At my book presentation party two weeks ago, a Russian journalist in her mid-twenties told me, "When I first read your columns in the eXile, I hated you because I thought you were anti-Russian women. I wanted something really bad to happen to you. I wanted you to just suffer something awful. Then I became a lesbian and I realized, you were exactly right. I hate Russian women too. I really, really hate them."
"But I don't really hate Russian girls," I said. "I don't know why people think I do."
"No, you don't understand, Mark. I agree with you. I hate them. You know? Their stupid fucking games. It's not just that they play games, they believe in them and their whole lives become those stupid drama games."
"But that's why I like them," I said. "American women can't even come up with an interesting game. They're too ironic, too 'down-to-earth.'"
"I don't know, I've never slept with an American woman."
"They go, 'Really? Great!' while shaking their heads up and down and smiling. It's a real turn-off."
"I like young, really young Russian girls," she said. "They have energy. They don't have problems like older women. I hate older Russian women. Once they get into their twenties I can't stand them. Teenage girls haven't been disappointed. They still believe things will be good."
"Their meat is tighter," I said.
"They're fun to be with. You get their energy."
"We're like vampires," I said. "So what's it like being a lesbian? Is it satisfying? I mean if you hate women, why take them?"
"Well I'm not really a lesbian. I still prefer men."
"I slept with a pair of dykes, and I didn't like it," I said. "You feel useless, like a pair of tonsils, sitting there while the girls get off. It made me angry in a bad way."
"You get something you can't get from a man. It's a different experience. There is a lot of touching and it's more intimate."
A week later an extremely, er, shall we say, pre-nubile "journalist" came over to my house to interview me about my book.
"Do you hate Russian women?" she asked.
"No, not at all! Why do people think that? I love them!"
"I hate them."
"Well, I've been accused of being a misogynist," I corrected myself.
"I hate women," she said, in her tiny voice in that tiny mouth. "I thought your book was boring at first, until the second half when you wrote about how much you hate women."
"I like that part, Mark. Why don't you talk more about how you hate women, about sex? This interview is boring."
She was right. I gave the worst interview of my life because my spine turned to Jell-O at the sight of her on my divan. I was tongue-tied, like the fat guy in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein: "Ch-ch-ch!...Ch-ch-ch!...Chick!... Look, Chick! On the couch! I'm tellin' ya, she's right there!... WoooOOO!"
"You're not like how you write," she said. "This is a disappointment. I was expecting more."
She was expecting ice-cold misogyny. She told me that she was a zhenonenavistnik, but she no longer believed that I was. The truth is that I wasn't. I couldn't have even faked ice-cold misogyny that night, not to a beautiful young Russian punkette.
I still remember the first time I was called a misogynist. I was 20, a student. She was a clinical psych major whose specialty was castrating mice and observing the results. We'd slept together once or twice, but she always made me nervous by how advanced she was.
"I've got you figured out, Mark," she told me while we were drinking on my roof. "You're a misogynist disguised as a misanthrope." I had no idea what the fuck she was talking about. So I pretended to agree with her. Later, when I looked up the word "misogynist," I panicked. How'd she know? Who invented that word? Would I be arrested?
I only spoke to her once more after that. It was to tell her that I may have given her crabs. If you want to end a relationship painlessly, call your date and tell her you got crabs and you wanted to be responsible and warn her. (Pretend you're embarrassed by offering obviously lame excuses: "I may have caught it in an airplane" or "I think I got it in a sleeping bag at my friend's house" -- if you admit boldly you got it from boning a skank, she might admire your bravery).