What’s So Sexy About

Blinded with Science: The Enduring Appeal of the Hot Geek

My love affair with the intellectual started early. I was in middle school, struggling with the choice between Dracula and Edward Rochester, when I fell in with Sherlock Holmes. He was absolutely brilliant, and he could not have been less interested in women. Sure, he was a bit of a bad boy. He smoked, and let’s face it, the man had a drug problem. Still. It was riveting to watch him think, and I loved that he wouldn’t engage in all sorts of foolishness to impress women.

(I’m still all about Holmes, but just the one from the Conan Doyle books. No other Holmes holds a candle to the original.)

The modern geek is something of a phenomenon these days. He’s a little different now. For one thing, he’s a lot more likely to be successful with the opposite sex. But his appeal is still based on the same few classic characteristics.

He seems unaware of his masculine wiles. His laser-beam focus is generally trained on something other than the pursuit of women, which paradoxically gives women the chance to observe him without interruption. He’ll frown at his notes, the cute little furrow appearing between his brows. He’ll rub his poor tired eyes. He’ll spend hours and hours in single-minded pursuit of his obsession, whatever it might be. He’s on fire with passion for something, whether it’s the secrets of space flight or a cure for disease, and what woman doesn’t want a man who can be passionate about his life’s work?

He has no game. At all. When he’s into you, it’s not just to make you another conquest. He’s not trying to get away with something. Honestly, he was probably paying attention to something else when you entered his world. Once he’s committed, though, he’ll choose to pursue you with his whole mind, even if he doesn’t really know what to do once he has your attention. It’s WYSIWYG at its finest.

And then there’s the physical. The little dorky touches like his bowtie, or his comic book t-shirts. The way his glasses draw attention to his eyes. The frustrated little twist that takes his mouth by the corner when he’s figuring something out. The long fingers on a keyboard or wrapped around a pencil. He’s hot, in a very specific way.

The hot geek isn’t rare, really. He’s just elusive. Since he has no game and has no idea that he’s attractive, he’s not out on the town looking for women. He’s got other things to occupy his time. When you find one in the wild, buy him a drink. It’ll make him blush and fidget in the cutest way.

My book, ILLICIT IMPULSE, features a hot geek, John March. His passion is women, actually; he studies the things that bring women and men together and the things they’ll do when they get there. So why can’t he figure out how to escape Grace Foley’s friend zone? Is he overcomplicating matters, or are things really not as they seem?

John’s going to discover the answers – the ones he asked for and some extras – in ILLICIT IMPULSE, which is available March 1 from Ellora’s Cave.

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Day on Bond on Bond

Mom and I have a long-running argument about who is the best James Bond. Don’t laugh. I bet you have debates like this in your family, too. Mom says it’s Sean Connery. I cannot agree.

“Roger Moore is the real James Bond,” I said.

Mom was incredulous. She could not believe that a well-educated, sophisticated woman like me would choose Roger Moore over Sean Connery. But I do. Roger Moore was my first Bond – A View to a Kill was the first Bond movie I ever saw – and I think everyone has a certain loyalty to her first Bond. Having seen all the other Bonds (except Daniel – it’s a personal thing), I find I would still choose Roger Moore. His Bond, with apologies to Yul Brynner, is Bond.

This Christmas, Mom acknowledged the special place in my heart that James and Roger share, and she gave me a copy of Bond on Bond, written by Sir Roger himself. The book is really a memoir of sorts, a guided tour through the Bond franchise, complete with insider stories and photos. The writing is wonderful; I feel like I’m sitting across the table from my favorite Bond. But if the pictures serve to remind me of the Bond I fell in love with all those years ago, the memoir as a whole is tailor-made for a woman on the cusp of a milestone birthday.

Roger Moore was 45 when he took up the mantle of Bond. Never too late to start doing something magical, is it? Our society starts trying to convince us that we’re too old to do things at 30 or so. I’m so inspired to hear that my favorite Bond was over 40 when he became 007.

Roger doesn’t take himself too seriously. The true joy of the book, the center of its conversational voice, is his gently self-deprecating humor. He doesn’t have anything to prove. He can look back on that remarkable period of his life, which includes Moonraker, the space movie, with the grace and confidence that can only come from someone who has thoroughly enjoyed his time in the sun but has moved on to another place, that is just as sunny in its own way.

