David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

Tag: los Angeles

Bacheloretts, Bulging G-Strings, & Dick-Filled Lap Dances: Deconstruct Male Stripping in the New Millenium

Chippendales2Rumors of the death of male stripping in America are greatly exaggerated.  I know, because recently on a dark dank Saturday night, I took the Queen of LA Stripper Intelligensia, 5’10” Private Dancer/Nordic goddess Nica Jensen, to the seedy sweet scrotum of Hollywood, Arena Nightclub, Santa Monica & Highland, where The Hollywood Men were reportedly going to be shakin and bakin their moneymakers, while frenzied females shriek & wave seas of money for dick-filled lap dances.  Needless to say, me and Nica are highly skeptical.  We’re early.

The club seats 500 people.  So far there are only 7 lovely Latinas at one table, decked out in the height of East LA fashion.  One wears a white wedding veil.  One is in a wheelchair.  They are already drinking heavily.  Looks like we’re in for a long night.  We’re greeted by Dan Remington, the emcee/part owner of The Hollywood Men.  He’s a 16 pound bowling ball of a guy with slick hair and matching handshake, surrounded by a surprisingly nice smile.  He is, and will remain, fully clothed, and is the only performer who will be able to say that.  He tells us that December sucks, it’s the worst time of year, which is true in so very so many ways, in my opinion.  You can see he’s a little worried that no screaming ladies are going to show up, and without them, it’s a very different show.  But during the bachelorette season, Dan tells us, there are 500 women here 3 times a week, in fact they had to move here because they outgrew the last place.  Guys come from all over the world to audition, if you’re interested just call, make an appointment, come down, one guy was just in last week from Europe, came all the way here to be a Hollywood Man.  A kind of pilgrimage, I guess.  Nica wants to know how many of the guys are gay.  “NONE,” Dan Remington blurts a little too loud, then says softer, “None of the guys are gay.  They’re not gay.”  During the next 12 minutes he will tell us like nineteen more times how not gay all the guys are.  Later Nica will say, “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much,” and I will laugh.  Hard.  Nica wants to know if any of the guys are married.  We are told they are not.  “They all have girlfriends,” Dan says, then leans in with a smile, “but almost all of them fool around.”  Later Nica will tell me she has no trouble believing that, and I will laugh again, though not as hard this time.  Nica wants to know where men sit if they want to watch. Dan tell us that no men ever come here to watch.  In all these years, only one gay male couple came, and when they saw what the show was, they left.  So none of the dancers or hosts or waiters are gay, and none of the audience is gay men.  But what would happen, Nica wants to know, looking down at Dan, if a guy wanted to come and watch?  “Well, we would sit him wherever he wanted to sit.”  This satisfies Nica, which is a good thing, cuz you don’t wanna piss off Nica.  Next we’re ushered into the dressing room to meet the brains and buns behind The Hollywood Men, the Sultan of Shwing, the King of the G-String, the dean of American male stripping, 1998 Playgirl Man of the Year, Scott Layne.  If you called Central Casting and asked them to send over a male stripper, Scott Layne would show up.  Even in sweats and a tank top, Scott exudes an utter American maleness, gunboats bulging, buff with mantan, hardbody with soft smile, chiselly cheeks with charmy eyes.  I’ve known Scott since New York Chippendale’s, where we worked together, and he first became a star under the late great Nick de Noia, the Grand Daddy dandy of modern American male stripping.  I’m happy to see him.  And he me, apparently, as evidenced by the big bear hug he lays on me.  Hug-wise I give as good as I get.  Not in a gay way.  I want to emphasize that.  It’s a deeply heterosexual hug, the hug of men who’ve fought together in the trenches of the battle of the sexes, comrades in codpieces, me armed with roller skates, tux and microphone, Scott with the smallest G-string the law would allow.  The show’s gonna start in half an hour, and I ask him if he’s nervous.  “Why would you be nervous?” Scott and Nica answer at the same time.  The mark of a true professional.  Nica wants to know what the chances are of a woman buying a ticket, attending the show, and taking home a Hollywood Man.  “Depends on how good looking she is,” Scott smiles.  Sounds about right.  Nica wants to know what Scott thinks turns a woman on.  “For me, it’s all about sharp moves, quick moves, that are sensual and sexy without being graphic.  I hate it when guys get graphic, that’s not what most women want to see. And I hate when dancers don’t pay attention to older women, to women who aren’t traditionally hot.  Look, women are all about the chase.  Men want to cut to the chase.  Women love the tease in strip tease.  Men are like, ‘Bend over and show it to me.’”  Nica nods.  Sounds about right.  We’re ushered back out into the club, and glorioski, there are like a hundred women buzz-cocking around, power-drinking, primping, whispering, giggling, babbling in gaggles, a dozen white wedding veils waving like snow covered clouds drifting towards the land of Marriage.  As the ladies chill, mill, and spill female hormones, half-nude spandexed cuffed and collared hunk Hosts hustle drinks and smear muscle-bulging flirtatious bodacious charm all over the women.  All of a sudden this seems like it could be fun.  The women seem like they’re already having a blast.  With each other.  Every little grouplet has the same kind of hair, the same kind of outfit, like different tribes, all with their own unique plumage.  I don’t see one single woman here by herself.  They are pack animals.  Female strip clubs are loaded with lone wolves.  Nica starts drinking.  This is a good sign.  She leans over and tells me that in a female strip club, if you say the girls are into having sex with each other, this is considered a very good thing.  I tell her I think it’s the specter of a homophobic Puritanical low-touch erotophobic machocentric culture.  Nica agrees.  She chortles: “And for God’s sake, how do they know they’re not gay, what do they do, give them all some kind of gay test?”  I laugh at that, too, as I imagine having to take a gay test: fashion sense, artistic ability, fellatio skills.  More women are streaming in, and by Jiminy, there must be close to 200 women  here.  