by Renata Singer
Erica Jong has made it a trifecta.
There was Fear of Flying in 1973. Remember the zipless fuck, a phrase that liberated many young women from the idea that sex had to be tied to a meaningful RELATIONSHIP. Everyone I knew read Fear of Flying. It was well written, laugh out loud funny and HOT. What’s not to like?
Fear of Fifty, a memoir, came out in 1994. I didn’t read it because of the lukewarm reviews and not being that interested in Erica Jong’s life. I remember interviews where Jong talked about turning 50 and no longer “feeling a babe” and how men’s eyes didn’t swivel her way any more when she entered the room. The mean-spirited Renata thought, “well darls, join the club.”
Hot off the press is Jong’s Fear of Dying – a novel about an aging actress – she’s 60 – Vanessa Wonderman, with dying parents, a husband who can’t get an erection and a daughter about to have her first baby. Vanessa goes to the website zipless.com looking for sexual partners.
In an interview with Linda Wertheimer on NPR, Jong says she wanted to write about sex and old age. “I thought it was essential to do it, because sex follows us throughout our lives. The need for touch, the need for connection, that never goes away. But the forms of it change. As people age, touch is more important, erections are less important. And I think somebody needs to write about that.”
Jong has not lost her sense of mission and that’s a good thing. But what’s the next title going to be: Fear of Purgatory?
……………………………………………………………………………………. Renata Singer is a writer, community activist and educator who divides her time between Melbourne and New York. She co-founded Fitted for Work after working with Bottomless Closet in New York. Among Renata’s publications are The Front of the Family, True Stories from the Land of Divorce and Goodbye and Hello. Her most recent book “Older and Bolder” is reviewed on this blog here.
Photo Source: pinterest, MUP Website.