He’s generous with praise for the other Bonds. No one’s a competitor, and no one’s an outsider (not even Daniel). Roger treats the other Bonds as if they’re part of a family. A really weird family where you might flip your car through a corkscrew turn on the way to the grocery store.

Back then, I wanted to be James Bond. Tonight, almost 30 years later, I still do.

Do I dare to open the debate here in the comments? I do. I do dare.

My Heart Belongs to Paper … but the Kindle is Pretty Awesome

This Christmas, Mom and I elected to join the 21st century, already in progress. We got each other Kindles. We do not need to do anything on the Kindle other than read, so we got the little one with the ads. We are both hard-core book addicts. Mom started me using when I was just a kid, and now I’m trying to make my own in my house after work. We do not see how ads for other books presented on a reading device could possibly be a problem. Seriously, if you were smoking crack, and in between rocks, your pipe lit up with ads for discounts on more crack, would you ever complain about that?

I’m digressing a little. But let me just say, at the outset, that I will probably always prefer the paper book.

I’m kind of old school in this regard. I like the weight of the paper book. I like the feel of the pages. Deckled edges? Oh, yes, please! Marbled endpapers? Indeed! And the spines on the shelf! My ex gave me a three-volume definitive Sherlock Holmes set (with annotations!) that just … reassures me when I look at it. When Ray Bradbury died, I held my autographed copy of Green Shadows, White Whale and thought of his hand on the page as he signed it. I first perused Reclaiming History just because it was a hefty, hefty tome, but I bought it for the promise of reading Bugliosi on the Kennedy assassination. Sixteen hundred glorious pages, plus so many notes he had to put them on a CD-ROM. I’m drooling a little just writing about it.

I said I was addicted.

The argument for the Kindle and its ilk with regard to my chosen genre is a powerful one. Some people evidently take issue with being seen in public reading erotica. I understand. I do! I just don’t have that problem.

One night I took my copy of Fortytude to a bar and met a good-looking soldier who was also celebrating a milestone birthday – his 30th. I met a handsome intellectual who saw me reading Les Liaisons Dangereuses on the bus. The paper book shows the world not only that I do read, but it shows the world what I read, and therefore just a bit of who I am. It’s like a nametag. I personally would not have minded showing the world that I am reading Held Captive by the Cavemen. That doesn’t trouble me at all. If it troubles those sheltered souls sitting nearby, then maybe they should look into minding their own business.

But one cannot purchase a paper copy of Held Captive by the Cavemen. If one has a Kindle, though, one can have it all ready to go in less than a minute. I think it took me three clicks to put it on the machine, and now it’s waiting for me. (I need to hurry this post along, actually, so I can start reading it.)

Then I started poking around, looking for other stuff to buy. This is where the Kindle gets dangerous. Scoring a paper book takes a little effort. Hardback? Paperback? Don’t even start me on the shipping. The Kindle takes you from whim to purchase in just seconds. And so, when I found Dirty for the Kindle for just a couple of bucks, I went for it. I love Megan Hart’s work – the world she creates would be very cool to live in, even without the sex … but then there’s sex in it. A win-win if I ever saw one.

This time it only took one click. Very nice.

There’s a lot to like about the Kindle, to be sure. It’s tiny but strong. It’s discreet. It’s fast. It’s not terribly expensive. And if I’m going to be working in the realm of e-publishing – and interracial erotica all but guarantees that – I need to get comfortable with all these advantages.

The paper book is my first love, though. I will probably end up being the little old lady sitting on the park bench with a paper copy of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen. Over on the bench next to me, a mother will tell her little boy, “See, Jimmy? That lady has a paper book. Long ago, you could only get books on paper.”

And Jimmy’s going to say, “I thought they all came on rocks way back then!”

And then the little wise-ass and his mom are going to laugh. But I won’t care.

I will be too busy stealing glances over my book at that shirts vs. skins touch football game. Those guys won’t notice. The Jane Austen makes me look harmless.

You can’t do that with a Kindle. Can you?

An Exotic Dance Christmas, or Giving, Receiving, and Taking It All Off

Ready for a Christmas secret?

