If you, like me, owe any shred of your post-Millenial-New-York-writer-daydreams to the grand myth of Carrie Bradshaw and her preposterous shoe collection ‚Äď there's a chance you've spent some time trying to discern if there actually are sex columnists out there, writing for pithy New York weeklies and racking up a disposable income. Just in case, you know, any of these pithy New York weeklies happened to be hiring.
Image courtesy of Ibeeandthemoneytree.com
And after much exhausting, personal research, I have found an answer for you fine people: yes and no. Yes, there are candid women out there writing episodically about sex and love and relationships via their metropolitan lens. But no ‚Äď few of them do sail around in brand new Oscar de la Renta dresses every week. That's because these women often forsake relating the glamorous (read: fake) parts of a sex life in favor of being honest about the good, the bad and the ugly stuff that constitutes real life dating. Also, they're more and more likely to be ‚Äúbankrolled‚ÄĚ by their own ambition. On an awesome blog, say!
The compilation tape below ‚Äď featuring variations on the brand of ‚Äúfemale sex columnist,‚ÄĚ with dashes of my own favorites ‚Äď offers less escapism than hilarious, slightly-too-close-to-home nonfiction. And surprise! The real-talkers listed can be a lot more fun than those sweeping fictions of ENDLESS LADYLIKE BRUNCH (whereas we go for cheap and bottomless...) and MANOLO BLAHNIKS (we buy ModCloth) which SATC taught us to call the good life. So, without further ado, The Better-Than-Carries of 2014...
The Straight Fix
Lacy Warner at The L magazine writes ‚ÄúSex, Love and Brooklyn‚ÄĚ ‚Äď a thoughtful, conversational column that relates all the grit of relationships sans frills. I like Ms. Warner because her style is especially down to earth (could that be the Brooklyn talking?), and her insights are frank and often very funny.
Image courtesy of The L Magazine.
"A few weeks ago I had amazing sex. I would have even gone so far as to say it was up in my all-time top ten. But it's hard for me to give him a secure place right now, actually, because I'm still mad at him. The thing is, even though there's no denying that I physically had a good time, I didn't even like this guy that much. He is the kind of guy who is a master at 'mansplaining,' and he didn't have a sense of humor about himself at all. Case in point, when I told him his pet rat was 'steam punk' he took it as a compliment." - From "Sex, Love and Brooklyn: When Great Sex Leads to Absolutely Nothing."
The Guilty Pleasure
Jasmine Lobe's column in The New York Observer offers perhaps the most textbook soft sex writing, if such a thing can be said to exist. Her column features personal stories from her dating life, rendered in a self-serious mist of noir and gauze. Think ‚Äúsexy‚ÄĚ voiceovers in any movie made before 1950. The New York Native turned L.A.-based-actress turned New York girl-about-town-again gets my nod because she's all but a direct homage to Carrie Bradshaw creator Candace Bushnell, rhetorical reflections and all. Ms. Lobe has also endured the vitriol of both Jezebel and Gawker, which is just no fun.
Image courtesy of The New York Observer.
"My phone buzzes. Teddy Gold, my once latent L.A. lover, liked my photo. I‚Äôd love to think he can‚Äôt get me off his mind, but I heard he‚Äôs seeing someone. I guess they‚Äôve made it past texting. Will I ever get a chance to fuck him? I should really up my standards." - From "Exactly Who I'm Supposed to Be: I Was in Love With a CEO-- He Was in Love With My Potential."
The Bona Fide
Katie Heaney, BuzzFeed writer (whose new book Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Datehits stores this week) might as well be my best friend. Or me, most of the time. What makes Ms. Heaney particular among this constellation of writers is the fact that she writes about all the gaffs, internet snafus, near-misses, and the unrequited-longings-after that contain most of a REAL love life in this decade and city ‚Äď as opposed to that glittery primetime nonsense wherein every weeknight is date night. Also, according to her website, Ms. Heaney ‚Äúlikes reading and writing and UFOs.‚ÄĚ FTW. Read some of the essay-behind-the-book here.
Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.
"...The next time I saw a guy holding up a fish on Tinder in New York, I swiped right in what I proudly told myself was a selfless act of goodwill toward mankind. So, surely that earned me some amount of dating karma. It's something, right? Maybe? It's not nothing. It's definitely more than throwing my phone in the garbage and signing a blood oath to never again speak to any man. By how much, I cannot say." - From "Why I Decided to Believe in Dating Karma."
The Genre Heavyweight
Emily Gould, of Emily Magazine and EmilyBooks, has danced across blogging and now makes straight for the pantheon of serious memoirists. Her 2010 book, And the Heart Says Whatever, is a nostalgia-ridden look at the author's New York City adolescence, centered about her tenure at Gawker-da-gossip-site and her disintegrating relationship with a first love. Ms. Gould writes well about dating and sex, but she does so within the cozy context of her whole life. Reading her book or blog feels like being invited into someone's diary ‚Äď a very self-effacing and curious someone's diary. Look for her new novel soon.
Image courtesy of Salon.com
"I looked at Keith and felt the way Liz Phair succinctly describes feeling in 'Love is Nothing': ‚ÄúI thought, ‚ÄėWho am I?‚Äô Who‚Äôs this guy?‚Äô As Liz sings, love is nothing like they say. It‚Äôs better and worse, and it‚Äôs not, I guess, describable. I didn‚Äôt feel ready to tell anyone that I was engaged... the idea of sharing the news on social media felt completely wrong. And then that feeling itself also felt wrong; who am I, I thought, to feel this way?" - From the writer's blog, at Emily Magazine.
Lindsay King-Miller at The Hairpin dispenses candid advice for all types ‚Äď from her de facto perspective as a queer woman. Her column, ‚ÄúAsk a Queer Girl,‚ÄĚ is not necessarily a space for personal anecdotes (it is in fact, more along the lines of our own fantastic advice column in the print, courtesy of Carol Queen) ‚Äď but Ms. King-Miller is getting a shout-out because her column is so utterly no-holds-barred. From ‚Äúembracing your inner Bridezilla‚ÄĚ to ‚Äúthe Lesbian Internet,‚ÄĚ this writer is savvy yet conversational with all things sex, which is quite refreshing. And she's less pithy than direct.
Image courtesy of The Hairpin.
"Hello there, buttercups! It's 2014 and I have a custom-made New Year's resolution for each person whose question I'm answering this month. They're locally made, vegan, and they come in each of your personal favorite colors (with or without glitter, as you prefer). Here is your resolution, darlin', and I'd like you to repeat after me / say it as a mantra every morning when you wake up / write it on your mirror in lipstick / get it tattooed backwards on your chest Memento-style: 'This year, I resolve to stop blaming myself for the people who have treated me badly.'" - From the writer's latest column.
...Of course I omitted here some of the ladies you should have heard of by now (Chelsea Handler, Sloane Crosley...) and thousands of others you've yet to discover on your own merry treks across the internet. But rejoice, regardless! So maybe there isn't a real city authority on women's sexuality, out there having all the adventures you can't afford. But there are actual and unafraid diarists out there who will talk about your sex life for you, with you, and right there next to you.