Me and Nica are impressed.  Our waiter is cut, ripped, lean yet pec-heavy, hard-haired and ab-happy.  It looks like it would hurt your fist if you punched his stomach.  He doesn’t seem gay.  He doesn’t really seem straight either.  He seems kind of asexual to me.  Like he’s a Ken doll, and if you took down his black Spandex, a smooth bump would be there.  He seems like an accountant.  Nica asks him if he dreamed of being a topless waiter when he was a kid.  He laughs and says that he did not, that’s it’s a great part time gig.  Nica asks him what he does apart from this. Turns out he is an accountant.  Seriously.  When he’s gone I ask Nica if she thinks he’s sexy.  She looks at me like I’m stupid.  “Not my type,” says Nica.  “If there was some nerd here with glasses and a slide rule in his pocket, that would be more my speed.”  Then all of a sudden, BOOM! lights go down, sound goes up, and Scott’s voice booms through the room: It’s Showtime.  There’s smoke, there’s a big video screen, there’s crazy swirling lights, and when the first Hollywood Man busts onto the stage, a scream comes up from the ladies, a primal lioness roar that rattles my teeth, rolls through my bones, and lights up my balls like Chinese New Year, as I’m hot-wired right into all that grrrrl power.  Nica looks over at me.  She’s into it.  The women are into it.  She leans over and whispers: “There’s a lot of really beautiful women here, aren’t there?”  I nod in agreement.  There are.  5 Men pop out onto stage and do a hiphoppy Fosse meets Backstreet Boys choreography, and the women are up on their feet, like at a Southern Baptist church when the spirit lifts the congregation.  Nothing like this in a female strip club.  Big video presentation, clips of movies and local news segments featuring the Hollywood Men show, in front of all that tight seemless choreography.  The men do take their shirts and pants off in the opening number, but not until they take off their jackets and shirts, unbuttoning and removing little by little.  When they get down to their skivvies, the estrogen laden roar bounces off the walls.  Now we’re into the numbers.  Each is almost a Jungian American archetype: Top Gun, An Officer and a Gentleman, the Cowboy, the Fireman, the Vampire.  They all start off with lots of costume, surrounded many times by other dancers.  Slowly they take it off while lip synching, until they take down their underpants to reveal their teeny G-strings.  When they get to this point, they all make the same move: they turn around and bend over, their asses shining like a big happy heartmoon.  The women seem to love that.  They writhe, they undulate, they simulate intercourse, poundpoundpounding into the floor. They pour oil on themselves. The men touch themselves on their covered penis areas quite a bit.  The women seem to love that, too.  But honestly, after a while, the perfect smooth hairless chestpecs and the perfect smooth hairless 6 pacs, and the perfect smooth hairless asses all blend one into the other.  Mind you the women are great.  They are so much fun to watch.  I love how they enjoy the show through each other.  Understand this: in terms of sexual orientation, I am 70%, 20% lesbian, and 10% gay, so this show is not, as has been pointed out repeatedly, intended for me.  But I did 2 years at Chippendale’s when it was the hottest show in New York City, so I know my way around men taking their clothes off.  Plus, that’s why I brought the lovely and talented Nica, because she likes men and finds them sexual.  Plus she’s taken her clothes off in front of them for money, and she’s not ashamed to say so.  Plus she’s watched a lot of men watching women take their clothes off.  So after every act, I turn to Nica and I ask, “Was that hot?  Did that guy turn you on?  What that sexy?”  Every time she shakes her head and says, “No.”  It’s not that she’s having a bad time.  She’s actually enjoying the show.  It’s just that none of these beekcakey bodies is beaming out any real sexuality.  That’s what it seems like to me, and Nica confirms this.  Then Scott Layne comes out, and she sees why he’s a star.  He’s Danny Zuko from Grease, ducktail, tight leather pants and jacket.  Behind him on the screen is John Travolta playing Danny Zuko from Grease.  The effect is cooly postmodern in a Warholian way.  The movie icon duplicated by the live male stripper icon.  And Scott pulls it off, the same cocky shy nice intense calm vibe beaming out of both of them, stripper as movie star.  Only Scott actually sings.  He’s got a mike, and he’s singing.  At first I don’t believe it, because his rockabilly Elvis thing very good.  But then there’s a little slip, and it clearly is him singing.  Nica turns to me and she nods and says, “Wow, he’s really good.” And you can see it really isn’t the meat, and it’s really is the motion.  It’s the power and the skill that comes from having perfected a craft, being able to channel the Sex muse effortlessly with talent.  Scott blows the roof off the joint, as the women go gaga.  Afterwards I ask Nica if she thought he was sexy.  She hesitates.  Thinking.  “He’s really good.  I really enjoyed him, he’s a total pro, the guy is really talented.”  Next up comes a guy in a bad female wig and skirt, with balloons shoved down his feminine sweater.  It’s as if Jerry Lewis has decided to become a male stripper.  Nica is intrigued.  To a hip hop Spike Jones-ish soundtrack, this guy does an old school burlesque silent comedy number.  And he’s fucking funny.  With amazing control of his body.  Slowly the wig, sweater and skirt come off, and he’s sporting a goofy Clark Kent meets Devo wig, with a Superman shirt.  He shifts the balloons from his chest to his crotch, magically transforming them from huge breasts into gigantic balls.  And the guy is an astonishing mindbending breakdancing fool.  Isolating his body and moving the parts independently of each other in freakishly funny bendability, in the great tradition of vaudeville eccentric dancers like Donald O’Connor, with the good looks and athletic muscular grace of Gene Kelly, all filtered through new millenium streetwise edgy urban modernism.  It is a breathtaking performance.  I ask Nica if he was sexy.  Her eyes have gone a bit dreamy in the middle of her creamy round face, and she nods her head: Yes.  Nica’s got a crush on the guy. I ask her why.  She tells me it’s because he diffused the manufactured, corporate asexual vibe with HUMOR.  That ironically, a nice dose of humanity is still what entices more than a shapely butt and a bulging G-string.