Everyone’s heard that it’s better to give than to receive. A lot of us have heard it from someone who wanted something. That’s not the secret.

The secret is that giving and receiving are holding hands. Don’t tell anyone. The whole world doesn’t need to know that when you make yourself available – when you give of your time, your spirit, whatever – you put yourself in line to receive some stuff.

Let me tell you a heartwarming Christmas story to illustrate this point.

‘Twas ten days before Christmas when I went to the local strip club to see the male revue. I was supposed to go with friends, but … well, of my circle of friends, I am the most likely to assign top priority to a trip to see male dancers. So I made my way alone to the club, whistling Christmas carols with a fistful of singles in the pockets of my jeans. Talk about your holiday cheer, right?

I figured the upper room that was home to the male revue would be crowded with other women ready to celebrate the male form. Kind of surprising, then, to find the place empty.

Seriously. Completely empty. This was where the cycle of giving and receiving started.

I figured that whatever happened at this point was going to be interesting. Certainly more interesting than whatever else I might have planned, which was probably reruns or something like that. At the very least, I’d get a good story for my friends. I made myself available to receive whatever opportunity presented itself in that empty upstairs room.

I walked all the way around the room, trying to figure out where the best seat actually was. Here, equidistant from the pole and the bar? Here, within reach of the stage? Decisions, decisions. I was about to try out the spot near the stage when one of my hosts emerged from behind a door near the curtain. He wasn’t much taller than I am, but I could tell he had a nice build underneath the track jacket he wore. He stopped short when he saw me, the way any good host would if he saw a guest unattended in his sitting room.

“Oh,” he said. He hurried over to the corner of the room to turn on some music. “Didn’t know anyone was here.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’m just getting here.”

He offered me a drink and then hustled out to get the bartender. Within just a few minutes, I was sitting in my own personal strip club, with my own personal bartender (himself a former dancer). While I’m hanging out, enjoying the view and looking forward to having the room all to myself, another of the dancers comes from the magical doorway near the curtain. I grinned at him and waved. He gave me a delighted smile, as if I were a good friend, and came over to join us at the bar.

As it happened, this was his very first night on the job. I asked if he was nervous.

“Nah,” he said. “Maybe a little. That’s normal, right?”

Baby Dancer was very young. He was lean but muscular, in a T-shirt that glowed under the black light. He seemed to have an awful lot of tattoos for someone who made money with his shirt off, but that was more of a curiosity to me than anything else.

“Totally normal. I’d be more worried if you weren’t nervous.”

I told Baby Dancer that I’m a dance instructor, and we were discussing the benefits of nervousness when still another dancer came through the doorway. This one was tall and very powerful looking, and wherever he goes, people likely presume he either is or could be a stripper. When he came over to the three of us at the bar, he looked me right in the eye, and for the first time, I felt as if I was being evaluated.

I evaluated him right back. Not bad at all. This has turned out to be an excellent evening already, and no one was even dancing yet. Baby Dancer explained that the man sizing me up was his mentor.

“This is his first time,” said the Mentor. The smile hid the very slight protective edge to his voice. I grinned back at him. I really was just happy to be here, literally surrounded by strippers, receptive to whatever happened next, but I thought it was cute that this hot, imposing person apparently believed I was going to do something to his protégé.

“That’s what I hear. He says he’s nervous,” I said.

The Mentor glanced over at Baby Dancer. Evidently he was not supposed to disclose that he was not completely in control of the room.

“Some first night, huh?” said Baby Dancer, and I was reminded that I was the only woman in the room, which was maybe not as good for them as it was for me.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe it’s good. Sometimes it’s better to try out new technique for a smaller crowd than take chances with a full room.”

I had the Mentor’s attention again. “That’s a good idea,” he said. “Do you want to be a guinea pig?”

I promise I’m not making this up. This is the sort of thing that can happen when you’re open to offering what you can and receiving whatever awesome surprises come your way.

“Sure,” I said. “Happy to help.”

Remember how I was looking for the best seat a little while ago? The Mentor pulled a chair out toward the center of the room, right in front of the pole. That, neighbors, was the best seat in the house.

