Thursday, 6 February 2014

Book of the Month: Girl with A One Track Mind Exposed (Zoe Margolis)

On page 257 of what is best described as her memoir, Girl With A One Track Mind—Exposed, Abby Lee (real name Zoe Margolis) describes a conversation with a friend, which, for a change, is not preceded or followed by or in the midst of sex. This female friend, who is identified as Cathy, demands sex tips from Margolis, reminding her that she wrote a whole book about her sex life. Margolis protests that the book was not solely about sex; there was a lot of psychoanalytical and political deconstruction of events and feelings, rather than just descriptions of bodily functions; it was not an erotica. The friend responds by saying, ‘Yeah, yeah—but there was a lot of shagging in it.’ Margolis sportingly concedes the point. There then follows a three pages long—I kid you not—dialogue between the two friends during the course of which Margolis explains, using fingers as a substitute to aid the demonstration, how to give a perfect blow-job. Here is just one of the many useful tips: it is essential to keep a glass of water handy, which will keep you hydrated (in the eventuality, I guess, of it going on for so long that you run the risk of collapsing of dehydration) as well as ensure that your mouth is moist. It would appear that giving a blow job is not just about sucking a dick; there is lot more to it than just sucking a dick, just as there is a lot more to Irish alcoholism than just drinking Guinness. I was left admiring the considerable thought Ms Margolis has given to this subject. And, in her case, she has backed up the theory with practice. This is a woman who has sucked a lot of cocks.
I borrowed Girl With A One Track Mind—Exposed from the local library, hoping for some light entertainment, and also hoping, if I am honest (isn’t it curious, the use of phrases such as ‘to be honest’, ‘if truth be told’?: as if we all lie as a rule, and feel it necessary to warn others when we become aware of an impending attack of sincerity—but I digress), for a modicum of filth.

Did I know who Abby Lee was? Yes and No. I had seen her first book Girl With A One Track Mind: Confessions of the Seductress Next Door in the Waterstone’s a few years ago, although I had not bought it at the time. There were a few reasons for that. Firstly, the title and the picture of a woman wearing only knickers put me off a bit. It would be embarrassing for a bloke to even go to the counter with a book, which is a cross between a girlie book and an erotica. The second reason was that I did not want to spend money on the book even though it was included in the 3-for-2 offer at Waterstone’s. On the cover 4 of the paperback edition brief information was given about the author. The author was Abby Lee, who had run a highly popular blog entitled Girl With A One Track Mind, for a few years, and the book was essentially a compilation of her blog postings—at least that was the impression I remember forming at the time. And, the tightwad that I am, I thought why waste money on buying the book when I could go to the website and read it for free? Thirdly, I thought, the book would become a tad monotonous. In as far as I made out, this woman, Abby Lee, had put herself about in order to have sex with a lot of men, and then written about her experiences on her blog. There is not going to be a great deal of variation in the descriptions: after all there are only so many orifices, so many cocks (at a time), so many positions, so many locales, and only so much one can do. If you have read one such posting, you have read all. (This is probably more a reflection of my restricted imagination.) I did not know that the book also offered a “psychoanalytical and political deconstruction of events and feelings, rather than just descriptions of bodily functions”.  Finally, I assumed that by giving a miss to a diary describing escapades of a sex-blogger I was hardly going to miss out on the next Saul Bellow. All in all, I concluded that the book would not be a good value for money. I knew that Abby Lee was a pseudonym of the writer; but all the brouhaha surrounding her outing completely passed me by (again a reflection on the restricted, uninteresting life I lead than anything else).

Sometime back I read Paul Carr’s hilarious and immensely readable Bringing Nothing to the Party, a chronicle of his failed attempt to become a web millionaire in one year. In the book, while discussing web celebrities, Carr devotes a page or two to Abby Lee, a.k.a. the Girl With A One Track Mind. It was then that I realised that Abby Lee was in real life Zoe Margolis and that the Sunday Times had outed her days after her book was published. Carr had also described how Margolis, in her Revanchist fury, created something called a ‘google bomb’ directed at the editor who had removed her cloak of anonymity, which I thought was quite funny. Sometime ago, Margolis wrote a blog on the Guardian website, giving its readers the benefit of her views on sex education in Faith Schools. It was a well written article and I found myself in agreement with what she was saying. However, I would be lying if I said that my admiration wasn’t a tinged with jealousy: firstly—it was the sign of times we live in, I thought (shaking my head), that a woman whose only claim to fame was that she slept with a lot of men and wrote on a blog about it had come to be regarded as something of an expert on all matters sexual; and secondly I could not write half as well as she even if my life depended on it.

So, when I spotted the book Girl With A One Track Mind Exposed in the local library, I hastily put it in the bag. It was, as I was expecting, an easy read—I finished it in a couple of days—and, as I was hoping, was full of filth.

The book is in a diary format and seems to be a compilation of Margolis’s postings on her blog—which she has continued with even after her true identity was revealed—and entries in her personal diary, probably written for the book. It is funny in parts; I enjoyed the entries made under ‘Girl’s Guide’. (In the “Girl’s Guide for Summer—for Men’, the first tip is: “Wash your armpits and wear an anti-perspirant deodorant. Stinking out a tube carriage in summer is just rude.”)