Now one lucky gal who wins a lottery gets to sit on a chair in the middle of the stage.  5 guys disrobe down to their wee G-strings and towels.   Then they gather in a tight circlejerk formation around her, facing her, and appear to remove their wee G-strings while opening their towels and exposing their johnsons and willies to her.  The audience goes nuts and bananas.  I thought if I was surrounded by 5 beautiful women and they all exposed their nakedness at me, I would like to see that.  That is probably a sight that I could work into a fantasy that I could masturbate to.  In fact now that I’ve thought about it, maybe I will.  Okay, I’m back.

Now all that remains is the up-close-and-personal, interactive, hands-on segment of the show, where the Hollywood Men actually come out into the audience, and the women wave the money, or plant in their cleavage, or in their panties peaking out from under their tight jeans.  And I’m telling you, when they climb down from that stage like so many Collosuses of Rome, it is an absolute free-4-all.  Unlike in a female strip joint, there are no beefy security guys to stop the clients from mauling the dancers.  And the fur is definitely flying.  There are at least 6 dancers, naked but for small black underpants, working the room.  And I mean working.  You hear little random screams and squeals and shrieks as little knots of females gather around dancers like menstrual blood clotting.  Every veil-clad bride-to-be in attendance gets at least one lap dance, and most of them get many.  The dancer generally comes over to the woman with the dollar bill flag flying (either held by herself, or more usually, her friends) and the dancer takes the bill, then undulates around and into the woman.  Many breasts and necks are nuzzled.  Male faces are buried into crotch areas.  Female hands stroke and fondle and feel up smooth hairless powerful male chests and bellies, and grab a package or two.  Sometimes a dancer literally disappears into a forest of females, so you couldn’t even see him anymore.  The 7 Latinas who were the first ones in the place are whooping and halloring and dancing.  I have to admit it’s great to see a woman dancing in a wheelchair.  Then she gets a lap dance, and the guy is really great with her, sexy and nice and respectful.  She’s digging it.  Then the bride-tobe gets her own lap dance, and she digs it even more.  I gotta say, the room is really hyper-charged with sexenergy.  Next to me, a truly stunning woman has stuffed a bill in her thong panties peeking out from under her tight jeans.  As she slides down onto the booth/chair, the bill disappears.  She tried unsuccessfully to fish it out.  He tries grabbing it with his teeth.  With as little success.  She unbuckles her belt, unsnaps her jeans and parts the zipper like it’s a pare of beautiful vaginal lips, revealing her stunningly sexy lower belly.  The dancer hesitated, then goes down.   He nibbles around the bill, then slowly and seductively pulls it out of the string of her thong thing.  I have to admit I was jealous.  I wanted to be that dancer.  This moment illustrates the best of the audience participation section, what at Chippendale’s used to be called the Kiss & Tip.  I did see a couple of the guys pull women’s hair, yanking heads into crotches with what I thought was too much force.  Some women seemed to like that.  Other seemed put off when the dancer moved away.  Regardless, MUCH MUCH money exchanged hands, and MANY MANY hands roved over ACRES & ACRES of naked flesh.  I wanted to give Nica the opportunity to have a lap dance if she was into it.  I was curious what her reaction would be to getting one, having given so many herself.  I asked her if she wanted one.  She nodded enthusiastically.  This is just one of the things we love about Nica. Guess who she wants a lap dance from?  Funny wildly talented smiling sweet guy.  Naturally.  I have to admit I felt a little odd asking this guy wearing nothing but tiny black underpants if he would give my friend a lap dance, but only because all that gay talk before the show made me afraid I would disrupt the delicate balance of the show.  Me, I don’t give a shit, I just want Nica to have her lap dance.  So I find the guy and tell him what I want, and he’s the very model of accommodation.  Nica gives him the money.  The guy’s got curly brown soft hair, as opposed to the hard sculpted look of so many of the other guys.  He looks her in the eyes as he pulsates and undulates rhythmically before her. She sinks down into her chair as he moves in closer and closer to her until his smooth supple rippling skin is inches from her lips. Nica seems to be really enjoying her lap dance.   She puts her hands on his chest.  He is gentle with her, but still seems capable of rocking her world.  He is professional, but slightly removed, an amazing mover with a supple lithe physicality and a serious soulfulness, although he doesn’t seem emotionally engaged like he did on stage.  He spends a good 5 minutes with Nica before he kisses her on the cheek and takes off.  Nica’s cheeks are flushing and her eyes are alive.  I ask her if she enjoyed her lap dance.  She says she did.

Then it’s on to the big slam bang finale, and Scott’s bringing the show home.  Everybody gets their bows and applause, and then the lights are coming up.  I go over to the 7 Latinas who were the first ones in the place.  Turns out the lady in the wheelchair is the mother of the woman in the white bridal veil.  They’re laughing and carrying on and having a grand old time.  Turns out the veiled bride-to-be is getting married next Saturday.  Her boyfriend knows she’s here.  He told her to go out and have a good time.  That’s why she’s marrying him.  She points out the dancer Nica has a crush on and says, “Tell him, ‘Oh my God!”  Just tell him that for me.  ‘Oh my God!’”  Her mother in the wheelchair points to a picture of Scott.  “Tell him that I’d like to take him home.”  Everyone hoots and hollars.  You can tell they’ll be telling this story for a very long time.

Me and Nica head backstage to the dressing room.  Many men are in various stages of sweaty robing and disrobing.  Nica sneaks peaks.  Scott bounds over.  I tell him how much I enjoyed his show, and how Nick his mentor would have been proud.  Scott seems genuinely touched.  Nica thanks him for a great show.  Tells him what a great entertainer he is.  It’s nice to watch, one pro to another, acknowledgment always meaning more coming from a peer.  “I’ve been doing it long enough, I better be good at it,” Scott smiles with wry self-deprecation.  “How long have you been dancing?” Nica wants to know.  “Over twenty years,” Scott says. “Not bad for being 42 years old, huh?”  Nica cannot believe Scott is 42.  I can.  Nica wants to know if we can interview her favorite dancer.  Scott hooks us up.  Chris Watters is his name.  2 T’s.  With his clothes on he seems smaller.  He’s well dressed casually, groomed, moving with an easy animal grace.  He seems shy and earnest.  He’s traveled all over the world dancing for women.  He got his start Jane Mansfield style, only instead of at Schwabs, Chris was minding his own business dancing in a nightclub in Boise, Idaho, when a guy spotted him and recruited him into the male exotic dancing business.  He’s currently running his own music production company, CMW Productions (cmwproductions.net) while going to school studying business administration.  His parents are into him being a dancer.  They’ve seen the show and they dig it.  Nica wants to know what he’s learned about women taking his clothes off for them.   He smiles and thinks.  He’s a thoughtful guy who chooses his words carefully.  “I see women from a totally different point of view.  I see women at their worst, when they’re drunk and rude.”  Pause. Thinking.  “I put up a lot of walls.”  Pause.  Thinking.  “Some dancing… table dancing, makes you feel creeped out… it’s too much… people cross boundaries.  I like it a lot better when I can just get out on stage and do my thing.  Women dancers are a lot more protected.  It’s weird feeling like an object…”  Pause. Thinking. “it makes you feel creepy… people can be so… I come home with scratches, and bruises, and bite marks, and I have no idea where they came from… it’s scary… sometimes rich women make you feel like shit, they think they can say anything they want, and they say cruel things, sometimes, they’re drunk, they look down their nose at me… it can get really ugly.”  Pause.  Thinking.  “Like I said, I see women at their worst.”  Nica wants to know if Chris is married.  He confesses that he is.  Me and Nica shoot each other knowing glances.  The wife’s a gogo dancer.  Not a stripper, he says a little too quickly.  Like we’d care.  But that’s part of this world, those fine lines that distinguish what you will do and what you won’t.  Take off your clothes. Leave on your G-string.  Sell a kiss.  Let a customer touch you in your most tender netherparts.  Selling your sexuality is a tricky thing, and the shading between trick and performer, john and gigolo, hustler and dancer is crucial for mental stability.  You set your boundaries, and that is how you define yourself.  A lot of male strippers at I worked with at Chippendale’s sold sex, but they would never call themselves a whore.  Whereas, when I’ve worked with women from the next class of sex worker down the foodchain, the street ho, many embrace their ho-ness, “Yeah that’s right, I’m a ho, so you wanna fuck with me, I have got to get PAID!”  Nica wants to know if he’s planning on having kids.  God love Nica, she’s keeping us on track.  Chris smiles that crazy sweet sexy shy smile:  “Yeah.”  I ask what he’d say if his son turned to him and said: “Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a male stripper!”  “No way!” he laughs very loud.  He’s got a nice easy laugh, which he’s laughed a couple of times, but this laugh is loaded with jaded cynical world-weariness.  Nica wants to know why not.  “Dancers get lazy.  It’s too easy, the money.  There’s no work ethic in this world.”  He starts to say something, then hesitates, as if his internal censor stopped him.  I ask him to elaborate, but he shies away.  It makes him more interesting, that there is something withheld.  Nica wants to know what he thinks women want.  “Confidence with a smile.  Even if you can’t dance, if you really have a good time out there, women like that. “  Pause.  Thinking.  Smile.  “I try to use the golden rule.  I do to others what I would want done to me.”  Hard to argue with that.   Nica shakes his hand.  I shake his hand.  Solid handshake.  Single pump.  Firm without having anything to prove.