“See, this is good,” said the Mentor, as the two of us watched Baby Dancer work that pole. “Usually, we just have the empty chair to practice with. Tough to demonstrate lap dances with no one in the chair.”

“I will sit right here in this chair,” I said, “for as long as you need me to do that.” I really meant that, too. I was just happy to have the opportunity to be of service.

That’s really how I ended up in the best seat in the house, with an experienced dancer, a former dancer and a new dancer, demonstrating lap dance techniques on me for … gosh, how long was it? I think I became a little overstimulated at some point and lost track of time, right around the lesson about whispering in my ear. I got to that magical place (in the chair, get your minds out of the gutter) by expecting nothing, offering something, and being open to everything.

A month ago, when I was in this mindset, I ran across a group of firefighters hanging out on the sidewalk, all as friendly as they were handsome. Around Thanksgiving – again, while I was in this state of mind – the Charlotte airport was crowded with good-looking fellows. If this is woo-woo, it’s my kind of woo-woo. Giving and receiving and receiving and giving – it’s all mixed up in a wonderful, wonderful circle made of male strippers.

Who knows what will follow that?

Actually, I do kind of know. Four days after this, I sold my first book, ILLICIT IMPULSE, to Ellora’s Cave. That’s pretty much the best thing I could ask for right now. So what comes after that?

I’m certainly open to finding out.

For The Gentlemen: What Should You Get Her?

Today’s post is for the men. I don’t know how many men just pop by here. It’s possible that you lady readers might have to point men to this post. I know that’s asking for something, but I think everyone will be happier in the end.

There is apparently some confusion about what to get ladies for the holidays. I’ve never understood why. Gentlemen, if you’re doing what you should, and getting to know what your woman wants, buying her a gift should be easy. Still, in the name of holiday romance, I want to kick in a couple of suggestions.

  1. You must actually purchase the gift. This is a two-part suggestion. It must be a gift – not a gift card. A gift card is an invitation for the recipient to buy her own gift. Similarly, you must be the one to buy it. If you take the recipient to pick out what she wants so that you can buy it, you’re basically giving the recipient the gift card without the actual gift card or the freedom to shop on her own time. Yes, choosing a gift is hard. A good woman respects a man who makes an effort.
  2. Don’t buy yourself something. This applies to things like lingerie. I would never tell you not to buy your woman lingerie or a sex toy or something intimate like that – sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are just between the two of you. I will tell you, though, that if you are buying something like this for her, you must be absolutely sure it suits her tastes perfectly. This is not the place to bring your own fantasies to life. Don’t buy her something she has no interest in, but which you think she’ll “get into” once she gives it a chance. Guys, you are buying something for HER. If she has to give it a chance or get into it, guess what? SHE DOESN’T WANT IT. It’s a gift. It is not an opportunity for her to do something for you.
  3. Don’t buckle under peer pressure. No one knows what to get your woman better than you do – if you’ve been paying attention. Don’t let commercials pull you off course. Let me illustrate with a heartwarming story about the best Christmas present a man’s ever given me. I met this man through newspaper personal ads; my ad referred to Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung (love me, love the opera). Our first Christmas together, that man gave me the graphic novel adaptations of the Ring Cycle. It came to about 18 beautifully drawn comics. I was really touched. As badly as that relationship went, I still take those books down, fifteen years later, and I remember how good things were, when they were good. His present was 50% How We Met Story and 50% What I Dig About You, with just a bit of Just Between Us on top. He could very easily have gone to [Insert Popular Jewelry Store Here] and gotten whatever the commercials said to get. Outsiders might tell you to get Something Chicks Like, but I ask you, sir: Are you trying to impress outsiders, or are you trying to do something good for her?
  4. When in doubt, have a talk. If you are totally at sea, or if you don’t really know each other that well yet, ask your woman for guidance. My heart goes out to people in new relationships, facing the inevitable questions of what to get or whether to get anything. A good conversation – “I want to get you something special” or “why don’t we do something together instead” – will get you farther than guessing every time. If you’re finding that she thinks you should “just know,” it’s better to find out about this now, rather than later. Don’t just ask what she wants – that’s like asking for answers to a test. Try to sort out what sort of person she is, and then you can figure out what that sort of person wants.
  5. Start planning now. Regardless of where you are in this relationship, it’s a good idea for you to make the most of the time between here and when you have to make with the presents. Do you need to do research? Are you working through alternatives? Still trying to figure out what she really wants? You’ll want to do the legwork early. Things have a way of selling out – even Ring Cycle comics – and starting early will keep this from turning into a stress-inducing ordeal.

