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April 10, 2011

Tracy Clark-Flory: A Tribute





Your honor, may it please the court, allow me
some leeway to justify this photo


Tracy Clark-Flory is the Ichiro of bloggers: prolific, tireless, and yet consistently exciting.* If there is another online writer who lures me into as many clicks and forces me to read to the end of a post as often as Tracy does, I can’t think of that writer's name. That, however, may simply be a symptom of age.

Recent Tracy posts bear such lascivious titles as “Is a Dirty Mind a Sharper Mind?”, “”Is Kink the New Girl-on-Girl Kiss?”, “Why Do We Care So Much About ‘Porn for Women’?”, and “The ‘Live Sex Show’ Professor Speaks,” and if you don’t believe that I typed those links into this paragraph primarily to lure errant traffic to this site, then you don’t know me. But they are also there for you to click on, and highly recommended.

If you do know me, you may suspect that I’m beating Tracy’s drum for her out of friendship or obligation—I believe the more correct metaphor in the trade is “log-rolling.” Not so. In fact, quite the contrary. Prior to the publication of my book Wussie: In Praise of Spineless Men, I arranged for the offer of an advance copy to be sent to her, only to have it ignored. Of course, that offer was ignored by nearly all the hundred-odd bloggers and critics to whom it was sent, but still: Tracy’s snub left the deepest scar. So you see, my only relationship with Tracy is one of mono-directional admiration, a thing of a piece with my connection to Linda Ronstadt during freshmen year, but with less explosive orgasms.

But back to Tracy Clark-Flory. Here, at long last, is someone who writes with a fierce and yet calm intelligence, always from a female perspective and often from a feminist one, about the same topics that interest me! What's not to like about that? Some of my selections for a best hits collection:


Mark Sanchez and the Thrill of Dating Older Men: Women who had affairs as teen girls talk about what they learned -- and what they regret
The NFL quarterback’s dalliance with a seventeen-year-old high school student provides a springboard for conversations with women who had similar relationships in their pre-legal years. The must-read appeal here is pretty obvious if you’ve read, or even just skimmed, my first book, the final third of which details my relationship with a nineteen-year-old Japanese woman when I was more than twice her age.

I wrote mainly about how the relationship (and its ending) impacted me, partly because I’m astonishingly and proudly self-centered but also in part because the impact on the young lady seemed nonexistent or at least utterly opaque to me, and thus would have made for a short and dull chapter. But this column gave me valuable insight into my paramour’s perspective on a life-altering episode for both of us.


Men Feel the Vibe: Once seen as a threat to masculinity, straight men are finding that sex toys give them some sexual swagger
Initially, I was disappointed to discover that the sex toys referenced are not for straight men themselves but for the pleasure of their partners. I quickly recovered, though, and was pleased to learn something about what those dad-blasted young Americans are up to over there in America.

And anyway, haven’t there been enough posts about sex toys for men by now?


Does "friends with benefits" work?
Tracy’s conclusion is, essentially: No. That doesn’t stop her from going on for in excess of 1400 words on the topic, but I’m in no position to cast stones, loggorheic-posts-wise.

More accurately, Tracy’s answer to the question seems to be “No—unless you’re gay.” For gay men, friends with benefits evidently works like all get-out. To which I say, “God damn you, gay men!", pausing to add in my best Charlton Heston impression: “Damn you to hell!”


Busted! When private toys go public
Tracy is almost as shameless at milking the sex-toy teat for clicks as I am, but I suspect she rewards her clickers better than I do. This is a collection of tales by sex-toy owners (all women) who have had their prized possessions eyeballed by assorted roommates, children, movers, and firefighters.

I've gone on at length both on this site and in my recent book about the unthinkable mortification that would attend the discovery of my Rolling Fella Bomber, but have I ever told you about the dream I had a few years back? The one where I came across a stream, and there were all these Rolling Fella Bombers swimming prettily in it, like carp? And all these people kept staring at the Fella Bombers and then at me, back and forth? Because they seemed to think that all the prettily swimming Fella Bombers belonged to me? No? Well, remind me to do that one of these days.


Undress your Facebook Friends: FalseFlesh is a creepy app that promises to turn real-life acquaintances into sex objects
In case you didn’t know, FalseFlesh is…well, I guess it’s best described as “a series of tubes.” A series of tubes, that is, that lets you see a random guess as to what your Facebook friends might look like naked.

I’m proud to say that I have no interest in FalseFlesh—not because it’s creepy but because it’s expensive, and probably not nearly as good at imagining my friends naked as I am, given the amount of daily practice that I devote to that activity.

My take on this issue, as partly presented in this space before, is:

FalseFlesh bad; masturbating to images of acquaintances on Facebook good.

So I was a bit taken aback to read Tracy’s uncharacteristically prudish and somewhat naïve take on the latter concept. “For a generation weaned on an endless supply of free virtual sex objects,” she observes, “it can be kind of novel and exciting to flip through photos and fantasize about an actual real-life acquaintance…”

Not sure how fantasy works for women, but strumming off to female acquaintances is hardly a novel concept for men of any age, regardless of the availability of porn. I’m pretty sure I can speak for nearly all men (except maybe those goddam gays) in saying that pictures of known quantities have always trumped porn starlets and always will. For every load of seed that gets spilled over Mika Tan, ten other loads are spilled over that one hot chick in Comp Lit. The Rathskeller waitress who works on Thursdays will always trump Lacey Tom. Seems like Tracy ought to know that.


Designer Vaginas: Plastic surgeons are performing genital surgery to mimic porn-star chic.
This may seem an odd choice, given my previously stated position on vaginas and the obsolescence of same, but the title grabbed me. As someone who has experienced elective surgery Down There himself, I had a built-in interest, and this article reveals Tracy flashing her formidable research chops.

It’s said that a great orator can hold a crowd’s interest while reading the phone book. By the same token, it takes a great writer to pull a man of my ilk all the way through a post about vaginal surgery.

And Tracy Clark-Flory is that writer, ladies and gentlemen.


Addendum

Despite the ongoing efforts of Matt Drudge and Arianna Huffington to assure us that WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE OF RADIATION POISONING, life here in Yokohama goes on calmly and peacefully.

While I can complain of no personal hardships, the tragedies that occurred up north last month have had an impact on my day job, as a result of which I will probably be unable to continue attending to this blog on a bi-weekly basis for the next few months. At least, that is my excuse, and I plan to stick to it.

The series of posts I wrote as the crisis in Japan unfolded can be seen here.



* One suspects that Tracy would probably take more pitches, though. I mean, Jesus, Ichiro, would it kill you to draw a few walks?