As we leave Nica says what a sweet fragile soul he seemed, and confesses how she wants to rap him up in her arms and give him a big long hug, because he seems like he’s been so wounded.  She’s surprised.  She never thought guys would feel so much like she does about taking their clothes off for money.   She reflects how heterosexual male stripping is more akin to the neo-burlesque movement that is sweeping the country, as opposed to the more anatomical direction female stripping has evolved into, where girls make a series of poses which illustrate what they would look like having sex.  “If you can’t show them what you’d look like fucking, forget it, you’re not gonna make any money,” says Nica, and I can’t argue with that.

Then me and Nica walk out into the Hollywood night, where it’s not raining men, it’s just plain raining.  And I can say without hesitation that male stripping is very much alive and kicking, kissing and tipping, every Friday and Saturday night in the City of Fallen Angels.

Alice Carbone Interviews David Henry Sterry on Sex, Addiction, & the Healing Powers of Writing & Comedy

Cool interview with cool chick Alice Carbone. To read on her website click here.
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DAVID HENRY STERRY: The Good, The Bad & The Sex

AN INSIGHTFUL AND FUN INTERVIEW ABOUT THE SEX INDUSTRY, SEX ADDICTION AND HEALING THROUGH WRITING AND COMEDY.

Two years ago I received the inspiration for the end of my novel while running by the ocean, in Santa Monica.  Being sick in the head, I desperately needed to run that day yet I hurried back to my car parked Idaho Ave and, like in a trance, I started writing.  It was year 2011 and I owned a very old Blackberry.  I never liked to touch-type on it those words that carried too much of a value, like the future of a woman, whether fictional or not.

I have come to the realization that physical activity has a pleasant creative effect on me.  And this introduction is just the umpteenth example.  After interviewing David Henry Sterry I went on a hike and, all of a sudden I wanted to write.

It’s year 2013.  The Blackberry broke a year ago, or so.  I have an iPhone today.  And I still don’t like the movement of my fingertips typing letters on a synthetic and flat keyboard.  I don’t find joy or excitement in seeing them gathering into important sentences on the yellow page of a virtual notepad.  I avoid the procedure, when I can.  The inspiration, if that is how you rather call the essence of what you are reading, came towards the end of my Hollywood walk nonetheless.  The temperature had reached an unhealthy average of 80 °F for the week before  Christmas; I ignored my body getting sicker by the minute, too.  However, as soon as I walked past the Sunset Ranch, sweaty, grateful for where I lived and for being able to hike at twelve noon, on a weekday, it finally dawned on me: I knew how to start this column and how to end it as well.  The walk became faster until I ran towards the car and wrote what you have just read and will, shortly.  It is a very interesting interview and a raw finale that comes straight from the heart and from the dirty and torn Starbucks napkin that I had not thrown away the night before.

Talking to David Henry Sterry has a very special meaning to me.  He is the very first guest who publicly asked to be here, in conversation with me.  It happened on Twitter, on December 4 at 5:09 PM, Pacific Time.  “I am doing something good.  They start to like this.” – I thought.

“You looked like an interesting person and I just had an instinct about you.”  David tells me, when we chat on Skype and I ask him why he wanted to be on the blog.  We use a webcam because David lives in New Jersey and I have told him that my conversations require the exchange and the look in the eyes.  They are more than a Q&A to me.

David is the author of sixteen books.  He is a teacher, an activist and a brilliant performer, although best known for his bestselling memoir, Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man For Rent.  I didn’t know him very well before he had approached me.  A thorough research always helps yet nothing more than a vis-à-vis contact makes you understand what lies beneath a person.  He laughs and I can sense his humor, the comedy background.  However, I can also feel he has been to hell and has not forgotten about it.  I am in the comfort of my bedroom wearing my pajama yet with red lipstick.  The sun shines and it feels like summer in Southern California.  David sits by the kitchen window that is frosty and white with beautiful snow.  For it is winter, after all.  Our worlds merge for one hour.  He has a story to tell, and it is my pleasure to share it with you; wherever you are reading it from.

A.C. Where are you from?  I know you have British origins.

D.H.S. I was born in New Jersey and moved back here six years ago, from San Francisco.  But I lived all over America.  Alabama, Texas, Upstate New York…

A.C.  Where was home, when you were a kid?