Watching any loved one open the perfect gift is a magical experience, something you’ll both carry with you forever, even if the relationship doesn’t last that long. A little concentrated effort can really bear fruit! Further advice? Awesome gift stories? Seek out the comments.

A HotList of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving! As you’re reading this, I’m hanging out with my family. I’ve done a lot of thinking this year about gratitude and what I’m grateful for, but I know you’re wanting to hang out with your families as well. Or maybe you’re hanging out by yourself. I did that for years, and I do not feel like any less a member of my family for having done that.

Anyway.

These are five things I’m grateful for today.

  1. I’m grateful for my family. They take a lot of BS from me, poor guys. But no one’s ever made me laugh harder than my family. No one’s had my back like my family. No one can make just hanging out on the couch a joy like my family. And no matter how crazy things get, I would never trade my family for anyone else’s. And things get pretty crazy. Just so you know.
  2. I’m grateful for my cats. I’m kind of cheating here. My cats are part of my family. I’ve got three, with their own little quirks and personalities. One of them is a prissy little Southern lady. One of them is an opinionated little bad girl. The third used to live in the parking lot of my old apartment complex, until she decided to live with me. Adopting an animal is a pretty powerful emotional experience, but there’s nothing quite like having an animal choose you. I’m so grateful for each of them and their silly behavior and all their little sounds.
  3. I’m grateful for my day job. I talk smack about the day job all the time, but I really am grateful for it. At the outset, it is not Job From Hell, which was going to destroy me if things hadn’t ended so badly. The new day job keeps the lights on and food in everyone’s bowl until the writing can take over for it. Then the day job gives me the time to allow the writing to start taking over. I can’t ask for more than that.
  4. I’m grateful for my senses. Not long ago, I was in a state of ecstasy over something I was eating, and it occurred to me that I have never specifically been grateful for the fact that all my senses function well. As an erotica writer, I’m constantly have to feed and test my senses, looking for new scents and tastes and sights and sounds – and then looking for ways to describe them. But it’s not just for work – I love the way things taste. I love staring at things of beauty – the hot, shirtless men; muscle cars; the clean lines of paintings and buildings; the amazing mélange of colors that come together for sunrise and sunset. I love music from Aerosmith to Mozart, and the louder the better, and I can’t imagine what smells better than my favorite vanilla-scented soap, unless it’s coq au vin or mint chocolates or whatever makes the Cavemen smell so spectacular. And let’s not even get into my sense of touch. 😉 So if I haven’t said so before, I’m committed now to being grateful every day for my senses.
  5. I’m grateful for the writing. I was captured by a story idea while I was at Romanticon (and when am I going to stop talking about that? How about around next Romanticon?), and I was talking to my mom about it. I spend so much time around writers that I hadn’t imagined for a long time that not everyone is suddenly struck by story ideas in the middle of something else. I told another good friend of mine that when I was a little girl, I thought I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be. I thought I wanted to be everything – and then later, like in law school, I realized that I was actually making up stories about what someone in those various jobs might do. If one week, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, my imagination seized that idea and put together an Emergency 51 style plot line with a doctor that looked me, driving that ambulance with my best friend and partner to rescue people before their wrecked cars exploded. Another week, I thought I wanted to be an astronaut, and my imagination turned that into a day-to-day job on a space station, befriending offworlders and having adventures. I wanted to make up all those stories. It just took me years to figure that out. I’m grateful to have it all figured out now.

Right now, I’m probably grateful for a good book and a nap. How about you?

Read me a story …

Last month, a friend and I engaged in a spirited intellectual debate surrounding the following question:

Would we pay full admission prices to watch Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton read the telephone book?

We said yes. Not sure how this is going to sound to the people who spent loads of money making the most recent of the Bourne movies, but you didn’t have to go through all that. Two barstools, two phone books, and you’ve got our money.

