Note: Thank you to Jayne Martin for this post. The main body of this post was taken from a personal email I sent to Jayne. She responded by graciously telling me I should post it. I love you, Jayne.
Some of you have figured out there is new book out about Stepford. It was written by Washington Post writer Hank Stuever.
Hank was in town this week and I attended a book signing he held at a local book store. Jayne emailed this morning and asked when I was going to tell her about meeting Hank. Here is my response:
"So Hank was... surprising. He really seems to like 'us'. And I can't figure out why. I hate us. Maybe he likes us because he can leave. I don't know. I'm going to question him more about that when I do my interview with him once I've finished the book.
The book signing itself was painful for me. About 20 people chose to stand in the back rather than sit on the front row. No one wanted to be that close to the gay guy - at least that's my assessment. I, of course, sat right up front. I wanted to look at his socks and shoes and check him out really closely in a physical sense.
He read some really funny passages from the book that were dead on and he even does a great Stepford Cougar impersonation. And everyone in the crowd laughed expect for me, a newspaper writer, and a photographer. It seemed to me that we three were the only ones that realized the people laughing didn't understand that the joke was on THEM. Such a lack of self-awareness makes me wanted to punch something.
The very first idiot lined up for the signing didn't even have a fucking book. He had a baseball. A BASEBALL. Five minutes earlier, Hank had actually said he would never attend anything in a stadium. Now, why would you ask a gay man with NO interest in sports to sign a fucking baseball?
One lady asked Hank what he did for a living. She was sitting right behind me. I considered turning my head backwards on my shoulders and shouting "HE'S A MOTHERFUCKING PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST WHO WRITES FOR THE WASHINGTON POST. W H Y.A R E.Y O U.H E R E?"
I met this really sweet and sad housewife who lives in Stepford. She belongs to what I think of as the "frumpy and poor brigade" of which the wealthy and fit Stepford wives make fun. She had four kids and had the two older ones with her. They were 9 and 6. And they were destroying the bookstore while we were in line. She was so sweet and so sad and so overwhelmed I felt like a total bitch for even posting my rant on Monday. Hank's book and her husband agreeing to watch the two babies is going to be her solitary Christmas gift. I hate myself. She's going to read my blog and not understand any of it. She asked Hank if he was a Twilight fan while Hank was signing her book. He said 'no' he did mostly TV writing, but that there was a writer at the Post who really liked Twilight. And she said - I'm not kidding - 'Is he Team Edward or Team Jacob?'
Hank was extremely gracious while signing my four books. He asked who each of the people were and wanted to know about them so he could personalize it appropriately. I was very touched by that. He wrote in my book 'To Kristi, who sees everyone she knows and little bit of herself in this book. -Hank'. He's good. I'll never be that good... or patient... or able to research a subject and be as kind about people I don't understand as he is.
I'm going to read the book over the weekend and try to interview him in the next week. I want to be able to spend some time on the blog post and still get it up before Christmas.
So... long story short. He was kind. But I don't think he was the real Hank at the signing. I've been reading his blog and that edgy, out there, proud, gay, atheist, liberal guy was not the man I met. Since he has read my blog, I wonder if he felt the same way about me? I'm going to ask him."