D.H.S.  Anywhere my family was.  But I feel like San Francisco is my home.  I lived there twice, and that’s where I kind of left my heart.  But I have a beautiful house here, with great neighbors.  And it is really a gorgeous place to live.

A.C. Let’s go back to your childhood.  What kind of kid were you?

D.H.S. I was a very helpful child.  Actually a little bit too much, to the extent that teachers would write these reports saying that I didn’t have to be ‘so helpful in class.’  And I am the oldest of four, with a father gone all the time and a mother overworked with us; that is why I helped all the time with my brothers and sisters.

A.C.  Why did your family travel so much?  What did your parents do?

D.H.S. They were immigrants, from Newcastle, in the North of England.  My father grew up where there were only half-houses.  He did not even have a toilet in his house; it was an old world.  He came to America in the late 1950s when there was very little opportunity in England, for a college graduate like him.  In the United Stated he got a job for a company that manufactured explosives, and they kept promoting him by sending him somewhere new.  He almost became a victim of his own success, although I don’t really think the term victim is appropriate.  But it was hard to constantly move around.  On the other hand, he was the American dream; he kept rising up the ladder of this company, and he literally went from being a dishwasher to being a partner in the space of twenty years.

David does not hide a bittersweet laugh, when he ends the story with what he calls the ‘new American dream.’  Because his father is now broke and in therapy after a nervous breakdown and after his wife has run away with a woman; the one she would eventually marry. She has become a lesbian. 

D.H.S. He started having sex with crazy women.  I was sixteen and I was living with him at that time.  He had lost everything.

A.C.  How difficult was it, for you, to write about them, in Chicken?  Because, as writers, we have the duty of being both careful and respectful to the lives of the people we involve.  My novel, for example, is not a memoir but it is very autobiographical.  Many episodes are based on my life and I did not know how to talk about my parents or other people involved, at first.  I felt angry, guilty and hurt, too.  Just because we decide to purge and get clean, it doesn’t mean they decide to have their stories publicly disclosed as well.

D.H.S.  And my parents are English.  Talking about them publicly was so mortifying to them!

A.C.  How did they react?

D.H.S.  So, I got this book deal to publish the memoir.  The publisher was Judith Regan.  I got it only based on a proposal; I had not even written the book yet.  And, of course I had not told my parents.  For I wanted to tell them once I was 100% sure the book was going to be published.  The first thing Regan told me was: “I don’t want one of those fucking books where the writer blames their parents; do you understand me?”  And for as hard as it seemed, it was a great advice for me, because I did blame them.

A.C.  But what I am starting to learn is that we all have shit happening to us, David.  And it’s not what happened to us, but what we have made of it, and what we keep making of it.

D.H.S.  Exactly.  It’s absolutely right.  And, based on what she had said to me I decided to call my parents by name, in the first couple of drafts of the book.  Harper Collins didn’t really help me in the editing process; all they were worried about was not getting sued.  So my agent became my editor and she secretly said: “This is so bad we are gonna have to give the money back!”  Instead, what she did tell me was: “David, they are your parents.  You can’t call them John and Maurine; they are mom and dad.”  That is how removed I was from actually revealing my true self.  For I was raised to never reveal anything.  And part of what got me into so much trouble while I was growing up was not being able to ask for help.  I literally had to learn how to talk to people like an adult, besides recovering from my addictions.  Actually hypnotherapy helped a lot.

A.C.  How old were you when you started writing Chicken?

D.H.S. I was in my late thirties and I was writing dumb screenplays in Hollywood at that time.  I hated my job, although I was making a lot of money.

David is working for Disney in those days.  And those are also the days of his escalating sex and cocaine addiction.

A.C. You mentioned making money in Hollywood.  In your interviews you talk a lot about the feeling of self-worth that you experienced the first time you got paid to have sex, professionally.  I don’t know about being paid to have sex because I was never a sex worker. However, I am very familiar with the feeling of cheap worth before a man, and when only performing the act of sex.  For sex can become a performance that makes you feel worth and powerful, even when you know that you are everything but.  Quoting Hank Williams, you said: “But there was a hole in my bucket.”  Let’s talk about sex, about the self-gratification of your past as a sex technician – as you rather call your former job.  Is that what you felt, at first?  Did you feel powerful, at seventeen years old?  Because we try to fill that hole with anything within sight, until we hit bottom…

D.H.S.  Yes, and soon as there is a hole it doesn’t matter what or how much your try to fill it with, whether it is sex, drugs, money, etc. For it all comes out the bottom.  That’s why the metaphor was so powerful for me.  You know, so many young people that get into the sex business do it for money.  I was completely alone.  Los Angeles is a cold and hard place, despite the fact that there are palm trees and that is 82 degrees, the week before Christmas.  It’s the way we live in LA, the isolation from other humans, the time spent in our car to go from one place to another.  While in New York, for example, you have to interact with people, whether you want it or not, even if just to go on the subway.  And that’s how it is, in most places.

I was seventeen and I felt alone.  I was robbed.  I got assaulted and raped.  I had nothing and nobody.

A.C.  That’s when you met the guy that pimped you.

D.H.S.  Yes, his specialty was finding kids that were alone, cute and vulnerable.  And that was I. This guy ran a fried chicken restaurant, as a front, and he would hire you for a week, to actually fry chicken.  Now, I don’t know if you have ever fried chicken in your life professionally, but it’s fucking horrible.  You get burns on your arms and you smell like chicken.  It’s a miserable fucking job.  Just wearing that little hat is nasty!

A.C.  That’s when he shows you the trick, after the week of frying chicken…

D.H.S.  Correct.  At the end of the week he gives you your paycheck.  And it is so small that you can’t possibly live on it.  It’s all very psychological.  He is one of the most generous, warm, kind and smart persons I have ever met in my whole life.  So, when you look at the check you are horrified; because after all the hard work you did, you cannot even survive.  It’s right then, when you are feeling worthless, with no money and nobody who likes you or cares for you, at the lowest point, that he says to you: “Do you want to start making some real money?” Of course, you say: “Yes.”  And he tells you about these rich friends of his whom you could party with.  I was so naïve that I saw myself at cocktail parties discussing the latest issue of The New Yorker, just because I was cute.  I had this idea in my head of being this young Oscar Wilde…

We both laugh when he is recalling the very beginning of his career in the world of prostitution.  Because he does laugh about it, and because he is very candid in admitting that it was his choice.  David does not have regrets for his past, today.  He closes his eyes and hides a residual of teenage embarrassment nonetheless; his body and his white hair wave, mocking a hypothetical Wilde with a cocktail in his hands.  But there is nothing to be embarrassed about. At seventeen we all believed in everything they told us.  Sometimes we still do, in order not to listen or see the inevitable truth.