We went on to other, slightly more taxing topics. Benedict Cumberbatch? We would watch him all by himself with the phone book, even if it was just the restaurant section with all the menus in it. I said I would pay to see it in IMAX. Kiefer Sutherland? She was not as enthusiastic; I voted for IMAX again. Hugh Jackman? She voted for IMAX; I said I would need him to actually read a story.

Later (after sobering up – we had a great deal to discuss), I had cause to think more about this. What’s hot about having someone read to you? I think it’s the confluence of three things.

You’re in bed. Everything is sexier if you’re doing it in bed. You’re relaxed. You probably have more time to devote to whatever you’re up to. You can allow yourself to become distracted by sex. People use their most seductive reading voices in the bedroom. All this is pretty hot.

It’s nurturing. Your reader is going to be at his nurturing best when he reads you a story. Reading is a special kind of caregiving; it’s encouraging you to escape reality for a little while with your reader as your companion. One of my exes read to me once when I was sick – I think he knew it was the only way he could get me to slow down enough to begin recovering. Once he got me all NyQuilled up and tucked in, he read to me from a Batman comic (a wise choice, since I’m a comic geek), in which Batman was involved with Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter. He indulged my every sleepy question until the NyQuil started working, like this:

“Does Batman know that’s Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter?”

“Yeah, looks that way.”

“Does Ra’s al Ghul know this is happening?”

“Probably, but it’s tough to say which is worse – sleeping with Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter behind his back or with the knowledge that he knows but doesn’t approve.”

“Sounds like Batman must really like her.”

“I think he does. But you know, if you were Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, I would still go out with you.”

Now, that’s nurturing, isn’t it?

You’re having a shared experience. Sharing a story together is an experience that’s unique for every reader and every listener. It’s going to change a little with each person’s delivery, the setting you’re reading in, and of course, the nature of the material. You might find yourself indulging in an intellectual conversation – like my ex and I had over the Batman comic – or guessing about what happens next or just enjoying the ride. You can even take turns with each chapter and choose books together. A shared experience – especially a simple one like reading a book – is sexy all by itself.

The research shows that slowing down a bit before bed is good for you! Why not unwind with a couple of pages tonight? Voyeur that I am, I will be curious to know what you’re reading to each other.

Uncoupled? Fear not — the Internet is stuffed full of hot people who will read to you. For example, writer Philip Hoare and artist Angela Cockayne created a project called Dominion, which gave rise to the Moby Dick Big Read. All 135 chapters of Moby Dick are being read out loud – a chapter a day – by 135 separate readers, including several celebrities. Tilda Swinton kicked us off with that famous opening, “Call me Ishmael.” So far my favorite has been Chapter Three, in which Ishmael and Queequeg give the novel one of its identities – it is, among many things, a buddy movie. Tonight, as I write this, we are on Chapter Five, so there’s lots of time to catch up! You can download the chapters and make them your bedtime story or that afternoon staple from the classroom, StoryTime. (Damn, I loved some StoryTime.)

Moby Dick is an awesome novel. Check it out and join the fun! Then you can ask yourself if you would pay box office money to hear Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton read Moby Dick.

For the record, my answer’s still yes.

Birds, Bees … and Fantasies

Today I’m writing for the ladies. I’ve got a question for you.

Are you paying enough attention to your fantasies?

I’m asking because I have kind of a bad feeling about this. I can’t point to a specific reason for thinking this, but I think that not enough of us are paying attention to our fantasies.

That’s not good, ladies. Not good at all. Not good for anybody.

See, if we’re not paying attention to our fantasies, people start to get the crazy idea that we don’t have any fantasies. And then there’s all kinds of wide-eyed wonder when it turns out that women are interested in reading erotica and have been interested in it for years.

It may be that everything is okay, and all you ladies do in fact have active, thriving fantasy lives unburdened by guilt or shame or excuses or any of that. But for whatever reason, I’m getting the impression that a lot of us are not investing in our imaginary worlds.

Maybe everyone’s just being discreet. What a concept, right?

Maybe it’s just my chosen line of work talking – after all, my office is in the imaginary world. I just think that all of us should be able to slide into a nice little sexual fantasy whenever we have a minute or two to spare. When? How about anytime when you’re not driving the car?

