheryl. Then Cheryl turned completely around and she was very pregnant.
She waddled over to me and gave me a hug. "I'm just here havin' a picture for John because he's in jail," she said. "DUI. He cracked up the car really bad, but he's okay. Baby's due in a few weeks. You're doing a sex magazine, huh? Send me a copy when it's finishe...
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