D.H.S.  But, of course, he meant servicing adults, sexually.  My first job was kind of a trial and I was very nervous.  As I always say, one of the differences between a female and male sex worker is that there are many things in life that you can fake; an erection is not one of them.

A.C.  True.  But isn’t somewhat safer to be a male sex worker compared to a woman?

D.H.S.  Mostly, it is.  The dynamic of power between men and women is something that a lot of men still don’t understand.  The other day I was talking to this woman in a parking lot, late at night.  She had recently been assaulted she freaked out as soon as a guy walked past her.  I could sense that feeling that screams: “I’m not powerful enough to stand up to this guy who can just pick me up as a rag doll.”  Having been abused by someone much more powerful than I, I can truly relate to that feeling.  However, what happened was that I found a real affinity for the job, because once again I was looking after people.  In a way, that’s what you do when you are a sex worker.

A.C.  Providing a service?  It just came out of my mouth, but I am smiling while saying this.  I must admit it.

D.H.S.  Exactly!  That’s exactly what you do.  You look at the person you have in front of you and you try to understand what they want and need.  That’s what you do when you are a real sex worker and not a thief.  They must tell you: “Wow, that itch I had is now scratched.”  And I found out that I was really good at that.

A.C.  Do you think that your sex work triggered your sex addiction?

D.H.S.  Oh, of course it did.  But as you know, it’s very complicated, understanding why a person becomes addicted to something.  However, on that first job, when I walked into that room, I felt powerful, while in real life I felt powerless, a meaningless piece of shit.  That woman wanted something from me that I could provide her, a very specific set of tasks, with difficulties, that I could nonetheless perform.  And, when it was over I put the money in my pocket and felt big, large.

I know the power he is talking about.  Because I recall feeling it, too, many years ago, the first time I had sex when I was high.  That night, in another life, I thought I had understood how to be a woman that was not Alice.  I hated Alice.  And I never felt more in control, not realizing I would eventually lose it all and despise myself even more.

D.H.S.  In real life I felt small and meaningless.  It was 1974 and that $100 bill was my sense of self-worth.  Then, of course, when you have sex your brain sets off these endorphins and you get a chemical high from it.  So, for me it was both a physical and an emotional empowerment.

A.C. You have been asked before if you have felt exploited.  You were seventeen years old in those days so, of course, there was a part of you that felt exploited.  But I would like to talk to you more in depth about what your definition of exploitation is, in the sex world.  Prudes and bigots think that porn is exploitation, which is a huge mistake.  And they don’t know what they are missing, from time to time.  Actually, my take on sex is that there’s almost nothing wrong about it, as long as it is at your own terms.

D.H.S.  Absolutely, I completely agree with that.

A.C. Now, I do acknowledge the urgency in resolving the terrible issue of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.  But it’s not what we are talking about, today.  In your opinion, where is the thin line between personal choice and exploitation in the sex world you are familiar with?

D.H.S.  I did this interview on NPR a while ago and I was introduced as someone ‘forced into prostitution.’  And that’s the idea that a lot of people have.  I had to tell the host: “Look, no one put a gun to my head and tried to shoot me.”  I could have walked away at any moment.  It was my choice.  I felt enormously exploited frying chicken, to be honest with you.  Because I was forced to work under brutal circumstances and I was paid a piss.  That was exploitation.  The whole Fast Food industry is built on exploitation.

A.C. Well, Walmart is built on exploitation.

D.H.S. Walmart! Oh my God!  Any giant corporation that uses labor like this is in the exploitation business.  If you are at the lowest level of the food chain you are just going to ask yourself: “How am I going to be exploited?  What’s the exploitation that best suits my personality?”  When you are seventeen and in that state, your choices are very limited, with no education, resources or networking.

It’s true that the guy did not explain the business very well, at first.  He didn’t tell me that some of the things that were about to happen to me would remain in my nightmares for the rest of my life.  He didn’t tell me that this would potentially cause me some horrible personality disorders. But, in that job I also had beautiful experiences where I wasn’t exploited at all, and where I was treated with great respect and honored for my skills.

A.C.  Those were the best jobs, what about the worst?

D.H.S.  In the worst I was treated like a piece of shit and asked to do things that no teenager should ever been asked to do.  Ever.

A.C.  Are you saying that no matter where you work, exploitation is everywhere and affects the weak in the same way?

D.H.S.  Yes.  I believe it very strongly.  And the more I live, the more I am convinced of it.  The strong feeds on the weak.  That’s how society has been working forever.  Media like to make it about sex and prostitution, and although there are prostitutes that are forced to do it against their will, there are also many people who are forced to clean toilets or kids that are sold and have to become soldiers and shoot people in the head.

A.C.  Now that we mention prostitution, you wrote the anthology Johns, Marks, Tricks and Chickenhawks: Professionals & Their Clients Writing About Each Other.  How did you get the clients to write their stories?  It must have been difficult.  Sex workers seem to me more comfortable with what they do than their clients, who would rarely admit paying for sex.

D.H.S.  That was one of the most shocking things about the project.  And you are absolutely right, it’s easier for somebody to say: “Yes, I sell my body for sex,” than for somebody to admit the purchase of sex.  It sounds so ridiculous to me, especially because in history, being a prostitute has always been considered the worst possible profession.  The insult ‘whore’ always the lowest one.  Just think about the Scarlet Letter.

A.C.  Is something shifting in the sociological perception of prostitution and the sex worker profession in general?

D.H.S.  Something is indeed shifting.  I expected it to be a very easy process, here in America, to have people writing about their experiences in buying sex.  But it was very hard.  All my friends I asked to either laughed at me or were scornful, reminding me with pride that they didn’t have to pay for sex.  And I told them that they should try, at least once!  Like hiring a masseuse, who wouldn’t want to have a massage?  But that’s just my opinion, of course.  I believe that it is exactly the same transaction.

david bunnyAnyhow, I had so many contacts in the sex business that through Facebook and Twitter I was able to find both professionals and clients who agreed on talking.  What opened the gates a lot was the choice of letting them submit their stories with a pen name.

A.C.  Did you notice any difference in the male/female or straight/gay world?

