After six years as a “serious” erotic author – as opposed to someone who used to write for herself and then file them away in a box in the attic – I’ve grown wearily accustomed to the response I receive when somebody asks me what kind of books I write. Not from everybody, and certainly not from other writers… well, not many of them, anyway.
But step into the real world, or even worse, the dating pool, and suddenly I’m not a writer; I’m not even a woman. I’m a one-stop agony aunt, who might possibly double as a casual date, a ship in the night, or even a simple f*ck buddy. As in, “hey Chrissie, you like sex – want to help an old friend out?”
Viewed dispassionately, it’s a fascinating situation. If I wrote crime stories, I very much doubt that people would be expecting me to murder them. Espionage? Probably not – besides, I’ve never looked good with a camera concealed inside my best bow tie (thanks to Simon and Garfunkel for that image). And so on. It’s even funny in a way; I seriously cannot begin to count how many gentlemen have befriended me on Facebook, checked out a few of the links on my profile, and then written to ask how they can persuade their significant other to perform certain acts. Some of them are even sincere.
But then you run into the assholes and, for some reason, there’s a lot of them in publishing. One example. A while back, I had to call up an editor, a man, to sort out payment for a story I’d written. The kid who answered the phone didn’t even put me on hold; he just shouted across the office, “hey, it’s the girl who likes to suck cock.”
I was horrified. Again, if I wrote murder mysteries, it wouldn’t be “the girl who likes killing people’”; if I wrote historical novels, I wouldn’t be “the girl who likes beheading her servants.” But, because it’s erotica and, presumably, because the story in question featured a lot of oral sex, I wasn’t even have a person any longer. Just a walking, talking prediliction.
So, a couple of questions. First, I was just wondering whether anybody else here has run into similar attitudes – and how (or even if) they respond? And secondly… do male authors get the same treatment? (And would they notice it, if they did?)
Me, I might (as a kind reviewer once indelicately put it) “write good head,” but I’m a vengeful bitch as well. And I know that one day, each of these people will be putting something some place where it really doesn’t belong. And literally or figuratively, I rest assured that someone will bite the damned thing clean off.