On the flip side, the book, as I suspected, became a tad monotonous after the first hundred pages. In this memoir, Margolis approaches a few themes repetitively, albeit from different angles, metaphorically speaking. These, in no particular order of importance, are as follows:

    •          Having sex is healthy. Talking about it is healthier. Ergo, having a lot of sex and talking all the time about it is a very healthful combination.
    •          Women need to be assertive and should set the boundaries clearly. Therefore when a guy is straddling you with the tip of his erect penis the length of your forearm uncomfortably close to your nostrils, you tell him politely but firmly that you do not want him to come on your face, and guide his dick (politely but firmly) to your breasts.
    •          There are lots of women out there who lack self-confidence. The reason women don’t climax as often as they ought to is they are insecure and unfamiliar with their bodies and lack confidence in bed. Solution? Wank a lot, which would give you an idea what works for you.
    •          Be open to new ideas and experimentation so long as it does not mutate into perversity. It was only after she was f**ked doggie style that Ms Margolis made the discovery that her G spot was best reached in that position.
    •          When you have made your reputation as a sex blogger hiding behind a pseudonym, it becomes a bit difficult to write about your sexual exploits with the same gay abundance as before, after you are outed. (Indeed, if you have deluded yourself into believing that you have become a celebrity and are instantly recognised everywhere you go, on the questionable evidence that a couple of D-list television celebrities contacted you and you had sex with them in some grimy hotel room in London, it may temporarily result in a loss of confidence in your prowess in chatting up men.)
    •          When you have made your reputation as a sex blogger hiding behind a pseudonym, and when your parents and close friends are unaware of what you have been up to in your spare time, it leads to many a monumentally embarrassing situation, after you are outed.
    •         Finally, shagging like a jack-rabbit is no guarantee that you would form a happy, fulfilling relationship (although it should be pointed out that the converse is not necessarily true: you are probably even less likely to meet someone to have a fair go at forming a happy and fulfilling relationship if you don’t shag).

While you do not necessarily have any issues with any of the above, you do wonder whether it could not have been put forth more concisely, say, in 150 pages instead of 320 plus?

The reader is also made privy to a lot of personal information about Ms Margolis, some of which is given below:

    •          Ms Margolis has very large breasts of which she is very proud. The breasts, she will thank you to keep in mind, are extremely sensitive, and at the merest touch, her nipples become rock hard.
    •          Ms Margolis loves to take up the shithole.
    •          Ms Margolis loves to be spanked on her buttocks
    •      Orgasms come as easily to Ms Margolis as shitting. She can climax up to six to eight times in a session (which suggests that they come more easily than shitting).
    •          Ms Margolis’s orgasms are so intense that on occasions she, rather her vagina, expelled the cock with the sheer force of contraction.
    •          On one occasion Ms Margolis climaxed so forcefully that the bedclothes underneath her became soaking wet. She is thus in a position to confirm that women can squirt too; it is not just a myth spread by the porn industry.
    •          Ms Margolis is very horny when she is having her periods. Actually she is horny pretty much all the time; she is—shall we say?—at her horniest when she is having her periods.
    •          Ms Margolis likes to wank. A lot.
    •          Ms Margolis is bi-curious.

All of this is about as interesting and fascinating about, say, reading the dietary habits of Emperor Bokassa. I mean, it is kind of interesting to know that he used to eat children for dinner, but beyond that what? I should hazard a guess that not many women would open their backdoors to men just because Ms Margolis does.
Finally, no amount of pseudoscientific exposition and deconstructive theories can disguise the fact that the book is full of sexually explicit and filthy (albeit grippingly filthy) details that tread a fine line between main stream literature and pornography. The only reason I would not describe the book as porn despite its almost-pornographic content is because of Ms Margolis’s repeated assertions throughout the book that her aim is not to titillate. So, if any of the male readers of these memoirs experiences—while reading the description of a man sitting astride Ms Margolis’s legs and stroking himself and exclaiming ‘Fuck! Your tits are fantastic!’, as she leans over him and presses her breasts together and slides them over his erect member, her nipples pressing against him—more than a soupcon of frisson, it is not because she wants to titillate; they should not pass the blame on to her and take responsibility for their own reactions, however involuntary.

The Girl With A One Track Mind Exposed exposes the limited shelf-lives of Web celebrities like Margolis. Her blog, as per Cover 2 of the paperback edition, became hugely popular and attracted over 7 million visitors. It was named as ‘the world’s most famous sex blog’. No doubt Ms Margolis would have preferred to remain hidden behind the Abby Lee persona, which would have allowed her to carry on disemboguing into ether the juicy titbits of her sexual encounters (which may have inadvertently titillated some or more of the male visitors to her blog), and which she would have published periodically as books. You might say that her attitude towards the proverbial cake was pro having it and pro eating it. What she found out was the more popular her blog became, the more the media became prurient and eventually her true identity was revealed. And the revelation removed at one stroke the attrait of her fame: her anonymity.  She, as they say, had it coming.

It seems to me that Margolis has milked her sexblogging persona for all it is worth and it is about time she gives up her nom de Plume for good, and directs her considerable writing talents in some other direction. How about a juicy novel?