D.H.S.  Interesting question.  I think that in the gay male world they are less ashamed.  They all did it once in a while; it’s part of the culture and they are much more accepting of sex for money.  Sex is such a fluid thing.  And especially older gay men; they had to hide for so long that being gay was a shameful enough thing.  There is nothing they are ashamed of.  What’s interesting on the lesbian community side is that many women who have sex with men for money are, in fact, lesbians.  At first it didn’t make sense to me, it was like a vegetarian working as a butcher.  But then I talked to a dear friend of mine and she explained to me that that it’s how they completely separate personal life with a woman at home, and work with a man client. And there is never the risk of falling in love this way.

A.C.  Have you ever fallen in love with a client?

D.H.S.  Yes.  But I was young and confused.  I even fantasized about moving in with her.  I was seventeen and she was probably forty-five.  I lived in a fantasy world so much back then, you have no idea…

A.C.  Of course I do.  We hate our life and any fantasy is better than reality.

Let’s move away from sex now, because your career has been so diverse.  You were a screenwriter for Disney (and plunging into your darkest days of addiction during those days, too.)  But you are also an actor, author and a comedian, too.  You started by opening for Robin Williams in the 1980s in San Francisco.  I am falling in love with American comedy and the more I study, the more I realize what a powerful weapon humor can be. Who were the comedians you aspired to, when you started?

D.H. S.  My favorite comic is Lenny Bruce who, of course, was a heroin addict.  Very dark sensibility and railing against the hypocrisy of society. Of course, he was arrested and harassed and tormented, ending up dead with a needle in his arm.  That’s my hero.

A.C.  I love Lenny Bruce, too.  He was one of the very first comedians I discovered when I moved here.

D.H.S.  And then I always loved Richard Pryor.  He famously burned himself up trying to smock rock and when he came back performing he did this joke of him on fire, on stage.  He took the darkest parts of his life, turned them into comedy and made people laugh.  In doing so, he illuminated the darkest sides of the human condition.  Pryor grew up in a world made of hate and violence.  And part of his mission was to expose this, through comedy.  There is no higher form of communication to me.  If I laugh, and then I have that moment when I have to think about what fucked up thing I have just laughed at, I know the artist has reached his purpose.  In your head you are debating about the philosophical ideas behind what made you crack, after you just did, hysterically.  Those moments are rare and hard to create.  Jerry Stahl is the same way, especially in his latest novel.

David tells me about his performing tour with Sex Worker Literati and he is astonished at the type of audience it attracts.  “There are a lot of young couple on first dates.  We have some dirty old men, too.  God bless them.  But the audience is very diverse and it’s a lot fun doing it. I notice quite some middle-aged feminist, as well, because we are sending a message of empowerment, after all.  Some gay audience is present, as I always put a couple of gay performers.  They have great stories!”  We briefly discuss the literary business and the side project he has started with his wife, The Book Doctors.  Time runs out nonetheless.  Sometimes I forget I am carrying out an interview and not just having coffee.  I have more questions and I need closure.

A.C.  Is there a moment in your career that you are particularly proud of?  You are primarily an author today, correct?

D.H.S.  Yes, I am.  But something beautiful happened during the show that I performed from Chicken.

Chicken became a very successful one-man show, after the book was published in 2002.

My mom had not read the book, as she didn’t want to.  My whole family reacted very badly when the memoir got published and they completely shut me out.  When I was touring with the show I performed in a college, in Portland, which is where my mother lives.  It was her wife, the same woman she had run off with when I was a kid that told her to go and see the show.  So my mom did.  The night happened to be a big success.  Every time that I am in a college I do a Q&A after the show and that night, I introduced my mom to everyone for the first time.  I can still see her standing up in the audience, proud and bowing.

David has tears in his eyes when recalling the night in Portland.

D.H.S.  She came backstage after the interview and, for the first time she told me that she was sorry for what had happened to me.  Had I only told her, back then, she would have tried to help me.  That night was a moment of truth and reconciliation, a beautiful metaphor for what writing can do.

A.C.  Absolutely.  If it wasn’t for both my novel and this blog, I wouldn’t be alive, and sober, to be honest with you.  It gave me a purpose and it helped me surviving the pain, the shame and the burden of life.  I did not want to live.  Through writing I have found my voice for the very first time.

david white hairD.H.S.  It’s because writing can expose parts of ourselves that we couldn’t expose.  After that night my mother and I became best friends, and it all came about through this book I wrote, speaking my truth, something I was so ashamed of.

A.C.  I am reading Advertisement For Myself and Mailer admits how, after The Naked and the Dead, he was not able to write another novel in such a quick and spontaneous way, for a long time.  An old mentor told me that some books you write, other write you.  This is exactly what we are talking about, some truths just have to come out and, eventually they do.

D.H.S.  That’s what happened for me, with Chicken.

A.C.  Have you learned to ask for help?

D.H.S.  I did learn, although it’s still a difficult thing to do.  But I am much better at it than I have ever been.  And learning how to do this has helped me how to focus on the things that I do well; while those things that I don’t do well I can understand and acknowledge with those who are good at them.  I was having a terrible problem with this book that I am writing, for example.  And, normally, I would have just kept it to myself. Instead, I have asked for advice and gathered many smart ideas from many smart people.

A.C.  Earlier this morning I read something that made me laugh; the downside of isolation is that we are the only ones to give ourselves advice.  Which is quite often a bad idea.

We both laugh.  For we both know what’s the kind of advice we are inclined to give ourselves. On my side, I know that I need the inside job, every day.

D.H.S.  That’s really funny.  I really like that.  So now I am not the only one who is giving myself advice.  Yes!

A.C.  Last one and you are free.  Are you okay with your nature and your past, today?

D.H.S.  I ask this question to myself all the time.  Would I whisper something into my ear at seventeen?  “Don’t go into that door?  Call your mom?”  I wonder if I would be a better person. I would have gone through a lot less agony and pain, but I wouldn’t be the man that I am, I would not have written my memoir and had a beautiful kid.

A.C.  How old is she?

D.H.S.  She is six and she is such a joy!  I wouldn’t be here talking to you, too.  It’s a very difficult thing to answer.  But I feel that everything I went through, lived and survived, I have also learned from it; and I have changed into a different human being.  It would have been easy to just remain a drug addict, a pleasure seeker and a miserable man.  That’s easier and you see that all the time, people crawling into a bottle and dying there.  But I didn’t want that to be my life, because I was on the road of self-destruction.  Had I not changed, I would be dead.  In the change I have become a person that I am proud of, although I still fuck up and make mistakes; we all do.  But now I can ask for help to do better next time.

