TUE., AUG. 5, 2003
Since the personals became such a huge phenomenon back in the early Nineties, publishers have been devoting increasing amounts of space to love/dating/sex-themed content. The idea being, perhaps, that those using the personals need help above and beyond a phone number for a lunch date. The result has been an overwhelming glut of advice columns, many interesting and informative, some not. It would be a gross understatement to say that the advice column has been beaten like a dead horse over the past decade. Rather, it has been pounded flat like road kill. Because seemingly there is no untraversed feature of the human anatomy/psychology, the emphasis in advice columns has shifted from the mundane neuroses of Middle America to something more closely resembling a Marquis de Sade therapy session. These days, if you’re not exquisitely versed on binding hamster legs, safe scrotal shaving, colonic irrigation, and fisting you’re probably not getting much print space. It could well be that America has finally, truly uncorked its inhibitions and is revealing its inner superfreak, or perhaps advice columns have become the sensationalized, Ricki Lake style mutant magnets of the print/online world. Either way, it’s fun on a huge, turgid, throbbing stick. One of the better columns these days is the “Em & Lo Down,” written by Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey for Nerve.com. Each week Em & Lo give near expert advice on everything from hickies to coochie cleanliness to anal sex with a strap-on. Occasionally they’ll even throw in some advice on dating or placing personal ads – the terminally long filler material in the porn flicks of most lives. Em & Lo definitely know the ups and downs of sex and dating, but what makes them special in the advice world is their willingness to take it from readers. The result is that everyone gets edified and hopefully, in the end, satisfied. With any luck that’s what will happen this Tuesday at BookPeople when local writer and raconteur Spike Gillespie hosts a book signing for Em & Lo to promote their new book, The Big Bang: Nerve’s Guide to the New Sexual Universe ($25, Plume). Along with Em & Lo’s standard Q&A session on sex, lucky locals will be treated to their Anal Sex Safety Lecture, for which Em & Lo will be decked out in full flight attendant garb – as well as (knock, knock, are we still in Austin?) porno-funk-smut music by the Polished Skull of Jackie Collins which, rumor has it, is made up of members of Grupo Fantasma and the Blue Noise Band, as if those names weren’t sexy enough.