It doesn’t have to be something out of Femme Productions or Wicked Pictures. It doesn’t have to have huge production values or expensive sets or any of that stuff. It can if you want, that’s fine. We’ll get to that in a minute. For now, let’s start with a little quickie.

Do you ladies have a quick little fantasy you can pop into when you have just a couple of minutes?

At the outset, let’s find those couple of minutes. I guarantee that you have two to five minutes to yourself at some point during the day. You’re in the shower. You’re washing the dishes. You’re on the elevator or shopping for groceries or walking from the parking lot. That’s enough time.

In the space of two to five minutes, you can come up with an imaginary location, an imaginary partner (or partners), and an imaginary situation. It doesn’t take long to transport yourself to a beach or a sleazy hotel or a dive bar or the Playboy Mansion or wherever you want to go. Hell, since I wrote last week’s post, the elevator has been one of my favorite places. And I bet you kind of already know who you want to come with you, right?

Sure, you can bring your man if you want. But you know what? You don’t have to. You do not have to take the man everywhere. You can bring a celebrity or an athlete or that good-looking UPS guy. I honestly don’t think FedEx and UPS hire unattractive men – I’ve never seen one who was anything less than model-hot.

I keep talking about bringing a man because that’s the team I play for, but it’s your fantasy! Bring another woman into your fantasy if you want. No one has to know what goes on at the little party in your head.

So what do you want to happen at the little party in your head? Here’s where it gets interesting. Because if you’re put off by the idea of having sex in your fantasy, that’s okay, too. It can be just as powerful to imagine proximity to your partner – what he feels like and smells like and sounds like. Is he whispering? Is he just standing too close to you? Is he just staring at you … like that?

That’s nice, right?

What if you have more than a couple of minutes? That’s good news. You can run the two-to-five-minute fantasy over and over again, or you can come up with brand-new scenarios. You can switch partners or locations. You can add all sorts of wonderful details. You can experiment with lots of stimulating ideas. If the world was your oyster in two to five minutes, imagine what you could do if you had unlimited time.

How does your garden grow, neighbors? Do you dare to leave me a little of the who, where and how in the comments?

In Praise of the Bad Boy

He’s not Mr. Wrong. He’s not a garden-variety jackass. And while he may genuinely be a good man, he is nobody’s Mr. Nice Guy.

He’s a bad boy. Lots of women love him, and lots of men want to be him. But I don’t think we really understand the bad boy. If we did, I think we’d stop thinking of him as some stranger who sweeps into our lives from somewhere else, and we’d start seeing him everywhere. Even in the boy next door.

So who is the bad boy? That’s a difficult question. To get a better look at it, I think we should look at some exaggerated examples from higher literature.

The bad boy is determined.

If the bad boy appears to flout society’s rules, it’s because he has something that matters to him more than society. Let’s look at an example from sci-fi history: Khan.

What do you mean, who? Well, would you recognize him if I said, “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”

This is the short version of the story. Captain James T. Kirk picked up Khan and some genetically engineered folks who took over the Enterprise. When Captain Kirk took back his ship, he punished Khan by “placing” him and his people on Ceti Alpha V. He basically said he thought Khan was really cool and that they’d had an interesting time together and that there was no one in the world like Khan.

Then Captain Kirk disappeared and never called. I know. That doesn’t sound like him at all, does it?

After Ceti Alpha V was devastated, there was nothing else for Khan to do there but sit around and think about how much – how very, very much – he hated Jim Kirk. You just know he recited that “’round Perdition’s flames” speech over and over again under his breath. All his genetically engineered buddies had probably memorized the Tale of How Jim Kirk Stuck Me Here and Then Blew Me Off. So when that glorious day finally came, and Khan could get off Ceti Alpha V, Khan’s agenda only had one thing on it.

Khan could have rolled right up on Jim Kirk and taken him out. It could not have been hard to find Jim Kirk with a ship full of people under mind control. In fact, he hung nose to nose with Jim Kirk and could have taken him out with an hour or so left in the film. But his vision is to make Kirk suffer. As the film develops, you watch him pass on easy solutions in favor of methods that bring him closer to his goal. Khan’s willing to destroy people’s minds and bury folks alive and rip off shiny new technology and blow up property and alienate those closest to him — and kill a few people — on his way to making Kirk suffer. The action builds and builds and builds, until Khan finally gets exactly what he wants.