In the end, I am grateful for all the fantastic things that happened to me and for all the fucked up ones, too.  Look, I deal with a bunch of people that have MFAs from writing programs and they write sentences so beautiful to make your heart break.  But they have no stories to tell. They haven’t had nobody beat the shit out of them, and they haven’t been dragged to bottom of the barrel.  But probably I just gravitate towards survivors, and people who have been through horrible misery and come out the other side better human beings.  If you have looked death in the face you are part of a club.

A.C.  Survivors have a message.  Thank you for sharing yours with me, and my readers.  It was beautiful to have you here.

Just a few hours prior connecting with David I had posted a photo, both on Twitter and Facebook, of my Interview Composition Pad.  I had simply shared that, with this interview I had come to the very last page of it.  The $0.99 notebook had started in August, with George Christie.

What was only supposed to be a tentative weekly publication that precious and humble first guests like Phil Hendrie, Clint Mansell and George Christie helped me start, putting some brave trust in me, has become today a very serious deal.  The interviews are hopefully reflecting the transformation, too.  And 2014 will be full of surprises, because more amazing guests are already lined up.  Fascinating stories and authenticity is what I offer; I hope you have noticed by now, because there is no better way of learning for me.

Thank you for helping me reach a result I never believed possible.  YOU, 15 thousand folks a month, are my gift of 2013.  Thank you for supporting me and for spreading the word.  Every time you share my work you share the effort I put into bringing you the best I can.  Don’t stop.  I won’t either.

I don’t know if you believe in Christmas, if you do, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken: 10 Year Anniversary Edition

Chicken

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Discuss the Book

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“Ten years ago, this debut memoir from Sterry burst upon the literary scene with an energy and inventiveness that captured his little-known subject matter—teenage life in Los Angeles as a rent boy working for a benevolent pimp named Sunny whose “rich, generous, horny friends,” Sterry explains, “pay good money to party with a boy like me.” Now back in print, Sterry’s memoir still crackles with its unsparingly honest approach: “I catch myself in the mirror, seventeen-year-old hardbody belly, pitprop legs, zero body fat, and huge hands. I’m seduced by the glitter of my own flesh.” Scenes from Sterry’s early dysfunctional family life not only add pathos to this tale of fall and resurrection but assure readers that he never sees himself as better than his clients, such as Dot, the wealthy 82-year-old, whose only desire is to experience cunnilingus for the first time—a desire that Sterry readily fulfills. “Even though I have no home and no family except for a bunch of prostitutes and a pimp, even though I have no future… at least I’m good at this.” (Oct.) – Publisher’s Weekly.This is the chronicle of a young man walking the razor-sharp line between painful innocence and the allure of the abyss. David Sterry was a wide-eyed son of 1970s suburbia, but within a week of enrolling at Immaculate Heart College, he was lured into the dark underbelly of the Hollywood flesh trade. Chicken has become a coming-of-age classic, and has been translated into ten languages. This ten-year anniversary edition has shocking new material.“Sterry writes with comic brio … [he] honed a vibrant outrageous writing style and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times“This is a stunning book. Sterry’s prose fizzes like a firework. Every page crackles… A very easy, exciting book to read – as laconic as Dashiell Hammett, as viscerally hallucinogenic as Hunter S Thompson. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing all within a single wrapper. What more could you possibly ask for? -Maurince Newman, Irish Times

“A beautiful book… a real work of literature.” – Vanessa Feltz, BBC

“Insightful and funny… captures Hollywood beautifully” – Larry Mantle, Air Talk, NPR

“Jawdropping… A carefully crafted piece of work…” -Benedicte Page, Book News, UK

“A 1-night read. Should be mandatory reading for parents and kids.” -Bert Lee, Talk of the Town

“Alternately sexy and terrifying, hysterical and weird, David Henry Sterry’s Chicken is a hot walk on the wild side of Hollywood’s fleshy underbelly. With lush prose and a flawless ear for the rhythms of the street, Sterry lays out a life lived on the edge in a coming-of-age classic that’s colorful, riveting, and strangely beautiful. David Henry Sterry is the real thing.” –Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

“Compulsively readable, visceral, and very funny. The author, a winningly honest companion, has taken us right into his head, moment-by-moment: rarely has the mentality of sex been so scrupulously observed and reproduced on paper. Granted, he had some amazingly bizarre experiences to draw upon; but as V. S. Pritchett observed, in memoirs you get no pints for living, the art is all that counts-and David Henry Sterry clearly possesses the storyteller’s art.” – Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body – Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body

“Like an X-rated Boogie Nights narrated by a teenage Alice in Wonderland. Sterry’s anecdotes… expose Hollywood at its seamiest, a desperate city of smut and glitz. I read the book from cover to cover in one night, finally arriving at the black and white photo of the softly smiling former chicken turned memoirist.” -Places Magazine

“Snappy and acutely observational writing… It’s a book filled with wit, some moments of slapstick, and of some severe poignancy… a flair for descriptive language… The human ability to be kind ultimately reveals itself, in a book which is dark, yet always upbeat and irreverent. A really good, and enlightening, read.” – Ian Beetlestone, Leeds Guide

“Brutally illuminating and remarkably compassionate… a walk on the wild side which is alternatively exhilirating and horrifying, outrageous and tragic… Essential reading.” – Big Issue

“Visceral, frank and compulsive reading.’ –City Life, Manchester

“Sparkling prose… a triumph of the will.” -Buzz Magazine

“Pick of the Week.” -Independent

“Impossible to put down, even, no, especially when, the sky is falling…Vulnerable, tough, innocent and wise… A fast-paced jazzy writing style… a great read.” -Hallmemoirs

“Full of truth, horror, and riotous humor.” -The Latest Books

“His memoir is a super-readable roller coaster — the story of a young man who sees more of the sexual world in one year than most people ever do.” – Dr. Carol Queen, Spectator Magazine

“Terrifically readable… Sterry’s an adventurer who happens to feel and think deeply. He’s written a thoroughly absorbing story sensitively and with great compassion… A page-turner… This is a strange story told easily and well.” – Eileen Berdon, Erotica.com

“Love to see this book turned into a movie, Julianne Moore might like to play Sterry’s mum…” – by Iain Sharp The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland, New Zealand).

Excerpts

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