A bad boy picks a goal and sticks to it, come hell, high water, or Ceti Alpha eel. Nothing else matters. People can’t take their eyes off that electricity.

The bad boy thinks big.

The idea of realistic goals has no meaning for the bad boy. He’s more about going big or going home. Or going big and then going home with you. He doesn’t have to worry about failure because he isn’t going to fail. Failure is for other people.

For my money, no one thinks bigger than Lex Luthor. They just don’t build them like that any more.

In the original Superman movie (I’m a purist, and I think this is the only Superman movie), Lex Luthor breaks the supervillain mold. His mission is to make big money in real estate, but he’s not just going to flip houses or start showing properties or anything like that.

First, he’s going to buy up lots of California desert. Then he’s going to knock the California coast into the sea, which would make his property the new California coast.

He recognizes that he needs a big tool for a big job, so he rips off a nuclear missile.

He recognizes that Superman can stop one nuclear missile, so he rips off a second.

He knows that Superman might still find a way to stop him, so he rips off some kryptonite.

From there, it’s just a simple matter of putting the kryptonite around Superman’s neck, launching the missiles in opposite directions, and watching the fun. It’s crazy to think that one person could cause havoc on that scale all by himself, isn’t it? But Lex Luthor’s giant plan almost worked. If he hadn’t fallen into the trap of associating with the wrong people, Lex would be a very wealthy man now, once he ducked responsibility for killing Superman.

But it never occurs to Lex to go for a smaller – or legal – idea. He considers himself the greatest criminal mind of all time; why should he go for smaller? Even with Superman against him, even after repeated setbacks, Lex sets great big goals for great big rewards. Why should any of the rest of us dream small?

A bad boy doesn’t think less is more. If less is actually more, wouldn’t all of it be even more than less is?

It’s never a bad time for the bad boy.

No matter how things might seem to be falling down around the bad boy, unless his life is in immediate danger, he will find time to have sex with his woman. At the very least, he’s thinking about having sex with his woman. To illustrate this, I turn to one of my new favorites in the bad boy family: Ben Zajac from Boss. (You can even watch the first episode online for free.)

Let’s illustrate it for real. Go look at him. That’s nice, right?

Ben is trouble. He’s not as ruthless as Tom Kane is. In fact, Tom Kane put our golden boy on his knees (not to do anything, just to make a point), which I didn’t think I’d enjoy until I saw it. But Ben is still trouble.

As much as he has on his plate, though, Ben is never too busy to have sex. I think it’s safe to say that Ben is at least theoretically interested in having sex with you. Yes, you, reading this in the real world.

Oh, you don’t think so? To determine for certain whether Ben Zajac wants to have sex with you, take this quick, two question test.

  1. Are you female?
  2. Can Ben see you?

(Don’t be so quick to say ‘no’ to #2. Sometimes Ben can see women who are immediately behind him, so there’s a chance he can see you, all the way out here.)

If the answer to both questions is ‘yes,’ then Ben wants to have sex with you. That’s why he’s crowding you a little in the elevator. That’s why he’s looking at you like that. He wants to have sex with you. Like right here in the hallway. With people around.

Last week, on the second season opener, Ben is all stretched out in bed, rocking a pair of boxer briefs (whoo hoo!) and listening to his wife describe how worried she is about the way Tom Kane is starting to push him toward the margins of power. When Ben sees that his casual efforts to reassure her are not working, he gives her a little smile that says, “Oh, I see. Does Daddy need to turn that frown upside down?”

Now this is not the same as that patronizing attempt at comfort we’ve all seen before – that “let me distract you from something you should be worried about because I don’t know what to do about it.”

This is the gesture of a man who is so confident about what’s going to happen that he can stop for the pause that refreshes.

A bad boy tells his woman, “Hey, I got this.” He looks her in the eye and really, really means it. And then he turns that lady’s frown upside down.

So … is the boy next door more of a bad boy than you thought? Do you think he knows he’s a bad boy? And what do you plan to do about it?